Aldridge’s career-high leads LaBrae past Windham

WINDHAM – When Peyton Aldridge stepped onto Marty Hill Court at Windham High School on Tuesday night, he came out and treated it like another day at the office, giving an effort LaBrae coach Chad Kiser sees every day.

While the effort was routine, the results were anything but, as the 6-foot-8 senior posted a new career-high in points with 34, grabbed 13 rebounds and came one steal away from recording a triple-double in LaBrae’s 76-27 rout of Windham. He scored from all over the floor, including shots from well beyond the arc and one successful alley-oop attempt halfway through the second quarter.

“It wasn’t like he played outside of his capabilities,” Kiser said. “It was a normal day. We see it everyday in practice. That’s a normal effort for him right there. It’s not like that was some supernatural form – it’s just something he comes out and does every night.”

To go along with his offensive prowess, Aldridge also played a big role for the Vikings (2-0) on the defensive side, disrupting Windham’s half-court game.

The Bombers (1-3) shot less than 25 percent from the field and committed 29 turnovers, with 21 of those turnovers coming off LaBrae steals. With Aldridge always a threat to block a shot, Windham didn’t attempt many shots in the paint, and if they held the ball around the perimeter, he affected the passing lanes.

“He just does so well of moving and anticipating and getting his long arms out, getting tips,” Kiser said. “Once people are able to attack us, just his presence alone with the threat of blocking a shot affects (opponents). We need him to have games like that, that’s for sure.”

Aldridge, meanwhile, complemented his teammates, who stepped up and had some good days themselves.

Sophomore guard Grant Sprague scored all of his 11 points in the second quarter with nine coming off 3-pointers, and senior forward Marcell Richardson dropped 10 points. Justin Jenkins handled the ball well, dishing out three assists, and collected two steals on the defensive end.

“It’s great when they step up because it helps us and it also gives them a boost mentally, knowing they can play,” Aldridge said. “We know they can play, they just got to step in and do it. A little nervous in the first game, I feel like they stepped in and played a lot better this game, and hopefully, it just keeps going.”

Windham had few bright spots in the loss, never being closer than three points at the 4:20 mark in the first quarter and being outscored 51-18 over the final three quarters.

“We just had no leadership out there tonight, and that goes back to me as a coach,” Windham coach Marty Hill said. “We have to play better as a group. We didn’t play as a group – we played like a bunch of individuals tonight. Hopefully in the long run, this will be good for us, teach us a lesson about how we’ve got to play together better.”

For a team that graduated seven seniors from the year before, Kiser said the Vikings are still trying to figure out everybody’s role on the team, but he’s content from what he’s seen through two games.

“We’re looking for consistency now,” Kiser said. “Obviously, two games in, we’ve got a long ways to go and a lot of things we’ve got to improve on.”