Thomas energizes Glen Oaks

During his final two minutes of play early in the fourth quarter, Glen Oaks High School’s Chris Thomas drew a charge with his team leading by 25 points.

Less than a minute later, Thomas stopped what would have been an inside basket from Parkview Baptist’s 6-foot-8 James Thompson with his third foul, prompting his coach Harvey Adger to send in a substitute and to allow Thompson take the rest of the night off.

Adger greeted Thomas just outside the team’s bench area with a wide smile and a warm embrace for his overall work that proved to be a catalyst in No. 8 Glen Oaks’ 62-33 road victory Friday over Parkview Baptist in District 6-3A action.

“I told him he’s the one that will make this team go,” Adger said of Thomas. “When he makes up his mind to come out and play hard on both ends of the court, he generates everyone with energy.”

Thomas was part of balanced scoring effort that the backcourt tandem of Jalen Variste and Chris Dancey also contributed to with 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Thompson was Parkview’s lone double-digit scorer with 11 points, or six below his season’s average.

Glen Oaks (15-10) won its fifth straight game and wrapped up a perfect 4-0 mark in the first round of league play heading into a stretch of three successive road games.

“Every time you go back to practice you try and get better every day,” Adger said. “You just never know which team is going to show up but this is the team I want to see night in and night out.”

Glen Oaks shot an efficient 45 percent for the game but it was its signature pressure defense that allowed the Panthers to gain separation early in the second quarter and pull away.

The game was tied three times with one lead change in the first quarter when Glen Oaks seized control with an 8-0 run for a 23-10 lead with just under four minutes left before halftime.

Variste knocked down a pair of free throws and drove the lane for a layup before Thompson made the front end of a two-shot foul opportunity. Parkview went more than four minutes without a field goal until Thompson’s slam dunk courtesy of an assist from Will Jones.

Jones’ 3-pointer with 53 seconds left pulled the Eagles to within 27-16 only to have Dancey quickly answer with a 3-pointer of his own and Variste closed out the half with two free throws for a commanding 32-16 halftime advantage.

“They played very well, they were excellent in every phase,” said Parkview coach Don Green, whose team graduated nine seniors from a year ago. “They got what they wanted offensively, they managed the game properly. That second quarter we got taken out of what we like to do and couldn’t get back to it.”

During Glen Oaks’ 21-8 second-quarter surge Thomas scored eight points and clamped down on Thompson in the post, helping the Panthers force the Eagles into nine
of their 23 turnovers, several on entry attempts into Thompson.

Parkview (13-10, 2-2) drew to within 32-20 just after halftime on a drive from Jones and two free throws from Thompson only to have Glen Oaks respond with four straight points from Thomas. That sparked a 13-4 run over the next four-plus minutes and increased the Panthers’ lead to 45-24 lead following Variste’s 3-pointer from the top of the key.

Glen Oaks’ spurt reached 22-6 nearly midway into the fourth quarter , including a stretch of 10 unanswered points that bridged the third and fourth quarters, to make it 55-26 on Variste’s two free throws before the Panthers built as much as a 30-point cushion (60-30) with 3:08 to go.

“It was good to get a win here over a Don Green-coached team,” Adger said. “To be able to do that against this team you know you’ve done something. Our kids played with effort and heart and they played together.”