Westminster sprinted to a 40-24 lead and withstood a furious Daniel High comeback to earn a 50-49 win in its season opener at the Evans tip-off tournament. Junior Jelani Watson-Gayle scored a game high 24 points in the victory.
Watson-Gayle was as impressive Saturday as he was in last weekend's scrimmage game against Blythewood. He scored and set up teammates in the Wildcats' dominant run through the first two-and-a-half quarters Saturday. His efforts were aided by the addition of sophomore Michael Dukes, who didn't play last weekend but drained 3 first half threes against Daniel.
|Jelani Watson-Gayle scored a game high 24 Saturday in Westminster's win.|
Daniel's AJ Oliver was as good as advertised. The long wing tallied 19 points and scored on back-to-back isolation plays to punctuate a 13-1 Daniel run that narrowed the Wildcats' lead to 41-37 in the fourth quarter.
But Watson-Gayle had answers for each Oliver surge. He split two defenders and avoided a third to make a left-handed layup, and scored again with his left to to give Westminster breathing room down the stretch. After a Daniel three pointer cut the Wildcats' lead to 2 points, he made a runner to give his team a 48-44 lead.
Senior Nygel Eaddy then calmly made two free throws to give the Wildcats a four point lead that would not be eclipsed.