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Originally published Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 10:16 PM

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Garfield defense smothers Inglemoor, 69-49 / Boys Basketball

Tony Wroten scored 28 points and the Bulldogs' defense created havoc in a runaway KingCo 4A victory over the Vikings.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Tony Wroten Jr. swept down the wide-open lane and politely threw down a two-handed dunk.

It is the kind of play people often see from Garfield's University of Washington-bound point guard. However, lost in the excitement of the dunk was the steal that created the fast break.

During the top-ranked Bulldogs' 69-49 victory over Inglemoor Wednesday night, it was their defense that set the tone and made an early statement.

"Coach always preaches defense," said Wroten, who finished with a game-high 28 points. "We love all the highlight dunks and stuff, but defense wins championships."

Garfield (9-1, 6-0 KingCo 4A) never let the Vikings feel comfortable. The Bulldogs pushed the tempo and their press forced a flurry of turnovers as they jumped out to a 19-4 first-quarter lead after a Des'Juan Newton layup.

Through the first three quarters they allowed just 26 points, holding Inglemoor (8-3, 3-3) to fewer than 10 points in each of the first three frames.

"Our defense is there," Garfield coach Ed Haskins said. "We've still got some lapses, a lot of things to work on. We're just trying to climb a slow mountain, a big mountain."

Eric Bryant led the Vikings with 18 points, 11 coming in the fourth quarter.

With the game out of reach, the Bulldogs decided to have a little fun. In the final minutes Will Dorsey had a clear path to the basket. Instead of laying the ball in, he threw it hard off the glass. Wroten sailed past several Inglemoor defenders to throw down a one-handed dunk.

It all started with defense.

"(Coach) told us, the harder defense you play, the more highlights, fast breaks you get," Wroten said. "That's why we play defense hard."

Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or mkelley@seattletimes.com

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