SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- St. Andrew’s School (Barrington, R.I.) kept the game within reach until the fourth quarter, but Findlay Prep (Nev.) pulled away in the fourth quarter, winning 76-57.
“They came out and hit their first four shots, and that was it,” said St. Andrew’s coach Michael Hart of his team never getting the lead in the contest.
“And I think the 30-second clock hurt us today,” added Hart, whose team plays with a 35-second shot clock when they play two halves, but this match was played in eight minute quarters. “The game was fast, and when it’s fast, it favors the runners and jumpers.”
That is not to say the Saints were not running and jumping.
“It doesn’t matter if guys are short or tall,” said Prep coach Michael Peck. “When you’ve got guys that make shots, you’re going to be in games.”
One of those guys who made shots was St. Andrew’s senior guard Aboubacar Casse. He scored 10 points and had six rebounds.
“Uba [Casse] shoots the ball very well,” said St. Andrew’s senior Michael Carter-Williams. “He shoots well, especially from the corner.”
Casse worked hard to ensure that the Prep team wouldn’t walk away with a win.
“I felt that they were just like me,” said Casse, who mixed it up with various Finlday players while playing tough defense, getting three personal fouls on the afternoon. “We have the same talent, the same athleticism, but they played together [well].”
Findlay Prep senior Nick Johnson agrees that the Pilots play well as a team, but it’s not magic; they are an intricate part of each others’ lives.
“It’s a lot of work,” said Johnson. “We started months and months ago. We basically live together, it’s like a family.”
Even when guys who are not touted as much as some of the D-1 bound players such as Johnson and Myck Kabongo (9 points) and game MVP sophomore Nigel Williams-Goss (19 points, nine rebounds), the teams rallies behind them.
“It’s definitely a big thing when Amir [Garrett, 6 points] gets a dunk,” added Johnson.” We’re very supportive of each other.”
Syracuse-bound senior Michael Carter-Williams scored 24 points for St. Andrew’s and was 3-4 from the line. He was pleased with the play of his point guard Miles Brilhante, who scored 10 points, going 3-3 from the free throw line.
“Miles is a big part of our team,” Carter-Williams said. “He controls the ball, he doesn’t turn the ball over that much, tries to find the open man and it’s great having him on the court. It helps me out a lot. It makes my job a lot easier.”
Prep coach Peck was not looking to make anything easy for Carter-Williams, who shot 36 percent from the field, as the 6-5 guard earned every look at the basket.
“We talk about getting under a guy’s chin,” said Peck. “A guy with that length can separate, get the three off...you’ve got to stay up under his chin. Guy’s communicating, ‘Behind him,' ‘I’m on your left,’ ‘You’ve got a screen coming right’.
“We kind of bum-rushed him a little bit.”
“Findlay threw their best defender on him,” added Hart, no longer donning his candy cane striped coat, now sporting a low key black St. Andrew’s jacket. “And he made a lot of nice shots. He still kept his teammates involved and he didn’t take too many shots, which is an underrated part of his game.”