Playing at rival Peddie earlier this month, the Hun School boys’ basketball team hit a bump in the road as it fell 62-55 to the Falcons.
But it turns out that the setback got Hun headed in the right direction as the Raiders have reeled off five straight wins since that January 5 contest.
“I think the guys were a little frustrated about the way they played,” said Hun head coach Jon Stone, reflecting on the Peddie defeat. “We refocused a little after that and we have been playing well since then.”
Hun showed its focus when it pulled out a 42-38 victory at Hill School (Pa.) a week after the Peddie game.
“We fell behind by eight in the first half,” said Stone, recalling the Hill contest which saw Josh McGilvray score a game-high 15 points for the Raiders with Michael Bourke hitting a pair of free throws in the last minute of the game to seal the win. “We didn’t shoot the ball that well but we gritted it out.”
Last Thursday, Hun did just about everything well as it routed frequent nemesis Blair 63-32.
“We certainly shot the ball well but our defense set the tone in that game,” said Stone, whose team had three players in double figures led by Fergus Duke with 16 points.
“I think we played very well, we didn’t play a perfect game. We still have room to improve but it was a nice win.”
Two days later, Hun took care of business as it topped Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) 74-62 with Duke scoring 19 and Hashim Moore adding 18 and Bourke chipping in 12.
“I was a little bit worried,” said Stone. “With all the emotions that we had in the Blair game, there was a chance of a letdown in the next game. I thought the kids responded well. Mercersburg is much improved over the last couple of years. We had moments where the offense played well.”
Stone has seen improvement at both ends of the floor during his team’s recent surge.
“We have been playing better defensively,” said Stone, whose club improved to 12-3 with the win over Mercersburg. “We are getting more comfortable with each other and more comfortable with our defense.”
In Stone’s view, senior guard Duke deserves credit for helping the team develop a comfort level.
“He certainly can shoot but he has been a leader as well,” said Stone. “He has shown some terrific leadership for us. When he is not shooting well, he defends well. He is doing different things that make him a winner.”
The Raiders have been doing the things that can lead to titles. “On some of the best teams I have had here, we had four guys in double figures and any one of five guys could be the leading scorer,” said Stone.
“I think we have had five different guys lead us in scoring and in the win over PDS (a 64-53 victory on January 15), we almost had six guys in double figures.”
Stone is looking forward to leading his group down the homestretch of the season.
“I sensed early on that we had the pieces to win and have a good chemistry,” said Stone, whose team hosts East Brunswick on January 26 and Life Center Academy on January 29.
“We have a long way to go. I am happy with where we are. It is a fun group to coach. The guys listen and they want to get better.”