By Ben Sheridan / Scrimmageplaycva.com contributor
Coming off of a loss in the Prep League championship game Saturday, St. Anne’s-Belfield boys basketball was working on doing whatever they could to prevent that same result happening again in its VISAA Division I first round game Tuesday night.
Fortunately for them, the work paid off as they found a way to beat St. John Paul the Great 89-76 and advanced to the VISAA D1 state quarterfinals.
To get there, the Saints had to hold off a late Wolfpack rally and get some big-time contributions along the way.
Right from the beginning, STAB was firing on all cylinders offensively. They scored 22 points in the first quarter, and got them from all areas of the floor. One of the leaders of this charge was John St. Germain, who had nine points in the quarter. He would end the night with 22 points and 10 assists. The offensive push helped the Saints take a 22-15 lead to the second.
That lead grew larger in the second as the Saints locked in on defense and still got whatever they wanted offensively, resulting in a 46-28 halftime lead. Carter Lang provided a big lift for the team, as the big man put up six points in the quarter. Lang finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds, while Malachi Poindexter also had a key performance with 16 points.
STAB appeared set to turn the game into a blowout in the third quarter, but that feeling was fleeting.
The Wolfpack began to fight back, slowly but surely cutting into the deficit with some good defense and offensive execution, bringing it all the way back to a 68-53 game after three quarters. DJ Slaughter played a huge role in the rally, putting up 8 of his 19 points in the quarter.
In the fourth quarter happened, and the lead was trimmed all the way down to eight. Coretez Lewis had a monstrous quarter to help with that, nailing tough shots on his way to 11 points in the quarter. He would end up with 19 points for the game.
After the lead was trimmed to 8, the Saints knew that things needed to change and fast.
“We were being really stagnant with the ball, and we discussed it every time we called a timeout, and in the fourth quarter we had the mindset to move the rock and that’s what we did,” said STAB’s John St. Germain.
That’s what the Saints began to do late in the fourth, along with coming up with big plays. A couple of turnovers that led to a Lang dunk and St. Germain foul shots brought the lead back to 12 inside of two minutes left in the game, and it never got closer than that.
Malachi Poindexter finished with 16 points and three boards for the Saints while Justin Taylor had 10 points, six rebounds and five assists. Nick Reese had 10 points, four rebounds and three assists and Chance Mallory chipped in eight points and two boards.
With the win, the Saints turn their attention to their state quarterfinal matchup Wednesday against No. 3-seeded Episcopal.