Fairfax The Wakefield boys’ basketball program on Friday night earned its third trip to the state playoffs in 11 seasons under head coach Tony Bentley.
While Bentley didn’t hide his pride in the accomplishment --- “I’ve got to pat myself [on the back] a little bit on that one” --- the coach wanted no credit for the shot-blocking performance of a sophomore who helped the Warriors punch their ticket to states.
Wakefield’s Dominique Tham recorded a triple-double, finishing with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 12 blocks as the Warriors defeated Robinson 68-58 in the Northern Region semifinals at Robinson Secondary School. The 6-foot-3 forward spent a good portion of the second half on the bench in foul trouble, but still managed to produce what is believed to be Wakefield’s first triple-double since Ty Beal accomplished the feat in 2007.
“He was blocking shots [unbelievably] at the beginning (of the game),” Bentley said. “I told him when I first got him on my team, I said, ‘When this is all done, don’t ever say Coach Bentley told you how to block shots, son. You came in with that ability.'”
Robinson’s Nate Hackett scored with 6:50 remaining in the second quarter, cutting Wakefield’s lead to 13-10. Tham responded with a bucket 10 seconds later, sparking a 19-2 Wakefield run. The Warriors led 32-18 at halftime and held a double-digit advantage for the remainder of the contest.
“That’s the best game of my life,” Tham said.
Bentley said Tham has close to 90 blocks this season.
“Coach told me I was born with it,” Tham said.
After a bucket by Robinson’s Jared Steen to open the second half, Wakefield answered with an 8-0 run, including a pair of buckets by Tham, and led 40-20. The Warriors entered the fourth quarter with a 48-34 advantage.
Re’Quan Hopson led Wakefield with 21 points. Jalen Carver finished with 12 points and Ermias Nega totaled 10 points and five rebounds. Khory Moore had seven points.
Matt Fall led Robinson with 15 points. Keegan Ruddy finished with 13 points and Avyn Johnson added 10.
Wakefield will face Woodson at 8 p.m. today in the Northern Region final at Robinson Secondary School. Woodson defeated Wakefield 65-52 during the teams’ regular-season meeting on Dec. 5. Bentley said he’s concerned with Woodson sophomore point guard Eric Bowles, who was named first-team all-region and Patriot District player of the year.
“That kid single-handedly beat us the last time we played them," Bentley said. "We were up [by double digits] on those guys at the end of the first quarter and then Eric Bowles started to play and he just dominated --- he only scored 10 points, but he just dominated the game.”
Woodson defeated South County 67-49 in the other semifinal matchup on Friday to clinch a state berth. Peter Murray led the Cavaliers with 16 points. Tommy Stepka scored 14 points, Alex Boock had 13 and Bowles finished with 10.
Justin Hampton led South County with 15 points and Oren Burks had 14.
Edison and South Lakes will play in the Northern Region girls' final at 6 p.m.