LINDEN — North Montgomery jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead and never trailed in a 60-44 opening season win over Speedway on Wednesday night.
“The kids played hard,” first-year coach Chad Arnold said. “And they’ve been doing that in practice. I’m really proud of the guys.”
Jaron Bradford came in off the bench and gave the Chargers (1-0) a spark with seven first quarter points to put North up 16-8. The senior scored 12 of his game-high 15 points in the first half.
Senior Jack Thompson scored two quick buckets to start the second quarter, and push the lead to 12, while the Chargers took a 33-23 lead into the half thanks to 10 second chance points.
“We are really trying to pound the glass,” Arnold said. “We just want extra opportunities. We’ve got some big kids and we’ve got some athletes. We are going to the glass, and we want to make them box out, and it we make them box out then it’s going to be hard for them to break on us and they’ll have to play against our man-to-man in the half-court.”
North Montgomery out-rebounded Speedway (0-1) 37-22, including 15 on the offensive end.
The Chargers man-to-man pressure defense forced 16 Sparkplugs turnovers, while Speedway connected on just 16-of-39 field goals.
“I’m a man-to-man coach,” Arnold said. “We had some breakdowns and it’s early. But we are going to get into guys. I’m just not a big zone guy. I want to make them go beat us, and not give them opportunities to have open shots.”
North Montgomery’s lead grew to 16 behind four-straight points from Zak Searle late in the third quarter, before Bradford nailed a 3-pointer to push the lead to 20.
Senior Preston Shaw had the steady hand all night for the Chargers — scoring in every quarter, and chipping in 14 points. Thompson also reached double-figures with 10, while Keifer Carmean added nine off the bench.
Reis Walker led the Sparkplugs with 12 points.
The win is the first for the Chargers under Arnold, and he hopes it will be a big confidence booster for a team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2015-16.
“We’ve been telling these guys they can win,” he said. “And it was good to get a good win, because of how hard they work in practice.”
North Montgomery hosts Southmont at 7:30 p.m. next Friday.