At 1:27 in the third quarter with the score 78-45, senior forward Miles Bridges threw a fake to the corner, indicated for a pass to be in the air between himself and the basket, then ended senior guard/forward Luka Petrovic’s connection with a double-pump reverse slam.
It was another day at the office for the Irish.
Huntington Prep defeated the Redemption Christian Academy Lions 105-63 behind the stat sheet stuffing’s of senior point guard Curtis Jones and Bridges. Jones had 31 points, six assists, and four steals while Bridges had 20 points, five assists, eight rebounds and two blocks. Both seniors also combined for seven three-pointers.
“I thought they played a lot better today,” Huntington Prep head coach Arkell Bruce said. “There was a lot more energy and we still have to get a lot better defensively. Luckily we have a week of practice so that will help.”
“We really played together today,” Bridges said. “We shot them out of their zone and forced them to go man. Then they couldn’t guard us man-to-man because we have too many pieces.”
Those other pieces included senior Micah Thomas with 12 points, three assists and two rebounds, junior Trace Young with 12 points, two assists and three rebounds, senior Ivan Gandia with eight points, six from two twine-twinkling threes, three assists and two rebounds, and Petrovic with eight points, two assists, two rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
Redemption struggled from the get-go, not scoring their first points until two minutes and 28 seconds went by in the first quarter. Prep ended the first with a 32-19 lead where Jones already had 15 points. They outscored the Lions 22-12 in the second quarter and nearly doubled their opponent’s scoring in each quarter afterward.
Huntington Prep’s pressure defense often caused the Christian Academy’s ball movement to be stagnant, and when you’re indecisive for even a split second, Curtis Jones will act on that.
“I could read what they were doing,” Jones said. “When they do something once, then do it again, I’m ready for it.”
Over the past two games, defense has been synonymous with improvement, and Prep with the slim amount of time they’ve had between games, seemed to address it in this one.
“We played better on defense,” Petrovic said. “Especially with our on-ball defense and working off screens.”
Another key component in Huntington Prep’s game is the ability for multiple players to run a break or initiate plays.
“We have a lot of interchangeable parts,” Bruce said. “A few combo guards and a couple point guards who are more than capable of running the offense. That’s what we work on in practice and we just let them play.”
Now 3-0, Huntington Prep has shown that they do have some new imports that need to fully learn the nuances of their teammates. As true as this is, some key players already have that established continuity to keep the team playing at one of the highest levels in the country.
“We haven’t played together for a long time,” Petrovic said. “Some players have come in late, but I think everything will come together soon.”
“We know where each other’s sweet spots are,” Bridges said. “We know how to get each other the ball.”
“We practice and go over the plays all the time,” Bridges said. “Me, Curt and Ivan have been on the same team for two years straight. Curt and I played AAU together, so we know each other’s game.”
Huntington Prep will have a week off and will prepare for Statch School (TX) on November 20. at the Grind Session in Houston, Texas.