St. Vincent-St. Mary rolls against Ursuline, 67-36
D'Aundray Brown missed his third game for Ursuline.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- The best player on the Ursuline High boys basketball team sat on the bench in a shirt and tie Tuesday, watching his team get steamrolled by the best 5-5 team in the state, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, 67-36.
"Everyone's going to say, 'Oh, well, D'Aundray [Brown] didn't play,' but even without him, it should not have been a score like that," said Ursuline coach Keith Gunther. "We should have played better."
SVSM's record entering the game was deceiving. It has lost to five Division I programs -- Lakewood St. Edward and Cincinnati Moeller, the top two teams in the state, along with Canton GlenOak, Mansfield Senior and Warren Harding -- and several of those losses came in the final seconds.
"We lost to some pretty quality programs, but that's no excuse. We still lost," said SVSM coach Dru Joyce, who coached LeBron James in his final two years of high school. "We're used to winning those games."
First quarter set tempo
Nobody watching the first quarter of Tuesday's game would have guessed that SVSM was a .500 team. Ursuline tried to open the game in man-to-man and, to quote Gunther, "got our butts kicked on the boards."
Anthony Anderson had five points and four rebounds in the quarter as SVSM used a 10-4 advantage in rebounds to take a 22-6 lead. Ursuline played better the rest of the way, but the lead never approached single digits.
"We knew they had 20-25 points on the bench and we wish D'Aundray had been able to play," said Joyce. "But at the same time, you play the guys you line up against. We accept the victory and we're glad to get on out of here."
Brown, who has missed the last three games (Ursuline's only three losses of the season), injured his back against Mooney Jan. 12. Gunther expects him to be back for Friday's game at Warren JFK.
"He's a warrior," said Gunther. "He's sick about [not playing]. I wasn't sure he was going to play [on Friday], but now I'm quite sure he'll play."
Dominated the boards
Gregory Preer led SVSM (6-5) with 16 points and five rebounds. Anderson finished with 12 rebounds as the visiting Irish held a 42-30 edge on the boards. Cameron Joyce added 13 points in the win and eight other players scored.
Preer and Joyce are likely to play at prep schools next season and are the two top recruits in the senior class. ("We don't have a lot of big name guys," said Dru Joyce, "but they know how to play.") Although SVSM doesn't have the talent it had when James was playing, it's good enough to make a run at the Division II state title this year.
"Are they good? Yes, they're very good," said Gunther, whose team competes in Div. III. "I don't care what their record is. But you've got to play a team like that if you want to achieve what we want to achieve.
"You're not going to win every game, but you've got to play the best of the best because if you get to the state tournament or the regional final, you're going to play a team like that."
Craig Caputo and Ryan Burton each scored 10 points to lead Ursuline (9-3), while Anthony Ricci had seven points and eight rebounds.
"We've just got to keep trying to get better," said Gunther.