PACIFIC HEIGHTS — Faced with a solid challenge to open the 2018-19 campaign, the Stuart Hall Knights overcame some early sloppiness and rode a big third quarter to a 70-53 win over the Aragon Dons on Wednesday night at The Dungeon.
Trailing 29-28 with two minutes left in the second quarter, Stuart Hall (1-0) scored the final six points to go into the break and the first five of the third quarter as part of a 16-2 run to take control of the game.
“In the first half, we were trying to do too much individually, and in the second half we advanced the ball with early offense,” said head coach Charley Johnson, who led the Knights to a Northern California Division IV title in March. “I think that helped instead of just trying to drive 84 feet. Throw it, get it back and good things are going to happen.”
Star point guard Miles Amos scored 11 points in the first game of his senior season, and was held somewhat in check by a Dons team that focused on shutting him down.
Sophomore Nigel Burris led Stuart Hall with 17 points and 10 rebounds to complete a double-double, but it was junior Kyle Jasper — who spent last year on the junior varsity team — who came off the bench to help put the game out of reach.
Jasper sank his first three 3-point attempts and made four on the evening, en route to a 14-point night to turn a back-and-forth first half into a comfortable Knights win, with both teams emptying the bench in the final minutes.
Jasper’s first three opened the lead up to 49-36, and he answered a Matthew Mukai 3-pointer with a layup for the final points of the third quarter to restore a double-digit lead entering the fourth.
From there, the rather unassuming-looking Jasper was unstoppable, hitting threes on back-to-back possessions to make it 57-43 and adding a late one for his final points of the night.
Aragon (0-1) got a game-high 19 points from David Avak, who scored 15 in the first half with a trio of threes. Avak didn’t play in his junior year after being asked to move down to the JV level, but his performance on Wednesday suggested that he’ll be a major threat this year as the Dons look to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish in the PAL South. He was joined in double figures by Sam Manu, who had 10 points.
Stuart Hall returns to action on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in the NorCal Tip-Off Classic at Newark Memorial, where the Knights will play the first game of an all-day marathon against Sacred Heart Cathedral. The Knights and Fightin’ Irish aren’t the only City teams set to play, as Riordan faces Dublin at 12:30.