AIS kick-start invitational with big wins

AIS kick-start invitational with big wins

The AIS's tour of USA moved to the tough Invitational Tournament, where wins were a must.

Game 1 of the first day of our invitational tournament was against Christian Life.  After a somewhat lacklustre performance the night before we had a big challenge ahead of them to bounce back to the level of play they’d displayed in previous games. 

It was evident from very early on that the players were more than up to the task with the starting group taking their intensity and focus to a whole new level.  Guard Jackson Hussey was everywhere defensively charting nine deflections for the game, a new record for this tour. 

Offensively the Tute had a good spread of scorers in the first half with lightning quick guard Mitch Norton shooting 100 per cent from the field for his seven points, Hugh Greenwood contributing with 4 and Daniel Trist leading all scorers at the half with 10.  

Six minutes in the game was neck and neck at 10 all. On the back of a timely timeout the team were able to slightly up the defensive focus leading to a 7-0 team run capped off by a beautifully executed offensive set ending in a Mitch Norton three pointer. This run proved to be the difference between the teams in the first half as the Tute took a slight lead of 29-26 into the break.  

After the half time break the word from head coach Ian Stacker was simple.  Stay focused and keep doing what we’re doing. Play one of the second half saw the Institute effectively execute a play designed to get the ball inside to Daniel Trist who finished with a strong move taking his individual score to 12 and pushing the lead out to six. 

Christian Life struggled to score as Hussey continued on his defensive assault locking down the Christian Life point guard and Hugh Greenwood and Owen Odigie also got amongst the act. 

The AIS finished the game with a tour high 18 assists which was testament to both the quality of team play and the teams shooting ability.  Even on misses big men Nick Kay and Will Sinclair did a great job of getting the team second shots with 4 and two Offensive boards respectively.

The Christian Life boys made a late charge but calm heads prevailed for the Tute as we closed out the game 67-52. Coach Stacker praised all the boys for what was a great team effort, highlighted by the good spread of scorers. Trist finished the game with 16, whilst Hussey and Norton both had 13 and Greenwood 11.

The second game of the night was a exhibition game for the Houston Invitational tournament and AIS took on Hosuton Franchise All Stars. The emphasis from Coach Stacker was on consistency. 

Signs looked very positive early as the Tute jumped out to a 12-2 lead against the Franchise All-Stars. The tempo of the AIS team and the relentless defensive pressure looked to stun the locals. 

Hugh Greenwood was again leading by example forcing a number of opposition turnovers and running the show at the offensive end. The All-Stars were able to settle their way back into the game levelling the scores at 18 apiece.  After some early dominance on the Boards by Tyler Hickert and Ben Richmond for the AIS the Houston team slowly started to lead this category. 

It proved to be the main difference in the first half as the All-Stars edged away to a four point lead, 35-39.  

Again the AIS started the second half on a streak quickly evapourating the lead, Mitch Norton with back to back assists to Hugh Greenwood, and Ben Richmond getting involved showing his shooting finesse with a quality 3. 

Daniel Trist was also having a significant impact for the second game running as the AIS again looked to take the assendency. Unfortunately this run would prove to be unsustainable as fatigue with the second game in a three hour period started to set in, and the Franchise All-Stars progressively built what would prove to be a match winning lead. 

To the AIS’s credit they played to the final siren, the final margin of 14 not a true reflection of how tight the game was played. With two extremely high standard games and a number of players responding positively to the lift in competition we are very excited to see what the team can produce tomorrow. 

Again we have back to back games with a very tight turnaround so our ability to rest, recover, and refocus will be put to the test.

It was back-to-back wins for the Institute Men’s Basketball program as they continued their USA tour. Game one against Dallas Showtyme saw the Tute finish strongly, capping off a 62-47 victory. 

The Tute looked the stronger team throughout, however Dallas were able to keep the game fairly close in the first half, showing great resilience every time the AIS looked like they were about to blow the game open. 

The match was a physical affair which probably suited the local team, however as the game progressed, the AIS men showed their class rising above the physical nature of the Dallas team. 

Seniors Hugh Greenwood and Jackson Hussey were again the standouts as they terrorised the opposition on the Defensive end.  Offensively they both finished with four assists each, whilst Greenwood top scored with 17. 

Daniel Trist continued to find the basket also chipping in with 13, however it was Nic Kay who proved to be the pick of the bigs having a hand in everything.  On top of his eights points he also had two perfectly timed assists, three offensive rebounds and two deflections.

As has been the case for much of this tour game 2 provided the challenge of not only backing up for a second game with very little recovery time, but also having to travel for the second venue.  The ability to handle adversity is a skill that our athletes are improving at each day, and never was that more evident than in today’s game against  the D1 Nation Ambassadors. 

D1 Nation is one of the most highly regarded basketball programs in the Houston area having produced 83 Division 1 College athletes over the past 10 years.  The Institute were able to catch the locals on the back foot in the first few minutes of the game jumping out to an early lead. 

Tute Captain Hugh Greenwood is beginning to make a name for himself on this tour.  Again he set the tone for the game, scoring at will and drawing a number of fouls out of the Ambassadors defenders. 

With the Tute building an early lead, a change of momentum soon struck with three consecutive injury concerns. First Greenwood landed awkwardly as he was fouled on a drive to the basket. Shortly after Nick Kay and Ben Richmond also went down.  Fortunately for the Tute Greenwood and Richmond were able to return to the game after a positive assessment by AIS Physio Tony Ward.

Greenwood continued on his demolition finishing the game with 27 points including 12 of 13 shooting from the free throw line. Late in the game the D1 Nation Ambassadors threw caution to the wind and reeled in an 8 point Institute lead, on the back of two successive three pointers, the second of which dropped with 30 seconds left in the game. 

In an early timeout Coach Stacker had diagrammed a play as a precautionary measure. On cue, AIS guard Mitch Norton brought the ball down the court, ran the game clock down to eight seconds and then exploded off a Daniel Trist screen splitting the two defenders in the process and finishing with a high finger-roll layup over the outstretch hands of two Ambassador split-line defenders. 

The ball floated through the net as the whistle blew giving Norton an extra free-throw to help ice the game. Norton followed the great play with a made free-throw, as we were then able to prevent the ambassadors from getting a quality shot off.  

Today’s performances help the Tute men progress to the next round of the tournament, which concludes tomorrow.