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Monday, December 19, 2011
Recap: No. 6 CM 76, No. 18 SPM 63

By Brendan Hall

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Catholic Memorial head coach Dennis Tobin was reminded of his frenetic starting off-guard's hot start from deep, and he had to pause for a moment.

"Chris is...how do I phrase this one?" he said rhetorically of junior Chris Siggers, who opened the nightcap of the BasketBull Catholic School Showcase against No. 18 St. Peter-Marian with back-to-back-to-back three-pointers for the No. 6 Knights.

After a brief pause and a flash of a smile, Tobin continued, "When he's hot, he's hot."

The Knights coasted to a 76-63 win, after going 9 of 19 from deep in the first half to take a 47-31 lead into the break. Siggers, a 5-foot-8 Hyde Park resident, finished the day 4 of 7 from deep, including his first three that gave the Knights (3-0) a 9-7 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

But more than his silky-yet-unorthodox delivery -- a rainbow of a high-arching shot, which he says he hones by shooting over 6-foot-8 center Gerard Adams in practice -- it was his defense of the Guardians' star swingman, senior Matt Mobley, that most satisfied Tobin.

The crafty Mobley finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and five steals, and generally kept the game from getting out of hand. But Siggers made life difficult for those 32 minutes.

"He was hot to start the game, but the main thing he does is bulldog-type defense," Tobin said of Siggers. "And he did a super job on Matt Mobley, I thought. Matt got his points, but earned them. I thought Chris did a great job there."

Said Siggers, "I was just feeling it. I was very excited, very amped about the game. I tried to play [Mobley] as best I can, and I was feeling my shot."

The Knights' top shooters, senior captains Dan Powers and Matt Droney, finished with 18 and 14 points, respectively. Sophomore point guard Aahmane Santos also registered five assists, while the sophomore center Adams led on the glass with 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Senior Steve Flynn also put in 10 points for SPM (2-1).

Run and Gun: The Knights excelled in transition on both ends of the floor. Offensively, they got up the floor quickly off a defensive rebound, and pushed the ball quickly upcourt rather than dribble. That led to a barrage of fast break perimeter shots. When the Guardians forced halfcourt play, one-touch passing around the perimeter created open shots that they hit well enough (the Knights finished 29 of 62 from the field).

"Hopefully we'll look more into the post going forward, but we live and die by the three," Tobin said. "That's just the way we play."

At the other end, the Knights showed some poise in defending in transition, with Armani Reeves and Rich Lopez providing energy off the bench to help the cause.

"My guys toughed it out, I thought," Tobin said. "We've got a lot of speed and quickness. If they can create the open-court game, we can be pretty successful."

McDonough out: The Knights' usual starter at center, John McDonough, was missing from the lineup today with a bone bruise on his hand. Tobin said the length he'll be out "could just be tonight", saying "it's nothing serious."

Praise for Mobley: Singularly one of the state's premier scoring talents, the 6-foot-3 Mobley drew praise from across the way.

"He's good, you've just got to worry about him, stay on him," said his defender, Siggers. "Make sure he's your main focus, play hard. Make sure he doesn't go off like he usually does."

Said Tobin, "He's a terrific player. Very, very quick with the ball, can hit the open three -- we tried to take that from him, that was our focus going in. We knew he'd get his points because he's such a good player, we just wanted to make him earn his points. I thought we did a decent job of that.

Mobley, an ESPN Boston preseason All-State third team selection, could be one of the MIAA's best-kept secrets, if not its most late bloomer. A smooth wing player who demonstrates good body control, first-step acceleration and leaping ability, he's just coming into his own after a solid showing in leagues this fall. Mobley also missed half of last season as the Guardians struggled to an 8-11 campaign.

When asked about the projectability of Mobley, who will likely pursue a post-graduate season next year at a prep school, Guardians head coach Marcus Watson said "his ceiling is untapped".

"His range is unlimited," Watson said. "His ballhandling skills are great. Defensively, his length, he's athletic. He has the package, there's no two ways about it. But another year of development will definitely benefit him."

Growing Gerard: Adams first burst onto the scene last summer with the Boston Amateur Basketball Club, playing limited minutes on the 9th Grade squad that won AAU Nationals in Little Rock, Ark. At a long 6-foot-8 and close to 300 pounds, he poses matchup problems on size alone, even as his sluggishness and overall lack of conditioning is visible.

For starters, in the third quarter Powers took an inbounds pass and lobbed one up to Adams, who caught the ball roughly a foot from the rim and tipped in the ball over the outstretched hands of two defenders. At the other end, Adams stayed out of foul trouble by staying close to the basket, maintaining firm positioning and making himself wide in the lane.

There's not question that the future for Adams, who has reportedly lost 37 pounds since the summer, has potential to be bright.

"Two years down the road, he's going to be tough to stop," Tobin said. "He is right now when we get him the ball. We're not used to having a big man in the CM program, so sometimes we don't look to him. But he's really going to help us when we play a team that manages to get us in a halfcourt game, because now we have a low-post option."