Playing a double header against Berean Academy (Sierra Vista), the Pathway Pumas opened the 2014-2015 basketball season with two victories Saturday, Dec 6 on the Pathway campus.
Coming off a year in which the boys’ varsity team set a record for victories in a season (21), the Pumas now look to finish what was left behind. With four returning players, senior Riley Murphin, and a trio of juniors, Joseph Bailin, Sherman Chavaria, and Alex Lewis, they will now start to work and build chemistry with new faces, and new talent.
This year the Pumas will have an inside presence with 6’3” 240 lb. sophomore Bryce Thurman. While Thurman will have size for the paint, he also brings an agility and ball handling that not many can equal. He will certainly be able to create havoc and cause some problems for the opposition. Two new additional faces to the roster, juniors Jeremiah Blackmon and Isaiah Grant bring better athletic and defensive ability. These two are able to create ball pressure, and can lead the team in many categories – already demonstrated by Grant, during the second game against the Berean Academy Eagles.
Additionally, point guard play, (senior Victor Holloman and sophomore James Lopez) and a stretch forward (junior Jon Samuels) will allow for better floor spacing. Murphin will be able to pick up where he left off with his fine all-around play; Bailin will provide the outside three-point presence, which will permit Thurman more space inside; Lewis and Charvaria will provide defensive pressure and allow the fast break to gain momentum to create turnovers and light up the scoreboard.
Game one against the Eagles an 89-42 victory, showed how much Thurman would be able to control the middle, by scoring 31 pts on 15-23 shooting and grabbing 15 rebounds. The Pumas were able to get their fast pace style and cause a team record 30 steals, while committing 13 turnovers. Murphin added 16 pts with 5 asts and 5 rebs; Samuels added another 6 assists.
Game two played out differently. Although Thurman scored 28 pts on 13-14 shooting, it was the all-around play by junior Isaiah Grant that made the 81-32 victory different. Grant recorded the first ever quadruple double in Pumas’ basketball history: 11 pts, 10 asts, 10 rebs, 10 stls. The team finished with 21 total assists and 30 rebounds and shattered the game one total for steals, by getting 35.
The Pumas (2-0) will now prepare for their first road game, against Imagine Prep (Coolidge) on Wednesday Dec 10, in Coolidge. Athletic ability will provide an opportunity to overcome mistakes, but the Pumas will need to make sure to continue to learn and play basketball together and work to finish was what left undone during the 2013-2014 season.
Let's Go Pumas!