In Huntington Prep’s final game of the season, seniors Miles Bridges (Michigan State), Curtis Jones (Indiana), Micah Thomas, Luka Petrovic and Ivan Gandia put on a show and led their team to a 116-59 victory over Deeper Life Academy (Washington, North Carolina).
The Irish finished the season at 28-10.
“I’m proud of you,” Huntington Prep head coach Arkell Bruce said. “You guys did a hell of a job this year. Huntington Prep will always be your home.”
In front of his future head coach Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Bridges just reminded the 2000 NCAA champion as to why he pursued the Flint, Michigan native.
“What I liked about him on senior night was that he was unselfish,” Izzo said. “He made some unbelievable passes. It was great and really nice to see. We lead the nation in assists this year (20.8), so it’s going to be good to have a guy that can pass like that.”
“He’s so strong,” Izzo said. “He’s such a great athlete. I think he’ll continue to get better at his shooting and he can put the ball on the floor and get to the rack. He’s going to be one of those guys that’s multi-dimensional and I think he can do a lot of different things.”
2-2 at 6:48 in the first quarter was the closest Deeper Life ever came to a lead. Prep simply took over the game with a faster pace and a lack of opposing athleticism to halt the emphatic plays that ensued once everyone gained momentum.
AT 5:10 of the first quarter, Bridges received Petrovic’s cross-court pass the right corner to the left, faked a shot, drove the baseline after drawing his defender to his weak side, jumped six inches from outside of the low-block and piped it with two hands; also being fouled in the process.
Jones opened the second frame with a steal and a reverse double-pump dunk, increasing what would be an insurmountable lead to 28-8.
Then in the third quarter, with the score 79-35 and under two minutes of play left, Jones put his defender through a spin-cycle; taking it to the right wing, putting a nasty double move on him and hitting a fall-away shot just inches inside the arch.
The fourth quarter featured another stellar play. With the score at 99-48, Miles Bridges dominated the baseline yet again; driving past two defenders spinning to his right from the opposite low-block and finishing with his weak hand (right) on the other side.
Collectively, there were eight successful alley-oop plays between Bridges, Jones and Petrovic, including one where Jones threw it off the left side of the backboard from inside the right wing and Bridges was right there; miles above everybody to slam it in.
If one missed the opening commemoration of the five college-bound seniors, then the play spoke for itself. It was definitely the seniors’ night.
The five upperclassmen were very pleased with their senior night and will carry long-lasting morals with them into their future.
“It’s emotional,” Petrovic said. “I’m going to miss those guys. It was good and we played a great game.”
“I learned that I have to protect my players and have their back at all times,” Petrovic said. “Individuals aren’t important in basketball.”
“It was great,” Bridges said. “There were a lot of fans that came and everyone was so supportive. I loved it.”
“I learned how to be better as a player and a person,” Bridges said. “This place matured me. I love this organization.”
“It was awesome,” Thomas said. “I wasn’t expecting that. The fans came out and we had a good time. It was a fun last game.”
“I’m going to work hard every day,” Thomas said. “Day in and day out; treating teammates like family along the way. That’s what they are. They’re not friends, but family.”
“It was great having fun with the seniors,” Jones said. “I loved playing here.”
“I think the biggest thing that helped me while I was here was that it wasn’t my first time being away from home,” Jones said. “I was away from my family a lot so I’m used to it.”
“It was great being here one last time,” Gandia said. “I appreciate everyone that came out. I learned to be a better teammate and to look out for my own.”
Huntington Prep will continue to practice and lift with each other until the school year is over.
Miles Bridges – 30, 9 reb, 5 ast, 4 blocks, 3 steals.
Curtis Jones – 23, 3 reb, 8 ast, 2 blocks, 2 steals.
Micah Thomas – 16, 4 reb, 1 block, 1 steal.
Ivan Gandia – 10, 5 reb, 1 steal.
Luka Petrovic – 4, 2 reb, 1 ast, 2 steals.
Onuralp Bitim, junior – 14, 5 reb, 1 ast, 1 steal.
Maurice Calloo, sophomore – 12, 3 reb, 3 ast, 1 steal.
Arvin Dhillon, sophomore – 5, 1 ast.
Erim Ozbayrak, sophomore – 2, 2 reb.
Amgad Khalil, sophomore – 1 reb, 1 block.
David Bea-Mulumba, junior – 1 reb.