It was quite evident that the hoopers for the nationally-ranked Huntington St. Joseph Preparatory Academy were not leaving Texas for West Virginia without putting on a show in the ARS Rescue Rooter National Hoopfest DFW.
Which is exactly what the Irish did Saturday afternoon against Lancaster at Mike Turner Gymnasium in Waxahachie.
Huntington Prep held a double-digit lead for most of the game and pulled away late in the second half for the win, 73-59. It was the third out-of-state win through the first four games of the ARS Rescue Rooter National Hoopfest DFW.
AJ Hoggard was named the MVP of the game. He scored 15 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out a team-high six assists in the win.
Jaemyn Brakefield and Quinn Slazinski led the Irish with 17 points, each, and combined to shoot 7-of-11 from behind the arc. JT Thor added 11 points for Huntington Prep.
Brakefield is the 17th best prep basketball player in the 2020 class, according to ESPN, while Thor checks in at No. 25 in the ESPN top-100 class of 2021.
Wade Taylor led the Tigers with a game-high 20 points, while Mike Miles scored 14 and Marco Foster had 13. Devon Miller added six points to his game-high 10 rebounds.
Huntington Prep came out of the gate shooting and shooting well Saturday afternoon, quickly building a double-digit lead that carried into the halftime locker rooms. The Irish led 46-27 at the break.
Brakefield led all scorers with 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting from behind the arc in the first half. Slazinski connected three times from behind the arc for nine points for the Huntington Prep, while Thor also had nine points.
Wade Taylor led the Tigers with 10 points. Devon Miller and Marco Foster both added six points to the Lancaster first-half effort.
But the Tigers had no intentions of going away quietly and swiftly cut the deficit back to single digits, 49-40, with three minutes and change to play in the third quarter.
Taylor scored eight points during the 13-3 Lancaster run.
Hoggard later scored six consecutive points for the Irish to put Huntington Prep back comfortably on top, 61-45, with under one minute to go in the third. The third basket came after he crossed over a Lancaster defender outside the three-point line and then got a floater to kiss off of the glass from the left baseline. He ended the quarter with 12 points for the game.
The Irish led 61-47 as the game entered the fourth quarter and matched the Tigers point-for-point in the fourth quarter for the 73-59 win.