ARLINGTON -- Starting their season against a state-finalist in Rochester, the Arlington Memorial High School boys basketball team knew Game 1 would be a battle.
"We talked about being ready before the game, that the first four minutes would be big," said Arlington coach Chris Taft.
Rochester started the game on an 11-2 run en route to a 66-40 victory on Saturday.
"We needed to compete right away and [Rochester] was ready," Taft said. "I don’t think we were the whole first half."
Rochester (3-1) was led by senior star Pavin Parrish, who torched the Eagles (0-1) for 27 points and 15 rebounds, seemingly getting to the basket at will. Derick Gendron also had a solid day, burying three 3-pointers as part of a 16-point effort.
Parrish started immediately, creating havoc on the defensive end and turning it into points on the transition. After he found fellow senior Travis Ainsworth for an 11-2 lead, Gendron nailed back-to-back threes for an 18-7 advantage after one quarter.
"Derek, when his shot is on, it’s beautiful," said Rochester coach Earl Kingsbury. "He hit 3 shots in the corner, that boosts his confidence a lot."
The second quarter was no better for the Eagles as Parrish scored 12 of his 27 and staked Rochester to a 44-20 lead.
"I gave them a spirited halftime speech," Taft said. "I know they [can do it], pulling it out of them is the tough part. It’s about managing young minds as much as Xs and Os."
Arlington sophomore Austin Hawley tried to keep the Eagles in the game after the slow start, finishing with 17 points on a number of scoop shots and drives to the baskets.
On most possessions, Hawley and Parrish battled on both ends of the floor.
"The energy level was good, Pavin vs Austin is a good matchup," Kingsbury said.
But Parrish and the Rockets were too strong, extending the lead to as many as 32 before cruising in the fourth quarter.
"We had a couple lackadaiscal games [in the Proctor tournament], so we’ve been working on defense. This was by far our best game of the season," Kingsbury said.
Rochester had a nice game at the free throw line as well, going 15-for-20, while Arlington struggled with a 5-for-16 performance at the charity stripe.
"They attacked the hoop and were aggressive, and we’re a young team, I think we were hesistant a little bit," Taft said. "I think we have a lot of room to grow, you want to play your best basketball in February. It’s only December."
Kingsbury said the potential is obvious for the Eagles going forward this season.
"They’re a young squad with nice energy and by the end of the season, they’re just another team I don’t want to face [in the playoffs]," Kingsbury said.