Sometimes the Fighting Irish don’t need luck to help pave way to victory. Electrifying athleticism will do.
Huntington Prep opened up its regular season with a 94-60 drubbing over the Wesley Christian School. Prep is now 1-0.
“They played hard,” Huntington Prep head coach Arkell Bruce said about his team. They were aggressive, we turned them over early on, which is what we wanted to do and we converted off those turnovers.”
“It was a really good defensive effort tonight on our part.” small forward Miles Bridges said.
The Allen, Kentucky based school was close only once: 10 minutes into the contest with the score 26-20 in the favor of Huntington Prep.
As small forward/power forward Micah Thomas said, “Nobody can guard all five of our players on the court when we take it to the basket.”
That certainly held true after 5:44 in the second quarter.
The Irish started the game off with an ill-advised pass that led to a quick basket for Wesley Christian. A few tipped passes by Christian were the catalysts to multiple three on two opportunities where the Christ United Methodist School capitalized with swift shuffle passes in the paint. Those eventually lead to lay-ups that were out of reach for even one of the most protracted teams in the country.
The Wesley Christian School, having already played Oak Hill Academy (lost 87-44), seemed to have less butterflies and were more composed despite never leading in the first quarter. Or any quarter.
“It’s our first game, so we’re still trying to get things under control,” Thomas said. “We need to work on our offense then everything else will be good.”
“There were first game jitters,” Bridges said. “We had a lot of turnovers. It was on me too, because it’s me and Curtis’ (Jones) job to call offensive plays and get it going smoothly. We have to work on that.”
A large portion of the Irish’s passes were tipped to Wesley Christian players until it was 26-20. After that, continuity started clicking and the game became a fast break spectacle with Huntington Prep headlining the show.
Micah Thomas, Miles Bridges, forward Onuralp Bitim, guard Curtis Jones and forward Trace Young were all either the recipients or sources of dunks and alley-oops during a 68-40 separation which began at the 5:44 mark of the decisive second quarter.
In the midst of a runaway victory, coach Arkell exclaimed to his players, “Go” or “Shoot” when he saw stillness or passivity in his offense.
“When we play, we shoot the ball, shoot it fast and play fast,” Bruce said. “When you shoot the ball as well as we do, I expect them to shoot it with no hesitation.”
“`I need to be more aggressive,” Bridges said. “I’m just watching the second line of defense to see if they’re helping. If they do, then I’m going to pass it but I’m looking to be more aggressive next game.”
“When someone is pressing up and guarding Miles, I expect him to go by him.” Bruce said.
Huntington Prep plays Charlotte United (NC) Christian Academy who is coming off a loss to 22ft Academy (SC).
“We don’t back down from anybody,” Thomas said. “That’s the main thing. We always want to win and we work hard every day to win.”