ST. PETERSBURG — There was a lot to cheer Thursday night at the Devil's Den: John Henson being introduced, John Henson swatting shots and John Henson slamming two-handed breakaway dunks.
It was a night to root for the Sickles senior, a 6-foot-10 power forward who already has committed to North Carolina.
Henson was the main attraction and one of the few players worth cheering as his Gryphons dismantled St. Petersburg 65-35.
"I think our guys were rattled and maybe in awe of the fact that a big-time basketball player was in the gym," Green Devils coach Chris Blackwell said.
Henson was splendid, occasionally dominant and hardly had to exert himself in a game that was never really close. He finished with 14 points and didn't play most of the fourth quarter.
"We were just outplayed," Blackwell said. "They whipped us tonight."
The game started out close as Sickles (5-2) held on to a 5-4 lead.
Then came the onslaught.
The Gryphons went on a 10-0 run to close out the first quarter with a 15-4 lead.
And Sickles displayed some balance with every starter but Henson scoring in the first.
"Whenever we play at St. Petersburg, they usually get off to a good start," Sickles coach Renaldo Garcia said. "But we were able to make some plays, stay focused and play good basketball on both ends of the floor."
Henson did most of his damage in the second and third quarters. By then, the Gryphons were ahead 52-29.
That allowed Garcia to empty the bench. In all, the Gryphons had 11 players score, including three in double figures.
St. Petersburg (3-2) was led by Javarius Murry and Allen Wilson, who each scored eight points.
"We were a little shaky out there, but we'll bounce back," Blackwell said.
Bob Putnam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4169.