Summit Academy’s offensive efficiency can be pretty hit or miss from night to night, and Wednesday night epitomized that inconsistency. The Bears scored 33 points in the first half, but only 18 in the second half on a night it shot an atrocious 45% from the free throw line (11 of 24).
Despite those shortcomings offensively, Summit Academy’s stout defense helped make up for it as it gutted out a 51-47 road victory at Judge Memorial to improve to 15-3 on the season.
“We’re a halfway decent defensive team. We spend probably more time on defense than offense, and that just goes from my upbringing in the coaching (tree),” said Summit Academy coach Curtis Condie.
Judge Memorial had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but missed a 3-pointer, with Summit Academy corralling the rebound and then icing the game at the other end making 1-of-2 free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining.
The victory helps Summit Academy keep its Region 15 title hopes alive as it sits a 2-1 in league play, just one game behind 3-0 American Leadership who they lost to 50-39 last week.
Summit Academy’s defense was good enough on that night to get the win, but the offense really struggled. On Wednesday, however, the Bears actually had a pretty good rhythm going offensively, much of it fueled by defensive stops.
Leading 16-14 after the first quarter, Summit Academy’s defense forced six turnovers in the second quarter as it outscored Judge 17-6 to take a 33-20 halftime lead. Eight of those points came directly off turnovers.
“We got stops and that’s what we have to do,” said Condie.
In the second half, Judge Memorial took care of the basketball much better and without those easy transition buckets Summit Academy’s offense fell back into a halfcourt rut. They didn’t score their first points until the 3:40 mark of the third quarter, while the Bulldogs came out red-hot, burying four 3-pointers in the opening four minutes to close to within 33-32.
Judge Memorial took a brief 38-37 lead at the 1:59 mark on a lay-up by Manase Mangala, but that was its only lead the rest of the game. Summit Academy ended the quarter on a 6-0 run, including a tip-in bucket at the buzzer by Ethan Carlson for the 43-38 lead.
In the fourth, Summit Academy left the door wide open for a Judge comeback by only making 4-of-10 free throws. It made up for it defensively though, holding the home team without a field goal over the final 6:32 of the game. The Bulldogs last four points all came from the free throw line.
“I say this all the time, there’s nights we can’t throw the ball in the Pacific Ocean from the Santa Monica Pier, but we can always defense and rebound,” said Condie.
Its last defensive stop was the most important as it forced Judge Memorial into a deep 3-pointer attempt that came up short of the rim.
Bryson Ottley led Summit Academy with 20 points, with Sherlock Padmore chipping in with 16. Condie said Ottley has filled an important role for the team and been key for the 15-3 record thus far.
“He’s very good defensively. I’ve played him out of position all year, but we just don’t have another point guard, but he’s got to do that. He kind of overdid some things, but you live with it,” said Condie.
Mauricio Lemus led Judge Memorial in the loss with 17 points on five 3-pointers.