In a system where the open guy takes the shot no matter who the open guy is, you can’t focus on locking off St. Anne’s-Belfield boys basketball’s Mesiah Woods or Nick Reese or Justin Taylor or Dalton Taylor or Malachi Poindexter or, lately, eighth grader Carter Lang.
There are just too many options, too many threats.
“We were just moving the ball around, getting it to the open person,” Woods said. “Just playing as a team, as we usually do..”
Fork Union’s shorthanded squad ran into that flow Tuesday night in an 80-46 win for the Saints. Just a few weeks after Dalton Taylor ripped off a triple double and Justin Taylor rained threes on the Blue Devils in a hard-fought road win, Woods did some serious damage of his own with 20 points and five assists. Throw in another red hot shooting night form Justin Taylor who had 22 points and Fork Union simply couldn’t find a way to clamp down on a STAB offense that’s in a groove right now.
“We definitely found a rhythm, we have a good future ahead of us right now,” Woods said.
STAB jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start the game and extended that lead to 43-21 by halftime, playing well defensively after allowing Fork Union to climb back into the game in their first meeting after building an early lead.
The numbers back up Woods’ take on how well the Saints are clicking on the offensive end. STAB dished out 24 assists as a team on 32 made field goals. That’s a lot of in system production. It helps in particular that on a team with a bevy of guards that Lang has recently emerged as a productive piece in the post. That spark continued against the Blue Devils with 10 points and four rebounds.
“Carter is playing way better, he’s playing strong and he’s getting a lot of rebounds,” Woods said.
Justin Taylor added four assists to his 22 points while Dalton Taylor had five assists and five rebounds to go with six points. Reese finished with six assists and three rebounds to go with five points. Poindexter finished with nine points and three assists.
Fork Union, meanwhile, had to play without Caleb Moss, their rugged, tough forward who’d kept them in the game during the Blue Devils’ first meeting with STAB. They were also missing James Pua’auli-Pelham, their starting point guard, leaving the squad in some uncomfortable new roles.
“STAB earned everything that they got today, they played really hard, they shot the ball well,” said coach James Pelham. “We didn’t take anything away, they did a great job.”
Larry Elder led the Blue Devils with 14 points while Antonio Pua’auli-Pelham had 12 points.
That future Woods referenced includes trying to claw their way into the VISAA Division I tournament where they’re currently on the outside looking in at 13th out of a 12 team field, but first they’ve got three tough regular season games left before the Prep League Tournament later this month.
The Saints step out of Prep League play Friday with a road game against Virginia Episcopal while Fork Union hosts St. Christopher’s the same night.