ATLANTIC CITY - Lamar Thomas shot the ball so well that he exhausted himself Sunday afternoon.
The Atlantic City High School sophomore didn't miss a shot during the first half to spark the Vikings to an 85-52 win over Pleasantville in a Battle by the Bay boys basketball game. The Vikings lead the Battle by the Bay rivalry 13-6.
Thomas (14 points overall) finished the first half 4-for-4 from the field, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range. He took himself out of the game late in the second quarter.
"I got tired," he said with a laugh.
Thomas was one of four Vikings who scored in double figures. Isiah Graves scored a game-high 22 points for Atlantic City. Forward Dennis White scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Nile White sank 3-of-4 3-point attempts and led Pleasantville with 19.
Atlantic City helped force Pleasantville into 38 turnovers. The Vikings converted those miscues into 48 points.
The Battle by the Bay began in 1995 and annually features some of the East Coast's top high school teams. Fans packed Atlantic City's spacious gym to watch the three-day event's traditional finale. For many fans, this was the only game they will attend all season. Many in the crowd were there just to see the Pleasantville and Atlantic City cheerleaders perform at halftime.
"This game is big," Thomas said with a laugh. "It's too big."
Pleasantville (5-9) came into the game as the underdog. Atlantic City (10-3) is the two-time defending Cape-Atlantic League and state Group IV champion.
Atlantic City took control with a 13-3 run to start the second quarter. The stretch turned a six-point lead into a 29-13 advantage with 5 minutes, 37 seconds left in the first half. The Vikings' lead never again dipped below double digits.
Thomas began the run with two foul shots and sank two 3-pointers during the spurt. "Once you make one or two, you feel like you can't miss anymore," Thomas said.
The Greyhounds called four of their five timeouts during the first half to try to slow the Vikings.
"We wanted to keep the game as a close as we could in the first half," Pleasantville coach Kenny Johnson said. "That was the ballgame. There was no sense in saving timeouts. They just wore us down. They're very physical."
Thomas began the season as a starter, but he comes off the bench now. He has the ability to change the momentum of a game with his outside shooting. Thomas scored 20 points in a 60-52 loss to St. Augustine Prep on Friday.
"I told my coaches I don't like it, but if it's better for the team, I'll do it," he said. "I'll do anything for the team."
The Vikings needed Sunday's win because of the St. Augustine loss. That defeat ended the Vikings' 39-game winning streak against South Jersey opponents.
"Collectively, we were down," Vikings coach Gene Allen said. "Thankfully, we had another game (so close after the loss) to rebound."
St. Joseph Metuchen 58, Newark Tech 53: St. Joe, the defending state Non-Public A champion, took control with a 17-4 fourth-quarter run.
Karl Towns, a 6-foot-11 center headed to the University of Kentucky, scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for St. Joe. Marques Townes sank 7-of-9 shots and scored 15 points for St. Joe.
Contact Michael McGarry:
Pleasantville 10 15 19 8-52
Atlantic City 16 21 28 20-85
PV-Bridgers 1 1-2 3, Savage 6 2-3 14, White 7 2-2 19, McNeal 1 1-2 3, Aysilito Sartino 0 2-2 2, Morgan 2 1-2 5, Lyma 0 2-2 2. Totals 18 13-21 52.
AC-Graves 6 8-8 22, Allen 4 4-6 12, White 4 3-5 11, Reynolds 1 3-4 5, Prevard 4 0-0 8, Thomas 4 3-4 14, Wimbish 0 2-2 2, Redfurn 4 1-1 9, Chayee 1 0-0 2. Totals 28 24-31 85.
3-pointers-White (3) PV. Graves (2), Thomas (3) AC.
Records-Pleasantville 5-9; Atlantic City 10-3