By Jeremy Balan
Before Leadership High School’s boys basketball team could even blink, it was in an insurmountable hole on the road against University.
University junior guard David Medoff knocked down a 3-pointer 6 seconds into the game to spark a 18-2 run and the Red Devils never looked back in a 72-33 non-league win on Saturday.
Led by 11 points from Harold Getz, 10 University players scored and seven scored seven points or more in the rout.
“It’s always good to get off to a good start and that’s been a trend this year,” said University head coach Randal Bessolo. “We were able to rotate guys through and keep guys fresh, so it became easier to sustain the lead when you keep your guys fresh.”
Getz, a 6-foot-3 junior, scored seven points in the first quarter, but created scoring opportunities for teammates throughout, with assists on the perimeter and with his back to the basket in post play.
“Harold is a special player and we played the first seven games without him, so some of those early results probably wouldn’t have happened,” Bessolo said. “He’s been our leading scorer and leading rebounder since, and he’s still probably not 100 percent. He’s just a very creative player and can make a lot of things happen.”
The Red Devils (7-8) shot 51 percent from the floor in the first half, but hit a considerable cold streak in the second half, especially from 3-point range, where they shot 3-of-19 in the final 16 minutes.
Despite the long-distance shooting struggles in the second half, University extended its lead after every quarter, because Leadership’s own cold streak lasted the whole game.
Despite missing two starters for personal reasons, the Griffins (8-9) got into positions to score all game, but shot just 22 percent from the floor and 14 percent from 3-point range.
“We had an off shooting night and had a lot of good looks, but we haven’t had a consistent lineup,” said Leadership head coach George Adkins. “We’re older with age, but we’re young on the court and the inexperience showed.”
One of the lone bright spots for Leadership was the play of guard Joshua Blueford, who had a game-high 12 points. The sophomore showed quality ball-handling skills and a scoring touch from 3-point range, but became visibly frustrated as the game wore on and the deficit grew.
“He has a terrific upside, but he’s only 14 years old and he’s playing his first season of varsity basketball,” Adkins said. “He is growing with every game and each practice, and he’s actually come a long way. Even a month ago, he was a totally different player.”
Both teams have flown under the radar with sub .500 non-league records, but both should be playoff contenders in their respective leagues.
“We’ve won 101 games in four years and won the [Bay Counties League West] for the last thee years, but we’re a whole different team,” Bessolo said. “We lost Noah [Springwater] and Zio [Enriquez], and two returning guys, who had all-league recognition last season, are both out for the year. We’re starting completely over and we are an underdog, and we deserve to be.”
Harold Getz – 11
James Burton – 9
Jordy Byers – 9
Jack Gale – 9
Two players tied with 8 points
Joshua Blueford – 12
Derek Russell – 9
Kevin Massingale – 6
Gydner Smith – 4
Two players tied with 1 point