By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — It’s a good thing the ceiling at Egg Harbor Township High School’s gymnasium is nice and high, because the Eagles plan on raining down plenty of 3-pointers this season.
The sharp-shooting Eagles blitzed visiting Mainland Regional with 11 threes in the season opener on their way to a 63-38 victory.
“I wasn’t surprised. At practice we shoot and get our shots up. If we can’t get it inside, we’re going to have to shoot those threes, and hit them,” said senior guard Jibril Fogg. “It was huge, at home, to start the season off this way. We expect to have a great season. I can’t wait for the rest of it. We’re building together as a family. We’re all one, and we’ll just keep getting stronger and stronger as the season goes on.”
Head coach Cameron Bell put in place a pressure defense right from the opening tip to test Mainland’s guards, who don’t have a lot of varsity experience. The plan worked, as EHT jumped out to an 11-2 lead thanks to a steal and bucket from Jovany Perdomo and a 3-pointer from Keon Cochran. Perdomo followed with a pair of threes later in the first quarter, and Fogg had a strong take to the basket at the buzzer as the Eagles went into the second quarter with a 19-8 advantage.
“Based on our scouting information, we knew they didn’t have a lot of ball handlers. We wanted to get the ball out of Jaquan Mace’s hands and see if somebody else could beat us,” Bell said. “We still need to have more poise and more patience. We had some silly turnovers, and we talked about that. I think sometimes, in the moment of the game, some of these guys, their minds start racing a little too quickly. So, we’re trying to get them to slow it down. We’re going to be back at practice tomorrow, looking at the film and trying to correct any mistakes we made tonight.”
The Mustangs stayed in the game in the first half thanks in large part to Duncan Scandin, who led the Mustangs with 18 points and nailed four 3-pointers, but Mainland still trailed 37-23 at halftime. The lead swelled to 48-30 by the end of the third quarter on a basket off a steal, as well as a 3-pointer, from sophomore guard Isiah Walsh.
Egg Harbor Township had three players in double figures, with Perdomo leading the way with 15 points and Fogg and Mike Dodd adding 14 and 11, respectively. Dave Fooks chipped in 10 points for Mainland.
Bell said the schedule gets a lot tougher next week, as the Eagles have to face Bridgeton and Pleasantville before heading to the tournament in Wildwood. But, so far he said he likes what he is seeing.
“Jabril touched on it — we’re a family and we’re going to support each other through the highs and the lows,” coach Bell said. “The positivity is great, and that’s going to help us battle through everything. We’ve all see the film and we see the difference between last year and this year. I think it’s going to be easy to keep these guys upbeat and positive.”
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDsullysays