Defense keys Knights, snap Warriors 20-game win streak
St. Thomas Aquinas 54, Harvest Prep 41
Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas (18-11) used a stifling defense in the 2nd half that limited Harvest Prep to just 15 points in the game’s final two quarters to secure a cherished, 54-41, victory in a Division IV semifinal. The victory ended Harvest Prep’s 20-game winning streak.
The Knights held the Warriors to just a 6-of-24 showing from the field in the 2nd half, which included an 0-of-9 effort from distance. St. Thomas Aquinas got nine points from sophomore Jacob Paul in the final frame making 7-of-7 from the charity stripe.
Paul scored a game-high 15 points and added four rebounds. Paul led the team in points, but it was the overall play of junior Anthony Moeglin that made all the difference. Moeglin, a rugged 6-footer, tallied 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Senior Austin Hill, the Knights’ leading scorer, contributed 11 points.
Junior David Dennis Jr. paced the Warriors with 12 points (10 points below his average), nine rebounds, and three assists. Senior Sean Blackburn and junior Rael Windley evenly split 14 points. Windley grabbed six boards and Black snared five and dished out a trio of assists.
Harvest Prep was just 1-of-15 from behind the arc for the game, while Aquinas wasn’t much better at 4-of-21.
In a sloppy 1st half, which lacked much of a flow, Harvest Prep and St. Thomas Aquinas played a competitive opening 16 minutes full of mini-runs. Harvest Prep (10) and Aquinas combined for (5) 15 turnovers in the opening half.
Despite the rough play, Harvest Prep was able to shoot 57 percent from the floor, but ended up tied with the Knights at 26, who shot just under 31 percent.
David Dennis Jr. tallied seven points in the 2nd quarter for the Warriors, while Austin Hill tallied six counters for the Knights on two triples.
Stat of the Game
St. Thomas Aquinas was 18-of-26 from the foul line compared to just 4-of-11 for the Warriors.
Player of the Game
Jacob Paul scored a game-high 15 points, but it was his 9-of-9 effort at the free throw line that helped the Knights advance.
St. Thomas Aquinas shot just under 31 percent from the floor in the 1st half and Harvest Prep registered a 57 percent effort, but the teams were tied at the half in large part to the Warriors committing 10 turnovers.
Photos by Gary Housteau (JJHuddle.com/Bucknuts.com)