EDISON, NJ -- Without an abundance of height, but with quickness, experience and considerable offensive skill, the South Brunswick boys basketball team seems to be at its best when it's running the floor.
Along with that, the Vikings thrive when they're able to unleash their run-and-jump full-court pressure, which feeds into those aforementioned elements.
It was all working in harmony Tuesday night, when South Brunswick shot the ball well and passed it with laudable selflessness in a 77-39 road victory over J.P. Stevens.
Devin Strickland scored 19 points, Justin Carbone had 18 points and Tyrell Murchison finished with 11 points for the Vikings (4-2), who built a 12-point lead after one quarter, weathered a J.P. Stevens run early in the second quarter and then took command for good thereafter.
"We don't have too much size, to getting up and down the floor is important for us," South Brunswick head coach Joe Hoehman said. "In the first half, we were in a little bit of foul trouble, so we couldn't do all the things we wanted to defensively, but in the second half, we came out with discipline and energy and really followed the game plan."
An 11-0 run midway through the opening quarter gave South Brunswick a 14-5 lead. Strickland had six points and Murchison five in that spurt. With the Vikings holding a 19-7 lead after a quarter, J.P. Stevens (2-5) opened the second quarter by scoring the first eight points to close to within 19-15.
At that point, Akhil Edekar fed Strickland for a fastbreak basket and, after the Hawks countered with a layup, South Brunswick closed out the half with a 15-8 spurt. Three different players--Murchison, Edekar and Andrew Tesser--drained 3-pointers in that stretch as South Brunswick went into the half with a 36-25 advantage.
Edekar, who finished with seven points and five assists as well as a number of big-time effort plays to keep possessions alive, opened the second half with a pass to Strickland for a transition layup, and then a 3-pointer of his own. That quick start to the second half sparked South Brunswick to a 17-6 showing in the third quarter.
"On any given night, any one of our starters can lead us in scoring," Hoeman said. "Devin, Ty and Justin can all shoot, and we have guys off the bench who can shoot it well, too, and they did tonight."
Last season, the Vikings started the year with six straight losses before playing vastly better basketball the rest of the season to finish at 12-13. A lot of those players are back this year, and that experience is probably one of the reasons the team has started this season looking much more cohesive. That and the fact that most of them have played together for years now.
"We're still kind of developing a sense of who we are," Hoehman said. "We're still trying to develop an identity. We have kids with offensive skills, but defensively, some nights--like tonight--we play very well, and other nights we haven't been as good defensively. We are trying to focus on defense every game. It's going to come down to that. But we're progressing every night."