Andrew Koob (@AndrewKoob)
There are games when everything seems to fall and nothing goes wrong.
That was the kind of game the Haverford School had in the opening round of the PAISAA playoffs as the Fords steamrolled Friends’ Central, 72-38.
The Fords had three players score in double-digits, including Lamar Steven’s 15 point-five rebound performance. Guard Shawn Alston added 14 as well, including five steals and four rebounds while Yale-commit Eric Anderson scored 13.
“They played really well,” Haverford coach Henry Fairfax told CoBL. “I thought Shawn was disciplined, he’s getting to his rotations quickly and I think it starts with him because he’s one of those seasoned guys on the roster that have been there and done that. I think a lot of the younger guys look to him so if he’s playing hard, playing with enthusiasm and energy and playing the right way, the rest of the guys follow.
“Lamar, being a talented guy, he goes out there and plays hard. He had a great week of practice so I wasn’t surprised that he came out there and played his tail off.”
Phoenix guards Jon Lawton and Tray Grier combined to score 28 points, but the rest of Friends’ Central had trouble adding to that total, only scoring 10 points.
The Fords opened up the game with nine straight points and, after allowing the Phoenix to make it a two-possession game late in the first quarter, turned the heat up. Haverford went on a 24-6 run that spanned most of the second quarter and came out firing once again in the third, going on a 21-10 run.
By the fourth quarter, the Fords held a 34 point advantage and the reserves were getting their chance on the floor.
“I thought Friends’ Central came in, played hard and did their best,” Fairfax said. “Our guys did a great job this week at practice. We put some different things in in preparation for the new season, the records get wiped clean so it was super important for us to prepare hard and have a good, smart week of practice. We did that and I think today was a lot easier than the practices we’ve had all week.”
Even with the way Haverford was able to take control of the game early on and keep their foot on the pedal, Fairfax wanted to make sure that his players know that there was still room for improvement.
“Every bit helps,” Fairfax said. “You want to go into a game confident, knowing that there’s things that you could’ve done better. As well as I thought we played in spots, I thought there were some things we could do better. I thought we missed some rotations a few times and out of our man offense we could’ve been a little more patient. There’s always room for improvement but, at the end of the day, this is a confident group of guys that know that we can play with anybody.”
Now Haverford’s attention shifts to the Hill School, who defeated Germantown Friends 62-48. In their only meeting, the Rams bested the Fords in their own house, 60-47, back in December.
Even before he knew that the Hill School advanced, Fairfax had the feeling that his team would be making the trip to Pottstown for a rematch with the Rams. And even after a convincing win, there was no time to pat themselves on the back.
“Tomorrow will be a huge test in a hostile environment. I don’t know that we’ve ever won a game up there. We beat them here on our floor a couple of years ago but they beat us up the first time. It’s going to be a heck of a test, a heck of a battle, a heck of a game. Our goal is to go 1-0 four times.”
“This one is done, this is in the preparation that we have to do. Everything is about the next rep, the next opponent, the next ride on the bus. It’s really about getting prepared for that next thing. I gave them specific instructions: go home tonight, drink a lot of gatorade or water, eat some pasta but no pizza. Tomorrow, get up at 8 AM, eat something good, eat again around noon what I told them to eat and get ready for the bus ride. The only thing I didn’t tell them was what to listen to on their iPod.”