A familiar face strode the sidelines at Indian Creek Monday night. After two years at Huntingtown, Josh Pratt is back in Anne Arundel County, and now he is back in one of his old stomping grounds, the MIAA.
Malik McKinney and his Indian Creek teammates are looking forward to seeing what they can do under Pratt’s watch.
McKinney had 27 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists as the Eagles opened their season with a 68-48 win over visiting St. Mary’s.
“It was fantastic being out there and it feels great to be back in the county and back in the MIAA,” Pratt said. “I thought the kids were chomping at the bit to play tonight. A lot of other MIAA teams have played two or three games, but I needed to get to know the kids. I think that is one of the reasons why we played so well in the first half. The kids were so excited to play in a real game.”
Indian Creek (1-0) scored 18 of the last 19 points in the first quarter, and led 21-3. McKinney, sporting a face mask after taking an elbow to the nose in practice, opened the game with a 3-pointer and closed the quarter with a basket and had nine points in each of the first two quarters.
“For us, we want to win the loose balls and the turnover and rebounding battle, and then get to the free throw line,” McKinney said.
St. Mary’s (0-3) lost Patrick Devitt to two fouls early in the game, and got into a big hole early.
“We were not getting any shots in the first quarter, and we were turning the ball over too much,” St. Mary’s coach Trey Quinn said. “They were getting two and three rebounds offensively and it felt like they had the ball the whole quarter.”
Things did not get much better in the second quarter, as Indian Creek scored 26 more points, went on a 15-0 run, and took a 30-point lead into halftime. McKinney already had 18 points and seven rebounds at the break and the Eagles, which only had nine varsity players suited up, looked very comfortable.
“We put up 47 points in the first half, and I did not think we were going to do that in the second half,” Pratt said. “I saw St. Mary’s play AACS last week and saw how hard they play on every possession, and that is what happened in the second half.”
For Quinn, with a result almost already in place, it was a matter of St. Mary’s staying composed and playing its game.
“We just talked about chipping away at the lead and controlling what we can control,” Quinn said. “The focus was on taking care of the ball and cleaning up the boards. We kind of flipped what we did on the first half, in that we were getting offensive rebounds and turning them over a bit, but they key for us was to keep the effort level high no mater what the score was.”
The Saints scored the first six points of the second half. Cam Brown had six of his 11 points as one of three Saints to reach double figures. Devitt came back and was just as aggressive, finishing with a double-double, going for 10 points and 11 rebounds. Ryan Gardner had 11 points and Hank Ferraro scored nine.
The second half definitely exposed some chinks in the Eagles’ armor, particularly with fouls, but McKinney scored eight more points in the fourth quarter to close it out. The Eagles only have 10 players total on varsity, so the boys will need to be in shape to handle all the minutes this winter.
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“We will be running a lot in practice, and you need to take care of your body,” McKinney said. “For me, I will have to do a little bit of everything.”
McKinney likes the partnership he has with Pratt.
“He is a tough guy from PG County, like me, and he came in here with the mindset to win, and he said we have talent to win. He believes in that and we have to follow him,” McKinney said.
Pratt has coached more than 20 years, including many successful ones as an assistant at Archbishop Spalding and as the head coach at Towson Catholic. He likes being back in the MIAA and he likes his team.
“The players are getting to know me, and they are buying in, and the more they buy in the better it is going to be,” Pratt said. “It is nice to start off 1-0, but win or lose, it is on to the next game. Everybody did something positive today, whether it was in the first or second half. We have to stay healthy, and I look forward to the challenge of getting us to the playoffs. That is what makes coaching fun.”
Evan Rakshys had eight points for Indian Creek, followed by Sammy Carter with seven and Khalil Williams with six.
ARCHBISHOP CURLEY 57, ARCHBISHOP SPALDING 50: Rene Alphonso scored 18 points and Amir Hall added 12 for the Cavaliers in the loss to the Friars.