Oswego East tops Neuqua Valley in third-place game at Hoops 4 Healing Tournament

Drey Wisdom's role is to keep the Oswego East team together.

Duties include knocking down big shots when needed.

The Wolves senior connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key in one of the many runs in a battle with Neuqua Valley on Friday evening. It was one of the clutch plays that helped make the difference in a 80-73 victory over the Wildcats in the annual Hoops 4 Healing third-place game at Oswego.

"My role is to keep the team together, moving the ball and talking to my team," Wisdom said. "When they're down or when we're getting ready before the game, we're always talking and I'm in there doing that."

Wisdom's 3-pointer with 4:55 left to play made it 70-62 Wolves.

"Our team is a family," he said. "They all knew I could hit the shot. I've just got the confidence in hitting my shots."

The teams were getting up and down despite playing for the fourth time in five days to open the 2023-2024 season. Defenses struggled to keep up. Lengthy scoring runs ensued. Players showcased offensive talents.

Neuqua Valley (2-2) scored in bunches but simply didn't have enough of them. Senior Luke Kinkade didn't have any of his five 3-pointers in the second half but still had 26 points and 8 assists to lead the Wildcats. Senior Joe Balgro added 17 points and seven rebounds. Junior Whitman Carboneau had 10 points.

"There was not much defense," Wolves coach Ryan Velasquez said. "At least not from us."

Oswego East (3-1) used an 8-0 run to jump ahead early, but the Wildcats responded with an 8-2 spurt. When the Wolves responded by outscoring them 13-4, the Wildcats roared right back with an 11-2 run.

"We probably gave up at least 20 points on inbounds plays," Velasquez said. "That's what they do very well and we've got to be better at what we do. We'll get back in the gym tomorrow and begin working on those things."

Jehvion Starwood led the Wolves with 18 points, finishing with a few noteworthy smooth moves to the basket, and dishing nine others to his teammates to let them do the rest.

"He's a great player. I love playing with him," Wisdom said. "He's never nervous to take any shot so I'm excited to pass him the ball and get it back and we just rock it together."

Noah Mason added 14 points and Mason Lockett had 10 while Wisdom had 12 more. Andrew Wiggins had 8 points and 8 rebounds. Michael Rembert hit two big 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 10 points.

"I told our guys it was a pretty good start but we have a long way to go so we need to grow from this," Velasquez said. "We've just got to keep learning. And we've got some young guys, and some guys who don't have experience but we've got some fast learners. I'm proud of our effort."

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