Huntington Prep wins again
SUMMIT, Ky. — The 4,500 spectators who filled the Boyd County Middle School gym Saturday night anticipated a high-flying display of athletic ability in a matchup of the Huntington Prep Academy and Arlington Country Day (Fla.) boys basketball teams.
What they saw was a little bit of old school ball from Huntington Prep, the No. 1 prep team in the nation.
Huntington Prep used a shut-down defense to lock up Arlington Country Day, 55-35, in the Boyd County Roundball Classic.
“Our guys took that scouting report to heart,” Express coach Rob Fulford said. “They knew this game was personal and they proved why we’re one of the best teams in the country.”
Andrew Wiggins put on a show for his fans in the Bluegrass State, finishing with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
It was a play in the third quarter involving Wiggins that ignited the switch in Huntington Prep’s defense.
Following a 3-pointer by Arlington Country Day’s Brandone Francis early in the third quarter, Huntington Prep led by just six points.
The Express started to get into its transition game with Wiggins getting a pair of baskets to extend the lead. On a later drive to the basket, Wiggins was taken down hard by Arlington Country Day’s Nikola Jovanovic.
The foul was called intentional, and it flipped the switch for the Express.
“He’s one of the best players in the country and people try to get at him like that,” Huntington Prep center Moses Kingsley said. “Coach Rob told us after that ‘We’re going to blow them out. Let’s pick the intensity up.’ That’s what we did.”
It turned into a 10-0 run for the Express, and they followed with a 12-1 run after only allowing the Apaches two field goals in the final 14 minutes of play.
Wiggins said the defense is one of the best traits of the team.
“We play defense on the perimeter and we have two shot-blockers in the paint,” Wiggins said. “We don’t try to force them into the lane, but if they get into the lane, then we have them behind us.”
Kingsley sparked the defense with four blocks in the third quarter and finished with nine points and 12 rebounds.
In terms of offense for the Express, Xavier Rathan-Mayes got the team going early by finding his stroke from the outside.
Huntington Prep has struggled as a team shooting this season, but Rathan-Mayes hit four of his five 3-pointers in the first half, including a fadeaway as the half expired for a 29-20 lead. Rathan-Mayes ended the game with 18 points.
It didn’t appear the Apaches would have trouble scoring early on as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the game’s first minute with a 3-pointer by Ilker Er and a pair of transition baskets by Francis.
However, the shot was Er’s only field goal in the contest and the trio of Er, Dante Buford and Che Bob combined for just two field goals total.
Francis was the only Arlington Country Day player in double figures with 10 points.
ARLINGTON COUNTRY DAY 11 9 10 5 — 35: Francis 10, Maura 5, Vasquez 4, Bob 2, Cecchinato 2, Buford 3, Jovanovic 6, Er 3
HUNTINGTON PREP 13 16 15 11 — 55: Wiggins 21, Rathan-Mayes 18, Kingsley 9, Woodson 2, Provo 3, Gill-Caesar 2