The easiest way to have your ideas validated is by winning. David Taylor took on a significant challenge when he began the basketball program at Uplift, a small school in Uptown eight years ago.
Wednesday's game was another example of how far the program has come.
Center Jamaya Wyatt, who stands 6-6, scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter and added 12 rebounds and three blocked shots as host No. 25 Uplift knocked off Foreman 73-66 on Wednesday.
Wyatt paced four double-figure scorers as the Titans (8-0, 2-0 Red-North) maintained the greatest start in the program’s history.
“This group has been playing together a long time,” said Taylor, who was Vince Carter’s top assistant on Von Steuben’s 2003 Class AA state quarterfinalist.
“They played lower level together and most of them have been together for three, even four years, and we are now seeing the benefits of that.”
Wyatt registered three putback baskets in going 5-for-5 from the field in the decisive third quarter as the Titans swelled a six-point halftime lead (38-32) in the third quarter. He also did excellent work in helping nullify Foreman’s star forward Percell Washington, who hurt the Titans with 13 points and nine rebounds in the first half.
“In that third quarter, I just wanted to come out and be more aggressive,” Wyatt said. “I thought I came out kind of soft at the start of the game.”
Another Wyatt (no relation), this one dynamic 5-5 point guard Jamal, was the other great facilitator for the Titans. He came off the bench and scored a season-high 14 points and hit three three-pointers in bringing energy to the team.
“I am just glad my coach gave me the opportunity,” Jamal Wyatt said. “I just wanted to come in and give us that energy.”
Forward Quintin Olagbegi contributed 13 points and Jeremy Roscoe added 10 points for the Titans. Augustine Tronou scored all nine of his points in the first half.
Foreman (4-2, 1-1) is going through a transition with long-time coach Terry Head not retained after last year. Four key players from last year’s Red-North champion transferred to other programs.
Behind the early hot shooting of Emmanuel Hoard (13 points), Foreman led by as many as six points in the first quarter. Washington finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Christopher Bolden contributed 14 points.
“We just gave up too many rebounds and loose balls in that third quarter,” coach Eric Moore said. “I’m new to the program, I got the job late and probably half of the kids who are playing didn’t play varsity last year. The game kind of got away from us there.”