Friday's Real Deal in the Rock opener was more than five minutes old before the Joe Johnson Arkansas Hawks scored their first field goal.
Scoring, however, was not a problem for the tournament's host the rest of the way.
Baptist Prep junior Issac McBride collected 14 of his game-high 17 points in the second half as the Hawks easily dispatched River City Hoops of Wichita, Kan., 71-40 in U17 pool play at P.A.R.K.
"We played hard, and I'm not worried about the shooting part. We'll pick that up," said tournament director and Hawks Coach Bill Ingram. "Call it first-game jitters. ... Now that we've gotten that first game under our belts we can tighten the rings a little bit. I've got a feeling we'll play better."
The Hawks collected 32 rebounds -- 24 on the defensive end -- in turning Friday's contest into a rout. River City led 6-5 early but the Hawks responded by scoring the next nine points.
"We need to come out better the next time," said McBride, who has led Baptist Prep to three consecutive Class 4A state tournament championships. "We hesitated on some of our shots. Our shooters missed on shots they usually make. But the important thing is that we came out in the second half and played a lot better."
The Hawks scored their first five points from the free-throw line. Little Rock Christian's Justice Hill made a break-away layup with 9:50 remaining in the first half to give the Hawks their first field goal.
Airion Simmons, a 6-4 junior forward from Little Rock Parkview, came up with 5 rebounds and 2 steals in the first half to help the Hawks take a 36-18 advantage going into the game's final 15 minutes. He finished with 6 rebounds, 6 points, 2 steals and 2 assists.
"He's a talented kid," Ingram said of Simmons. "He understands the game. He's a great rebounder, and he's lost about 10 or 15 pounds. He's got a chance to be really good. I'm excited for him to see how he finishes up this summer."
"We do box-out drills every day," Simmons said. "He wants the guards to rebound. He wants everybody to rebound. We just crash the glass as much as possible."
McBride connected on a three-pointer from the left corner with 9:31 remaining to put the Hawks on top 57-30. Two minutes later, he completed a three-point play to give the Hawks a 30-point lead.
"Coach Bill encourages everybody to get the ball out and go," McBride said. "Basically what we're doing is working on the stuff that most teams don't like to do. That's why we get so many rebounds. I think that is what's going to carry us. Even if we have those bad starts, if we box out, rebound and play good defense we'll end up with something positive."
Kevin Cross, a 6-6 junior forward from Mills, and Allen Flanigan, a 6-5 junior guard from Parkview, each added 10 points. Flanigan scored eight of his points and grabbed five rebounds in the second half. Mills 6-1 freshman Madison Peaster put in nine points.
The Hawks are scheduled to play Monroe Elite at 11:15 a.m. today in pool play. Bracket play begins at 4:40 p.m.
Real Deal in the Rock
TODAY’S 17U SCHEDULE
P.A.R.K. COURT 1
Monroe Elite vs. River City Hoops, 8 a.m.
Team OSAG vs. Missouri Showtime, 9:05 a.m.
MemphisHoopers.com vs. Game Elite Gold, 10:10 a.m.
Joe Johnson Hawks vs. Monroe Elite, 11:15 a.m.
Atlanta Celtics Green vs. Team B.G.M, 12:20 p.m.
P.A.R.K. COURT 2
Mansfield Trojans vs. Superstars, 8 a.m.
Team B.G.M. vs. Mid-South Kings, 9:05 a.m.
Derrick Favors Atlanta Celtics vs. Mississippi Thunder, 10:10 a.m.
Soldierz Supreme vs. Mansfield Trojans, 11:15 a.m.
Arkansas Pacers vs. Team OSAG, 12:20 p.m.
P.A.R.K COURT 3
Game Elite Black vs. M33M Silver, 8 a.m.
Team PTM vs. Arkansas Tri-County Rockets, 9:05 a.m.
Arkadelphia Bulldogs vs. Game Elite Black, 10:10 a.m.
Arkansas Kings vs. Westside Bulls Black, 11:15 a.m.
Team Magic Elite vs. Team PTW, 12:20 p.m.
McClellan High School
Westside Bulls vs. M33M Elite, 8 a.m.
TODAY’S 16U SCHEDULE
HALL HIGH SCHOOL
Westside Bulls Red vs. Texas Pride, 8 a.m.
NEA Bandits vs. Team OSAG, 9:05 a.m.
SMA Trojans vs. Texas Elite, 10:10 a.m.
Louisiana Heat vs. HIS Hoops, 11:15 a.m.
M33M Elite vs. SMA: Trojans, 12:20 p.m.
Mississippi Thunder vs. Louisiana Heat, 1:25 p.m.
Texas Elite vs. M33M Elite, 3:35 p.m.
McCLELLAN HIGH SCHOOL (4)
NTX Crush vs. Arkansas 3D, 9:05 a.m.
M33M Select vs. Arkansas Wings, 10:10 a.m.
Rafer Alston/FBA Elite vs. The Shock, 11:15 a.m.
Arkansas Thunder vs. Showtime, 1:25 p.m.
McCLELLAN HIGH SCHOOl (5)
Showtime vs. Game Elite Black, 10:10 a.m.
Team Magic Elite vs. Westside Bulls Red, 11:15 a.m.
Arkansas Magic 2020 vs. NEA Bandits, 12:20 p.m.
Team South vs. M33M Select, 1:25 p.m.
FAIR HIGH SCHOOL
HIS Hoops vs. Mississippi Thunder, 9:05 a.m.
P.A.R.K. COURT 3
Arkansas Heat vs. NTX Crush, 1:25 p.m.
P.A.R.K. COURT 2
M33M Silver vs. Rafer Alston/FBA Elite, 1:25 p.m.
Sports on 04/07/2018
Print Headline: Hawks' offense picks up