Freshman jitters don’t exist for Seattle Prep freshman Aaron Nettles.
With less than a minute to play, the 5-foot-10 guard raced around frantically as the shot clock ticked down. He collected himself and drained a three-pointer to give Seattle Prep its first lead of the game with 28 seconds remaining and an eventual 50-46 win over Class 3A No. 3 O’Dea on Friday.
Seattle Prep coach Michael Kelly insisted Nettles’ inexperience was helpful instead of a hindrance when the game was on the line.
“At halftime, we had said that Aaron Nettles and Peter Cormier were just young enough not to be caught up in the moment,” Kelly said. “The rest of our team was a little caught up in the tradition and moment of O’Dea-Prep and making it bigger than what it needed it to be. I thought Aaron played loose.”
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In the third quarter, Nettles toyed with the shot clock when he got the ball, shook his hands and head in frustration, and proceeded to nail a three before the shot-clock buzzer rang. He finished with a game-high 16 points for the Panthers (6-4, 4-2 Metro League Mountain Division) and had four three-pointers.
After racing out to a 6-1 lead in the first quarter, O’Dea (6-4, 5-1) seemed to have a firm grasp on the game. The Irish led 22-19 at the half and pushed its advantage to seven with 3:25 left in the third quarter.
O’Dea senior Jacob Lampkin had ten first-half points, pacing the Irish, who were able to outrebound the Panthers heavily. Lampkin ended the game with 11 points and 12 rebounds, and fellow forward Jamar Kemp had eight rebounds and four points.
Irish senior Tyler Kidd flashed athleticism and touch, hitting a couple of shot-clock beaters of his own and scoring 15 points. He was in control of the game until Nettles took charge.
Junior Jordan Kitchen had eight points for Seattle Prep, six of which came in the fourth quarter, as well as five boards.
“There will be some graduates of Prep and O’Dea in the 50’s that are buying breakfast for the other guy because of a particular team winning tonight,” Kelly said. “There wouldn’t be a better game to start the new year off.”