A defending champion starting five seniors and facing a rebuilding team, on paper, shouldn’t be much of a match.
Such was the case Tuesday night as Patrick Henry’s girls basketball team opened the 2013-14 season, dismantling a rebuilding Maggie Walker Governor’s School 51-8. The Patriots opened with a 20-0 run to seize control by the end of the first quarter.
“The up and down tempo of the first half was something we wanted to establish,” Patriots head coach Phillip Cobb said. “We’re definitely pleased with the outcome.”
Summer Price scored six of her game-high 18 points in the first stanza, and Cobb liberally used his bench to get newcomers significant playing time in the first game. Briana Woody and Grayson Radcliffe each scored a basket, and Shea Burch played portions of the first three quarters before leaving the game after being poked in the eye.
India Coles scored all nine of her points in the opening quarter, and Amber Lee reached double figures with 12 points.
The Patriots start five seniors, a significant advantage in experience against opponents, but also fun according to forward Ashley Samuels.
“We’ve definitely grown through the years and learned how to play together, know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Samuels noted. “I think this is going to be a good season.”
Samuels, Price, Lee, Coles, and Rachel Adams, who hit two treys in the second quarter, comprise the veteran starting lineup, who now next must step up significantly in competition Friday when they visit former Colonial District rival Deep Run.
“We take it one game at a time, so now our biggest game of the season is Deep Run,” Cobb opined. “We’re excited about the opportunity; I think it will be a great test to see where we are.”
The Wildcats and Patriots split four memorable meetings last year, with Patrick Henry winning in the T-DIT Tournament last December and in the Colonial District Tournament Semifinal in February, while the Wildcats won both scheduled regular season encounters.
The nightcap of opening night hoops in Ashland saw the Patriots boys team struggle to find offensive rhythm, but holding off a pesky fourth quarter run by Maggie Walker for a 47-40 victory.
Lucas Pienkowski, who did not play in the first quarter, led Patrick Henry with 19 points, 10 of which helped the Patriots take a 37-27 halftime lead.
But both teams went cold after intermission, and Patrick Henry’s offense, in the final frame, seemed very timid, exposing an early-season concern for head coach Randy Anderson: finding players willing to take the outside shot at crunch time.
Sophomore newcomers Jamal Foy and James Pinder each had eight points in their varsity debuts. Patrick Henry next plays at Deep Run Friday after the girls game at 7:30 p.m.