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Basketball: Filling new role – Horton thrives in move from bench to starter

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, December 17, 2016
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The past two seasons, Andrew Horton provided a spark for the Bridgeport Bulls off the bench with his ability to knock down perimeter shots or make hustle plays inside.

Horton earned All-Wise County Sixth Man of the Year last season shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc and scoring 4.8 points per game.

NOW STARTING – Bridgeport’s Andrew Horton has made a seamless transition in his move from sixth man to starter this season. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

This year, the junior has been thrust into a new role. He’s counted on to provide a spark, not from the bench, but from the starting tip. It’s a role he’s quickly thrived in, scoring 16.4 points per game with 5.4 rebounds.

While his role and minutes have changed, Horton’s approach has not.

“I still bring the same amount of energy whether it’s starting or coming on as the sixth man,” he said. “That’s how I thought about it last year, when I got my chance to come on, I wanted to bring energy. I just use that now at the start of the game and come out with as much energy as I can.”

Over the past several games, Horton has started to catch fire. He scored 26 on Tuesday in a 57-52 loss to Saginaw. At last weekend’s tournament in Nacogdoches, Horton averaged 18.

While leading the way in scoring over the past couple of weeks, Bridgeport coach Alan Green points out that Horton remains steady and with the same approach.

“He’s a great kid and one you never have to worry about. He’s about doing what’s best for us as a team,” Green said. “He has the most experience from playing with those seniors from last year.

“The biggest difference for him has been coming in off the bench to now being the guy that people are keying on.”

Horton has tried to adapt to that. He’s dishing out 3.2 assists per game.

“I use that to create for my teammates and get them open shots and get everyone involved,” Horton said. “That’s probably the biggest difference going from sixth man to starter, I’ve always had people create the opportunities for me to score. Now, I have to do that for my teammates.”

On the defensive end, nothing has changed. Horton continues to try to body up opponents and create turnovers.

“He wants to play defense,” Green said.

Horton adds: “I view defense as the biggest accomplishment. I’d rather get the defensive MVP than the offensive MVP.”

After playing on a state title team as a freshman and helping the Bulls to a second straight district title last season, Horton expects his Bridgeport squad to compete in 9-4A. Bridgeport is off to a 6-9 start.

“It’s like coach said at the beginning of the year,” Horton said. “It’s a marathon and not a sprint. We knew there were going to be rough times going into it. We’re trying to peak at district and be our best when district starts.”

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