Down 23-20 after the 1st quarter to Lynchburg, Virginia team Genesis Academy, Huntington Prep erupted afterward to win their 27th game of the 2015-2016 season (27-9) 100-82.
Running a very similar offense to the Irish of Huntington, WV, Academy often called for a five-out offense, utilizing high ball screens in which their front-court players found themselves getting easy lay-ups in the first quarter. Another addition to the offense was the isolation scoring from their point guard; using size-ups and crossovers, PG Greg Williams scored six points with the spacing given to him from the screens.
Huntington Prep reciprocated with its spread offense, but the momentary lack of success stemmed from traps on senior Miles Bridges after he was left at the top of the key to create his own offense. After Genesis scored the final bucket of the quarter to put them up by three, the nine-man roster was elated to find themselves in the lead over one of the best programs in the nation.
Across the court from the chest-bumping Virginians was the stone-faced senior and potential Louisville Cardinal/Maryland Terrapin Micah Thomas, who proceeded to catalyze a take over.
Thomas finished the game with seven steals; three in the first half and four in the second. The length of the 6’7″ Memphis, Tennessee native was a problem for Genesis Academy before they even set up their offense, swiping the ball away at half-court on six of his seven steals.
Steals from Thomas, Bridges and senior guard Ivan Gandia (offer from Western Kentucky), opened up the offense, leading to fast break dunks and an ever-shifting defense from Lynchburg. Huntington Prep allowed just 13 points in the second-quarter and led the half 45-36.
Dominance ensued from there.
Prep outscored Genesis Academy 30-16 in the third-quarter, as Bridges, Thomas and Gandia relentlessly pursued defenders and kept their opponents off-balance with superior athleticism; drawing in defenders and making the extra third pass for open shots.
In the fourth, Academy cut the lead to 18 by the end of the game, but very few teams can overcome a 90-63 deficit when there’s only 3:57 left in the game.
The play that probably defined the game may have been a block from future Spartan, Miles Bridges. At 6:36 of the fourth-quarter, Bridges pinned Josh Hall’s lay-up to the right side of the backboard, grabbed it with one hand, pulled it down, then threw a Kevin Love-esque outlet pass to senior Luka Petrovic for a lay-up of his own.
The game was literally in hand at that point.
Huntington Prep’s remaining schedule:
Micah Thomas: 28, 5 reb, 4 ass, 7 stls.
Ivan Gandia: 23, 4 reb, 3 ass, 1 stl.
Miles Bridges: 23, 9 reb, 2 ass, 1 blk, 3 stls.
Onuralp Bitim: 12, 1 reb, 2 ass, 3 blk.
Luka Petrovic:11, 5 ass, 1 blk, 1 stl.
Curtis Jones (rested for most of game): 3, 1 reb, 1 ass, 1 stl.