By GREG MENGELT
In Charlestown’s season-opening win over Scottsburg, Aaron Daniel led the Pirates with 23 points.
In the home opener against Henryville, the Charlestown senior didn’t seem interested in scoring much at all.
Instead he opted to get teammates involved. The result was a balanced 76-35 victory over Henryville on Tuesday at Charlestown Sports Arena.
“I just took what was open,” Daniel said. “I know there are other games where I’m going to have to [score more]. I decided tonight to dish the ball to the guys who were open.”
“Aaron got into the lane and everyone came off of him,” senior forward Wesley Sexton said. “When they came off, it left me and other teammates open and Aaron decided to pass the ball.”
Daniel finished with 10 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. Charlestown coach Sean Smith pulled the starters with 4:27 left and Daniel two assists and two boards shy of a triple-double.
“I had no idea. Nobody told me. I probably would have kept him in,” Smith said. “I think he’s capable of doing that for us this year. He’s an unselfish player and he has some guys who can shoot around him.”
Led by Daniel, Charlestown finished with 21 assists on their 29 baskets. Ten different Pirates scored in the win. Eight of those players had at least three points.
“We’ve definitely played as a team our first two games out,” Daniel said. “Hopefully, we keep that up and it will help us down the road.”
“In practice, we run practice [passing] a lot,” Sexton said. “We always pass up a good shot for a great shot.”
Smith said he loved that Daniel wanted to get his teammates involved. However, against the area’s top teams — like Friday’s opponent, Class 2A No. 5 Clarksville — he will need Daniel and Chris Braun, who had a team-high 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting and 3-of-3 from behind the 3-point line on Tuesday, to be the Pirates’ go-to players.
“We had good overall distribution,” Smith said. “But at the end of the day, [Daniel] can Chris will have to be the ones who score for us and create for other people.”
Charlestown (2-0) jumped out to a 16-0 lead before a Landon Guthrie 3-pointer finally got the Hornets on the board with 1:35 left in the opening quarter.
A Cody Reister putback got Henryville within 19-5. But Braun nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Pirates led 22-5 at the end of the first quarter.
Henryville (0-4) had six turnovers in the opening period, including five in the first 3 minutes and 2 seconds of the contest.
“It was those five turnovers. We keep talking about that,” Henryville first-year coach Dan Carmony said. “Those were so costly. They scored out of them. Then all of the sudden, it’s 16-0. Any time you dig yourself that hole, that’s a lot to overcome.”
Sexton dominated the second quarter with eight points and three offensive boards and the Pirates led 34-16 the break.
Sexton, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, finished the contest with 14 points, six rebounds, three steals, two blocks and an assist.
“We’re really excited about Wes returning to the program,” Smith said. “To have him back, gives us a piece that we’re missing — a bigger body who is athletic, can get on the board, can finish around the basket, who run the floor pretty well and he hustles. He’s going to be a nice piece to the puzzle.”
Henryville was led again by senior forward Tyler Collins. With 21 points, Collins has scored more than half of the Hornets’ points in each of their first four games.
“It’s what we are,” Carmony admitted. “He has to score for us to score points. I think he has to do that. We have to develop one or two more guys to go with him, then we’ll be much better.”
The Hornets will host 1-1 Austin on Friday, the same night of the Pirates’ showdown with 3-0 Clarksville.