PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- How deep and talented is Northfield Mount Hermon?
The Hoggers are so deep and talented that coach John Carroll can sit his 7-foot, Stanford-bound center Josh Sharma for the second half and still beat a quality opponent.
That was the case Saturday as Sharma played minimal minutes in the first half and zero in the second. But the Hoggers still beat St. Andrew’s 88-71 in the Annual National Prep School Invitational at Rhode Island College.
“We’re deep and Adrian (Brodeur) was having himself a day (18 points, which was four above his seasonal average) and Collin (McManus) was beating them up physically,” said Carroll. “We found five guys that really were playing well. The game was tied and Josh was the next guy to go in the game. But Tomas Murphy was playing great. Adrian was playing great. Jackson Donahue (eight points) was hitting threes (two to be accurate). And Aaron Falzon (20 points) was doing well.
“Jahshanti (Allen) played terrific. We just didn’t touch that five. They didn’t look fatigued. There wasn’t any reason to make an adjustment or an alteration to that lineup. Josh has been playing great and he was the next guy to go in if we went with somebody.”
Slamming the door: Technically there were six Hoggers that played major roles in their team’s second-half explosion.
After the Saints (15-8) rallied from deficits as large as 18 points, Chancellor Ellis (20 points) led a second half run that enabled them to tie the game twice, at 55-55 and 64-64 with 8:42 left in regulation.
Then, Falzon ignited what would be a 24-7 run that enabled the Hoggers (19-6) to break open a close game and win going away.
The first basket during this run came on Falzon’s driving layup. He later added a conventional three-point play while Murphy scored six points, Donahue drained a trey and Allen converted two clutch free throws.
In the end, the Hoggers’ depth enabled them to do things that lesser teams are unable to do.
“We really want to try to fatigue teams,” said Carroll. “I think individually our guys are really well-conditioned. And then if you can throw 12 or 13 guys out there that’s great. When a team can play that 11th or 12th guy and a player is being defended by the fourth different guy in a game, that’s a mental toll on him.
“We love having deep teams.”
Depth and talent also have been strong points of coach Mike Hart’s teams. But on this day that wasn’t the case.
If nothing else the Saints’ inability to match up and keep pace with the Hoggers was reflected in the final shooting stats.
Stats tell the story: NMH shot 54.5 percent (36-66) from the floor while the Saints shot a frigid 35.3 percent (24-68) against the Hoggers’ man-to-man defense.
“What happened is when you play a team like Northfield Mount Hermon -- those triple-A teams -- you’re playing college basketball,” said Hart. “Some of our guys are ready at St. Andrew’s for college basketball and other guys aren’t ready.
“They have to really over-achieve. When you saw those guys over-achieve, they got us back in the game. But they’re college guys and they took over down the stretch.”
In retrospect one Saint who may have “over-achieved” was J.R. Lynch (18 points).
The Hoggers led 40-23 with 4:34 left in the first half when Lynch went “off” and buried four three-point shots. His fourth trey plus two free throws pulled the Saints within 46-36. But Donahue drained his first trey which eventually gave NHM a 49-38 lead at halftime.
“Six of us play college rules and our teams are designed that way,” Carroll said while explaining another reason for his teams’ success. “I think there is a difference between 20-minute halves and 18-minute halves and 16-minute halves.
“There is a difference in seeing us many times like we do during the year -- Brewster, St. Thomas More, Hampton -- we’re knocking heads every year two times each. I think that prepares us for all the games we see during a season.”