The American Heritage Patriots used a strong offensive performance from Zaire Wade to take down the Pompano Beach Golden Tornadoes 73-56. Wade poured in 26 points for the Patriots to lead all scorers, including four 3-pointers.
American Heritage took control of the game during the third quarter behind the performance from Wade and senior Masai Olowokere. Olowokere played big minutes in the second half to finish with 12 points.
The Patriots went on an 11-0 run out of halftime to extend its 35-28 lead. Pompano’s Cedric Camper gave the Golden Tornadoes its first bucket of the quarter with just under four minutes remaining. American Heritage extended its seven point advantage to 13 during the decisive eight minutes. During that time, Wade handled an awkward cross court pass before regaining control to bury a turnaround corner 3-pointer.
“We knew the game should not have been as close as it was coming out of the locker room,” said Wade. “We came out with a lot of intensity to start. I think our guys had that fire and we turned it up during the second half. It was a good game for me. I think last game I didn’t really score much so it’s a bounce back game in that sense. I just tried to help my guys get this win to lead us to the next game.”
While the fire behind his team blossomed during the start of the second half, Wade was virtually on fire shooting the ball the entire game. After the first quarter, the junior already had nine points with a pair of corner 3-pointers to start. American Heritage, which played the game like it was a track meet in the first eight minutes, held an 18-12 advantage after one.
Pompano Beach held serve during the first half. The slim lead for the Patriots was held to single digits for most of the two quarters thanks to the offensive performance from Cedric Camper. The senior led the Golden Tornadoes with 14 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Senior Brandon Peets followed Camper in the box score with 13 points on the night.
The momentum for Camper, Peets, and the rest of the Golden Tornadoes did not seem to translate after halftime though. A combination of missed shots and American Heritage defense put the game out of reach.
“I wanted to play big early on but they came out small so I couldn’t play that way,” said head coach Fred Battle. “We had to play small. Coming out of the third quarter, I wanted to stay big because we were already having trouble rebounding. That has been a nemesis for us all season.
“I came out big and went to a 1-3-1 half court trap. That seemed to throw them off. They called a couple timeouts to try and fix it but they didn’t seem to have an answer for it. That helped us to open up the lead in the third quarter and allowed us to stay big.”
American Heritage will return to action on Friday for a home game against Archbishop McCarthy.
Michael Costeines is a contributor for Mars Reel based in South Florida