MAIZE — The pass was noteworthy by itself. Maize senior Derek Lee, who signed to play football at North Dakota State this week, was at the top of the key when he made the perfect pass to teammate Steven Wolgamott near the basket.
Wolgamott, a 300-pound football lineman, nimbly moved through the lane and made the easy basket.
But the big-man duo isn't the only key for Maize, a 60-54 winner over Goddard on Friday night. Forward Ryan McCarthy is just as vital.
McCarthy scored a game-high 19 points, while Wolgamott added 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks and Lee had 14 points and six rebounds.
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"If Ryan gets hot, he's tough to guard," said Maize coach Mike Darrah, whose team is 9-4. "If they want to double our bigs, if Ryan is setting good picks and his guy helps, Ryan will get open."
At one point against Goddard, McCarthy drove the lane and contorted his body just to avoid the defense and score on a floater.
"He's good," Darrah said.
Lee, Wolgamott and McCarthy led Maize to a 44-28 lead late in the third quarter. And when Goddard cut it to three in the final period, it was the Maize trio that secured the win.
The Eagles held Goddard scoreless for a span of 5:47 over the second and third quarters, scoring 10 unanswered points.
The game seemed to be firmly in Maize's hands, even after Goddard's Trevon Evans hit a jumper, was fouled and made the ensuing free throw.
Goddard went on its own 10-0 run, sparked by three-pointers from Zach Bush and Alex Shoemaker.
The Lions took advantage of defensive lapses by Maize, getting to within 53-52 in the final two minutes.
That's when Lee found Wolgamott for that basket in the lane and the 55-52 lead with 1:02 to go. And it was McCarthy who hit four straight free throws — all one-and-one situations — to seal the win.
"Even if (Lee and Wolgamott) aren't scoring inside, we still want to get it inside," Darrah said. "They are good passers, and we can cut off the ball and on offense, it's harder to defend. They're good at passing and setting up other kids as well."
Goddard (6-7) 15 10 10 19 — 54 Maize (9-4) 15 15 14 16 — 60
GODDARD: Bush 11, Triplett 11, Tipton 4, Shoemaker 7, Evans 15, Briggs 4, Smith 2. Totals 22 (3) 7-10 54.
MAIZE: McCarthy 19, Lee 14, Wolgamott 16, Sturgeon 7, McBroom 2, Cole 2. Totals 24 (2) 10-12 60.