For the Hun School boys’ basketball team, pulling out a 55-48 overtime win against Trenton Catholic Academy in its last action before the holiday break exemplified both its strengths and weaknesses.
Utilizing its height, the Raiders controlled the paint in scoring the first 10 points of the December 19 contest and jumping out to a 26-16 halftime lead. Hun, though, let its focus waver and found itself trailing late in regulation. Making some clutch plays in the waning moments of the fourth quarter, the Raiders forced overtime. In the extra session, Hun broke things open on the way to the win which gave it a 7-2 record.
Hun head coach Jon Stone acknowledged that his team’s performance amounted to a mixed bag.
“We came out pretty strong,” said Stone. “We floundered a little bit; we let them get back into the game. We struggled like we have at times. We stepped up in overtime; we took control early and it was never in doubt.”
In Stone’s view, the biggest positive to come out of the game was his team’s depth.
“Late in the game, we made some big plays to get it into overtime,” said Stone, who got 17 points from Jake Newman with Fergus Duke chipping in 13 and Josh McGilvray adding 10. “Different guys stepped up which is the sign of a good team. We have had good balance.”
Senior star Newman has been stepping up recently for the Raiders. “I think Jake is starting to get more confidence; with new guys it takes time,” said Stone.
“He is shooting the ball well. He went 7-of-7 from the line in the TCA game, and he hit two big free throws when we were down by two late in regulation.”
Hun has been getting some big plays from McGilvray and Duke. “Josh has the ability to do a lot of different stuff,” asserted Stone.
“He can score, we got the ball in to him against TCA and we probably should have done it more. Fergus has been pretty consistent. He can shoot the ball well but that is not all he does. He has been a good leader on the court.”
Princeton-bound senior guard Hashim Moore has also exerted leadership through some unselfish play.
“Moore loves to pass and he is a very good passer,” added Stone. “He has the ability to impact the game when he is not scoring which is impressive. If we are going to go far this year, we are going to need him to score more.”
Stone knows his team will need to play a more solid brand of basketball, especially with star forward Grant Mackay currently sidelined due to injury.
“With Mackay out, we are going to have to work with our rotations,” said Stone.
“Some guys are going to play who haven’t been in as much so far, so hopefully that will make us a stronger team. We need to continue to work on being more consistent and playing a full 32 minutes. We can’t have lulls defensively or offensively.”
With Hun starting 2013 by playing at Peddie on January 5, Stone believes his team has what it takes to get stronger and stronger as the season goes on.
“I think our guys have the maturity and ability to come back and regroup after the break,” said Stone.
“I like the way this team is coming together, it is a fun team to coach. The fun part is that we have yet to peak, for sure. There is room for improvement and I think we will. I am excited to get back.”