BOSTON -- Looking sluggish in a Tuesday night loss to archrival Boston College High and looking sloppy in the ensuing practices, Catholic Memorial head coach Dennis Tobin was looking for a pick-me-up with his talented Knights.
A visit across the city to Boston Latin, on a snowy early Saturday afternoon, might have done the trick.
The Knights got off to a hot start, and never looked back, as they cooled the red-hot Wolfpack, 75-55, to improve to 9-2 on the season. Senior Dan Powers and sophomore point guard Aahmane Santos led the way for the Knights with 14 points apiece, while senior forward Matt Droney chipped in with 13.
"I think this is a huge win for our team," Tobin said. "[I was] very disappointed after the game on Tuesday night, I don't think we played our best game, and we didn't have great practices after that. So I was concerned coming in. But the crowd, and the fact that it's kind of like a neighborhood rivalry, it jacked these guys up. I thought we stepped up and played one of our better games. In terms of talent, this is probably one of the best teams I've ever had at CM."
The Knights opened the game on a 10-2 run, aided by a Gerard Adams putback and a big Droney three-point play in transition, set up by a long pass from Santos. Wolfpack cut into the lead in the second quarter, but strong transition baskets from Santos, Powers and Armani Reeves never allowed for a serious chance at cutting into the lead.
CM led 38-28 at the half, and 56-43 through three quarters. While it wasn't the Knights' best game from long-range, they were efficient on higher-percentage shots, going 17 of 34 from two-point range through the first three quarters.
Powers notches milestone: Just before Tobin emptied his bench in the final minutes, Powers became the seventh player in school history to notch his 1,000th point, taking a long outlet from Droney in transition to complete it. Several moments later, the game was stopped momentarily to honor Powers.
"I didn't want to think about it coming in," Powers said. "Obviously it was a big non-league game for us coming in, so I tried to block that out. It's nice that I got that, but I wasn't really thinking about that coming into this game."
Tobin was happy for the Westwood native, a tri-captain this season who has been one of the Catholic Conference's best scorers the last few years.
"Great accomplishment," Tobin said. "From sophomore year on, he's been a great scorer. Even today, I don't know how many he ended up with, 14 maybe, but he didn't shoot that well tonight. [But] he still manages to find ways to score. We've had quite an illustrious 50 years of basketball, and he's No. 7 on the list. It's a great accomplishment."
To Catch a Wolf: CM plays some tough man-to-man defense, but the Wolfpack found success against it using high screens to both clear direct paths to the basket in the lane, and open up backdoor cuts along the baseline. Junior forward Miles Wright (16 points, 10 rebounds) and senior guard Jack Duggan (16 points) were the biggest beneficiaries of this strategy, but the Knights adjusted well as the game went on.
"Part of that is when we have the big fella [6-foot-8 Adams] in, he doesn't hedge on screens," Tobin said. "So we have to do a better job communicating and letting the person who's being screened know they're doing it. When we go with the smaller lineup, that wasn't as big a problem. That's something we'll see the rest of the year, and we're going to work on it every day to get better at it."