PLANO – The Hinckley-Big Rock boys basketball team went to day two of the 50th Annual Plano Christmas Classic with plenty of confidence in its shooting abilities.
This belief led the No. 5 seeded Royals to an 88-64 rout of No. 12 Wilimington as they shot 11-for-18 from beyond the three-point line to advance to the tournament quarterfinals.
“Our teammates drove, created opportunities and we were able to hit the open shot,” senior guard Jared Madden said. “We've played together for a long time so we kind of know what each other are going to do. We give each other easy signals, work together and know what to do.”
Madden made six of his seven attempts from downtown for 18 of his 25 points while backcourt mate senior Bernie Conley led H-BR with 26 points on 4-for-7 shooting from three.
“It was nice. We've been off a week and a half and you always worry about the rust,” Royals' coach Bill Sambrookes said. “They came out with good shooting and every time they would score we would answer. [Wilmington's Dan O'Leary] was throwing up some incredible, crazy shots and making them. We knew that going in so our offense helped us out.”
When the snipers were not firing long balls, the offensive unit was setting up easy, uncontested layups with back-door passes cutters slashing through the lane.
Senior forward Mitch Ruh led the team with five assists while Conley had four.
“They read the floor well. Again, you worry about how rust is going to affect you but these guys made some fantastic decisions on offense,” Sambrookes said. “When they had the shot they made it and when they didn't have the shot they worked and got a nice pass to one of their teammates.”
The H-BR defense had a tough time stopping the Wildcats' senior scoring attack of O'Leary (27 points) and Nick Anderson (24), but the Royals made it extremely tough for anyone else.
Only 12 Wildcats' points were scored outside of the senior duo.
“We definitely wanted to get out in transition and run them up and down the court – get them tired – and maybe get some easy points for us,” Conley said. “We just tried to play some solid defense.”
The Royals (9-2) return to Plano for the quarterfinal round to face No. 13 seed Aurora Christian today at 3:30 p.m.