One month into the season St. Anne’s-Belfield is proving that its doesn’t need length to be a strong team on either side of the ball. Thanks a solid effort on the glass, strong defense, crisp passing and a good afternoon from the field on offense, the Saints rolled past Fork Union 77-55 on Saturday.
“I thought this was one of our better execution days offensively and defensively,” said STAB coach Brian Kent. “We made some adjustments early on after a timeout and just got better at communicating and doing the things we were supposed to. We got much better on the defensive end and that turned into offense for us. We also shot the ball really well tonight and shared the ball really well.”
After an even start with the game knotted at 8-8 midway through the first, the Saints were able to create a little bit of seperation at the end with a 10-5 run led by Myles Ward and Dalton Taylor to make it 18-13. Fork Union was able to to keep pace in the first few minutes of the second thanks to outside shooting from Michael Cunningham and Antonio Pua’auli-Pelham. With STAB up 27-23 with just over four minutes until the break, the Saints finished the second half with a 15-7 run with Taylor and Jordan Pennix combining for a trio of 3-pointers along the way.
“We’ve had some games where we’ve been up in that 12-to-10-point (lead) range and we’re really working on getting that up into the 20-point comfort zone,” Tayor said. “The end of the second quarter that was when we really over the hump and knew that we had the win in our hands.”
The Saints started the third quarter up 42-30 and with an 8-0 run to go up by twenty. Then senior guard Nic Kent started knocking down shots from outside for the hometeam.
“We just didn’t play tough at all today and when you let a team like that get out in transition, it’s hard because you can’t let them have layups and three’s,” said Fork Union coach James Pelham. “You have to take something away and we weren’t able to do that.”
The closest that FUMA would get to STAB in the third was within 16 points and with the Saints going up by 23 early in the fourth quarter, they were able to keep plenty of distance and wrap up the win with its bench contributing heavily.
“We just tried to keep the intensity up,” Nic Kent said. “We know when our bench is getting into the game that we just have to keep up the communication and play hard defense that will lead to points on offense. So we’re all talking on defense and from there it’s easy baskets, open three’s and everything.”
On the night, Taylor led the Saints with 21 points fueled by a trio of shots from beyond the arc. Ward chipped in 14 points, getting the bulk of his work done underneath the basket. Nic Kent had a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter to pace his 12-point effort. Nick Reese finished with 11 points Pennix also knocked down a pair of trey’s and picked up all 10 of his points in the first half to give STAB give different players in double figures.
For Fork Union, Antonio Pua’auli-Pelham led with 15 points. Cunningham, coming off his 60-point performance the night before in a 93-92 overtime win against Christchurch, finished with 11 points. James Pua’auli-Pelham contributed 11 points as well.
St. Anne’s (6-3) will host defending Prep League and VISAA Division 1 champion Trinity Episcopal on Tuesday. Fork Union (3-3) gets a quick break before facing a road trip to Collegiate on Friday.