SHP Basketball Cruises to Win over American Christian School

On January 20, Martin Luther King Day, the Pirates took on American Chrisitan School inside Tracey Gym. Riding a four-game win streak after a 2-5 start, The Prep looked to extend the streak to five against a squad coming into the game with a record of 11-2, albeit against lesser competition. With county rival Montclair Immaculate on deck, the Pirates would prove their mental strength by not overlooking this matchup against American Christian.

The Prep would start quick behind Michael Curran ‘20 who was the highest scorer of the quarter with nine points, all coming from behind the three-point arc. Other high scorers in the quarter were Giye Jenkins ‘21 with 7, Gary Hinds ‘20 with 8, and Mason Morial ‘20 with 5. The Prep would blaze to a 31-12 lead at the end of the first. Getting this early lead allowed Coach Williams to not play the starters for the remainder of the game and rest them for the big matchup on Thursday, January 24 against Montclair Immaculate.

Although the starters were no longer playing, the Pirate dominance did not end in the second quarter. Led by Cole McGonigal ‘21, who would end the night with a team-high ten points, The Prep would increase their lead to 28 at half. Just like in the last home game against Montclair, The Prep showcased not only their offense, as they were on track to score 100 at half, but also their defense, only allowing 21 points in the first half and capitalizing on the team’s 14 steals. 

This defensive prowess would be further shown in the third quarter. Every shot in this quarter would be well-contested and nothing came easy for American Chrisitian. They were unable to score a single bucket until less than a minute remaining in the period. This amazing show of skill on the defensive side has to be a great motivation for the team, as it will be crucial for them to play with this same intensity against the tougher teams in the state. The quarter would end with a score of 69-23.

The American Christian School would finally be able to get going on offense and defense in the final quarter. With the Pirates being able to play underclassmen who would normally not get varsity playing time, the Prep struggled to get anything going in the fourth quarter. Seventeen different players scored points for the Pirates in the game, including Nick Dunneman ’22 and Darrius Phillips ’22, who scored the first two points of their high school varsity careers. With that being said, the Pirates were outscored in the fourth 12-6, but would end up winning the game by a massive score of 75-35.

A well-rounded victory like this one is a massive confidence boost not only for this season, but also for the future of Pirate basketball. Being able to win a game by 40 and only play the starters for one quarter points to the fact that if an injury were to occur, The Prep would still have a chance at the championship. Despite a tough start to the season, a five game win streak gives the team some momentum going into another tough stretch of games, as well as the Essex County and state tournaments.