All the attention in the high school basketball world fell on 425 South Lindbergh Boulevard Tuesday night when CBC met Chaminade for the first time this season.
Tuesday’s game had been the most anticipated game in St. Louis through the season up to that point. It is the premier rivalry in the Metro Catholic Conference. In the past, the two schools’ games have been filled with conflict and bad blood. For a period of time, the games were played at Lindenwood college, but since the 2016-17 season, the games have been played at each school, and there has been no lack of fireworks. From on court fights, ejections, scuffles, social media trash talk, hard fouls, and fiery student sections, the situation is clear: the two schools do not like each other.
The stakes felt as high as a State Championship game. Every play mattered. At the end of the game, CBC had made more of those plays.
Senior UNC recruit Caleb Love was sensational. CBC’s star guard was in a rhythm. It seemed like he could shoot from anywhere on the court, especially from the three point arc. Love’s windmill dunk in the opening minutes sent the CBC faithful to their feet. When he drove to the rim, he finished with a highlight layup or dunk. Love played with precision and urgency. He had no fear in shooting the basketball from any distance on the court. He shined, finishing the game with twenty-two points.
The Cadet leader received significant help from his teammates. Two of the starters are highly touted sophomores. Rob Martin and Larry Hughes Jr. combined for twenty-one points and knocked down five of eight threes combined. It is easy to say the stage was not too bright for the pair. Rob Martin, a point guard, played with speed and handled the ball well. Martin had two threes and scored twelve points, but his ability to dribble the ball efficiently and move up and down the court with quickness was how he contributed to CBC’s win. His counterpart, Larry Hughes Jr. (Yes, Larry Hughes’s son), contributed with his shooting. The guard had nine points, all coming from behind the arc. He played with poise and confidence. Other role players like Chevalier Brenson and Eric Holmes scored twelve and nine respectively. But in the end, it was the Caleb Love show.
Going into Tuesday night, CBUB was coming off two straight losses, one coming to DeSmet four days earlier. The Cadets came into the game with a 7-6 record, but their record was misleading. They play a national schedule that challenges them at every turn. Up to the Chaminade game, CBC’s season could draw some comparisons to the 2018-2019 Red Devil team. That Chaminade group had also put together a daunting schedule that featured over fifteen D1 basketball players. There were no nights off that year, and many times, CCP was on the wrong end of those games. CBC’s current situation is similar, but when they reached a fork in the road, the Tuesday night game, they stepped up and won a very important match-up, something the 2019 Red Devil team could never really do. February’s rematch will be intense, under-the-spotlight, and, if things play out a certain way, it could be a preview of a very important game in March.
Chaminade kept pace with the Cadets through three quarters, but a little past halfway through the fourth, CBC pulled away. The first half was tight, but CBC lead practically the entire time. In the last minute and half however, Chaminade grabbed momentum going into the break. A tough defensive stop of Love resulted in an air ball three-point shot. A cadet grabbed the rebound and scored at the buzzer; however, it felt like the Red Devils had momentum going into the locker room.
In the first minutes of the second half, Chaminade kept CBC scoreless in their long two-minute possession and followed the stop with a bucket by Damien Mayo to cut the score to 30-34. After a steal, a transition layup by Harrison Vickers, then a three-point shot by Luke Kasubke, Chaminade took the lead 35-34. On the ensuing CBC possession, things got chippy and a double technical was handed out to Vickers and a CBC player. A sweet step-back move by Jaden Winfield awed the crowd and gave Chaminade their final lead of the game with two minutes left in the third quarter.
From there on, CBC held the lead all the way through. The final was a fifteen-point loss for Chaminade, 70-55. A lack of offensive production at key moments was CCP’s primary problem for a second straight game. There were times when the offense seemed to get going but would ultimately stall out.
It was not Chaminade’s best game, but luckily for the Red Devils, they’ll have a chance to get even with CBC later in the season. Also, Chaminade still has a chance to win the conference. The cadet’s key loss last Friday to DeSmet leaves Chaminade tied for second in the conference standings. If the team wins their remaining MCC games, they will leapfrog DeSmet by giving them two MCC losses, and they will have handed CBC their second conference loss of the year. This situation would leave Chaminade solely atop the MCC with a record of 7-1.
CCP’s loss in front of a packed crowd is a setback, but certainly one that can be overcome. The team has faced adversity before and is lead by seniors that have competed in championships complemented by underclassmen who are hungry to get better. Its on to the next one for the Red Devils. Saturday night at Maryville College, the team will have a rematch from last year against Trinity Catholic.
Overall Record: 9-2
Next Game: Saturday January 18th, 7:00 at Maryville College vs. Trinity Catholic.