BOSTON —- Bob Hurley and his St. Anthony basketball team must really like making the trip North to Boston.
The Friars continued a dominating run through the Shooting Touch Shootout —- in its second year of existence —- with a smothering defensively fueled 78-42 victory over Brighton on Thursday night at the Jean Yawkey Center on the campus of Emmanuel College.
St. Anthony dismantled New Mission last season in the inaugural Shooting Touch Shootout by 40 points and the score against the Bengals (2-3) felt larger than the 38-point margin. Kody Jenkins led the Friars with 20 points, while Tim Coleman added 14 off the bench.
“They missed a lot of 3s early and if those shots are going in then this could be a little different early,” said Hurley. “They got that little run going. They hit a couple and all of a sudden they started to go, but then we banged a bunch in a row.”
The small run that Hurley Sr. alluded to was in the beginning of the second quarter, but the game was just about well in hand for the Friars after a 20-0 start to begin the game by the powerhouse from New Jersey.
Brighton switched to a 3-2 zone and forced St. Anthony to bleed the shot clock down and try and penetrate the defense. The Friars couldn’t get anything going towards the hoop and they settled for a couple of bad possessions as the Bengals tried to get things going with a 7-3 run.
The Friars waited to dissect the new defense and instead of pounding the ball around the perimeter with the dribble, they zipped passes in and out of the zone and ripped off 13 straight points to take a 36-9 lead and basically end the game.
“Coming in we didn’t really know the opponent. This is our fourth game and we are a work in progress,” said Hurley. “When people switch we had to recall what we are doing.”
Simpson a bright spot: There wont’ be too many positives to come out of this one for the Bengals. One, however, will be the play of Nick Simpson in the second half. With Malik James doing the best that he could to break the ball pressure of Josh Brown, and seemingly every Friars’ perimeter defender, blanketing the talented Bengals point guard.
Simpson scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half and showed off the deep ball with four 3s in the final 16 minutes of play.
But Simpson’s offensive woes were overshadowed by the troubles of the rest of the team. The Bengals shot 28.3 percent from the field in the game and were held under 20 percent from the floor as they faced a 41-12 deficit at the break.
“It was a tough one, but we got to the drawing board,” said Brighton head coach Hugh Coleman. “We take positives out of it and we build on it.”