By Joseph Hayes
What better time for their first victory?
The Port Huron High School boys basketball team played its most complete game of the season Friday.
And it came at the perfect time.
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The Big Reds earned their first victory of the season Friday — a 60-44 triumph over Anchor Bay; behind 30 points from junior guard De’Ovion Price.
Nijere Finney and Shaka Brown each added eight points for the Big Reds (1-4) in the win.
“I was amazed and happy when I found out I had 30 points,” Price said. “This will build my confidence. I’m going to continue working.
“When we were on defense we were getting tipped balls and then on offense the ball finds energy and it came back to me and we were coming back down and scoring.”
Port Huron led 15-12 entering the second quarter before going into high gear. The Big Reds would only allow two points in the decisive quarter, while scoring 12 points themselves.
That allowed Port Huron to take a commanding 27-14 advantage into halftime. The Big Reds would never trail in the second half and Anchor Bay would struggle to stay within striking range.
“We aren’t going to win many games when we allow 60 points,” Anchor Bay coach Jim Barnes said. “They were getting out in the open court and we were struggling to defend them and also struggling with their zone.”
That Port Huron zone seemed to keep Anchor Bay out of rhythm all night.
The Tars (2-2) wouldn’t get into sync until a short stretch in the fourth quarter that drew them within striking distance, but the Big Reds wouldn’t let them close the gap all of the way.
“I saw their film against Armada and the zone they played against them and we did a version of that,” Port Huron High Coach Marion Stewart said.
“If we can slow the game down and make it possession by possession and get out and run. That’s a good game for us.”
Port Huron led 44-27 entering the fourth quarter, before Anchor Bay drew within 44-35 with just over six minutes to play after an 8-0 run. But they wouldn’t pull closer, as the Big Reds were able to stretch the lead back to double digits with an 8-0 run of their own.
“When we play defense and get out and run, that’s our game,” coach Stewart said. “It’s a scary thing being in a back peddle against (Price) on a fast break. He can go. Either you have to foul him or let him go.”
Port Huron will return home Jan. 9 against Madison Heights.