After Highland Springs’ first boys basketball game of the season against Thomas Jefferson, one thing is immediately evident: The Springers have several good players.
Thirteen of them scored for Highland Springs (1-0) as it overwhelmed the Vikings (0-1) on Tuesday night, using a 30-point third quarter to create a 93-62 win.
Whether it was the 3-point shooting of Jordan Crump, moves from Nathaniel Pollard in the paint or a reverse layup from Christian Wilson that was reminiscent of Dr. J, the Springers had no issues scoring.
Throw in a few explosive fast break dunks from Damon Werts, and Highland Springs has a team that appears dangerous.
“We played really good as a team, together,” said Crump. “We’ve got a whole lot of forwards and guards who can pass, cut and shoot.”
Crump led all scorers with 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Pollard had 16 points and Werts scored 13.
Though the final score reflected an easy win, Thomas Jefferson made life difficult for the Springers in the first half. After falling behind 23-6 in the first quarter, the Vikings used aggressive defense to force turnovers and fight back to trail 40-33 at halftime.
Then came the third quarter. Highland Springs scored 21 unanswered points. Crump’s leadership and energy on defense, as the Springers used a full-court press, was largely responsible for the run that put away the game.
Yet at other times, Highland Springs coach Reggie Tennyson said his defense didn’t play well.
“We didn’t really execute the way I wanted us to,” said Tennyson. “We were all over the place.”
For the Vikings, Teon Tiller was easily the best player. His shifty moves led to easy baskets for him and his teammates, primarily during their second-quarter run, and he finished with 11 points, all in the first half.
Thomas Jefferson didn’t have enough playmakers to join Tiller, and when he left the game in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury, the Vikings’ hope of a comeback faded.
While Tennyson wasn’t entirely satisfied with his team’s defense, he said he’s confident he can fix the issues. He spoke about tightening rotations and figuring out the right formations as possible solutions.
What the Springers already have, as Crump alluded to, is chemistry. Tennyson said he’s glad his team spent much of the offseason together because it gives them a cohesiveness that could carry them a long way this season.
“They share the ball, they like each other, they work hard in practice,” said Tennyson. “That is very important when you’ve got a team that’s trying to compete and go as far as we want to go.”
THOMAS JEFFERSON (0-1) — Teon Tiller 11, Mohammed Mahadi 17, Nate Smith 2, Jamel Epps 4, Sole Addar-Mensah 12, Elijah Mitchell 4, Jalen Spencer 4, Thomas Robinson 8. Totals: 34 19-34 62.
HIGHLAND SPRINGS (1-0) — Christian Wilson 9, Jordan Crump 20, Damon Werts 13, Tyler Oliver 2, Nathaniel Pollard 16, Malik Grant 4, Lakye Owens 2, Raymon Cypress 4, Willis Anderson 9, Isaiah Parker 2, Hassan Jones 3, Kameron Friend 4, Daevon Smith 5. Totals: 17 26-38 93.
Thomas Jefferson 6 27 11 18 — 62
Highland Springs 23 17 30 23 — 93
3-point goals: — TJ: Teon Tiller 2 HS: Jordan Crump 4, Malik Grant 1, Daevon Smith 1.