Five Takeaways: St. Thomas defeats Tartan in OT

High School
Minnesota

Posted On: 01/17/18 4:58 PM

The St. Thomas Academy Cadets outlasted Tartan in overtime with four guys in double figures overcoming a massive night from Antwan Kimmons.

One.  Some Momentum for the Cadets. With the win last night St. Thomas improved to 7-6 on the season playing one of the toughest schedules in the state of Minnesota.  The Cadets are still the favorite in 3AAA especially after last night’s victory.  St. Croix Lutheran is 10-1 on the year but hasn’t faced anything like St. Thomas has in terms of competition.  After that the best records in 3AAA are the 6-6 of Harding and the 5-7 of South St. Paul.  So despite the losses the goal of state tournament is without a doubt attainable for the Cadets.  STA is 4-1 in league play (Metro East) with a half game deficit to North St. Paul for first.

Two. Jack & Sam. St. Thomas junior Jack Thompson and senior Sam Vascellaro had slower starts at the five man Tartan defense hounded everything the Cadets did early.  As the game went on though, both Thompson and Vascellaro found space to hit from distance and both attacked the basket for scores.  Sam’s late overtime attack was a key score and his physical size going at the rim became something Tartan couldn’t deal with as rotating legs started getting tired.  Thompson was able to find space once Cadet ball reversals started beating the Tartan defense and he was able to attack. Jack is about as good with a jumpstop as anyone I’ve seen lately and his craftiness with the ball ranks with the best.  Sam went over Tartan’s smaller line-up for 25 and then Jack 20.

Three.  Kimmons Career Night. Tartan leading scorer Antwan Kimmons is putting up 20 a night and that average increased a healthy point or two with his 33 point game against the Cadets.  Early in the game Antwan had trouble getting some good looks but once the game became more uptempo the quick first step of Kimmons was able to get wherever he wanted to.  The most commonly used move was the crossover into a left hand attack for the pull-up or the rim attack and the transition jumper also fell more and more as the game went on.

Four. The Edge.  St. Thomas big man George Stewart scored 14 points and half of those points came late in the half as George used a low post move and a pair of active scores to finish over the top of the smaller Tartan line-up.  Stewart’s rebounds and point production gave STA something that Tartan just didn’t have.  Gram O’Malley hit some big shots for STA as well including a late game three that gave STA a lot of momentum. Gram scored 11.

Five.  The Titans. The Titans gave St. Thomas fits early with their full team of defensive workers competing in that traditional Tartan way.  How did Tartan become the last team in Class AAAA to lose a game? One reason was that their full squad can defend including Kimmons, Joseph Kearney, Andre Jenkins-Whitmore, and others including the Jenkins-Whitmore steal and finish the other way simply robbing Thompson. Brady Hartman showed ability as a face-up shooter, Ma’Kil Weems and Kearney did some good things, and Jenkins-Whitmore helped Kimmons in producing points with his 14.  Tartan is now 11-2 with eight upcoming games they will be favorites in.  Tartan lost to NSP and STA and they will get their chance at them again in mid-February.