Saturday, November 7, 2015

Alleluia wins season opener in first sign of high school hoops action

I've heard people call overtime on football Sundays "free football." When the North Atlanta Flight homeschool basketball team had the second leg of its double-header cancelled, they found a willing opponent and host in Alleluia, the #5 ranked team in my AugBball Preseason Top 11 series. So thanks to chance and to the good people involved, we got some "free basketball" Saturday, both in the sense that it came unexpectedly and one week before any other high school tip-off, and because the hosts at Alleluia waved Saturday's admission charge.

I realize it's November 7. But you wouldn't know it watching these teams play offense. Alleluia's
Elliot Balducci has made huge strides and has become another dangerous weapon available to coach Dennis McBride. His second quarter tip-dunk charged up the home crowd. Elliot was impressive stroking jump shots and finishing around the basket.

Teammate Hayden Hebert, a 6'5" match up nightmare who shoots and drives like a guard and scores in the paint using good athleticism and footwork, was the most consistent scorer and ultimately the deciding factor in the Angels' 77-64 win. Hebert tallied 23 points to lead all scorers.

Alleluia's Ben Dresser eyes a teammate in Alleluia's season opener.

After the Angels leaped to a 14-7 lead behind a fast start by Hebert and a deep bomb by Ben Dresser, North Atlanta shot its way to a first half lead before the teams traded baskets throughout the first three quarters.

The Flight are a fundamentally sound bunch that shoots, handles, and shares the ball very well, much like their opponents. But after building a 58-51 lead with less than 6 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Angels spread the floor and patiently used the clock, seeking layups and passing up chances to launch from deep, something I haven't seen from this bunch of bombers.

In addition to Hebert's 23 points, Dresser added 18, Mac McBride scored 14, and Balducci chipped in 12.

North Atlanta was led by Oliver Oden's 21 points. Chandler Minton and Killien Glover each added 12.

Saturday's free high school basketball was a treat. I'm ready for more, free or not!

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