Wiggins wows crowd with 32 in Prep win
SUMMIT, Ky. — Having been sick all week, Huntington Prep Academy boys basketball player Andrew Wiggins was looking for the right dose of medicine to get him through this weekend’s games in the Boyd County Roundball Classic.
It turned out the right medicine came from an unlikely source — the Walnut Hills contingent of the crowd.
As the 300 students from Walnut Hills began taunting the nation’s top-rated player with “overrated” and “U-S-A”, the Canadian elevated his game and finished with 32 points and 10 rebounds to lead Huntington Prep to a 61-54 win over the Cincinnati school in front of 3,000 fans during the first day’s final game at Boyd County Middle School.
“That motivates me to play better and that’s what happened,” Wiggins said. “As soon as they started talking, that’s when I started playing better — hitting my shots and everything. Them getting involved was bad for their team.”
Despite Wiggins turning in a performance that showed why he’s No. 1 in the Class of 2013, it was all Huntington Prep could do to get a win as the scrappy Walnut Hills defense helped it climb back into the contest.
Huntington Prep led by 16 in the third quarter, but the lead was just five with 50 seconds to play after a basket by Kodey Jackson.
“This was the most important game in the history of Walnut Hills, and we got their best performance,” Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford said. “We have to put teams away. We were running them out of the gym and we had a couple of guys trying to dominate the ball.”
Prior to the late run, the Express had taken its biggest lead after a 7-0 run to start the second half which included a 3-pointer by Xavier Rathan-Mayes, a dunk by Wiggins in transition and a layup by Moses Kingsley.
Wiggins, who was the only double-figure scorer for Huntington Prep, has fought flu-like symptoms all week, but he turned in a masterful performance when needed Friday night.
After Walnut Hills’ student section started chanting “U-S-A” at him, he went up over D.J Wingfield for a dunk off his own miss to send the Kentucky-partisan crowd into a chorus of “oohs.”
Wiggins then scored nine points during a 14-3 run to end the first half with Huntington Prep sporting a 31-22 lead.
Wingfield finished with 17 points despite leaving for much of the second quarter after tweaking his knee. The Ohio University commit was matched by Isaiah Johnson, who finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. Johnson is headed to the University of Akron.
Huntington Prep returns to action Saturday for a 7 p.m. contest against Arlington Country Day (Fla.), who was in in the stands Friday night.
Fulford said the atmosphere for that contest should be electric with a little history between the two schools.
“I’ve heard Arlington Country Day’s mouth for three years,” Fulford said. “This game is personal and the guys understand that. We’ve been getting everybody else’s best. Arlington Country Day is going to get ours tomorrow. I can promise you that.”
WALNUT HILLS 15 7 10 22 — 54: Burton 2, Wingfield 17, Irby 2, Hill 2, Johnson 17, Jackson 8, Gilmore 6.
HUNTINGTON PREP 17 14 14 16 — 61: Gill-Caesar 8, Landry 2, Rathan-Mayes 8, Woodson 7, Wiggins 32, Kingsley 4.