December 16, 2015

Hun Boys’ Hoops Takes 3rd in Peddie Tourney, Buoyed by Carpenter’s Solid Play, Leadership


NIALLING IT: Hun School boys’ basketball player Niall -Carpenter looks for an opening in recent action. Last Sunday, senior guard Carpenter scored 13 points to help Hun defeat the Phelps School (Pa.) 73-62 in the third-place game at the Peddie School Invitational Tournament (PSIT). Hun, now 3-4, hosts Allentown High on December 19 in the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Mercer County Tip-Off Classic and then faces Linden High the next day at Caldwell University in the Hoop Group Tip-Off Showcase. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Niall Carpenter was disappointed by the lack of resolve that the Hun School boys’ basketball team displayed as it fell 62-40 to the Kiski School (Pa.) in the semifinals of the Peddie School Invitational Tournament (PSIT) last Saturday.

“We had a tough loss to a real good team in Kiski but we felt like we could have competed a lot better,” said Hun senior guard and co-captain Carpenter.

Facing Phelps School on Sunday in the third-place game at the PSIT, Hun competed a lot better. Trailing 34-32 at half, the Raiders pulled away for a 73-62 win as they improved to 3-4.

“We were just more focused,” said Carpenter, who scored 13 points in the win. “We came out real flat and we weren’t locked in like we needed to be to play at the level we are used to so there was a lot more focus.”

While Carpenter wasn’t at his sharpest offensively against Phelps, he was able to contribute in other ways.

“I wasn’t finishing or getting a lot of calls so I just wanted to make sure that I was running the floor as much as possible and crashing the boards as hard as possible,” said Carpenter.

“Offensively, I  felt like I had a little bit of an off game so I wanted to make sure I was doing the little things.”

As Hun’s most experienced player, Carpenter is looking to do a lot for the squad in his final campaign.

“I feel like my overall game is more aggressive this year than last year,” added Carpenter.

“I am the captain of the team this year so I feel I should work on being aggressive at all times and bringing that aspect to the team. I want to be a leader, somebody who is always going to bring great effort to the team.”

The addition of post-graduate and Princeton commit Jose Morales has brought something extra to Hun this winter.

“I love playing with Jose, he is a great point guard,” said Carpenter.

“He understands the game really well, probably as well as anyone I have ever played with before. We just play off each other a lot.”

Hun head coach Jon Stone liked the way his team played in the second half against Phelps.

“I think we just kept playing hard and hopefully wore them down a little bit,” said Stone, whose team started the PSIT by defeating Solebury School (Pa.) 70-43 on Friday in an opening round contest.

“They started missing some shots, which played to our favor, and getting a lot of defensive rebounds really helped us.”

Carpenter’s consistency is a big plus in Hun’s favor. “Solid is what he is, ever since the day he set foot on our campus,” asserted Stone. “He plays so hard, he plays so smart, and just gives us a lot.”

The return of Morales from injury for the PSIT gave the Raiders another dimension. “It was great to have him he is just so steady and understands the game so well,” said Stone of Morales, who scored a game-high 18 points in the victory over Phelps.

In Stone’s view, his team made progress over the weekend as it looks to find a rhythm after dealing with a rash of early season injuries.

“I think just learning how to compete a little bit, having back-to-back-to-back games and getting ready for any kind of tournament,” said Stone, whose team hosts Allentown High on December 19 in the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Mercer County Tip-Off Classic and then faces Linden High the next day at Caldwell University in the Hoop Group Tip-Off Showcase.

“I think those things all help us for our future. We had a hard time practicing the last few weeks with all of our injuries. Hopefully we can get working on some things. I think we have a chance to be pretty good.”

Carpenter, for his part, believes that the PSIT experience will help Hun better in the future.

“I still feel like we made good strides, even though we took a tough loss yesterday,” said Carpenter.

“This weekend will help prepare us for the MAPL tournament as well as the state tournament, being in this environment and with the back-to-back games.”