Orono’s freshman guard Brady Hews used the Red Riots’ lopsided 93-38 victory over Hermon as a coming out party of sorts.
Hews scored a game-high 23 points and got buckets from all three levels. Whether it was a reverse layup at the hoop, a pull-up jumper from the elbow or a transition 3-pointer, Hews did it all.
“When I came in and hit that first shot I just knew I was feeling it,” Hews said. “I feel pretty confident but I am just getting used to it right now.”
Hews had five points, a layup and a 3-pointer, in the first quarter off the bench, while starting point guard Pierce Walston kick-started the offense after both teams went scoreless for the first three minutes.
Walston scored nine of his 14 points, grabbed two of his five steals and also hauled in three boards all in the quarter. The junior led the Red Riots (2-0) to a 22-2 first quarter over the Hawks (1-1).
“I thought that Hermon has really nice, young talent and they were coming off a nice win against Waterville,” Orono coach Ed Kohtala said. “One thing about young teams is that if things get going against them early, sometimes it can compound. We weren’t nearly as good as we looked at times and that’s a talented young group.”
Hermon got nine more points on the board in the second quarter, but couldn’t stop Orono. Will Francis and Hews both scored five points in the second quarter and the Red Riots led the Hawks 49-11 after the first half.
“The coaching acumen on that bench is impressive, too,” Kohtala said. “At halftime I told them it will be much different the next time we see them.”
Orono had 10 steals in the first half, anticipating passes, getting hands in the passing lanes and also grabbing steals during on-ball defense.
“We have pretty good team quickness and we talk about traditional man slides, being in the right position, but we also have guys that have a real knack for anticipation,” Kohtala said.
Hews scored a 3-pointer in the third quarter and then, in the fourth, scored 10 points. It seemed like every shot Hews put up in the final frame was going to go in and he was cheered on by the Orono fans and an energetic bench full of teammates.
“It feels great,” Hews added. “I just keep getting confident and keep shooting.”
Hews garnered high praise from Kohtala after the game.
“Brady is a really wonderful basketball player,” Kohtala said. “He’s really skilled. I told him early in preseason that his fundamentals are so sound. If I wanted to show somebody how to shoot the mall, move the ball, I would use you as an example. I’ve been watching him since fourth grade, he loves to play and I know this is cliche but he’s a good basketball player but a better kid.”
Owen Wyman led the Hawks with nine points, followed by six points each from Bryce Edwards and Mason Kinney.
Orono is scheduled to host Mount Desert Island on Saturday, while Hermon is scheduled to host Caribou on Saturday as well.