- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
James Bond is a secret agent. Matt Bonds of North Point is not a secret agent, but he played somewhat of a superhero on Wednesday as he led the Eagles to a 98-52 romp over host Huntingtown.
The Eagles (20-1, 11-0 SMAC), who clinched the SMAC championship earlier this week when Thomas Stone fell 84-81 to Westlake, need only a win over host Lackey at 7 tonight to complete a perfect conference schedule.
“We just have to go with the flow and take it as just another game and finish out the season and get ready for the playoffs,” said Bonds, who scored a career-high 30 points against the Hurricanes.
The 98 points was only the eighth-highest for the Eagles this season with 116 against Great Mills on Jan. 23 being the highest.
“They’re a great ballclub, hands down from the 1 to 5 [positions] they play well, they play team basketball, they communicate and they play a good style,” Huntingtown head coach VaShawne Gross said. “Coach [Jimmy] Ball has them playing at a high level and they know what their goal is to win SMAC and win states and I see a hungry team that wants it. They played with a lot of class tonight, a lot of class.”
Bonds has reached double digits in scoring in all but one game this season and his previous season high was 25 points on Dec. 12 against Leonardtown. The senior power forward also added six rebounds, four steals and a block.
“I was just trying to do something to help my team,” Bonds said. “I wasn’t really focused on scoring. I still think I can improve on free throw shooting and other areas.”
Also reaching a career milestone was North Point senior guard Marquis Wright, who reached the 1,000-point plateau after sinking two free throws with 4 minutes 13 seconds left in the third quarter.
The game was stopped while Wright’s feat was announced and the senior accepted a glass-encased basketball and jogged across the court where he fist-bumped his father Walter and gave his mother Shirley Davis-Wright a kiss on the cheek.
“It means a lot after coming in as a freshman and playing JV until two games before playoffs and moving up is a big accomplishment,” Wright said, clutching the ball after the game. “[I think my success has come because of] hard work and actually coach Ball has made me a better leader.”
Ball said the fact Wright, who needed 12 points coming into the game and finished with 18, works on his game is a testament to his success.
“He gets better each year,” said Ball, who added he was very appreciative of Huntingtown for allowing the Eagles to recognize Wright. “Last year the deficiency was his foul shooting and he comes back and now he’s 83 percent from the foul line. And also suspect was his jump shot and now he’s shooting 63 percent from the field. He’s worked on his game big-time over the summer and it shows.”
And Wright’s thoughts on reaching 1,000 on two free throws instead of a game-winning monster dunk at the buzzer.
“That would have been nice,” he said of the latter scenario with a smile. “I didn’t know that,” Ball said of Bonds’ accomplishment. “Our post players, we want to feed the ball in as much as we can and if we can get them going it’s going to be hard to stop us.”
The Eagles grabbed a 2-0 lead on a pair of free throws by Daylin Davis 12 seconds into the game and never looked back.
Huntingtown had an opportunity to close the gap significantly midway through the first quarter. But trailing 13-8, the Hurricanes missed three straight free throws — the latter two coming on an Eagles technical foul — and a wide open shot.
“We missed three free throws and a shot that could have tied the game up and maybe given us momentum and after that it just went downhill,” Gross said.
But Ball wasn’t pleased either after watching his team turn the ball over and get feisty at times against the Hurricanes.
“Huntingtown was doing the same thing when we were cutting they were bumping us and that’s going to happen in a basketball game and we don’t need to do that,” Ball said. “[All we need to do is] just play our game and take care of business and go home.”
Moments later, Ball had seen enough and he called timeout where he read his team the riot act.
“We had a couple turnovers and everything we’re doing now we’re thinking about playoffs,” he said. “If you have turnovers like that in the playoffs, momentum can swing big-time, so we’re trying to get our kids focused and know the goal which is when playoffs happen you’re guaranteed one game and you have to get through that game.”
“He was breaking down what we needed to do and to calm us down,” Bonds said, “[which was] just to get our intensity up and the defense which we bring every game. The timeout was really needed.”
Message received as the Eagles answered with a quarter-ending 11-0 run.
“I think we started to find our rhythm toward the end of the first quarter when we stepped up and hit our shots, make our free throws and make layups and play North Point basketball,” Bonds said.
Despite the lopsided score, the Hurricanes (8-13, 3-8) refused to fold and Timmy Fallon’s third-quarter play where he raced across the floor and dived to recover a loose ball epitomized the Hurricanes’ effort.
“That’s one thing I try to tell these kids is that no matter what the score is fight hard and play until the end,” Gross said. “We’re young and it’s good to see a team like North Point that is going to play all night. We can learn from it.”