BRETT OKUNDAYE rode the wave of a roaring Red Sea to a 33-point game as the Warriors beat Swampscott 83-79 in three overtimes on Monday. (Wakefieldvbb Instagram Photo)

Published in the January 3, 2020 edition.


WAKEFIELD—Following a loss on Friday to non-Middlesex League opponent Revere, the Wakefield High varsity boys’ basketball team hosted another non-Middlesex League opponent on Monday as they welcomed the Big Blue from Swampscott in for a friendly competition of four quarters of basketball.

Well, they scheduled it for four quarters, but following a harrowing fourth that saw the lead change hands a half dozen times, finally the time ran out on regulation but with the score tied at 56 the two teams headed into overtime.

In the first quarter, Swampscott kept the Warriors off the board for the first two minutes of the game, forcing four straight turnovers right out of the gates.

Swampscott had their own issues handling the ball and despite Wakefield failing to get a shot off, the Big Blue managed only two points themselves in that time.

Eventually the Warriors broke the ice, as Paul Holman put the ball on the floor and drove to the basket for a layup. Wakefield would stay neck-and-neck with Swampscott, but found themselves trailing 13-12 after the first.

Wakefield found their scoring rhythm in the second quarter as they had five guys score, led by Brett Okundaye who had 4 of his 9 first half points to give the Warriors a five-point halftime lead at 28-23.

Swampscott came back in the 3rd quarter, helped by 10 points from Andrew Augustin. Wakefield had trouble with Augusin all night and he came up big in the clutch for the Big Blue, knocking down five second-half 3-pointers.

At one point in the third, the Warriors looked like they might take this game over, as they led by three and Okundaye had forced a turnover. However, the junior went for the dunk on the breakaway and missed. This led to Swampscott getting the rebound and Okundaye finding himself on the bench for an extended period of time.

The Warriors have a rule: if you attempt a dunk on an open layup and miss, you get subbed out.

In the 4th quarter, Wakefield would find themselves in a dog fight. Swampscott trailed by three heading into the period, but were able to claw their way back in and make it a one-point game, eventually tying the score at the free-throw line.

The Warriors took back the lead as a scramble for possession saw the ball squirt out to Holman spotting up wide open at the 3-point line. The junior forward knocked it down with ease, putting the Warriors back on top by a 49-46 score.

The lead was short lived as Swampscott would run off seven straight points, capped off by an Augustin 3 to reclaim a 53-49 lead. A pair of free-throws for Holman cut the lead back down to two, but a Swampscott bucket by Anthony Rakauskus put the Warriors back down four.

Warrior senior captain Pat Collins was busy all game doing work on the glass, and he came up big in the fourth quarter, earning a pair of trips to the free-throw line late in the game. Collins shot 1-for-4 in those attempts, but brought his team within three points. That is when Okundaye made an outstanding play to come up with his own rebound and cut the lead to one at 55-54. On the next Swampscott possession, Okundaye stole the ball and laid in the basket putting the Warriors up 56-55.

Swampscott’s Augustin had a chance to win it for the visitors, with a trip to the line down one with 3.8 seconds to go. He was only able to make 1-2, to tie the game at 56 and send it into the first overtime.

The first overtime saw the two teams exchange free-throw attempts, increasing the score line to 57 all, before Okundaye and Ryan Marcus scored consecutive baskets to take a four-point lead.

Swampscott got a big bucket from an unlikely source as bench player Jacob Cooke came in and knocked one down from long range. Swampscott was forced to go deep into their bench in the overtime periods, as four of their starting five fouled out of the game. Conversely, none of the Warrior starters fouled out and that helped immensely down the stretch.

Collins scored on the next Warrior possession to put them back up by three before Augustin came down and shot a 3 to tie the game. Pat Collins hit two key free-throws to put the Warriors back on top by two, but Cam O’Brien managed to score 2 of his 19 points to tie the game once again.

On the next Wakefield possession, Okundaye missed his first shot attempt, but followed hard, got the rebound, and scored to put the Warriors back on top. Okundaye led all Wakefield players with 33 points.

Andrew Augustin would just not go away – he was enjoying playing at the Charbonneau Fieldhouse and one OT wasn’t enough for him as he put the Big Blue up by one with another 3-pointer on the next Swampscott possession.

This time, it was Wakefield who had the chance to clinch the game at the line, with Okundaye stepping up, but he was unable to make both, getting one to go down to tie the game at 68.

In the second overtime, Wakefield put Swampscott on the line right away, but Evan Roth only made one of two shots. Okundaye came down and beat his man to the basket, laying in the shot to put Wakefield up 70-69. Swampscott would score the next three points to take a 71-70 lead and hit a free-throw to go up by two.

On the next Warrior possession, Marcus sank a pair of clutch free throws to put the Warriors back even. Okundaye then came through with some strong defense, leading to another easy bucket to give the Warriors a 73-71 lead.

That was right where Augustin wanted the score to be, as he came back the other way and tied the game for Swampscott with another 3-pointer, giving the Big Blue a one point lead.

Okundaye came back down and gave the Warriors the lead with another put-back and Marcus got to the line, making 1-of-2 to put the Warriors on top by two.

On the final possession of the second overtime, Augustin was able to drive the ball into the paint and hit a runner to send the game into a 3rd overtime with the score tied at 77.

“We had a game plan, we scouted them and we saw O’Brien go off for 30 against Lynn Classical, so our game plan was to try to limit him, which we did; we weren’t aware of Augustin,” said Simpson.

Swampscott was outmanned in the 3rd overtime, as four of their starters had fouled out. Okundaye scored the first four points and Marcus sealed the victory with two late game free throws as the Warriors claimed the 83-79 triple OT win.

“Brett (Okundaye) was big, 33 points; in the 4th period and overtime, he was huge,” Simpson said of his star junior.

“It was a great game,” Simpson said. “They kind of beat us up a little bit, they had a lot of second chance opportunities and we probably need to do a better job of rebounding in the future, but regardless, we made the plays.

“Ryan’s (Marcus) two free throws really sealed it,” said the coach, “Until then I didn’t know. We needed a win. We lost to Revere and we have to go to Revere and Swampscott, so it would have been tough losing two non-leagues in a row. So this is a really huge victory for us.

“It’s always big to win the last game of the year,” he said. “We will start a new year, and see what happens. We go to Melrose on Friday and that’s always a barn burner.”

Wakefield will put their 4-1 record on the line as they meet their most heated rival tonight in Melrose with a 5:15 p.m. tip-off.