St. Anne’s-Belfield Jayden Nixon was almost pathological on the counter attack against St. Christopher’s Friday night in the Prep League semifinals.
Opening tip. Made basket. Missed basket. Turnover. Timeout.
One got the impression that Nixon would’ve attacked running straight out of the locker room if the basket would’ve counted.
“We were stressing that a lot,” said STAB coach Brian Kent. “We were able to get stops with him and even on made shots he was able to counter. He did a nice job.”
Nixon’s performance helped STAB advance to its second straight Prep League championship game as St. Anne’s beat St. Christopher’s 68-54, earning another shot at Trinity Episcopal in the Prep League title game Saturday at 5:30 p.m. It was STAB’s second win of the season over St. Christopher’s after the squads split their regular season series.
Nixon finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds with most of those points coming off the dribble on the rapid fire counter attack off any result on the other end of the court.
“Especially this year, coaches have been telling me to attack even off of made baskets, especially with a team like this where they weren’t kind of not really set up on defense,” Nixon said. “That was a good time for me to do my thing and get to the rim really easily so that’s what I did.”
The approach could have several results, either a bucket by Nixon, a quick kick to an open shooter or the chance to force St. Christopher’s to foul. Mostly it ended with baskets for Nixon.
It helped too that STAB was relentless on the offensive boards, with Nixon’s 11 leading the way, but Isaiah Kilby-Sharp, Reese and Myles Ward all chipped in too, with a couple of key finishes including multiple offensive boards. Nic Kent finished with
St. Christopher’s had to play without the services of four-year starter Alexander Petrie who was out with an illness. That impacted St. Christopher’s rhythm early as STAB built a 12-2 lead out of the gate, but St. Chris steadied things after that.
“STAB did a great job, Nixon is such an impressive player…he did a great job,” said St. Christopher’s coach Hamill Jones. “We were hoping Alex would be able to go tonight but it just wouldn’t have been right for him to go tonight. We tried to play fast and hopefully get into their legs a little bit. But it’s tough when you’re playing from behind.”
Petrie’s absence changed the equation for STAB as well, though they decided not to drastically adjust the gameplan and that approach worked.
“Petrie is a great player, we did a lot of our gameplanning around Petrie so when we found out he wasn’t playing, we said stick with the same thing,” Nixon said. “Find bodies, attack and do all the little things. I think because we did that we ended up with a good win tonight.”
Freshman Joe Bamisile stepped up for St. Christopher’s with 18 points on the night. Justin Jasper and Will Bird each chipped in 11 while Ameer Bennett had seven points.
Nicholas Reese did some of the heavy lifting with an explosive first half, scoring eight points before the break. The freshman also pulled down four rebounds.
“He’s a great player, I love having him on the team,” Nixon said. “I’m happy for him.”
STAB point guard Nic Kent scored 11 points and dished out three assists while swiping two steals.
STAB will face Trinity in the title game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.