Oscar Smith coach Lavar Griffin (Video Still: Antowyne Shaw/recruit757)
BriQuan Harrell lifts Oscar Smith to an early season win over cross-town rival Western Branch
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
There’s plenty of time to debate who the best team is. There will also be other opportunities to prove it.
On Friday night, the better team was Oscar Smith.
The Tigers and Bruins battled back and forth until the mid-point of the fourth quarter. Freshman Kenyon Giles came off the bench to nail back-to-back three-pointers that gave the Tigers the cushion they needed.
BriQuan Harrell lead the Tigers with 13 points, 13 rebound and five assists in a 13 point win. The final margin didn’t indicate how close the game was throughout the contest.
The Tigers’ effort was supported by Kai Lockhart’s 11 points and four steals while Andre Bottoms contributed 11 points and five assists.
Jaedan Jefferson scored 15 points for the Bruins and Patrick McRacken chipped in 13.
“It was a great game. The atmosphere was great. I was glad to see our students out tonight. Western Branch came with their crowd. I think it’s a great game to start the season off. Western Branch is a great team,” said Oscar Smith head coach Lavar Griffin.
After halftime, the Bruins found their groove and tightened the score late in the third quarter. A hot streak rallied the visiting fans and forced the Tigers to muster a response.
Coach Griffin explained how he sparked his team in response to Western Branch’s third quarter run: “We went to a five guard set and I told our guys to keep defending. We’ll get some open shots and get the ball to our shooters. We looked for the mismatches so we could attack them. I think the adjustments were made at the right time.”
As you would expect, Western Branch coach Paul Hall was disappointed about his team’s loss.
“We did some good things. We had a nice little run late in the third quarter. We have to execute better. We have to focus on our defense. Our key last year was defense and this year, starting off, our defense is not where it needs to be,” said Hall. “We have to get healthy. DeMarcus Sheperd is out. Young Choi twisted his ankle. I have to give Smith a lot of credit. They made some big shots. They made some tough plays. They went small on us and we didn’t expect that. We didn’t have the defenders to match up.”
You can see more post-game video interviews and highlights, including exclusive video interviews with Kenyon Giles, BriQuan Harrell and Andre Bottoms on the recruit757 YouTube Channel. Video courtesy of Antowyne Shaw/recruit757.
– Andy Hilton