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Hyde Park experienced a turbulent year last season with an abrupt coaching change and the departure of star guard Kyle Davis. New coach Antonne Samuels has stabilized the program and unleashed a talented roster of athletes to strut their stuff.
The host Thunderbirds, who had five double-figure scorers Thursday, raced out to a 21-point first-quarter lead en route to an 86-43 victory over Carver in a Public League crossover game of Red division teams.
In his third game back from missing the St. Patrick Thanksgiving tournament, 6-foot-8 center Moshawn Thomas registered 11 points and collected 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. His back-to-back second-quarter dunks symbolized the Thunderbirds’ all-around dominance.
“I was able to get out on the break and get those dunks,” Thomas said. “I am a high-energy player and I think the dunks and the blocks got my teammates going.’’
Hyde Park (6-1) used a 16-0 first-quarter run, and led 27-6 after the first quarter. The Thunderbirds’ players alternated seizing the spotlight.
Senior point guard Marcus Smith scored seven of his 12 points in the first quarter, and senior guard Philip Lee scored all 12 of his points in a four-minute flurry in the first half.
“Marcus hit that early three and we were in a great rhythm from there,” said Lee, who added three steals and four assists.
Hyde Park scored 18 points off 11 first-half turnovers to take a 46-12 lead at the break.
The Thunderbirds also blocked six shots in the first half. “Moshawn’s a big guy and he really bothered them with his length and how he intimidated them around the basket,” Lee said.
Sophomore sharpshooter Malcolm Whitney took advantage of his extended minutes. He hit four consecutive three-pointers in the fourth quarter in scoring a game-high 21 points. Behind Whitney’s long-range shooting, Hyde Park outscored Carver 27-6 beyond the arc.
Athletic forward Jacob Taylor contributed 12 points as nine Hyde Park players scored. Tory Mason added seven points.
“We have our full team, and we played hard and aggressive and did a good job of moving the ball and also getting to the basket,” Lee said.
Jacob Bell scored 11 points and added six rebounds for the Challengers (2-4).