Academy Park's Travis Smith turned in a high-scoring performance in a 66-55 win over Harriton Saturday afternoon. But the senior wing guard was still upset with his defensive play from a contest earlier in the week.
"Guys were going by me," he said of a victory over Freire Charter. "I was scrambling to get to the wrong person. I came into this one with a defense-first mentality. I knew the offense would come."
Smith scored 30 points against Harriton and helped the Knights force 35 turnovers, including 22 in the first half.
"Our defense can be stifling at times," Smith said. "We're long and athletic. It's hard for teams to get the ball across halfcourt without committing a turnover."
Academy Park had its own problems with retaining possession, coughing the ball up 27 times. Maybe both teams were looking ahead to the holiday break.
"We want to play at an unbelievably fast pace, but we can't turn the ball over that much," Knights fourth-year coach Allen Brydges said.
Smith shot 10 for 17 from the field (4 for 8 on three-pointers) and 6 for 7 from the foul line. The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder was a second-team all-Del-Val League selection last season.
"He's shooting well over 40 percent from three-point distance. And he's a real force on defense. That's because he has a long wingspan," Brydges said.
In improving to 6-0 on the season, Academy Park recovered from a 17-5 deficit. Down by 26-21 in the second quarter, it took the lead for good with a 13-2 run.
"We missed a ton of layups early on, but I liked the pace," Brydges said. "I knew our pressure would get us back in the game. We're good at getting turnovers."
For the Knights, forward Richard Caldwell, who transferred from William Penn (Del.), produced 11 points and four steals. Fellow junior De'Andray Covert, a speedy reserve guard, notched 10 of his 15 points in the first half.
In the third quarter, Smith's open-court theft and breakaway layup put Academy Park, which went 14-7 last season, comfortably in front, 40-29.
Senior guard Jordan Wright paced the Rams (5-2 overall, 3-1 Central League) with 22 points. He converted 11 of 12 free-throw tries. Sam Schlicting, a 6-4 senior who will play football at Colgate, managed 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Academy Park 7 22 17 20 - 66
Harriton 17 8 12 18 - 55
AP: Jawan Collins 6, Lashon Mapp 4, Richard Caldwell 11, Travis Smith 30, De'Andray Covert 15.
H: Jordan Wright 22, Will Esposito 3, Sam Schlicting 13, Ethan Anderson 2, Rashad Anderson 4, Jake Firestone 8, Jermaine Brokenborough 3.