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PRINCETON: Morales at home helping Raiders

By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
Jose Morales decided to come to Princeton a year early and it is paying dividends for himself and the Hun School boys basketball team.
Coming out of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Morales committed to play for Princeton University. But the point guard decided that maybe another year of seasoning would benefit him before he joined the Tigers.
“I committed into Princeton at the beginning of my senior year and thought a prep school year would benefit me,” said Morales, who was an all-state selection in Florida. “What better prep school to go to for that the Princeton prep school. Now I know the area and how things work around here. I have a few eating spots already picked out. When I get to Princeton, I will be like the guy who has already been there.
“I have gone to a few games and hung out with the guys so I already feel at home.”
Morales is also feeling more at home with the Raiders. He missed some of the early part of the season with an injury, but has returned to help Hun to a 7-7 record. Morales had 17 points on Tuesday as the Raiders rallied for a 68-66 win over Lawrenceville in double overtime.
“It was super exciting and exhausting,” Morales said of the win. “We went to double overtime and it was a battle the whole way. We had to fight back most of the game. We led a little in the first quarter and then we got our second lead going into the fourth quarter. The MAPL is pretty competitive. The Blair game got away from us. We know every game you have to be ready to play or you’ll have a game like the Blair game where they will embarrass you.”
Niall Carpenter led the Raiders with 22 points, while Austin Harriott had 14, including a three-pointer at the end of the first overtime to force a second overtime. Tyler Washington hit a key free throw in the closing seconds to seal the win. For Morales, the Hun experience has been a positive one.
“At the beginning I was hurt and missed a few games,” he said. “But I have been able to slowly work my way in. Guys have made it easier for me by playing well. They made it so I didn’t have to rush back. I didn’t feel pressure to come back because we have some good guys.”
His addition has given the Raiders a steady ballhandler as well as a shooter who can help when scoring is needed.
“Jose got hurt in our second scrimmage and also missed the Mercersburg game,” Hun coach Jon Stone said. “But he has the ability to do multiple things. He can pass the ball and shoot it and score. He can be a very good scorer.”
The Raiders are 2-2 in Mid-Atlantic Prep League play, with three of the four games decided by two points or less. The win over Lawrenceville came after a disappointing one-point loss on the road against Mercersburg.
“We would have liked to have won the Blair and Mercersburg games,” Morales said. “We will probably get to see those two teams again and hopefully get a chance to redeem ourselves.”
After missing a couple of games early in the season, Morales has fit in nicely since his return to the lineup. With so many injuries this season the Raiders have needed to adjust, and Morales has adjusted right along with them.
“At my old school I had been there four years and was used to the system and the way things were done,” said Morales, who is averaging a shade under 16 points per game. “I am adjusting for this one year. It has been not too bad but it has been a change. Basketball is still basketball but we have different terminology and different things we like to do. At times I’ll like to fall back on what I had done before. Coach Stone has been great about it and getting guys to fit in in a short period of time. He got us to gel pretty quickly.
“We have a few more games beside the league games. I don’t really know the teams or the guys but I know whatever Coach Stone puts in front of us to get us ready for that stretch run will get us ready for the tournament games coming up at the end of the year.”
The Raiders have a tough remaining schedule before heading into the state and MAPL tournaments. The win over Lawrenceville was the first time the team has been healthy and together for a game, which is hopefully a good sign to come.
“It has been a tough season injury wise,” Stone said. “We have talent and it took a little while to figure out each other. We still have not had that much time to practice due to injuries but we are getting there.
“Technically we have everybody healthy right now. So we’ll see how it goes from here.” 

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