A legacy created. A story for the ages was this season and game for the Saints Boys Varsity Basketball team. The Saints were finally able to cap off their kind of triple crown this Sunday. With the win against Brooks School, they were able to claim all three major titles that Coach Baudinet was looking to take. Those being the Hill Tournament, Tri-State League Title, and now the NEPSAC Class B Title.
However, it wasn’t going to be an easy grab. The 1 seed Brooks was their opponent. They played each other earlier this season with Brooks dealing one of their two losses to the Saints.
“We knew a lot about them. We played them earlier this season,” said Tray Alexander, ‘20, “We just wanted to avenge our loss. We just wanted to go out with a bang.”
The game started strong with great play from both teams trading blows and, as per usual, the Saints found their rhythm. Players like Sean Durugordon, ‘21, finding his perimeter shot and consistently fighting at for the boards. Ending the game with 12 points, seven rebounds, and 40% shooting from beyond the arc.
The rhythm continued with Alexander sending a half court lob through the defense to the big man, Mike Graham, ‘20, catching it midair and slam it home sending the Saints crowd to their feet and rocking the whole building.
The half ended at 39-27 in favor of the Saints, but the lead wasn’t comfortable. Brooks went on to battle as hard as they could in the second half and went on to cut the lead down to single digits.
Coach Baudinet said, “We never felt that it was secure even when we got up to 17. As proven, they cut it all the way down to four. At that point, we really had to grind together. And we’ve been in a lot of tight battles. We understand how to attack those situations.”
The Saints grinded as much as they could with a Brooks team that was hot on their tail. However, they continued to just simply find their shots and out play Brooks. Each shot the Saints hit was fueling their crowd as well that had made the long journey to Worcester State.
And soon, the story was complete. After losing to Hamden Hall, the Saints were too sore not to come back with a fire in them. The few that came back and most likely wanted it more than anyone else were Tray Alexander, Marlon Short, ‘20, and Charlie Campbell, ‘20. The three seniors came back and knew they didn’t want to fall short again.
Marlon said, “Losing last year to Hamden was really a low point for me, Tray, and Charlie. We put in all the work and you see what happens.”
He finished with 15 points, one rebound, and 45% shooting.
“Ever since we got there last year, it’s all we’ve been talking about is winning the championship,” said Charlie Campbell the Trinity College commit, “To lose it was heartbreaking but then this year to make it back and finish it this year was pretty sweet.”
“[The championship win] was more of a relief feeling,” said Alexander, “Marlon, Charlie, and I came in together, we’re ending together, and this is what we’ve been waiting for. We really love it.”
Alexander finished the game with 10 points, 31% from the field, seven boards, and five assists.
The story also lies on Coach Baudinet. The coach is now in his third year with the team and has been to the playoffs each year with back-to-back finals. Now, we can finally add a Class B title to his name after knocking on the door since he started.
“We ended up losing [last year] and it was heartbreaking,” said Coach Baudinet, “All year these guys just wanted another opportunity. The new guys we brought in to augment what we had. They blended in very well. We finished the season on a 19-game win streak. And that’s credit to the guys and I’m really proud of them.”
The players as well had high praise for their coach. Short saying how he was helped not only on his game by Coach Baudinet, but also “mentally”. Saying how he “wasn’t really strong mentally” but Coach B was there to help and strengthen the senior.
Coach B wasn’t at a loss for words for the Class B Finals MVP as well.
“Charlie’s just a tough kid. I always know what I’m going to get out of Charlie,” he said, “He’s going to play with great effort, great tenacity, and he’s going to do what’s expected of him. I told him in the locker room he’s like ‘Mr. Playoffs’ because last year he was tremendous. He’s a big game player in big moments.”
Campbell had more humble words as he said, “I’m just glad my team won honestly. MVP is a little bit extra and I’m happy I could help my team finish the job.”
Charlie Campbell was able to come up big in the last few minutes of play as he was able to get a put back and then right after a 3-pointer to extend the Saints lead and secure their win. He played tremendously through the game finishing with 15 points, seven rebounds, one assist, and 71% shooting from the field. Certainly living up to his name as ‘Mr. Playoffs’ averaging 13 points, six rebounds, two assists, and three takeaways per game, while shooting 64% from the field through their three games.
The 25-2 team has cemented themselves with a great redemption story and this team and program will only continue to grow under Coach Baudinet. Even with a core group of seniors graduating, it’s hard to say they won’t be looking to go back-to-back champions.
Final Score: Saints 68 – Brooks 57
Player of the Game: Charlie Campbell
Player of the Tournament: Charlie Campbell