Camillus Saleem Lewis didn’t even want to dribble. Michael Henry knew it.
Lewis’ eyes darted around the floor as he tentatively crossed midcourt. Lewis was fast approaching Henry at the top of West Genesee’s 1-3-1 zone, and Lewis had no intentions of trying to beat him off the dribble.
“You can smell the fear once they’re getting up the court,” Michael Lewis said. “Before they even pass it, you can see it in their eyes. They don’t even want to dribble with the pressure.”
Knees crouched and turned sideways, the 6-foot-3 Henry extended his arms. He read Lewis’ pass, leapt to make the steal and took off down the court for a layup just 48 seconds into regulation.
The play was a microcosm of both WG's triumphs and Rome Free Academy’s failures during the Wildcats' 77-35 rout in Thursday night's home opener in Camillus.
Henry keyed the halfcourt trap by pressuring the ballhandler, invading passing lanes and disrupting the overall flow of RFA's offense. He forced five steals in the first quarter alone as WG (2-0) ran out 29-4 lead in the game’s first 7:30, frustrating the Black Knights' guards each trip down the floor.
Henry and forward Trevor Smith led the Wildcats with 15 points while 6'7" center Shane Temara scored 12 and swingman Phil Allen added seven points.
“We’re a long team,” WG head coach Fred Kent said. “We’re long and lengthy. The guys are getting it and buying in, and it looked pretty good tonight.”
The potency and efficiency of the trap was apparent from the opening whistle. Henry picked Lewis’ pocket on each of RFA's first two possessions before Smith stepped in form of a pass to Rome’s Julius Berry and snapped a two-handed overhead outlet pass the length of the court to Henry for an easy lay-up.