Wesleyan Christian (N.C.) getting it done by committee after Harry Giles' departure

Kwe Parker is taking on a bigger leadership role for the Trojans. (Photo: 247 Sports)

Kwe Parker is taking on a bigger leadership role for the Trojans. (Photo: 247 Sports)

RALEIGH, N.C. – In July when Kwe Parker learned that his friend and teammate Harry Giles III was transferring to Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) for his senior season, he was conflicted about his emotions.

On one hand, Parker wanted to finish out his high school career with Giles at Wesleyan Christian (High Point, N.C.), but he also saw Giles’ absence as a chance for Parker and the rest of his teammates to take on a bigger roles.

Giles, a Duke signee, is ranked No. 1 overall in the ESPN 100.

“From a personal standpoint, I wanted to play with my friend, but from a basketball perspective I knew it was a chance for us all to step up and show what we could do even more,” said Parker, a Tennessee signee. “We knew that we’d have to get it done together.”

That cohesion worked out well Monday at the High School OT Holiday Invitational as the Trojans rolled past Carlisle School (Axton, Va.) 85-49.

The Trojans, the defending HSOT Invitational champions, had five players score in double figures.

“That’s how we want to play,” coach Keith Gatlin said. “Our team this year is one where you can’t key in in one guy and that makes us even tougher to defend. We don’t have that one guy that you know the ball is going to.”

Last season, Giles led the Trojans to a 30-5 record and a state independent schools 3A runner-up finish, averaging 23 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks a game. He was subsequently the only underclassmen named to the American Family Insurance ALL-USA first team.

Giles tore his ACL in this year’s season opener at Oak Hill and transferred back home to rehab and take online classes at Forest Trail Academy (Kernersville, N.C.).

RELATED: Watch Kwe Parker tear the house down at City of Palms Dunk Contest

Gatlin said while he “loved” having Giles on the floor his presence made the Trojans predictable.

“Everyone knew the ball was going to Harry,” Gatlin said. “And rightfully so, he’s a great player and he takes over the game, but now it could be one of five or so guys that can hurt you. That’s tough.”

Carlisle coach Jason Niblett said he noticed the difference in this year’s Trojans, but added that they’re equally effective.

“They’re still a great team,” Niblett said. “They depended a lot on Harry last year and this year everyone’s chipping in. It’s tough because they’ve got so many guys that can hurt you.”

Jalen Johnson, a Tennessee signee who led the Trojans with 16 points in the win, said that while Wesleyan’s method might have changed their goal is the same.

“Even without Harry, we’re still trying to win it all,” Johnson said. “We just came together and we all share the ball and try and dominate that way.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY

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