Peddie School of Hightstown, N.J., kind of likes the blue print for success in the Crescent Bank Holiday Invitational that Fayette County (Ga.) has established.
Fayette County (Ga.) won the 2008 tournament title with a championship-game victory over Peddie a year after losing in the final game.
If the Falcons reach the title game for a second consecutive year, they could see Fayette County again considering the defending champs have already won two games to reach the semifinals.
Peddie took the first step Saturday with a 57-41 win over Parkway Academy of Miramar, Fla., in its tournament opener at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
"Our intentions were to take care of the first game and that's what we did," Peddie coach Sean Casey said.
Peddie (3-0) entered the holiday tournament with a seeming disadvantage, having played only two games this season compared to the six or more played by most teams in the event.
The two games, however, were wins over nationally-recognized schools from the Baltimore area - Bishop McNamara and Seton Keough, a USA Today top-10 team. The Falcons returned four of essentially six starters from last year's runner-up team, which won the program's 13th consecutive New Jersey independent school state title.
"We did the same thing last year with a couple games under our belt," Casey said. " . . . We'd like to [have more], but we have to deal with it and fortunately we have a lot of good senior leaders who have been through a lot of battles for us and know how to compete and what to expect."
The Falcons got 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting - including 4-of-6 on 3-pointers - five assists and two steals from 5-8 senior point guard and Holy Cross commitment Alex Smith, 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals from 6-3 senior forward and Duke commitment Haley Peters, and nine points, 10 rebounds and three steals from 5-10 senior forward Bridgette McKnight on Saturday.
Included in the vast experience Peddie's senior leaders have to draw from is last year's visit to Myrtle Beach.
"It makes it easier when you're comfortable with where you're playing and all the things you're going to do during the week," Peters said. "It was our intention last year to win it too, and being a senior and we have a pretty big senior class, that's our goal, is to win."
A young Parkway team with only three seniors on the roster tried to speed up the game's pace with pressure man-to-man defense and some trapping, but couldn't get Peddie out of its calculated game.
"Somehow they're still just as fundamental as they always are and take their time," said Parkway coach Adam Hopkins, whose team lost to Peddie in the Crescent Bank Invitational last year.
"We like to run, too," Casey said. "We just don't want to let them run, so I think our kids did a nice job limiting their opportunities to get in transition."
Parkway (9-2) was without the full services of starting senior point guard Dijanelle Fowler, who twister her ankle in practice Friday. Sophomore Destiny Jones had Panther team highs with nine points and five rebounds.