That might be the advice of Lafayette Junior Varsity basketball coach Mike Harris to his team after they posted a 55-29 win over the Trenton Tigers last week. The win was the third straight for the junior Hornets.
For a team who had not been on the hardwood for two weeks, the Hornets looked sharp from the onset. Coach Harris said with the effort he got from his squad. "Having not played in a couple of weeks I thought we looked a little rusty out there," said the Hornet mentor. "We will take the win."
The Hornets defense arose to the challenge in forcing the Tigers to turn the ball over. "We put in our 2-2-1 press and that help us to get the turnovers," said Harris. "We were able to get up and down the floor and I think that was the difference."
The Hornets, who improved to 3-6 on the season, not only played stingy defense but they had a balanced offensive attack. Led by Antwan Brown's 14 points, the Hornets placed four players in double figures. It was Browns first game of the season after coming off suspension. He finished a double-double the game with 14 rebounds as well. "He had been practicing with us since the beginning of the season and so we figured he would be able to contributed pretty quick," Harris said. He certainly played well his first night out."
The holidays just ending, the addition of a smoother offense with solid defense put thoughts of more victories, not sugar plums, dancing in the heads of the junior Hornets.
Kade Bell added 13 points for the Hornets with Arthur Sellers netting 11 points. Zach Fleming finished with 10. Devin Bellemy, who played a strong defensive game, finished with two points and Ja' Devore netted four points. Ethan Perry scored one point. Bell drained three three-point baskets and Devore had one. Bell finished with three assists to go with his 13 points. Fleming had two. Fleming also pulled down 11 rebounds in the win.
Lafayette held a 12-10 advantage at the first stop behind the scoring of Sellers and Fleming. Each scored six points in the opening quarter. The Hornets defense took over in the second period holding Trenton to five points in taking a 26-15 lead to the locker room at the half.
It was a team effort for Coach Harris' ballclub, something he said was coming along. "That is something we started back when we played North Florida," he said of his teams effort. "We played well at Branford and it has carried over. We are playing better. I am pleased and I feel like we are improving."
A 7-0 run to start the third quarter by the Hornets netted them a 33-15 lead and they were never challenged from that point. Fleming scored underneath, Sellers hit a jumper and Bell drilled a trey for the lead. The Hornets defense held the Tigers to two field goals in the third period in taking a 42-22 lead. Brown took charge late in the third period and scored six of his team;s next nine points.
Trenton made a run late in the third period but never could get any closer than 14 points. In the fourth quarter, with the bench in the game, Devore drilled a three-point basket that gave the final margin of 55-29. Coach Harris said he hopes the trend of his team will continue as they face three district opponents. "We have Trenton, Bell and Bronson next week and we will see how far along we have come," said Harris. The JV Hornets lost to Bell earlier in the season.
Coach Harris said his team is still in the learning stage but seems to be buying into the system on how to play the game. "Maybe we are about to convince them the more they spread the ball around they will get it back and get their shots," he said. "Our guards do a good job for us."
Schmitz led Trenton with his eight points and six of those came in the opening period. Outside of Schmitz, the Tigers struggled to score. Pelfrey and vila finished with six points each for the Tigers. McElvey scored four points.
Hornet fans could see the younger Hornets growing and getting better and headed in the right direction. Certainly the play of Brown, an eighth-grader, will enhance the offense for the Hornets. But against Trenton it was a total team effort as the younger Hornets rolled to their third consecutive win.
"It was a good win for us and we are going in the right direction right now," said Coach Harris.