With 5:10 left in the third quarter Brandon Wade found himself between the three-point line and almost midcourt. Why not? The senior launched a triple to not only push the Eagles into the lead at 43-41 but re-establish order in this Regional semifinal game Monday against Howell at Salem HS.
Wade’s third-quarter performance included four triples, 17 points and turned an eight-point deficit into a 56-43 lead after three quarters. The Eagles’ 24-3 run in the third quarter all but ended the game, which began with Howell knocking down 7 of 9 three-pointers to establish control and build a 40-32 halftime lead.
The fourth quarter was more or less running out the clock as Skyline knocked off Howell 73-59 to advance to Wednesday’s regional final at 7 p.m. against Novi. The Wildcats (15-8) defeated Lakeland 74-55 in the later regional semifinal game at Salem.
The Eagles improve to 23-0 on the season. And it was 23 games ago that Skyline started its magical season with a 72-56 win over Novi way back on Dec. 5. The rematch will be for a Regional title and a chance to advance to the quarterfinals against the Wayne Memorial-Belleville winner.
On Monday inside a packed and loud Salem gym, Wade led Skyline with 32 points and seven assists. Junior Ryan Wade scored 12, DeSean Munson had 11 points, Jack Ammerman scored 10 and Kabir Bergin had six points, six rebounds and four assists. Spencer Morgan had six rebounds.
READ MORE ABOUT BRANDON WADE’S INCREDIBLE THIRD QUARTER: https://weloveannarbor.com/2018/03/13/opinion-wades-third-quarter-show-the-biggest-trick-so-far-in-this-magical-season/
“We had some breakdowns on defense (in the first half) and they hit a ton of shots,” Skyline Coach Mike Lovelace said. “They were hot. They wanted this game bad and their shots were falling from multiple people. We answered just enough to keep ourselves in the game.”
Like most coaches would be, Lovelace was more impressed with holding Howell to three points in the third quarter than with the 24 his Eagles put on the board.
“For sure the three points,” he said. “They were on track for 80 points. We stressed better defensive fundamentals at halftime and came out and played a lot more aggressively on the defensive end.”
Brandon Wade opened the third quarter with a triple and ended the quarter the same way, with a long triple and a glance at the Howell cheering section. His fourth three-pointer of the quarter ended Skyline’s 24-3 third-quarter run and sent the Eagles into the final period with a 56-43 lead.
The Highlanders didn’t score a field goal – their only one – until there was 1:40 left to play in the third quarter.
If there was any doubt, Ryan Wade opened the fourth quarter to give Skyline its biggest lead of the game at 59-43.
A triple by Howell’s Matt Dewar brought the Highlanders to within 59-51 with 4 minutes left to play but the Eagles made some baskets and free throws to extend the lead back to double digits.
Ammerman and Bergin helped get Skyline off to a strong start, hitting triples to give the Eagles an 8-5 lead. Ryan Wade then knocked down a jumper to push the lead to 10-5 with 5:30 left in the first quarter.
But Howell tied the game at 11-11 and then took a 13-11 lead with 2:20 left in the first quarter. A basket by Shields made it 18-14 after one quarter.
A dunk and then a basket inside by DeSean Munson cut the deficit to 25-23 with 5:20 left in the second quarter. Brandon Wade scored inside to cut the lead to 28-27.
But the Highlanders then took off using the long ball. A triple by Kip French made it 33-29. A basket by Josh Palo gave Howell a 37-32 lead. And another triple gave the Highlanders a shocking 40-32 lead at halftime.