LYNN — The night was billed as belonging to Classical senior Paris Wilkey, who was poised to score her 1,000th career girls basketball point.
But it ended with the reminder — as if anyone needed reminding — that there are other players on the Rams besides Wilkey who can win games too.
The night did belong to Wilkey. The Franklin Pierce-bound senior did score her 1,000th point, but for the most part the shots didn’t fall easily for her and she ended up with only nine points. However, Wilkey can do other things besides score, and when the Rams have other players who can step up and pick up the slack, they are very tough to beat. In a game of fits and starts, Classical ended up grabbing a 47-32 win from Beverly to raise its record to 6-1.
Key contributors for the Rams were Irianis Delgado, who poured in 19 points, several of them off crisp passes from Wilkey; and Jeylly Medrano, who added 10 to the cause.
“They’ve been doing this all year,” said coach Tom Sawyer. “They’ve helped us accomplish what we want to accomplish.”
In fact, Beverly coach Seth Stantial, whose team dropped to 4-3, thinks he may have devised too good a game plan trying to keep Wilkey quiet.
“We just wanted to make things as hard on her as we could,” he said. “We changed defenses a lot.
“I think we may have changed too much,” he said. “I don’t want to say I overcoached, but in retrospect, I wish we hadn’t done so much changing around.”
Classical began the night looking as if it would run Beverly right out of the gym. The Rams held the Panthers to five first-quarter points while scoring 14 themselves. At one point, Classical reeled off nine straight.
But in the second period, it was Classical’s turn to go cold. While Delgado (7 points) helped carry them in the first quarter, nobody could do much of anything for Classical in the second period, and the Rams were the ones who only scored five points.
Meanwhile, Beverly climbed back into the game, and whittled that lead down to three (14-11) at one point. Principal architect for the Panthers was Alyssa Moreland, who scored all five Beverly points in the first quarter, had four of her team’s eight in the second period, and finished with 17 for the game.
“I have to give her a lot of credit,” said Sawyer. “We knew all about her coming into the game, and we tried to make things really tough for her. But there she was, with 17 points.”
Wilkey’s milestone 1,000th point, with 44.6 seconds left in the half, on the second of two free throws, made it 19-13, Classical, at the break.
A quick 6-2 run to open the third quarter put Classical up by 10, 25-15 before a 3-pointer by Hailey Anderson and another basket by Moreland brought Beverly to within five again (25-20). However, the Panthers could get no closer, and the Rams slowly pulled away with a 13-2 run to close out the quarter.