Young Arbor Prep team comes up short in rematch against Riverview Gabriel Richard
Arbor Prep may have been down by 15 to Riverview Gabriel Richard with less than four minutes left Friday.
But the way Arbor Prep plays -- fast-paced, pressure defense with multiple shooters on the floor at all times -- a comeback is almost never out of the question.
The Gators cut the deficit to five points on a quick rally and appeared capable of grabbing the lead, but couldn’t complete the comeback in a 63-55 loss Friday night at home.
“We put a lot of momentum into the second half. We were making a lot of shots,” Arbor Prep guard Michael Donatelli said.
Arbor Prep, a second-year school, plays a seven man rotation and features a roster that includes five freshmen and two sophomores.
And games like Friday night -- when the Gators show they can score in bunches, are short on depth and make a few too many mistakes -- still bode well for the future.
“This group, they’re going to be dangerous, they’re going to be lethal,” Arbor Prep coach Don Spencer said. “We’ve got to keep focusing on the positives. Big picture, big picture, big picture.”
Freshman Adrian Harrison led the Gators with 23 points, and Donatelli followed with 20, combining for nearly 80 percent of the Gators scoring.
Donatelli kept Arbor Prep in the game in the first half, when he scored 17 of his points. He also added a team-high nine rebounds on the night.
“Michael stuck around last night, got some extra shots up,” Spencer said. “We talked about him playing with a bigger sense of urgency, he’s a leader for us. I think he came out with a sense of purpose tonight. He really helped us out."
But in the final minute, it was Harrison who nearly brought the Gators all the way back. After a steal and a bucket with two minutes left, Harrison hit back-to-back 3’s in the final minute to cut the deficit to five.
Three Arbor Prep players -- Donatelli, Harrison, and Travon Gentles -- combined for nine total 3-pointers.
Riverview Gabriel Richard scored the first seven points of the game, and never trailed throughout. Arbor Prep got as close as four in the first half.
Friday marked the second time the two teams have faced off in the first four games of the season. Arbor Prep won the first game, 53-49, primarily by turning the ball over only four times. Friday, they turned it over 14 times.
“That’s not even a huge number for this group, but it’s when they occurred that made it seem like so much more,” Spencer said. “A pass here or a fumbled dribble there.”
But after watching his group of seven young players neary mount an improbable late game comeback, Spencer left pleased.
“All in all, we’re pleased with their effort,” Spencer said. “They played very hard.”