Heading into their Friday Night matchup with the CBC Cadets, Chaminade’s varsity basketball team was focused on claiming a title not achieved since the 2018 season: conference champs.
How did they get there?
December 9 2020: 82-70 vs Vianney, 1-0 in the MCC
January 7 2021 : 73-60 vs DeSmet, 2-0 in the MCC
January 15 2021: 62-58 at CBC, 3-0 in the MCC
January 19 2021: 56-51 at DeSmet, 4-0 in the MCC
February 3 2021: 64-40 vs SLUH, 5-0 in the MCC
February 12 2021: 61-54 at SLUH, 6-0 in the MCC
And on February 19th, CCP defeated CBC 72-64, handing the Cadets their second conference loss, and moving the Red Devil’s record to 7-0. With only one game left to play (against Vianney), the 2021 Red Devils can take pride in knowing they won the toughest conference in St. Louis.
After winning the opening tip, Chaminade could not get their first basket to fall, so CBC took the basketball and transitioned into a half court offense. Point guard Robert Martin fed the ball into the post, passing it to CBC big man Eric Holmes, who tried to lay the ball in but was blocked by Chaminade’s BJ Ward. Instinctively, the Cadet’s senior Forward, Chevalier Brenson, grabbed the basketball out of the air, forced contact by jumping into the arms of Filip Sinobad, and then converted his push shot to get the and-one call. After missing his free throw, CBC lead 2-0.
Following the missed free throw, Chaminade took over on the offensive end of the court. A paint feed to the hands of Tarris Reed resulted in a trip to the charity strike: Reed went 1-for-2. The next minute and a half of action saw a beautiful spinning layup by Damien Mayo which cut the lead to 1, but a Robert Martin long two point jump shot and Justus Johnson’s layup coming off a pass from Martin brought the visiting team’s lead back up to 8-3, and Coach Frank Bennett decided to call timeout with 3:35 left in the 1st quarter.
Out of the timeout, Mayo imposed his will on back-to-back offensive plays. The junior shooting guard sank a mid-range jumper at the free throw line, and on the following possession, he slammed down a one-handed put back dunk over Tarris Reed and Chevalier Brenson who were standing under the net. Mayo’s highlight slam brought the spectators and Chaminade’s bench to their feet with awe.
Unfortunately for Chaminade, CBC responded well scoring two straight baskets off a Kendall Houston up-and-under layup and Martin’s signature transition pull up mid-range jumper in front of the CCP bench. The score sat at 12-7 in favor of the Cadets, and Coach Justin Tatum called timeout with 1:40 remaining in the 1st quarter. To end the initial eight minutes, MJ Jackson finished at the rim with a euro step layup around Houston, and Walt Straughter swished a trey ball. For CBC, Mikhail Abdul-Hamid found the bottom of the basket with two long jumpers from beyond the arch sending the score to 18-12 going into the 2nd.
The 2nd quarter saw an incredible momentum shift towards the favor of the Red Devils. In what ended up being the turning point of the game, CCP went on a 16-4 run. To begin the quarter, Damien Mayo laid the ball in off a put back, BJ Ward sank an eight-foot floater, and Mayo nailed a mid-ranger tying the game at 18-18. He then sunk a jump-shot mid air after grabbing an offensive rebound. Chaminade took their first lead of the night, 20-18. From there, Nilavan Daniels knocked down a three pointer from the top of the arch. CBC finally responded when Larry Hughes Jr. went 2-for-2 at the free throw line.
Tarris Reed got in on the action with an offensive put back. Hughes Jr., again, went 2-for-2 at the line. CCP’s big man matched Hughes’s free throws with a transition dunk to take momentum back from CBC. Nate Straughter followed with a three-point dagger, and Chaminade led 30-22. An Eric Holmes layup was the last points the Cadets got in the half. With 6 seconds remaining before the break, Coach Justin Tatum was issued a technical foul, and Nilavan Daniels went 1 for 2 at the free throw line. Going into the intermission, Chaminade was up 35-24.
During the halftime break, Mayo, Chaminade’s biggest leader, enthusiastically encouraged his teammates, “This is a true test,” he told them, “This is playoffs honestly. If we do everything [the coach’s] want us to do, things will take care of themselves.” Coach Bennett followed that up with instruction of his own, “Make them burn all their timeouts, make them get another T. Let’s go blow them out!”
Brenson scored CBC’s first 4 points of the 3rd quarter. After beating Filip Sinobad off the dribble, the forward laid the ball in. The Cadets then made a defensive stop, Brenson got out in transition, and scored another layup. CBC cut their deficit to 7. It was right after Brenson’s second layup where Tarris Reed flipped a switch.
The four-star big man scored 13 points in the third quarter alone. Heating up, Reed knocked down a layup, then on CCP’s next offensive possession, he sunk a skyhook over the Cadet defense. CBC responded with a Robert Martin three pointer and a Hughes Jr. pull jumper, and Chaminade’s lead dwindled to 4 points. The Red Devils did pull ahead by seven thanks to a free throw by Sinobad and a BJ Ward drive into the paint where he flipped the ball to Reed who threw down a 2-handed dunk.
A Back-and-forth second half continued: Robert Martin knocked down 2 free throws, Tarris Reed sank a long two-point jump shot. Eric Holmes went 1-for-2 at the charity strike, and Reed responded with a turnaround jumper along the baseline. CBC continued to score, and all the sudden, a Robert Martin Floater tied the game up at 47-47. Nate Straughter broke the tie sinking a deep three, but CBC wouldn’t stay down as Houston went to the free throw line and hit both shots. Made buckets with a foul by both teams brought the score to 53-51 in favor of the Red Devils going into the final frame of the game.
While the final 8 minutes began to tick away, St. Louis’s premier rivalry continued to provide intense entertaining basketball. On Chaminade’s initial possession, sophomore guard Nilavan Daniels drained a three at the top of the three-point arch stretching the lead to 56-51. As he had done all night, Robert Martin responded by forcing contact, getting to the free throw line, and converting both attempts, shrinking the lead down to 3. And at the 6:43 mark of the fourth quarter, Damien Mayo’s fourth foul sent Brenson to the line where he brought the score to 56-55. Though the Red Devils were not able to immediately respond on their following possession, a defensive stop put Filip Sinobad in prime possession to nail a 3pter along the far sideline creating a skosh of breathing room at 59-55.
Breaking his perfect night from the free throw line, Robert Martin went 1-for-2, and Reed responded on the other end going 2-for-2 raising the lead to 61-56. Brenson’s layup after Reed’s free throws forced a CCP timeout with five minutes to go in the game. The next three and half minutes of action saw a Martin deep range two-point shot but was highlighted by Tarris Reed’s posterizing dunk over Eric Holmes coming off an inbounds pass. Aside from his monster jam, the center also laid the ball up over Chevalier Brenson and Daniels sank another free throw. After Chaminade’s timeout with 1:31 left in the game, Brenson made a huge three of his own which brought the score to 66-63 with 1:15 to go. Tatum called timeout.
A foul-fest followed, and Chaminade kept their lead. A final score of 72-64 ended a game of the year contender. Tarris Reed came to life in the second half, scoring 23 of his 28 points, but it was the entire team’s defense that solidified the win. While the victory over their purple and gold rivals was sweet, Chaminade knows they will likely see the Cadets one final time in the district Championship on March 9th at Kirkwood high school.
Overall Record: 17-1
MCC Record: 7-0
Next Game: Thursday February 26th at Vianney, 6:15 pm.