In a clash of NSCHSAA foes, St. Mary’s defeated St. Anthony’s 76-64 on Tuesday night in Manhasset.
The St. Mary’s backcourt of Patrick Johnson and Devonte Green proved to be too much for the Friars to fend off. Green scored a game-high 20 points while Johnson chipped in with 16 points.
Both teams traded buckets in the opening minutes of the game but the combination of Green and center Jessie Govan caused some separation between the two squads in the first quarter. With St. Mary’s up 15-12 after an Anfernee Casimir layup, Devonte Green dribbled up the court and pulled up well beyond the three-point line to put the Gaels up by six.
On the very next possession, Green cut to the baseline and dished to the 6-foot-9 Govan to give St. Mary’s the 20-12 edge. Govan returned the favor on the next play, assisting on a Green layup that had the Gaels up 22-14 by the end of the first.
“I thought we shared the ball pretty well,” said St. Mary’s head coach Bill Harkins. “Offensively, as a group, we did a good job of distributing the ball to everybody.”
Despite the early deficit, St. Anthony’s was able to capitalize on some turnovers and narrowed the gap in the second quarter. Friars guard Leland Williams sparked a 7-0 Friar run, hitting a free-throw line jumper followed by a finger roll finish at the hoop to bring St. Anthony’s within three. Williams would finish the game with 14 points.
St. Anthony’s forward Nigel Carter hit an off-balanced leaner that would make it 34-31 in favor of St. Mary’s. Carter would lead the Friars in scoring with 15 points in the losing effort.
St. Anthony’s was able to take their first lead of the game after Nigel Carter’s steal and drive to the basket would put the Friars up, 35-34 midway through the third. The teams would be deadlocked with 2:53 left in the third until St. Mary’s went on a 12-0 run to end the quarter thanks in large part to the play of junior forward Stephen Milhaven.
After a Green teardrop floater that put St. Mary’s up 48-42, Milhaven was able to scrap for a loose ball, collect it and drop it in to push the lead to eight.
“Great effort from Stephen tonight,” Harkins said. “He’s like an old-school throwback player. He leaves it all out there. When he goes to the basket, he goes hard. He does a lot of good things for us.”
Patrick Johnson’s pressure on defense equated into easy points for St. Mary’s. Johnson would cap the 12-0 run for St. Mary’s with a steal and layup at the buzzer to push the lead over St. Anthony’s to 54-42.
“Coach had me work on my defense so my defense has gotten better,” Johnson said.
St. Mary’s staved off a late run by St. Anthony’s by putting the ball into Devonte Green’s hands and letting him go to work. The freshman guard scored consecutive pull-up jumpers under two minutes to ice the game for the Gaels.
“They were playing me close so after I got around them, I slowed it down and had the shot so I took it,” Green said. “I was just feeling it and I was knocking down my shots.”
St. Mary’s now has its sights set on a successful run in the playoffs following the win over St. Anthony’s.
“We’re going to keep working hard in practice and listening to coach,” Patrick Johnson said. “We want to win a championship.”