Before No. 9 Georgetown Prep pulled away from Whitman for a 54-48 win and before the Little Hoyas shook off a second-half lull that led to a fourth-quarter tie, Whitman junior guard Jaden Pierce had his moment.
It came in the second quarter at Georgetown Prep and brought cheers from fans of both the hosts and the Vikings. Pierce, a recent transfer from St. John’s, took a pass near the top of the key and shook loose to free himself from a defender. In so doing, he also shook free from his shoe. But no matter — he still made a three-pointer.
He tried to put his shoe on as he trotted back on defense but couldn’t. Growing frustrated, he threw the sneaker to the bench to focus on the possession. He kept slipping, but a whistle finally gave him time to put his shoe back on.
It’s possible the Vikings (0-1) may have fared better going shoeless in the first half, when they dug themselves a 12-point hole before figuring out the Little Hoyas’ full-court press.
Georgetown Prep improved to 2-2 with the win.
“I thought that was a pretty sloppy game actually, but at the end of the day, good teams find a way to win, and tonight we found a way to win,” Georgetown Prep Coach Ryan Eskow said. “We still got a lot of work to do, so it’s nice that it’s a long season.”
One takeaway for the Little Hoyas was the effectiveness of their press, which flummoxed the Vikings in the first half. On offense, Prep had little difficulty dissecting Whitman’s zone, finding holes for open layups and clean looks at three-pointers.
Quentin Southall and Miles Somerville led the Little Hoyas with 11 points each. Brendan Shaver led Whitman with 12, and Jason Lewis added 11.
“When we have DeJean [Desire] up in the middle and he gets the ball, people tend to crowd around him,” Prep forward Beluolisah Oranye said. “Then it’s easy to dump down or kick out for a three.”
When things grew tight in the fourth quarter, the Little Hoyas forced turnovers on consecutive possessions, including a steal by Southall. He ran the fast break and kicked the ball out to Kamdyn Curfman on the right wing for a three-pointer to push Prep’s lead to seven.
“At that moment everything was clicking and clicking,” Oranye said of the forced turnovers as he snapped his fingers at the word “clicking.”