By MacKenzie Bates
For the Forsyth County News
Not very many saw the Pinecrest Academy boys basketball team, which accumulated just eight wins last season start the 2018-19 campaign at 6-1.
Just don’t tell that to head coach John Bauersfeld and junior Josh Boeye.
The Paladins defeated King’s Ridge 64-51 Tuesday night behind Boeye’s 21 points and a defensive effort that forced 20 turnovers.
“Ever since the first day of practice, Coach has been drilling in us about playing team defense,” Boeye said. “It’s showed because our defense carried into our offense.”
Pinecrest turned those 20 miscues in to 21 points, getting out in to transition and creating high-scoring opportunities.
“It’s definitely a part of my mantra as a coach is defense,” Bauersfeld said. “I want our guys to give everything they have defensively. It’s what I learned in high school and college, and they’ve really bought in to that.”
After a sluggish start in the first quarter, Boeye ignited the offense with a layup and back-to-back three-point field goals to take an 18-15 lead midway through the second frame.
“I think they were a little tight (in the first quarter) but (Josh) had a really good practice yesterday and I kind of see him to assert himself offensively, and other guys are starting to do the same as well,” Bauersfeld said.
Baskets by J.J. Hayes and Hank Lynch helped keep the pace before the Tigers rallied, taking a 29-28 lead in to halftime.
The defense continued to impress in the second half as King’s Ridge was held to just one field goal – a Lucas Garabadian basket with 3:53 remaining in the period to get within two points at 35-33.
It was all Pinecrest after that. Back-to-back buckets by Hayes, a high-percentage basket by Lynch, a three-pointer and basket by Oscar Lynch and another shot by Boeye helped give the Paladins a 48-35 lead going in to the fourth quarter.
“It’s good to know we’ve got some guys that can make shots that makes us look better offensively,” Bauersfeld said. “I’m excited to see how we can build off the performance and get better as a team.”
Hayes finished with 14 points. Oscar Lynch added 11 points while Hank contributed with nine points.
King’s Ridge forward Sterling Johnson led all scorers with 24 points. Lucas Garabadian chipped in with 16 points for the Tigers.
Pinecrest is off to its best start in a decade, and the program is eager to keep the momentum rolling as they take on Mount Paran Christian Friday night in Kennesaw.
“I knew we had a start like this in us,” Boeye said. “We’re having so much fun playing for each other and we expect to keep that going.”
“I’m a one day at a time kind of coach,” Bauersfeld said. “I didn’t know what teams that we were going to play against were like. I’m still learning my way. But I did know from the summer that I was very impressed with our effort and how we share the ball.”
Kings Ridge Christian 53, Pinecrest girls 29
Jada Green scored 14 points and Carly Fahey chipped in with 13 points as King’s Ridge’s girls defeated Pinecrest 53-29 in the first game of night.
The Paladins raced out to a 13-8 lead after the first quarter, but the Tigers would take control on a 28-0 run that spilled in to the second half. It wasn’t until Nika Brown’s basket a minute in to the third quarter to help stop the bleeding for the home team.
“It’s crazy because the first quarter has been our toughest quarter of the season,” Pinecrest head coach Jonathan Oshinski said. “We tend to fall behind early. We challenged the girls to come out and play strong and aggressive in the first quarter and that showed tonight.”
“A few of our starters got in to some foul trouble in the second quarter and it threw us for a loop and (their defense) made us uncomfortable.”
Pinecrest was led in scoring by Megan Sullivan’s 14 points.
The Paladins will look to get their first win of the season on Friday as they hit the road to take on Mount Paran Christian.