The hot-shooting Warriors roast Heritage 80-42 in non-league play
by: JAIME VALDEZ, HIGH FLYER — Aloha senior AJ Stephenson flies to the hoop against Heritage High School last week.

ALOHA - Aloha couldn't miss.

And when Heritage of Vancouver, Wash., did nearly nothing but that in the second quarter of Friday's game, the Warriors just kept on pulling away.

Aloha shot 68 percent from the floor in the first half to build a 50-20 lead and cruised to a 80-42 victory over the Timberwolves at Aloha High School to improve to 6-7 overall with two games remaining before its Metro League opener.

Precision passing set up the Warriors' balanced attack with senior forward Michael Boswell leading Aloha with 21 points and senior Patrick Prince and junior Marcus Smith each adding 12 points, all of Smith's coming in the first half.

'I think we're pretty well-rounded,' Boswell said. 'Everybody's a threat on the court. We share the basketball.'

And most of the time, that led to a made shot on Friday.

The Warriors hit seven of their first nine attempts and were 13 of 18 in the first quarter to build a 29-16 lead. That only grew during a 21-4 second quarter as Aloha finished the first half having connected on all but one of its 18 shots inside the 3-point arc.

The Warriors never trailed, using a 12-0 run to build a 19-6 lead on senior Zach Parent's layin with 2 minutes, 48 seconds left in the first quarter. Senior A.J. Stephenson and the 6-foot-9 Boswell each had four points in the spurt, all in the paint including Stephenson's in-air putback following his own miss.

Aloha led 29-16 at the end of the first quarter after Boswell's three-point play with 0:15 left. The advantage only grew in the second quarter when Heritage went the first 5:19 without scoring and the Warriors ran off 10 straight points for a 39-16 lead when Prince sank a 10-footer near the right elbow.

Aloha also closed the first half on a 9-0 run which began with Parent's 3-pointer. Boswell later fought through a triple team and found Smith for a 3-pointer. Boswell capped the half with a jumper at the buzzer off an inbounds pass and the Warriors led 50-20 at the half behind an effective inside-out game.

'We use our strengths pretty well,' Boswell said. 'The open guy will get the shot most of the time.'

Open or not, the Timberwolves couldn't connect. Heritage shot just 27 percent from the floor in the first half and were 1 of 11 in the second quarter then 2 of 13 in the third as Aloha extended its lead to 66-25. Boswell and Prince dominated inside, exchanging a pair of buckets before two free throws by Parent capped a 10-0 run for a 60-20 lead.

Tyree Shired's 3-pointer with 2:30 left in the third gave the Timberwolves their first points of the second half after missing eight straight shots. The Warriors had no such trouble and put an exclamation point on the rout after an Alex Horton steal and long pass ahead to Boswell for a two-hand dunk and 66-25 lead with 0:02 left in the third quarter.

'It's always nice to win big,' Boswell said. 'Everybody got to play. It was great.'

Stephenson finished with 10 points, while Petter Overton-Harris had eight and Parent seven.

Aloha lost 67-64 to Battle Ground, Wash., on Tuesday and plays at Evergreen, Wash., on Friday in its final tune-up before opening Metro play Jan. 18 at Sunset.

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