Roman Catholic junior guard Maalik Wayns found the range with his jumper just once in the first half against host St. Joseph's Prep in the Cahillites' Catholic League Southern Division opener yesterday.
Wayns missed his next four shots and Roman found itself in a battle. But the second half was a different story, and the Cahillites won going away, 55-42.
"He's our best percentage shooter," Roman coach Dennis Seddon said of Wayns, who notched a game-high 21 points with five three-pointers. "He's not afraid to shoot the ball. That's important. With confidence. A lot of people aren't afraid to shoot the ball, but you have to be shooting the ball with confidence. He wants the ball."
Rakeem Brookens (15 points) held the fort for the Cahillites (4-2, 1-0) at the start of the third quarter. His layup and three-pointer at the start of the quarter extended Roman's lead to 26-21.
Wayns drained a pair of treys in a three-minute span to give the Cahillites a 32-25 margin. Roman ended the quarter holding a 37-30 advantage.
"I had full faith in my teammates that they would just keep the game to where it was supposed to be and make sure we kept the lead," Wayns said. "We just wanted to keep playing good, keep playing as a team.
"If I'm not making shots, I know I've got real good teammates that can make shots, too."
In the final quarter, Wayns hit a jumper from the left side of the key, a three-pointer from the top of the key, a three from the right side of the key, and was 4 for 4 from the free-throw line in the final 1 minute, 5 seconds.
For the game, Wayns finished 6 for 14 from the floor, including 5 for 10 from three-point land.
Earlier in his career, Wayns' shooting wasn't always so accurate, but he worked at it and his hard work is paying dividends this winter.
"All summer, I just worked on it like real hard and now I shoot them up pretty good," Wayns said. "I was just getting in the gym early in the morning, working out, and getting some more confidence."
With Wayns and Brookins filling it up in the second half, the Prep (4-5, 0-2) tried to get back into the game with the three-point shot. Of the 10 shots the Hawks took in the final quarter, nine were from three-point range and only three found the mark.
Roman Catholic 7 14 16 18 - 55
St. Joseph's Prep 7 11 12 12 - 42
RC: Rakeem Brookens 15, Aaron Brown 6, Wes Kirkland 7, Courtney Stanley 6, Maalik Wayns 21.
SJP: Mike Bradley 8, Sean Dooley 4, Dan Fitzpatrick 6, Phil Giordano 8, Mike Leithead 2, Joe Meehan 5, Matt Williams 9.