By Brandon Judeh
The LaBrae-Howland boys basketball matchup featured two teams going in different directions.
LaBrae, to no surprise, is out to a 4-0 start. Howland, surprisingly, is now off to a dismal 1-5 start after a 75-50 loss to the Vikings.
“I hope this is a turning point for our team,” Howland coach Bill Bogan said. “Wednesday was the first time (at practice) that we had all of our players healthy and out on the floor playing together, the bad news is our record isn’t where we want it to be right now.”
The struggles were more apparent than ever in the second quarter of Tuesday night’s game.
After opening up the first quarter with a 21-18 lead, which saw senior Brendan Cope score 10 points, things fell apart for the Tigers
“We thought if we could get the ball to the baseline with some penetration that we could get some looks and in the first quarter we did,” Bogan said. “In the second quarter we got stagnant, I expect that out of our freshman and younger guys, but not from our seniors.”
LaBrae used a 12-0 run to take a 39-27 lead into the half.
Vikings senior guard Carl Brown, who said he needed to step his game up due to constant double teams on star Peyton Aldridge, sparked the run.
“We came out a little sluggish and I felt like my team needed me a little more today, especially because they were double teaming Peyton,” Brown said.
The Vikings didn’t miss a beat coming out of the locker room as they quickly built a 24-point lead as Brown continued to shred the Tigers’ defense.
Brown finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Aldridge managed to score 16 points and had nine rebounds and five assists, despite battling a cold.
That didn’t surprise his coach.
“Peyton was a little off tonight because he’s a little sick, but give him credit, he didn’t hang his head,” LaBrae coach Chad Kiser said. “He did a great job of going out and finishing the game.”
John Richards and Tyler Shiamone each scored 10 points for the Vikings, while Paul Zigmont and Marcell Richardson each had eight.
Tom Carnifax, a 6-foot-3 Howland freshman, scored 10 points and grabbed a team-high five rebounds. Teammate John-Mark Weisman scored 10.
“The good news is that our youth has had to play a ton of minutes because of injuries and we still have league play and the playoffs left to go,” Bogan said.