Rome Jenkins' 24 points lead Deer Park over Hills West
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The game comes easy for Rome Jenkins. At 6-7, the Deer Park big man is easy to find under the hoop for high-percentage shots.
Put him together with guards Aaren Edmead and Keith Williams, who can drive to the paint and draw extra defenders, and all Jenkins has to do is let the ball find him.
Jenkins scored 24 points on 12-for-17 shooting from the field Saturday to lead host Deer Park to an 86-57 League IV boys basketball win over Half Hollow Hills West.
"I really appreciate the guards setting me up right under the rim, which is where I do my damage," Jenkins said. "Without them, I don't know what I would really do, so I really appreciate them."
Jenkins, a senior, has scored in double-digits in all but two games this season and leads the Falcons in scoring at 18.4 points per game.
"He's very efficient," Deer Park coach John McCaffrey said. "He's an old-school post player who uses both his hands and has a soft touch. He's having a monster season and he's been our best player so far."
The Falcons (5-2, 4-0) all but won the game in the first quarter, opening a 32-11 lead. Williams (nine points), Edmead (nine) and Jenkins (eight) all played exceptionally well to spark the run.
Guarding Colts leading scorer Terry Harris, Williams stole the ball three times in the first quarter and converted each into a layup.
"We just wanted to get after him," said Williams, who scored 15 points. "Whenever we could, we would poke at the ball from behind so he loses it. We just tried to get him off his game."
Edmead scored from everywhere in the first half, knocking down pull-up jumpers, drilling deep three-pointers and getting to the free-throw line.
"For the last couple days, Coach has been telling me to be more aggressive," Edmead said. "So I came out today with an aggressive mind-set, and if I'm aggressive, it helps the team out."
Williams and Edmead did a great job finding Jenkins in the post, including one instance in which Williams fired a no-look pass to a wide-open Jenkins for a layup.
The Falcons took a 51-30 lead into the break on Williams' buzzer-beating three-pointer. Jenkins had 16 points, Edmead 14 and Williams 12 in the half.
"When we have Rome, Aaren and Keith and everyone clicking, we can be a tough team to beat," McCaffrey said.
Deer Park opened its largest lead at 74-41 with a little more than seven minutes left in the fourth on a tip-in by Karon Blackwell (10 points).
Marcus Solomon led Hills West (3-2, 3-1) with 19 points. Jamir Blackman had 18 points and Harris 13.
Despite the dominant win, the Falcons know they have more work to do if they want to reach their goal of a county title.
"We have to stay humble and finish out the season the way we're supposed to," Jenkins said. "We can't let this type of win get to our heads because we know they're a good team, so they'll be back. We just have to stay focused and keep looking forward."