March 29, 2017

Despite Ending Season With Tough Playoff Losses, Hun Boys’ Hoops Showed Growth, Improvement

When the Hun School boys’ basketball team hosted Blair Academy in mid-January, it absorbed a lopsided 68-46 loss.

The rivals met again in two tournament games in February during the last week of the season and the games took on a far different tone.

In the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) semis, Hun took a 54-48 lead into the fourth quarter before falling 77-72. Five days later, the foes matched up in the state Prep A semis and the Raiders led 51-48 after three quarters before succumbing 70-61.

While Hun head coach Jon Stone wasn’t happy with those defeats, he saw the efforts as exemplifying his squad’s improvement.

“I think we showed how we grew and developed all year long,” said Stone.

“We were right there with a chance to win both of them and just had trouble closing the deal. I am really proud of how we played and how we competed and how we showed progress compared to the first time we played them.”

Another source of pride for Stone was Hun’s victories over Lawrenceville in the regular season as well as in the MAPL and Prep A tourneys.

“Those were good games; all three of our wins over them,” said Stone, whose team topped the Big Red 70-63 in January and then posted a 59-52 win over Lawrenceville in the MAPL and an 81-61 victory in Prep A competition.

“We didn’t play great in the first MAPL game but got some punch from some different guys that really helped get us going in that game. When we beat them in the states, we really seemed to be coming together and just shot the ball really well. When we shot it well, we were tough to beat.”

The Raiders finished the winter at 11-15, suffering some tough losses along the way.

“It is disappointing from the overall record but I am really happy about how we progressed, improved, and got better,” said Stone.

“We were about 15 points away from having an unbelievable record. We would have been 19-7 if the ball had bounced our way a little better.”

In reflecting on Hun’s development over the course of the season, Stone cited a number of factors.

“I think it was just gelling a little more as a team and playing a little better together,” added Stone.

“Our defense improved a lot and we tweaked some things offensively that helped us get everybody involved and play to our strengths a little more.”

Stone was happy to see senior guard Austin Hutcherson enjoy a strong final campaign.

“I am really proud of him and happy with how he played this year,” said Stone.

“He battled adversity the last two years in a big way between a car accident and some back trouble that kept him out of sophomore year and a horrific fall in the first scrimmage of his junior year that kept him out almost that whole year. For  him to battle back and play with the heart that he played with this year was just fun to watch. It was a great season for him; we are certainly going to miss him a lot.”

Brown-bound post-graduate star Desmond Cambridge gave Hun some great play in his one year with the program.

“Desmond is a very capable player and can just do so many things, including shooting the ball, his athleticism, his defense, and his ability to rebound,” noted Stone. “He led us in scoring, rebounding, shot blocking, and steals.”

Senior forward Ewan Lancaster and Christopher Jack did some big things for the Raiders down the stretch.

“Ewan and Chris knew their roles very well and were the ultimate team players all year long,” said Stone, whose group of seniors also included guard Justin Harris.

“They stepped up when we needed them to and made big plays in big games. They were both playing some of their best basketball at the end there. That is a big reason why we were right there with a chance to win those last couple of games.”

The trio of juniors Max Gussen, Tyler Washington, and Lorenzo Spinazzi along with freshman Niels Lane also stepped up this winter.

“Gussen was tremendous for us all year; he shot 50 percent from 3-point range,” said Stone

“Washington and Gussen started most games, maybe all of them. Spinazzi started a lot on and off the last two years. Lane played a lot of minutes this year, he is going to be good.”

With that foundation in place, Stone is confident that the Raiders can be very good going forward.

“We have other good guys who are continuing to develop,” said Stone, noting that promising junior guard Justin Cort was plagued with injury this season.

“We are gong to miss the seniors for sure but I am excited about some of the guys we have returning.”