RICHTON PARK | Greed does not seem to be a motivating factor when it comes to the Thornwood basketball team.
The Times No. 5 Thunderbirds shared the ball well and practiced patience against the Rich South zone defense on their way to a 54-37 win Tuesday night. Senior Khapri Alston had 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Thunderbirds. Guard Darell Combs scored 16 and brought down five boards in the win for Thornwood.
"Our guys do a good job of picking things apart when we're on," Thornwood coach Paul Slavich said. "The guys are sharing the ball well. They want to get the open guy for the basket."
The Thunderbirds (17-6) trailed 10-9 after one quarter, but their patience on the offensive end began to pay off in the second quarter. Behind Alston's strong play down low and their own stingy defense, the Thunderbirds took an 11 point lead into the half and never looked back.
"We've been working on that in practice," Alston said of the Thunderbird's offense against the zone trap. "We felt that all we had to do was come out with energy and we could beat them."
Combs recorded two steals on the night while teammates Johnte Shannon and Justin Kennedy both had three. Rich South was never able to get into a good rhythm offensively, and with the solid defensive rebounding by the Thunderbirds, it was one and done all evening for the Stars at the offensive end.
"We're always looking for the open man," Combs said. "This has got to be unselfish. You be unselfish and get everyone going then we all get going and then we win."
The Thunderbirds held Rich South to single digits in the second and third quarters. Alston and the Thunderbirds know the offense will come as a result of the team's defense.
"That's what we practice first," Alston said of the defense. "That's whats going to get our offense going: our defense. We work on good gap form defense and we know that we can score on offense; we just have to play hard on defense. That's what wins us games."