CARY — Five Jordan boys’ basketball players finished in double-figures, led by Mike Lee’s 20 points, as the Falcons opened the season with a nonconference 86-74 win at Panther Creek Monday.
K.J. Alston had 18 points, Darien Ortiz had 10, Jared Hendryx added 13 and Willie Weeks added 11.
Hendryx added 12 rebounds for the Falcons. When the Catamounts tried to key on the 6-foot-8 center, the Jordan guards stepped up to trade blow-for-blow in a game that felt like a track meet at times.
“Our guards can get into the lane and get to the basket,” Jordan coach Kim Annas said. “We were able to finish quite a few shots, so that was good.”
Jordan led 43-40 at the break after trailing 25-18 through the first quarter.
Panther Creek (0-1) hit eight first-half 3-pointers, but couldn’t keep up the pace in the second half. PC finished with 11 made shots from outside the arc, but missed eight in the fourth quarter alone.
That allowed the Falcons to grow their lead to 10 after the third quarter.
“I don’t know if we played that much better defense or they just missed a few shots in the second half,” Annas said.
It handed Panther Creek coach L.J. Hepp a loss in his first game back with the Catamounts. Hepp, also in his first year as athletics director, was the school’s first basketball coach and was last on the sidelines for the 2008-09 season.
“We can’t turn into a jump-shooting team with no rebounders. Sometimes it felt like that ,” Hepp said. “We’ve got to be able to figure out other ways to score.”
Panther Creek, which was led by 17 points from Akeem Tate, has more freshmen on its roster (two) than seniors (one).
“Tonight we played hard, we played together – for the most part – but we did not play smart. That’s something that I think we’re going to look forward to and growing together – learning how to play smart,” Hepp said.
Blake: 919-460-2606 or twitter.com/JMBpreps