When the ball left Aquille Carr’s hands with a minute left in Thursday’s contest at No. 13 National Christian, it easily could have been headed over the backboard. But after more than two months of practices and games with his new Princeton Day squad, Carr knew by now that if he simply threw a pass in the direction of Anton Waters, his high-flying teammate would get it.
Sure enough, as the ball soared higher, Waters caught it with one hand while sailing in for a dunk that sent the crowd into a frenzy and sealed the Storm’s 98-89 victory over the Eagles in Oxon Hill.
“He made me get up pretty high for that one,” said Waters, who finished with 21 points. “But I knew I was going to get it. That’s the type of trust we have in each other.”
The Storm’s evolving chemistry was evident in the rematch with National Christian, which had worn down Princeton Day for an 81-64 win against its Capital Beltway Conference rival earlier this season. But after jumping ahead 24-10 behind Brandon Better’s 16 first-quarter points and pressure defense, the Storm made sure there was no comeback this time.
The Eagles trimmed the Storm’s lead to five points midway through the second quarter, thanks to a full-court defense that turned several Princeton Day turnovers into transition baskets. The Storm responded after halftime, using sound passing and Carr’s speed to break the Eagles’ press and create opportunities at the foul line that pushed the lead to 13 points in the third period.
“I thought we handled the pressure a lot better in the second half by showing more composure,” Storm Coach Van Whitfield said. “The first time we played [National Christian] we were still feeling each other out, but we are playing harder and more together now.”
This cohesion surfaced by way of four Storm players finishing in double figures, led by Carr’s 33 points. The 5-foot-6 playmaker, who will attend Seton Hall, put the game out of reach midway through the fourth quarter by nailing three three-pointers and converting a three-point play. Waters took it from there, slamming home several thunderous dunks — the last of which led some fans to run on the court during the game’s waning seconds.
“We play off each other well and work as a team and that makes a big difference,” Carr said. “Once we get going off our defense, that’s when things open up and I can throw it up to Anton like I did for a big play.”
Senior Zacarry Douglass led NCA with 22 points.