Harvey raced to a 27-point lead in the first quarter of its nonconference tilt against Andrews Osborne on Dec. 9. The Red Raiders’ run was created with their ability to force turnovers and their shooting from beyond the arc.
Andrews Osborne slowly worked its way back into the game and trimmed it to a single-digit deficit midway through the fourth.
Harvey turned to some different names for late rebounds and buckets and kept the Phoenix’s run at bay for the 69-61 victory.
The Red Raiders started their season 1-0, while Andrews Osborne fell to 1-3.
Harvey’s tempo in the first quarter challenged the Phoenix. The Red Raiders forced 10 turnovers in the first quarter and generated quick runs that amplified the lead.
Coach Eric Monty wanted to see his team run in transition. The players have the speed and intensity for Harvey to do that.
“We’ve been preaching since the start of the season that we want to play fast and force a lot of turnovers,” Monty said. “We can get out in transition, run the floor and score that way. The less half-court offense we have to play the better, and in the first quarter we did that.”
Harvey capitalized on the turnovers and found a rhythm from behind the 3-point line. The Red Raiders had seven first-quarter 3s and nine in the first half.
Senior Braylon Johnson made five in the first half and finished with 18 points. Johnson said playing with pace would get early looks. If he wasn’t the one taking the shot, others would knock them down.
“We came out blazing,” Johnson said. “We have a lot of strong shooters and we couldn’t miss early on. We want to be able to play like that all season with our power from 3.”
Andrews Osborne switched to a 2-3 zone after the first quarter to slow down the Red Raiders’ offense. The Phoenix held Harvey to 10 points in the second quarter but remained down by double digits.
The Phoenix got their legs under them after the intermission and generated strong on-ball defense to chip away at the lead. They created 11 turnovers in the second half and were able to score in transition as they tried to rally.
Harvey is young, with limited experience managing a lead. Monty tried to help the players manage on the sideline.
“This is something we’re going to be able to learn from,” Monty said. “No matter what a team throws at us, man or zone, you can’t let your guard down. No matter how big the lead is we need to be able to keep attacking and not be complacent.”
The Red Raiders switched offensive game plans in the fourth quarter, electing to work inside rather than out. Armani Hall and Deontae Ware got transition looks and drew fouls to help protect Harvey’s lead.
Hall had a strong first half from deep and on the drive and joined Johnson with 15 points at the break. Having senior leadership from Johnson has helped Hall and the rest of the Red Raiders.
“We were able to execute on our press and press breaks to be able to get the lead,” Hall said. “Braylon and Mason (Haffa) are our captains and they lead us off. They’re great voices and set great examples of what we need to do in every part of the game.”
Ware also finished with 15 points and Hall also added eight boards.
Late boards and buckets from Davon Badley and Neiman Booker stalled out the Andrews Osborne comeback.
Andrews Osborne was led by Darren Sultzer and Teo Suarez with 21 and 19 points, respectively.
The Phoenix aim to get back in the win column when they host Westside Christian on Dec. 12. Harvey remains out of conference as it welcomes South on Dec. 11.