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High school boys basketball: Isaiah Adams’ career high propels Rowland Hall past Waterford

Senior Isaiah Adams scored 25 points with Rowland Hall missing two key starters to lead his team past Waterford for the key Region 17 win

Rowland Hall’s Isaiah Adams grabs a rebound away from Waterford’s Connor Smith as they and Waterford play at Rowland Hall in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.
Rowland Hall’s Isaiah Adams grabs a rebound away from Waterford’s Connor Smith as they and Waterford play at Rowland Hall in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Rowland Hall fought through a double dose of adversity on Wednesday night.

With leading scorer Oscar Percy out with the flu and versatile guard Boston Ballard missing his fourth straight game with a sprained ankle, Rowland Hall coach Zack Alvidrez stressed a next-man-up mentality with his team which paid dividends as it pulled away from rival Waterford in the fourth quarter for the 57-46 to remain perfect in region play.

Rowland Hall and defending 2A state champion Layton Christian are the only undefeated teams remaining in Region 17, and they clash next Wednesday in a game Alvidrez said his team is very excited about after losing to the Eagles in the semifinals a year ago.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say we’ve had that game circled. They’re the state champs until someone beats them,” said Alvidrez.

It might take a full-strength effort against Layton Christian, but on Wednesday those extra contributions from traditional role players was the difference.

It helped too that second-leading scorer Isaiah Adams equaled a career high. The senior scored 20 of his game-high 25 points in the second half to spark a big second-half surge for his team.

Galib Ibrahima chipped in with 10 points with Ozzie Smith adding nine points on three 3-pointers.

Adams and Smith were instrumental during Rowland Hall’s decisive 12-0 run to open the fourth quarter which pushed the lead to a 52-32, its largest of the game.

The spurt was punctuated by Smith’s alley-oop pass to Adams, who laid it off the glass. Smith and Adams both also buried 3-pointers during the key stretch.

“We got some key stops and rebounded the ball well defensively, and then we finally got out and run. One of our strengths is when we can rebound and then get out and run,” said Alvidrez.

Defense was the strength of Rowland Hall’s team last season and Alvidrez said that has been the strength against this season. Lately though, he feels like the offense is finding a groove and he hopes it continues.

“We took our licks (in some losses) and struggled a bit offensively but we’re finally seeing the ball go in, getting more shots up in practice, getting more free throws in practice,” said Alvidrez.

The offense started slow against Waterford, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Giorgio Gianoulis and Smith late in the first quarter gave the Winged Lion a 15-10 lead — a cushion it never relinquished the rest of the game.