Boys Basketball: Huron’s dangerous offense “gelling” at the right time

Waleed Samaha insisted the shots would start to fall.

“I thought we played better,” Samaha said after Huron’s 51-33 win over Ann Arbor Pioneer on Feb. 27. “Even though the scoreboard doesn’t show it, I really thought offensively we had good flow, good scoring opportunities.”

Back then, Huron (18-0, No. 2 in Division 1) was winning basketball games thanks to its stellar defense and sometimes in spite of inconsistent offensive production. Flash forward to April, and Samaha’s prediction aged well: Huron’s offense has caught fire as the team sits three wins away from what would be the program’s first state championship.

“This is a perfect time to gel, and we’re in the peak,” said senior guard Tyson Edmondson. “We just need to keep rising and playing as a team.”

Unlike other teams in the state, Huron’s offense operates without one dominant scorer. Rather, it is a well-balanced attack with three or four players consistently scoring in double figures.

“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,” Samaha said.

Huron’s balanced approach was evident in its 64-39 win over Livonia Stevenson in last Thursday’s regional final.

Edmondson led Huron with 19 points, draining five 3’s. But he wasn’t the only River Rat with the hot hand: Julian Lewis, Devin Womack, and Kingsley Perkins respectively scored 15, 13, and 8 points.

Huron, going back to the 2019-20 season that saw it finish 21-1, has always boasted one of the state’s top defenses. The River Rats have held opponents to a mere 36.3 points per game this season, and have yet to allow any team to reach the half-century mark in regulation.

Offensively, it was a different story for the Rats as the season began. Huron averaged 51.4 points in its first seven games, failing to eclipse 64 points. For perspective, fellow unbeaten Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (14-0, No. 1 in Division 1), averaged 64 points in its first seven games.

The fortunes have turned for Huron as the season’s final week approaches. The Rats have amassed an average of 62.6 points in its last seven games, only failing to break 50 in one game where it was down two starters and more than half its varsity roster due to COVID-19 protocols.

Huron will look for its recent offensive success to continue as it begins the final week on Tuesday in a quarterfinal showdown against state powerhouse River Rouge.

“We have a lot of respect for Rouge, they have a great history, great tradition,” Samaha said. “We’re just grateful to be in the game and have a chance to go to the final four.”

The game is schedule to tip off at 7 p.m. at Ypsilanti Lincoln High School.