- Jodie Wagner Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Atlantic’s season debut went pretty well Tuesday night.
R.J. Duhart scored a game-high 20 points, and Rodwens Albert added 19 to lead the Eagles past the Wildcats 79-53 in a boys basketball contest at Royal Palm Beach High School.
Liam Finneran pitched in 13 points for Atlantic, which has high hopes for the season following a district runner-up finish last year. The Eagles return most of the players from that team.
“Not bad for our first game,” Atlantic coach Brad Flaig said. “We’ve still got a lot of stuff to work on, but we’ve got everybody back from last year, almost, so we better be pretty decent.”
Atlantic grabbed the early lead in a sloppy first quarter that featured a combined nine turnovers.
Paced on the inside by Duhart and on the outside by Albert, the Eagles nailed a trio of three-pointers in the quarter and led 17-11 after the first 8 minutes.
The Wildcats, also playing their season opener, fought back to open the second quarter, draining their first three shots to tie it up at 17.
But an Albert three-pointer handed the lead back to Atlantic, and the Eagles continued the momentum from there.
A flurry of three-pointers helped build Atlantic’s lead to 10, and then 16.
The Eagles finished the first half with eight three-pointers – three from Finneran – and led 39-25.
Duhart took over to open the second half, scoring the Eagles’ first three baskets – all from underneath – and helped stake Atlantic to a 47-29 lead.
The Eagles stayed hot through the remainder of the third quarter, often taking advantage of Royal Palm Beach miscues.
Atlantic led 54-31 before closing the quarter with a 60-39 advantage.
The Eagles didn’t take their foot off the gas in the final quarter, and coasted to the win.
Shaquille Peters led the Wildcats with 14 points.
In other season-opening games Tuesday night:
Jupiter 62, Palm Beach Lakes 60: Jamael Stroman scored 20 points and Caleb McClain added 15 as the Warriors squeaked past the Rams in West Palm Beach. Sheldon Edwards led all scorers with 23 points, including six three-pointers, for Palm Beach Lakes.
Palm Beach Central 77, Pahokee 58: Gyvicht Geneus scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and Drew Potter added 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Broncos beat the Blue Devils in Pahokee.
Forest Hill 59, American Heritage 45: Philip Lyttle had 17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and five steals as the Falcons overpowered the Stallions in West Palm Beach. Aamir Justice scored 20 points for American Heritage.
Park Vista 71, John I. Leonard 53: Atorian Perry scored 24 points as the Cobras handled the Lancers in Greenacres.
Oxbridge 54, Fort Pierce Central 52: A.J. Cajuste scored 18 points on 10-for-11 shooting as the ThunderWolves got past the Cobras in West Palm Beach.
Wellington 62, Inlet Grove 45: Bryan Williams scored 15 points, Jonathan Philistin added 14 points and 10 rebounds and Texan Moulton contributed 11 points and 12 rebounds as the Wolverines handled the Hurricanes in Wellington.
Santaluces 70, Atlantic Christian 55: Marcus Bentley had 19 points, Tylor Miller added 17 and Ryan O’Connor contributed 11 as the Chiefs handled the Saints.
Spanish River 78, West Boca Raton 47: Jashone Anderson had 16 points and seven rebounds, Charles West added 16 points, Malacai Davis contributed 13 points and five rebounds, and Jeremy Hock scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds as the Sharks pummeled the Bulls in Boca Raton.
St. Andrew’s School 58, Pembroke Pines-Somerset Academy 44: Jammy Pierre-Louis had 21 points and five rebounds, Marcus Pelissier added 15 points and five rebounds, and Ben Milstein contributed eight points and eight assists as the Scots defeated the Cougars.
Grandview Prep 80, FAU High 60: Cross Pratapas had 20 points, Nadav Naim added 19 points and nine assists and Chance Donovan contributed 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks as the Pride won their home opener for the 13th year in a row, handling the Owls in Boca Raton.
Suncoast 77, Fort Pierce-Westwood 72: McClenby Geffard had 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and Zay Edden added another 17 points to go with four assists as the Chargers got past the Panthers in Fort Pierce.
Somerset Canyons 68, Yeshiva 30: Michael Quan had 22 points and Karl Jayseus had 10 points and 10 rebounds as the Cougars (1-1) handled the Storm in Boynton Beach.