MEDFORD, Mass. -- St. Anthony (N.J.) coach Bob Hurley is in the Basketball Hall of Fame for a reason.
He is notorious for finding the faults in his team, even when they win by as wide a margin as it did Saturday night, when the Friars left the Shooting Touch Shootout with a 66-38 victory over Charlestown.
His team started the game about as well as it could, running out to a 19-0 first quarter lead. The Townies did not score their first basket until two minutes left in the quarter. St. Anthony’s ball pressure created turnovers and prevented Charlestown from getting into its set offense. It had a 39-16 lead going into halftime. To an outside observer, that is a dominant half of basketball.
To a Hall of Fame basketball coach? Anything but.
“To be quite honest, when we got to 19-0 we folded our jackets and thought we didn’t have to do anything else for the rest of the day,” said Hurley. “Unfortunately, it was 19-0 with still probably three minutes left in the first quarter. There was still 27 more minutes to play. With the exception of about three minutes in the fourth quarter, when we got some layups and looked a little bit like a basketball team, giving us a total of about 8 minutes, it was just miserable to coach them.
"It was miserable to think we have them in practice every day, and I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am in my team’s lack of leadership and how we truly don’t compete. We just decided it was done very early.”
Charlestown came out with a renewed energy in the third quarter, but it could only cut the St. Anthony’s lead to 15.
“At halftime, I told my team that St. Anthony’s is playing hard on defense, you can’t get in your sets,” said Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso. “You can’t get open because you’re not playing hard enough to get open and run your sets. I thought in the second half we tried harder to get open, we set harder screens, ran faster, and we played as a team.”
Tarin Smith lead the way for St. Anthony (4-0) with 19 points. Freddy Oliveira and Oliver Benner each had 10 points for Charlestown.
Back to the drawing board? Not so fast When a team wins by 28 points and does not play its best game, it would seem like a coach’s dream to be able to get back in practice and be able to show the team it has things to work on. For Bob Hurley, he disagrees with that notion completely.
“We worked hard, we were in the gym for an hour earlier today working on things to get ready,” said the coach. “Our preparation is the same as its been for years, but we don’t have the same type of players to take the work that they are given. We’re not meeting in the middle. It’s not a 50-50 split here by leadership, by staff and then with effort and purpose for the kids.”
Running the gauntlet: The first four games of Charlestown’s season have arguably been as tough as any team’s in the state. While it is only 1-3, Cardoso thinks these games can be a good evaluator and learning experience for his team in preparation of its Boston City League schedule.
In the City League, Charlestown is sure to see a fast pace and defensive pressure like it saw Saturday against St. Anthony’s.
“In our first four games, we played New Mission, Smithfield, the state champions of Rhode Island, St. John’s Prep, and St. Anthony’s, so I like to play these four or five tough games early,” he said. “When we go into the City League and play even tougher teams and try to make a run. We know every chance we have an opportunity. I feel like going into the second half of the season, this game is going to wake us up a little more and get us ready to go. Hopefully a sense of urgency will kick in.”