Wiggins dominates for Huntington Prep
FLOYD, Va. -- Coming off the first loss of the 2012-13 season, Huntington Prep's Andrew Wiggins didn't say much prior to Saturday's game against Wesleyan Christian.
He waited until he got on the court to do that.
Wiggins finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Express to a 45-41 win over Wesleyan Christian in the Chance Harman Classic at Floyd County (Va.) High School.
"I challenged him in front of everybody and he responded," head coach Rob Fulford said. "He can't just worry about being the best in the country when shots are falling. He's got to dominate the glass and defensively."
While Wiggins' offensive efforts are what everyone recognizes, it was his defensive effort and rebounding that helped the Express win the contest.
Wiggins was responsible for guarding Wesleyan Christian's Theo Pinson - one of the nation's best small forwards, along with Wiggins.
Pinson was able to score 10 points in the first half, but Wiggins locked him down in the second half and Pinson did not score.
"When he gets challenged against another ranked recruit at his position, there's nobody that's going to score on him," Fulford said. "Take nothing away from Theo, but when Andrew puts his mind to it, no one is going to score on him."
Wiggins also secured the final three rebounds of the contest in traffic to solidify the win at the foul line - an area where he has struggled.
The defensive effort from Wiggins sparked the entire team on that side of the ball and Huntington Prep allowed just 10 points in the entire second half to secure the win.
It was an effort Fulford was especially proud of, considering the team's circumstances this weekend.
"It hadn't been an easy weekend," Fulford said. "The loss last night, then driving six hours here and taking on a very athletic team was tough, but we found a way. That's what good teams do. It wasn't always pretty but I'm proud of our guys."
Wiggins came out and instantly asserted himself on Saturday night.
The first points of the game came off an alley-oop from Xavier Rathan-Mayes to Wiggins and he followed by scoring the first 12 points of the game for the Express with three dunks mixed in for the crowd's delight.
However, Wesleyan Christian was not phased by Wiggins' show and ended the first quarter with a 7-0 run in the final 90 seconds to take a slim lead at the end of one.
The fast-paced affair settled in during the second quarter as Wiggins and Pinson wowed the capacity crowd that was lined to the walls.
Wiggins had 18 first-half points, but the duo of Pinson (10) and Ja'Quel Richmond (9) combined to match his production and lead to a 31-31 tie at the break.
Richmond finished with 11 to lead Wesleyan Christian while Pinson and De'Shaunte Carelock each had 10.
Huntington Prep returns to action at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night with a contest against Alice Lloyd's junior varsity at Spring Valley High School.
WESLEYAN CHRISTIAN 16 15 6 4 - 41: Giles 2, Richmond 11, Pinson 10, Gilmore 4, Chapman 4, Carelock 10
HUNTINGTON PREP 14 17 5 9 - 45: Wiggins 29, Rathan-Mayes 5, Kingsley 4, Strake 3, Grandstaff 3