St. Thomas Aquinas boys basketball improved to 10-7 on the season after defeating Albany 51-34 in a non-district contest Wednesday.
St. Thomas used a pressing man-to-man pressure defense that forced the visiting Hornets into hurried shots and turnovers. Albany could not sustain any rhythm through much of the game and trailed the entire way.
STA head coach Raymone Andrews said he was not pleased with the results.
“I felt like we just went through the motions (Wednesday night),” said Andrews. “I wasn’t really proud on how we came out and played. We didn’t have energy, no life and we didn’t execute offensively or defensively. But, we found a way to win anyway.”
The Falcons jumped out to a 10-2 first-quarter lead as seniors Jake Berner and Drew Milton scored on 3-pointers and then each later scored on a layup and mid-range jump shot.
The Hornets nailed a 3-pointer by Brock Pregeant to cut the deficit to 10-5, but back to-back layup shots by senior Devaki Williams gave STA a 16-7 lead at the end of the first period.
Albany’s J.J. Doherty connected on a pair of put-back baskets to bring the Hornets to within 16-11 in the opening moments of the second quarter.
The Falcons answered, however, going on an 11-2 run to increase their lead to 25-13. Sophomore guards Kendrell Perry and Cace Reed each buried 3-point goals to spark the scoring surge. Berner ended the first with a put-back basket as the buzzer sounded ending the first half.
STA outgunned Albany 11-6 in the quarter to take a 27-13 advantage at the half.
“We got some opportunities to get some turnovers early in the game which helped us get the lead, and eventually we took over the momentum.” Andrews said. “We try to pressure full-court to speed up the game which enables us to run our fast-break offense.”
The Hornets were able to slow things down after solving the Falcon pressure defense to begin the second half. Albany outscored STA 12-10 in the third quarter to trail 37-28 entering the final period.
St. Thomas went on a 9-0 run midway in the fourth quarter to break the game open. Perry led the scoring surge with a 3-point goal and a baseline jump shot. Reed added to the run, scoring after being fouled on a made layup and free throw. St. Thomas ended the quarter outscoring Albany 11-9 margin to make the final 51-34.
Perry led STA in scoring with 16 points, including two 3-point goals. Milton followed with eight and Reed and Berner each added seven points apiece. Najae Perry and Williams each netted six points apiece.
Albany, which fell to 9-12 on the season, was led by Doherty, who poured in a game-high 21 points, including three 3-point goals. Pregeant followed with 11, including three 3-point goals.