COLUMBIA — A trio of Battle Spartans crowded Fr. Tolton Regional Catholic High School forward Michael Porter Jr. in the third quarter Friday, resembling a group of puppies hopping up on their owner’s leg.
Porter Jr. faced little resistance as he gently placed the ball in the basket for two of his 15 points as Tolton went on to defeat cross-town rival Muriel Williams Battle High School, 71-46.
“We can probably say this a lot, but we had a distinct size advantage,” Tolton coach Jeremy Osborne said. “We wanted to get shots in the paint and beat them up on the glass.”
It’s more than just Porter Jr. inside for Tolton. The Trailblazers have five players that are taller than Battle’s two tallest players, Octavius Johnson and Jadaunte’ Sutton, who both check in at 6-foot-4.
Porter Jr.’s younger brother Jontay, who is 6-foot-8, and senior center Josh Boyer, who is 6-foot-7, combined to score 20 points for the Trailblazers.A
“They’re long,” Battle coach John Burns said. “Not only inches and height but their arms are a little longer, too.”C
The height disparity was exemplified by Porter Jr., who at 6-foot-8, is a full foot taller than Battle’s best player, the 5-foot-8 Ostrander.
On Friday, the Trailblazers took full advantage of Battle's lack of height and led 35-20 by halftime.
Battle's Ostrander still performed well Friday, scoring 26 points, more than half of his team’s 46 points. His performance didn't go unnoticed by Tolton's coach.
“He’s got off-the-bus range,” Osborne said. “As soon as he steps off the bus, you’ve got to guard him.”
Unfortunately, the only other player in double digits for the Spartans was junior forward Jerrion Nelson. Nelson, who also played on Battle’s state-champion football team, scored 10 points in his first game this year.
Tolton improved to 5-0 with the victory. Battle fell to 2-4 with the loss.
The Spartans will have their chance to exact revenge on the Trailblazers when they travel to Tolton on Feb. 10.
Supervising editor Raymond Howze.