Trash talk is nothing new to Aquille Carr — or sports — in general.
He's notorious for running his mouth on the court and Saturday at Henry A. Wise High School for the DMV Tip-Off Classic, second-ranked Riverdale Baptist did some talking of its own by letting the 5-foot-7 Princeton Day star guard know early on what was going to happen when he came through the lane.
“They told me every time I come in there I was going to get hit,” said Carr. “I was going to see how true it was every time I went in there.”
Carr eventually made it to the free thow line 16 times — making 13 of them — and he added 12 more points from the field in No. 3 Princeton Day's 65-62 win over Riverdale.
“I just really wanted to get the job done,” said Carr, who is now averaging 25.5 points per game. “It was me just getting my team a 'W.' It was just all about the win today.”
If there were ever a game the Red Storm needed a victory over a tough opponent, it was Saturday. Princeton Day, playing a schedule that coach Van Whitfield calls “murderer's row,” recorded consecutive losses to Baltimore's top-ranked team, St. Frances, and the country's top-ranked team, Huntington Prep, before rebounding with wins over Cesar Chavez and Perry Street Prep.
But their season lacked a signature win and that may have been what they got Saturday night.
“We just jelling together now,” Carr said. “It's just all coming along. Our bigs are starting to play much better, way better, so we going to get it done.”
Per usual, a packed gymnasium greeted Carr and company, but it was unusually quiet as both teams' offenses completely disappeared in the first quarter. Princeton Day, which has eclipsed 100 points three times already this season and averages more than 80 per game, managed just eight points in the first quarter. Luckily for the Red Storm, Riverdale Baptist, which had played eight hours earlier, wasn't much better, scoring 10.
“We came out a little flat-footed,” Carr said.
That typically doesn't bode well for Princeton Day. Prior to Saturday, the Red Storm were 1-3 when scoring less than 70 points. But Carr and senior Anton Waters would combine for 15 in a 24-point second quarter and Princeton Day jumped out to a 32-21 halftime lead.
But with 5 minutes, 7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the Red Storm up by seven, Carr's talk on the court finally caught up with him. He got tangled with Riverdale Baptist's Robert Tyler and offered to help him up. Tyler declined, which prompted Carr to begin jawing.
“I lost my head a little bit,” he said, shaking his head but grinning. “I was trying to be nice and help him up. But he was just trying to slide away so you know I said something to him and the referee, I guess he just said I didn't need to say something to him so he gave me a tech.”
Riverdale would draw to within one twice, the first on a Chinanu Onuaku bucket and the second on an and-one finish from Marquis Powell, but that's as close as it would come. Xavier Johnson, Emmanuel Omogbo and Carr would hit four free throws down the stretch that eventually extended the lead to three.
“You come out, Aquille plays hard and he plays with a lot of passion,” Whitfield said. “He's the engine. He played a smart ball game. He really executed every time we asked him to get into the middle of their defense … He did a good job with that.”
Princeton Day Academy 65, Riverdale Baptist 62
Princeton Day (7-3) 8 24 15 18—65
Riverdale Baptist (6-6) 10 11 19—62
Princeton Day—Aquille Carr 25; Brandon Better 15; Anton Waters 11; Emmanuel Omogbo 9; Jabbar Vaughn 4; Malik Kuwornu 1.
Riverdale Baptist—Khary Doby 14; Robert Tyler 11; Marquis Powell 11; Nigel Johnson 7; Chinanu Onuaku 6; Raeece Hunt 5; Ronald Whitaker 4; Carlton Carter 4; Javae Lampkins 2.