The Saint Mary’s Panthers boys basketball team destroyed Saint Joseph Wednesday night, 90-63, in the Bay Shore Athletic League opener.
“Saint Joe’s was ranked right behind us,” said Panther guard Tim Fanning. “We knew this was a big game and we had to set a tone for the season.”
They did that and then some. The hosting Panthers opened the game with an 8-point run, including three-pointers from Terrence Boyd and John Sharper, en route to an 18-3 lead halfway through the first quarter.
A bad start would only get worse for the Pilots, who struggled desperately against relentless full-court pressure from Saint Mary’s. Adding insult to injury, Boyd banked in a buzzer-beating three-pointer to close the first quarter at 29-9.
Boyd, who would add another banked three early in the second half amidst cheering laughter from the home crowd, led all scorers with 24 points. Sharper followed closely with 23 for the Panthers, and Chase Moore contributed 18. Meanwhile, Saint Joseph failed to put a single scorer in double-digits. Kevin Neveu led the Pilots with nine points from the bench.
Berkeley High assistant coach Barry Kleiman, scouting his cross-town rival, was impressed.
“They’re battle-tested,” Kleiman said. “They’ve been in a lot of big games, and they’ve learned how to take advantage of key situations.”
Wednesday night’s performance is all the more impressive in the absence of injured point guard DeShawn Freeman, a key component from last years Division 4 state championship Saint Mary’s team.
Freeman, out early in the season with a stress fracture, had played in the Panthers’ two previous games before reinjuring himself at practice over the weekend.
“He’ll be back in a couple weeks,” said Saint Mary’s head coach Jose Caraballo. “All my kids are stepping up, especially Terrence Boyd and Tim Fanning. The kids are playing hard and getting more experience while DeShawn’s not playing, so once he gets back we’ll be even better.”
Wednesday night’s blowout was a perfect opportunity to distribute playing time among Panther reserves. Freshman Larry Gurganions, who had zero first-half minutes, poured in 8 points during his very strong second half.
“The kids are playing hard and have done everything I’ve asked them to do,” Caraballo said.
The Panthers next face sophomore standout Tim Pierce and the Fremont Tigers.