WEST ROXBURY, Mass. -- With less than two seconds remaining in the contest, and his No. 7 Catholic Memorial Knights securely ahead of visiting Catholic Conference rival No. 10 St. John’s Prep by 14 points, junior point guard Aamahne Santos went streaking after a ball that redirected off one of his teammates and was headed out of bounds.
He took off just before the baseline, grabbed the ball in mid-air and flipped it back to teammate Guilien Smith, who secured the pass and a CM win, 79-65, inside Ron Perry Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
“We play that way from the ball getting tossed up until the final horn,” said CM coach Denis Tobin. “He leads by example. That’s why everyone else on the team follows his lead.”
Last night certainly was a game of "follow the leader", and Santos executed his role to near perfection. The junior poured in a game-high 19 points and dished out 12 assists to register a double-double, and added six rebounds and three steals to pace the Knights (9-1).
“Santos killed us tonight,” said Prep coach John Dullea. “He was terrific tonight. He was hitting shots that not many guys at this level can hit. He was able to do things offensively and defensively that took us out of our rhythm.”
His performance on defense, especially in the second half, may have been even better than his impressive offensive night. Prep point guard Kareem Davis racked up 14 points before halftime, but Santos made life tough on his counterpart the final 16 minutes.
“We noticed he got some open looks in the first half, so we wanted Aamahne to try and really clamp him down,” said Tobin. “We weren’t going to run and double as much and sort of challenged Aamahne and held him to no field in the second half.”
Added Santos: “I just tried to contain in him the second half. I tried to not let him get a bucket, or a touch down the floor. I just tried to get the best of him.”
He certainly did, as Davis had a hard time getting clean looks the rest of the way, and scored just four more points -- all from the free throw line -- as CM cruised to victory.
“He took us out of our sets,” said Dullea. “He was fantastic. He was the best player on the floor, and the best player we’ve seen this year.”
Three's Company: Santos had plenty of help scoring as four other Knights joined him in double figures. Sophomore guard Brandon Twitty was the only one to do so off the bench, but he knocked down a pair of game-altering three-pointers in the win.
As time expired in the third quarter, he let fly a heave from the corner over two St. John’s defenders, snapping the ball through the twine to give CM a six-point cushion headed into the fourth.
He did it again with just under two minutes left as the Eagles tried to mount some momentum for a late comeback. He buried an NBA-range three to extend the Knights' lead to 11, seemingly deflating Prep’s charges.
“Brandon brings us offense on the bench," Tobin said. "We’re a deep team -- we’re going 10 deep, and there’s no drop off offensively. Most of that is because Brandon can score.”
Guilien Smith added 12 points and five rebounds, Kevin Clafing registered 11 points and Gerard Adams finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the win on a night sponsored by “A Shot for Life.”
Davis had 18 points to pace St. John’s, while Max Burt added 16 points -- all in the second half, and Max Butterbrodt kicked in nine points to go with six rebounds and four blocks in the loss.