The River Rats broke open a tight game that was tied at halftime by going on an 8-0 run late in the fourth quarter behind the stellar play of guards Jalen Bouma and super sophomore A.J. Mathew who helped force 31 turnovers by Lincoln.
After a rare strip of the ball resulting in a layup that brought Lincoln to within two, it looked like Mathew took it personally, and then took the game over, scoring six of his team high ten points and four assists in a 12-4 sequence, including an 8-0 run, to give the River Rats an eight point fourth quarter lead that they would never relinquish.
After the game, Coach Waleed Samaha, who has his Rats now at 18-2 and peaking for the Michigan High School State Championships was quick to pass around praise to his team.
"We were disappointed that we gave up 17 points in the third quarter, but the rest of the game we got back to giving up less that 12 points per quarter which is our goal," he said. Samaha's team has won twelve straight ball games and finishes the season tonight on the road at Adrian.
Mathew, who is averaging 13.25 ppg, and has grown into a 6' 2" point guard at just fifteen, was called by Samaha, "one of the best guards in the state."
Asked about that, Mathew said, he takes the praise "all in stride. My mom tells me everytime I receive a letter, everytime I get a write up in the paper to keep in perspective and stay focused on getting better every day," he said. And if he doesn't, big brother, Phil Mathew, a senior power forward is always their to keep him in line.
But his three buzzer beaters on the season, show that he has the kind of ice water in his veins that top point guards need at the end of ballgames to will their teams to wins.
ANALYSIS: Huron currently sits in second place (18-2, 13-2 conference) behind Southeastern conference Red leader, crosstown rival Ann Arbor Pioneer (15-3, 13-1 conference). Huron recently dealt Huron their only loss of the season to split the season series.
The Rats need better shot selection and to improve on their free throw shooting but look to be a dangerous team in the Class A regionals. Expect Huron to be a threat to advance as far as the semifinal round because Matthew simply does not turn the ball over and his unselfishness is contagious.
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