Tempers flaring, whistles blowing, rims shaking, and the final buzzer. The NEPSAC Class B semifinal game was a treat to watch. The game was easily one of the Saints’ and Dragons’ best games of the season. A definite candidate for Game of the Year. And what happened?
Taft School, a neutral site for the game, hosted the two seed Canterbury Saints against the three seed St. George’s Dragons. The start of the game was fast with both teams trading points consistently and highlight reel plays like the alley-oop slam from Tray Alexander,’20, to Marlon Short, ‘20, that absolutely shook the building. Then St. George’s started to lead and control the game at the half. The Saints could not find any rhythm at all after that. Not only that, they allowed most of the shots by the Dragons beyond the arc to be uncontested. At the half, they trailed 40-30 to the Dragons. But Coach Baudinet clearly had something to say to his team.
They came out flying, shifting the momentum, and making it their game. After the half, the boys went on a 18-8 run to tie the game up leading into a Saints timeout. Marlon Short during this run was able to break up a play and steal the ball. The 6’5 player went on and added another highlight worthy play by bringing the hammer down once again on his breakaway.
The posterboy played strong and smart for most of the game. Calls weren’t going his way as he was fouled out towards the end but some would say a lot of them weren’t fouls. Nonetheless, he finished with 14 points, three boards, 54% shooting, and a few posters to take home and frame.
Finally, in the last 20 seconds, the game was in the balance. Tray Alexander had the ball in his hands and wasn’t able to make a one-on-one layup to take the lead which caused the Dragons to send a rocket to the other end but Charlie Campbell, ‘20, was there to delay and disrupt the play. Regulation had ended tied 69-69.
The first overtime only scored 10 points to both teams. The Saints weren’t able to close it out and allowed one of their hottest shooters to tie the game up with a long 3-pointer. The first overtime ended 79-79. Both teams had to find something left in their tanks and the Saints did. Especially through Charlie Campbell.
In the second overtime, he was able to break up three plays and steal the ball twice from arguably their hottest player locking him down throughout the rest of the game. Campbell ended the game with 14 points, eight rebounds, four steals, two assists, and 50% shooting.
Tied with him in points was Mike “Izzy” Iuzzolino, ‘21, while he put up interesting numbers. Izzy was able to put up 14 points, three rebounds, yet only shot for 14% shooting. He maintained however, 100% at the free throw line going nine for nine showing his nerves of steel.
The Saints continued to push through another gruesome four more minutes of overtime. Feeding into players like Mike Graham, ‘20, who postered a Dragons’ player during the last few minutes of the first . Graham led his team in points with 19, a whopping 12 rebounds, and 69% shooting from the field.
The only one that rivaled Graham’s performance was Tray Alexander. He was controlling his team and the ball better than anyone else. He was passing the ball like it was candy which led to his nearly double-digit assist total. Alexander finished with 16 points, six rebounds, 36% shooting, one steal, and nine assists.
As the game drew to a close, chants ringed throughout the court from the Saints’ crowd. The team had done it. They had conquered the dragon and what a well fought battle it was. A nearly two hour game that brought forth all the emotions.
And with that, the Saints advance to back-to-back Class B Finals. However, their work is not done. Nor do they want it to be. For most of this team, it’s their ‘revenge tour’. They play tomorrow, Sunday the 8th, against Brooks at Worcester State as the neutral site to complete the journey and capture the ring.
Final Score: Saints 90 – St. George’s 82
Player of the Game: Tray Alexander