By James Evans
In a tightly officiated and tough physical boys’ basketball game, South Hunterdon prevailed over Pingry, 51-35, Monday night in Mount Airy. In a game that was dominated by tough fouls and injuries, the Eagles were led by Jake Whitaker’s 16 points.
South Hunterdon struggled early in the contest, able to muster only six points in the first quarter. Yet what may have been an early disaster was mitigated by Pingry scoring only eight in the game’s opening quarter. “The under was a good option tonight,” South assistant coach Frank Schermerhorn joked after the buzzer sounded. This was due in part to the physical style of basketball and the closely called game. Senior center John Conlon said the “physical style of basketball was expected and practiced for.” It was just “something (he) had to do for the team.”
However, the tables would start to turn in the second quarter, as Pingry lost two key players in its already thin line-up. Bringing only one guard into the game, Pingry lost senior Max Helfman to a tweaked ankle. He, along with Tom Foreman, who went down with a bloody chin, would miss key minutes in the third quarter. That was when South’s coach, Jason Miller, said, “It was time for us to go. It was time for us to blitz fearlessly.”
And blitz they did as South played excellent basketball in the third quarter, absolutely dominating the Pingry reserves for all eight minutes. The Eagles limited the Big Blue to a single field goal, while outscoring them, 21-3. Whitaker took off in the quarter, looking to get into his first real rhythm of his senior season. When asked about his great performance, Whitaker remarked on his “rough first half,” but how he “got into a great rhythm in the second.”
In the fourth quarter, the Eagles were able to give their end-of-the-rotation players some quality minutes, with junior Myles Johnson looking strong off the dribble and fellow junior D’Andre Acosta looking good in the paint, as South was able to coast to an easy victory.
South’s boys have a few days off until the holiday tournament begins this Friday at home against Riverside; however, the gymnasium will not be quiet until then. South Hunterdon is having its first Alumni Game this Thursday night, with various returning students coming back to play against each other in a spirited holiday contest.