WEST ROXBURY, Mass. -- They come at teams with speed. They come at teams with length, deadly shooting, and the opposition never seems to know where the next blow will come from.
Brandon Twitty scored a game-high 27 points, including 18 in the first half, as the Knights ran away from a hot BC High team and held on by a score of 99-73.
Catholic Memorial (12-1) has now won eight straight, posted six consecutive double-digit victories, and done so against some of the top ranked teams in the state.
Fresh off back-to-back wins against ranked opponents (No. 18 Malden Catholic and No. 16 New Mission) BC High (5-4) is far from a weak adversary, but the Knights made them look mediocre in this contest. They turned the Eagles over nine times, scored 16 fast break points, and controlled the pace of the game throughout the first half.
“We want to bring the pressure,” said Catholic Memorial head coach Denis Tobin. “We’re willing to trade a couple of easy baskets to create turnovers and increase the pace, which is where we’re at our best.”
The Eagles scored 12 first-half points when they managed to break the Knights’ full-court pressure, but paid dearly when they could not. CM forced a BC High team that usually takes care of the ball into a few uncharacteristic mistakes, as the sweltering environment at Ronald S. Perry Gym seemed to force the visitors into cramped spots on the floor.
The Knights ran off missed shots as well, and opened up a 46-30 lead by halftime. With so many weapons on the roster, it’s nearly impossible to string enough stops together against Catholic Memorial, and the Eagles were unable to mount a comeback after falling behind.
Pick Your Poison: Twitty was relatively quiet in Catholic Memorial’s previous conference game (an 80-68 win at St. John’s Prep), but stepped up his scoring in this contest.
“That’s what makes us hard to defend. Between Brandon [Twitty], Guilien [Smith], Matt [Hanna], and my own son Denis, who can also shoot, you kind of have to pick your poison with us,” said Tobin.
The Knights handed out 20 assists as a team, and committed only seven turnovers, so with ball movement like that, it’s not surprising that they could have a different leading scorer every game.
“Tonight happened to be my night,” said Twitty, “But it could be anybody else on a given night. That’s what makes this team so dangerous, and so special I feel.”
Coaches are never satisfied with sloppy play, but Tobin yielded the importance of avoiding ‘live ball’ turnovers throughout the game.
“The less we turn it over the better, but we prefer that if we do turn it over it’s out of bounds. We weren’t being pressured, so we better take care of the ball under those circumstances,” Tobin said.
Counter Punches: The Eagles made several pushes to get back into the game after getting down 22-12 in the first quarter.
Jack Loughnane hit a tough three to cut the lead to seven (26-19) early in the second quarter, and finished a layup, plus a foul shot to cap a 9-2 run that kept BC High within striking distance down 36-28.
However, as soon as the visiting team made a run, CM countered with one of their own. The Knights finished the first quarter on a 7-0 run, and responded to Loughnane’s and-1 with a 10-2 run that put them firmly in control heading into the break.
“We practice end of quarter situations a lot,” said Tobin. “It’s helpful that we have a lot of great one-on-one players that can create, and they know how to score so that the other team isn’t left with a lot of time.”
On To New Mission: The Knights are on a very impressive run right now, and are ranked towards the top of nearly every poll in the state due to their dangerous, fast-paced attack.
“We love to just get the ball and go. You wear teams out like that, and that’s the style we like to play in,” said Twitty. “We played really well as a team tonight and we’ve got to keep this rolling.”
Tobin said he was pleased with his team’s performance, but isn’t looking too far ahead based on recent results.
“Our first goal is to win the league, then we’ll worry about the state tournament, but honestly right now, it’s the Belichick way, we’ve got New Mission on Sunday, and that’s all we’re going to think about.”
New Mission and the other teams in eastern Massachusetts can think about how they plan to stop Catholic Memorial all they want, but like BC High, they might not know where the next punch is coming from.
Catholic Memorial 99, BC High 73
CM 22 24 28 25 --- 99
BCH 12 18 27 16 --- 73
Catholic Memorial – Guilien Smith (7 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists)
Catholic Memorial – Kellen Grady (20 points, 2 steals, 2 blocks)
Catholic Memorial – Brandon Twitty (27 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists)
BC High – Isaiah Bowman (22 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals)
BC High – Jack Loughnane (17 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists)