It was the strangest of coaching debuts for former Sun Valley Poly All-City guard DJ Gay on Tuesday night. His Windward basketball team went 6 minutes 10 seconds in the first quarter without scoring a basket, then went 6:09 in the third quarter going scoreless. And yet the Wildcats came away with a 56-50 win over St. Monica, ignited by 22 points from sophomore guard Gavin Hightower.
“We know it’s a game of runs,” Gay said.
Windward had a 22-0 run and St. Monica had a 25-3 run. Then Windward went on a final 13-0 run to pull away. Hightower made 14 of 17 free throws and was rewarded for attacking the basket and staying poised when things weren’t going well early on.
“Gavin has to learn he can’t let offense dictate how he plays,” Gay said. “He showed growth.”
Said Hightower: “I just had to slow down.”
Luke Sammann got hot in the second half for Windward and finished with 14 points. St. Monica received 13 points from Daniel Kirakosyan, who scored eight consecutive points at one point in the third quarter.
Gay, who was coaching in San Diego before beating out a large group of candidates for the Windward job, has a young team that only figures to get better with experience.
Oak Park 73, Knight 63: The Eagles had to withstand 29 points from Knight’s Malik Larane to secure the win in the Providence tournament. Trey McDonald finished with 20 points, and Isaiah Sherrard and Dylan Hayse added 16 apiece.
Chadwick 52, Inglewood 50: Micah Breaux had 21 points for Chadwick. Jude Harris led Inglewood with 28 points.
St. Francis 56, Whittier 27: George Tupy led St. Francis with 15 points.
Heritage Christian 88, Granada Hills 55: Sophomore Tae Simmons scored 27 points for Heritage Christian. Joe Greene led Granada Hills with 23.
Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 80, Agoura 53: The Knights (2-0) received 16 points from Dusty Stromer and 15 from Dante Ogbu.
JSerra 67, Americas 38: Sebastian Ranik had 14 points for JSerra.
Simi Valley 85, Hueneme 21: Justin Rener scored 20 points for the Pioneers (2-0).
Rolling Hills Prep 56, Schurr 47: JV Brown had 17 points and 13 rebounds for Rolling Hills Prep.
Damien 76, Santa Fe 39: Nate Garcia scored all 22 of his points in the first half for Damien.
Anaheim Canyon 69, Diamond Bar 58: Jaden Goodall scored 23 points and Brandon Benjamin had 18 for Canyon.
St. Anthony 81, Warren 64: Amaan Zavahir and Quincy Phillips each had 18 points for St. Anthony.
Village Christian 82, Muir 39: Thomas Luczak led the Crusaders with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Chatsworth 49, Wilson 37: Vicky Menjivar scored 10 points for the Chancellors.
Eagle Rock 58, Garfield 38: Ava Kidder had 20 points and nine rebounds for Eagle Rock.