GAME 1: Hamden Hall: 61 Hyde: 53
For our first game of the year, we chose to travel down to Hamden CT to play against perennial class C contender, Hamden Hall academy. Hamden Hall is extremely well coached and features a number of D1, D2 and future D3 players. It was a perfect way to test our new group for a season that promises to be both exciting and very difficult. After all… it’s basketball!
We were kept in the game in the first half due to the play of senior captain Miguel Prieto. Prieto scored 20 points in the first half in front of college coaches, mixing in well timed drives with long range threes. Prieto also kept the team engaged at the point guard position as Hamden Hall went to a 1-3-1 defense and kept the pressure on. Junior Christian Beeke also had a nice debut, with a number of well timed layups and defensive plays. At the half, we trailed by four.
The second half was a very close affair as Hamden Hall focused on Prieto and other Phoenix had to step up. Senior Noah West began to take over the game with well timed drives and a monster block that sparked a 6-0 Phoenix run. With 6 minutes left, we trailed by two.
Unfortunately, we lacked discipline in the final few minutes. Turnovers and weakness with the ball plagued the comeback effort and Hamden Hall’s excellent guard TJ Rountree hit four three pointers in a 4 minute span.
Despite the loss, we learned that we can compete with the best on the road. That’s an important lesson for March!
Game 2: Green Farms Academy: 58 Hyde: 52
Game two was a unique one—in October we received an invite to the prestigious ZG gravity showcase in Providence. Not many prep schools get this opportunity and we were extremely excited to play in front of college coaches, scouts and for our two senior guards from the area… family! We battled hard against a VERY polished GFA team who featured a 6’8 F going to Wake Forest and a 6’7 power forward.
Without a few key players due to injury, we knew that size would be an issue this game. Serge Mudogo kept us in the game with his defense and hustle. Matched up against 6’8 Sunday Okeke, Serge battled for every loose ball and kept the big man from dominating the score sheet. Serge is one of our unsung heros that is essential to this season.
Noah West 17’ put on a show in his homecoming. With a varied attack from 3 and drives to the hoop, West helped the Phoenix rally from a 11 point deficit in the second half. West’s monster jam and block brought the crowd to their feet and tied the game at 48 with 5 min left. Unlike the Hamden Hall game, we were not our worst enemy. GFA simply wore us down with their size and were able to get extra posestions. After having to foul, we fell by 6.
Overall, it was a great weekend. Despite going 0-2, we learned a ton about our identity. Early on, I worried about our grit and toughness and if it could match last years team. After all, every group is different. However, our guys proved to me and many others that they are Hyde bballers: Never quit, never give and inch and keep fighting. Success with come!