LARGO – The Dr. Henry Wise Jr. High School boys basketball team dominated Charles H. Flowers for a 50-37 victory in their Summer Madness League matchup at Largo High School on June 16.
The Pumas took an early 20-10 lead behind the play of their strong offensive players, transfer Trey Thomas and rising senior Kejuan Frager. Thomas attacked the rim at will throughout the first half while Frager excelled whenever he shot from behind the 3-point line. Both players finished the game scoring 11 points apiece.
Their excellent play benefited from a different game plan established by Wise Assistant Coach Dale DeBerry Sr. It allowed them to address their flaws from previous summer league games while still being competitive.
“The last time we played, we got outrebounded a little bit,” said DeBerry. “Our emphasis today was to dominate inside offensively and defensively. It’s summer ball. We don’t get to practice a whole lot, so we just have to be on point with defending and rebounding.”
While the Pumas found an offensive rhythm, Flowers rising senior Brian Brooks kept the game close early on by knocking down two consecutive 3-pointers. However, Thomas connected a transition layup at the buzzer off a bounce pass from Daemond Ford to give Wise a 10-point lead heading into halftime.
“I think we played hard for the most part,” said Thomas. “We got some adjustments to make like to value the ball more, myself included. My mindset is just to destroy whoever is in front of me, get my teammates motivated and make everyone around me better.”
After transferring from Archbishop Carroll High School this summer, Thomas is set to become the new face of the Pumas. The rising sophomore said it has been a good adjustment so far with summer league play allowing him to get together with his new teammates and coaches.
Thomas arrives with much fanfare, playing with Team Loaded D.C. in the AAU circuit and the amount of college offers he has already received.
According to the transfer, he already has two scholarship offers from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Rhode Island University with other schools expressing interest. However, Thomas said he does not allow it to get to his head and is focused on finding ways to get to bond his new teammates.
“I just like to play,” said Thomas. “But I try to find a way to bond with the team off the court, like we got group chats, FaceTime each other, and we play video games together. Just the little things like that help. I like my teammates and my coaching staff, they let me hoop and that’s all I really have to do.”
The second half featured much of the same rhythm with Wise taking charge. Frager continued to orchestrate the offense, pushing the ball in transition for easy buckets and made big defensive plays of his end.
Meanwhile, Flowers attempted a comeback but Brooks could not convert many of his shots during the second half. Jase Mosley, a rising sophomore for the Jaguars, tried to carry the load with two 3-pointers late in the contest, finishing with 10 points.
Unfortunately, the Pumas’ lead was too much for their 4A rivals to handle during their summer league encounter.
After finishing their first season with Head Coach Lou Wilson with 17 wins, the Pumas will be looking to surpass their third round exit in the state playoffs and become a contender in the 4A division.
“I think we have the potential to be a real solid ball club,” said DeBerry. “I think a lot is going to depend on how we progress from this point going forward. The season is a long way ahead, a lot of things can happen, good or bad but I like where we are right now as a team.”