Wright chips in for Chargers; Maroons fall out of first
CHAMPAIGN — Since before he was even born, Phillip Wright has been known as Bam Bam — or Bam, for short.
His aunt gave the Centennial High School junior the nickname way back when, but it's Wright's mother who can truly attest to its origins. Her son, it seems, was about as active in the womb as a certain high-energy Flintstones character.
Wright was at his Bam-Bam best on the basketball court Tuesday night, racking up a career-high 22 points and grabbing six rebounds to help propel the Chargers to a 75-52 victory against Big 12 rival Danville.
"I was just kidding him," Centennial coach Tim Lavin said. "I said, 'It's about time you start playing like we'd hoped you had.'
"He's a kid I thought we'd get 11, 12, 13 points, seven, eight rebounds a game. ... Lately, the last few games he's had (production) right where we thought he'd be."
At 6-foot-1, Wright hardly has the frame of a prototype power forward. But he plays the game like one, regularly mixing it up with taller, stouter players around the basket.
As he was against the Vikings, Wright can be a handful in the lane. While leading all scorers, he shot 9 of 12 from the field and produced at least two field goals in every quarter.
"I'm like the size of a guard, but I think I do good down there in the post, getting rebounds and helping my team out," Wright said.
He had plenty of help on this night. Chargers center Michael Finke, who was 5 of 5 from the field in the first quarter, finished with a double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds). Devin Carter added 18 points.
With Finke and Carter combining for 19 points, Centennial built a 23-10 first-quarter lead en route to its third-highest point total of the season. The margin of victory was the fourth largest of the season for the Chargers (8-14, 6-3 Big 12).
"I think that was probably our best game of the year in all aspects of the game," Lavin said.
Said Vikings coach Gary Tidwell: "They just dominated both sides of the ball tonight."
Sophomore guard Donte Ingram scored a team-high 16 points for Danville (5-15, 4-4 Big 12).
Normal Community 53, Central 50. The host Maroons fell out of a tie for the Big 12 lead when their second-half rally came up short.
Trailing 31-16 at halftime, Central drew within 51-50 before committing a turnover. After the Ironmen scored, the Maroons twice missed on three-point attempts before time ran out. Xavier Martin led Central (13-8, 7-2 Big 12) with 14 points, including 10 in the third period.
Urbana 79, MacArthur 74. Donald McKinley scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Tigers to a home victory. After building a 46-30 halftime lead, Urbana (8-11, 4-5 Big 12) fended off the rallying Generals.