For the first time since 2020, the Jordan-Matthews men’s basketball team won its regular season opener, beating River Mill at home Friday, 67-54.
The Jets put out one of its best offensive performances in recent memory, controlling the tempo with multiple transition baskets and finding success through its new addition, Brennen Oldham, in half-court sets.
Oldham, a junior, transferred from Chatham Charter this offseason.
“It feels good,” Jordan-Matthews head coach Rodney Wiley said about the win. “I’m happy for the guys. They’ve put a lot of work in the last couple of weeks in practice just preparing for this.”
Jordan-Matthews got off to a hot start, going up 9-0 two minutes into the game. The Jets fed Oldham early as he took a team-high six shots in the first quarter, making three of them for nine points including free throws.
“In the first quarter, I was locked in,” Oldham said.
The Jets looked to run its offense through Oldham, giving him the ball in the post where he could either score or draw in River Mill’s defense and kick it open teammates. Jordan-Matthews did a good job of moving the ball around for open opportunities, especially in the second quarter when more three-point shots opened up.
“(Oldham) loves to pass the ball once he gets it,” Wiley said. “He’s not going to just go to the hole and not get it back out.”
Sophomore guard Sean Price made two threes in the second quarter, including one at the halftime buzzer that put Jordan-Matthews up, 45-25.
Ironically, one of the biggest challenges for the Jets Friday night was defending the three-pointer.
River Mill, especially its shooting guard, David Wood, began to heat up from beyond the arc in the second half. That helped the Jaguars cut the deficit to under 20 points in the third quarter, and they came within 15 points in the game’s final minutes.
“Starting out, we wanted to get up on the shooters, (Wood) and No. 23, and make them drivers,” Wiley said. “We kind of did that in different sections of the game. First, they got some threes off, and they especially got some off in the third quarter that we were disappointed about (regarding) our defense. That’s something we have to go back to the drawing board and work on.”
Despite a few defensive breakdowns, the Jets were able to continue putting points on the board in the second half by running a half-court strategy similar to the first half. This time, River Mill’s physical play on Oldham and other Jets in the paint led to more free throw opportunities.
Oldham, who also recorded five rebounds and five steals on top of his 14 points, wasn’t the only Jet that had a stellar opening night. Senior Kelton Fuquay led the team in scoring with 16 points in addition to six rebounds and three steals.
Although he’s new to the team, Oldham looked comfortable in his role and fit in well alongside his teammates. He said he played with many of them prior to high school.
“I’ve been playing with all of them since I was a little kid,” Oldham said. “I knew how all of them played. I came to games to watch them sometimes, so it was pretty easy getting together with everybody and just playing ball.”
Starting the season with a win is a new feeling for many players on this year’s Jordan-Matthews squad, but they’re feeling good about what they can become this season.
“We’re very underrated,” Oldham said. “Everybody’s sleeping on us. We’re surprising a lot of people.”