St. Anthony’s Defense Proves to Be Difference Against CBA at Boardwalk Showcase


SportShots WLB

LONG BRANCH – The St. Anthony’s Friars survived a bumpy first quarter and rode a 12-point effort from Josh Brown to a 54-25 win over Christian Brothers Academy in the second game of the Hoop Group Boardwalk Showcase at Long Branch High School. The win was the 75th in a row for the Friars.

The sloppily played first quarter ended with the Friars (10-0) up 10-8. The Colts (7-4) tied the game at 10-10 early in the second quarter when junior Rob Kennedy sank two free throws. Unfortunately for CBA, that was their high-water mark.

Up to that point, the Colts seemed to have the Friars flustered with their zone defense.

“They played good defense,” said Brown, who was named team MVP. “They slowed us down with their zone. We thought they were going to come out in man. Coach (Bob Hurley) just told us what we needed to do to break the zone.”

After making those adjustments the Friars closed the half on an 18-2 run, which included two Hallice Cooke 3-pointers.

“We just got focused and we just kept playing hard,” Cooke, who finished with 10 points, said. “We just had to listen to coach. He’s been doing this a long time.”

While Cooke played a vital role in the game-changing run, the key may very well have been the defensive play of Brown, and Hurley alluded to as much after the game.

“If not for Josh Brown setting up the beginnings of our pressure defense, the second quarter would have been very similar to the first,” said Hurley. “Until that point they (CBA) controlled the tempo. (CBA) is one of the hardest teams, in all the years I’ve coached, to play because of their tempo.”

The second-half mirrored the second quarter as the Friars, who have not lost a game since March of 2011, cruised through the final 16 minutes forcing turnovers and converting points of those turnovers.

“The key is staying focused on the task at hand,” said Cooke, who will be heading to Oregon State next year. “I really want to get that third ring and it would be a great way to go out with my senior group.”

Freshman Pat Andree scored a team-high seven points for Christian Brothers and was named team MVP.

@pfebbraro

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