By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Bigger isn’t always better.
But when it comes to boys high school basketball, it can be a heck of an advantage.
Visiting Shortridge — belying its name with five players standing 6-foot-4 or taller — used its height Thursday to score a 59-41 victory against Anderson Preparatory Academy.
“That’s the second game in a row we’ve been really outsized,” APA coach David Bradford said. “Sheridan was a lot bigger than us last Friday, too. Shortridge was not only bigger, but they can also jump very well.”
The Blue Devils outrebounded Anderson Prep 39-25, including a 20-14 edge in a first half that saw both teams struggle from the field.
The Jets (1-3), who needed a strong night from the perimeter to help offset Shortridge’s size, made just 4 of 20 field-goal attempts in the opening 16 minutes.
The Blue Devils (3-2) weren’t significantly better — 8-for-24 — but they were good enough to take a 23-11 halftime lead.
Bradford wasn’t upset by APA’s effort. His issue was with the team’s execution, specifically its ball handling.
The Jets turned the ball over 15 times in the first three quarters and 18 times overall.
“We’ve gotta do a better job of taking care of the basketball,” Bradford said. “At the size we are, we can’t afford to turn the ball over more than 10 times and win ballgames.”
APA’s offense picked up in the second half as senior Tyler Smith-Johnson began taking the ball to the basket. He finished with a game-high 16 points, including eight in the third quarter.
Juniors Leo Harris and Montel Wheeler added eight points each off the bench, with each player sinking a pair of 3-pointers.
Six-foot-7 Josh Price and Chris Jones led a balanced Blue Devils attack with 11 points each. Nigel Long added 10 points off the bench, and Brandon Johnston-Adkisson finished with eight.
Six-foot-4 Tiger forward Guillory had a game-high 11 rebounds and added six points.
The Jets, like most every team this early in the season, remain a work in progress. Bradford has only worked with these players for five weeks, after they spent the past two seasons playing under former Daleville coach Rob Curry.
The system is new. The terminology is new. And it’s going to take some time for everyone to get on the same page.
“The kids are upset that they’re 1-3 at this point,” Bradford said. “But we’ve lost to some very good basketball teams. I’m always looking at effort, and we’ve had great effort. I like all these kids, and they’re working hard. Like a lot of teams, we’ve just got to get better.”