O’Hara rounding into form after win over Interboro

RIDLEY >> A season ago, Jaye’Lyn Peebles was likely to be the name jumping off the page of a Cardinal O’Hara boxscore, with his propensity for offensive outbursts. Just as often, though, that game would go down as an O’Hara setback.

This season, under new coach Jason Harrigan, Peebles’ role is similar. But individually and collectively, the Lions have developed a new degree of consistency, which showed through in Wednesday’s 60-41 win over Interboro in the consolation game of the Ridley Holiday Tournament.

Peebles, who didn’t start by coach’s decision, poured in his obligatory 17 points, his eighth straight double-figure game to begin the season. But needing just 12 field-goal attempts, Peebles managed to produce his points within the framework of a balanced and productive O’Hara offense, his personal rising tide lifting all the O’Hara boats.

Through eight games, Peebles’ scoring average has risen from last year’s mark at 18.8 points per game. He finished the 2015-16 season pouring in 15.5 points per contest, and stood at an even 17 by the end of last year’s holiday tournament, for a 4-5 O’Hara team that lost 11 of its last 13. Peebles is also accounting for a larger share of points (38.3 percent of O’Hara’s scoring as opposed to 37.4 a season ago).

But he’s doing so while more efficiently integrating those around him. Last season, only three Lions averaged greater than three points per game; this year, there are five. And Wednesday, all 10 Lions who saw the court scored, with eight recording field goals.

“It’s definitely different,” Peebles said. “We’re just trying to work with each other more, since this is a new coaching staff. Everybody’s working together to make good plays and win games.”

Harrigan, who arrived at O’Hara off a states berth with Del Val Charter, has harped on shot selection with Peebles. Given the maturation of a solid returning corps, Peebles doesn’t have to force the issue in the lane or hoist rash 3-pointers.

If shots are there, Harrigan encourages him to capitalize. But incorporating others into the offense is just as valuable.

“We rate the shots, what’s a good shot, what’s a bad shot, and just making sure that he understands we have to do what’s best for the team at all times,” Harrigan said. “I think he has accepted that and he has grown over the last five games.”

Wednesday, Peebles made an instant impact off the bench, scoring eight first-quarter points in a frame where the Lions (4-4) held a 17-2 edge that was never seriously jeopardized. Peebles hit his first four looks from the field and shot 7-for-12. Had he opted for the selfish course, there’s little doubt he could’ve attained a fourth 20-point game this season.

Instead, O’Hara stuck to its team principles, which will serve it best in the daunting Catholic League. Tripp Pierce, who battled first-half foul trouble, scored nine points to go with six rebounds. Taseer Jones added eight points and four assists. Kevin Reeves scored five of his six points in the first half.

Peebles still sprinkled in a few reckless drives to the hole, but more often than not, O’Hara yielded productive possessions.

“It’s more looking for balance because I know each of my teammates can score the ball more,” Peebles said. “I’m just looking for my teammates so that they can get the same buckets that I can.”

O’Hara received some resistance from Interboro (0-8), which nonetheless stretched its losing streak to 30 games and has won just one of its last 46 contests dating to the 2014-15 season. A night after Ridley held everyone but Albert Pewa scoreless in a 47-15 setback, the Bucs responded with more life.

Carley Jones scored 17 points, 15 in the fourth quarter, to go with nine rebounds. The total is a season high for a Buc.

“I came into this game with a different mindset,” Jones said. “I know I scored zero points last night, so I had to clear that out of my head, refresh and trust my teammate and trust my coaching staff, and the points came along.”
Pewa added 11 points and three assists. Ethan Herko chipped in six points.

In the championship game:

Southern 50, Ridley 47 >> Jimmy Bramwell sank six 3-pointers to tally a game-high 18 points, but Southern launched a 14-0 run in the third quarter to erase a nine-point Ridley lead and clinch the victory.

Damir Fleming and Migel gamble added 12 points apiece for Ridley (4-3).

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