By Matthew Bartow / WLAA
It’s been a while since Huron has lost on the hardwood.
Huron’s winning streak was never in jeopardy Thursday, as it flexed its muscle early and often in a 64-31 blowout of Southeastern Conference foe Temperance Bedford. Huron has now won 13 consecutive games, dating to last season, and 27 of its last 28.
Huron (6-0) was stellar in all facets of the game, showing why it is regarded as one of the teams to beat in Division I. Senior Julian Lewis led all players with 14 points, but he wasn’t the only River Rat in double figures. Kingsley Perkins scored 11 points, and seniors Devin Womack and Tyson Edmondson each added 10 points for the Rats.
Huron head coach Waleed Samaha lauded the team’s balanced scoring.
“That’s what we’ve always done,” Samaha said. “We don’t have anyone on our team that will score 28, 30, or 35, we don’t play that way. For us to have four guys in double figures is Huron basketball.
“Julian [Lewis] did a great job distributing the ball. He probably could have somewhere in the 20s, but he’s such an unselfish player and his attitude about the game has an impact on his teammates.”
Huron was equally impressive on the defensive end, holding Bedford to a mere 13 points in the paint, six of which came in the fourth quarter.
“What we wanted to do is take away some of the things that they like to do best, because they do a really good job executing their offense,” Samaha said. “They were able to get some shots off, but I thought throughout the course of the night, we adjusted pretty well.”
Huron’s defense propelled it to a fast start. The River Rats recorded eight steals in the first half alone, and converted seven for points. Womack began the scoring with a layup in the game’s opening minute after he stole a pass.
Leading 6-3 a minute later, Huron stole the ball on three straight Bedford possessions, and scored points on the offensive end every time. Womack recorded his second steal barely 2 minutes after his first, and subsequently converted a layup.
Bedford was able to hang around in the first quarter, hitting three 3’s to close Huron’s lead to six. Brandon Nigh, who led the Kicking Mules with eight points for the game, hit two 3’s in the quarter. Huron extended its lead in the final minute of the quarter as Edmondson drained his second three-pointer in two minutes. Huron led 19-10 after the first quarter.
Edmondson’s three-pointer late in the first quarter seemed to be a sign of what was to come for the Rats. Huron dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Mules 17-4. Senior Brandon Rawls was a force for the Rats in the quarter, recording four points, two offensive rebounds, and a steal.
Huron effectively sealed victory with a 15-0 run spanning the late stages of the first quarter and the first five minutes of the second quarter, more than tripling its lead. Huron led 36-14 at half.
Huron played mostly reserves in the later portion of the third and throughout the final quarter, but its intensity didn’t drop a single iota. Senior Jake Watkins scored six points off the bench, Ben Den Houter and Jack Den Houter each scored two for the Rats.
Samaha said the team’s depth will be vital down the stretch.
“We’re trying to create depth the best we can. As you head later into the season, with foul trouble, illness, injury, you’ve got to be ready for anything this year or any year,” Samaha said.
Watkins and the Den Houter brothers weren’t the only Rats to score off the bench. Sophomore Adam Samaha, the son of Huron’s head coach, drained a three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter, sending Huron’s bench into a frenzy.
“He’s [Adam] been in this gym since he was about 6 days old, so he’s been shooting the ball in this gym his whole life and he’s been around every player that we’ve had here. I love all these guys like they’re my son, and to have my son be a part of that is really special,” Samaha said.
Huron returns to action Friday when it hosts Ypsilanti (0-3). The game tips off at 7 p.m.