In their first game back from the All-Star break, the Westchester Knicks powered over the Iowa Wolves with a strong performance. Despite falling behind early, the Knicks battled back in the first quarter. Westchester then built momentum in the second quarter and took control in the third quarter en route to their 26th victory. With a win 107-83 win over Iowa, the team maintains an one and a half game lead over the Raptors 905 in the Atlantic Division.
Westchester head coach Mike Miller detailed the aggressiveness he saw in the team as the game went on, especially in the second and third quarters.
“We thought we were a little bit behind the plays in the first quarter and they were scoring,” Miller said. “They were doing what they wanted to do, then we hit a little run and it kind of balanced and evened up. We wanted to be more aggressive as we were going. I felt like we did that in the second and third quarters.”
After taking a four point lead into the second half, Westchester clamped down in the third quarter on the defensive end. The Knicks held the Wolves to 12 points on 3-of-15 shooting from the field. Xavier Rathan-Mayes attributed the team’s defense in the second half, particularly in the third quarter, to trusting their scouting report on their opponent.
“We knew they weren’t a big time shooting team, so we were able to load up the paint on the weak side and make them shoot tough contested shots,” Rathan-Mayes said. “It was good to be able to play that kind of defense. When we play that defense, we will be hard to stop.”
The Westchester Knicks had four players finish in double figures, which was highlighted by Rathan-Mayes. The Westchester guard recorded a team-high 25 points, seven assists and three steals on an efficient 9-of-19 from the field and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Nigel Hayes came out strong in the fourth quarter by recording 10 of his 22 points in the final quarter. Hayes finished with 22 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals. Billy Garrett totaled 16 points, four rebounds and three assists on 7-of-14 from the field.
Along with the production from the starting rotation, the Knicks were able to get significant production from their bench. Both Adam Woodbury and Jordan Henrique made an impact on the game, as the two combined for 14 points and 18 rebounds. Along with Woodbury and Henriquez, Devon Baulkman and Sekou Wiggs provided solid contribution to the Knicks.
“We used a lot of guys and we had good bench production,” Coach Miller added. “[Adam] Woodbury and [Jordan] Henriquez went in there and each had three offensive rebounds. They played 30 minutes between them and one is 3-for-5 and one is 4-for-8. I think we used our depth and I think they were short tonight with a couple of guys with guys that weren’t here, so I felt that was a big factor.
The Westchester Knicks are in the back nine of the season. With a 26-10 record, the Knicks hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Westchester has one game left in February before a tough March, which includes seven games in a 14 day stretch.