Posted On: 03/16/18 1:00 PM
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary hit Revere with a first-quarter haymaker and the Minutemen never recovered as the Irish came away with an easy 57-41 win in the Division II Regional semifinal at the Canton Civic Center on March 15.
The Irish led 17-0 after one quarter and led by as many as 25 at one point in the third period.
St. V’s versatile mixture of bigs combined with a lockdown performance from its backcourt proved too much for Revere to handle.
The Irish take on Villa-Angela-St. Joseph in the Regional Final on March 17 at noon. Jerry Higgins (2018) scored 30 for the Vikings and Jaden Hameed (2021), a scary good freshman, scored 19 in their win over Lakeside in the other semifinal.
St. V’s won an early-season matchup in December with VASJ.
Here are five takeaways from the semis
1. Young bigs for Irish impress
The St. Vincent-St. Mary duo of 6’5” Keyshawn Jones (2019) and 6’4” Marcus Johnson (2020) played exceptionally well.
Jones scored 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting, grabbed a pair of rebounds and was effective on offense early when St. Vincent-St. Mary rushed out to its big lead. Jones’ length can cause major problems in the paint on both the offensive and defensive end.
Johnson scored four points and grabbed six rebounds, including four on the offensive ends. He has unbelievable hands and his ability to corral loose balls and catch difficult passes was a key reason why St. V. outscored Revere 20-6 in the paint.
Lunden McDay (2019), a 6’3” junior, scored a game-high 12 points and was continually able to slash his way to the rack.
2. Nance never got comfortable
Revere’s Pete Nance (2018) never seemed to get comfortable. The Irish continually double-team the 6’9” Northwestern recruit and made it hard for him to get into an offensive rhythm.
Nance finished with nine points, 10 rebounds, and six blocks. He showed some nice inside moves, including a little jump hook and spin in the lane and in watching him shoot in warmups he has a nice stroke and should have no problem becoming a stretch 4. He has a lot of upside but needs a little more polish and dog in him if he’s going to be a difference maker in the Big Ten. He did show some fight when he tussled with Johnson for a loose ball, which resulted in a Johnson getting whistled for a T.
3. Backcourt harassment
The St. V. backcourt, featuring Scott Walter (2018), Chris Painter (2019), Seth Wilson (2021), and Darius Cone (2019), combined to score 27 points and hand out 14 assists.
Those four will cause problems for VASJ’s talented guard duo of Hameed and Higgins in the regional final.
It was this quartet’s defensive pressure, which helped create 16 steals for the Irish.
4. Cupboard not bare at Revere
Revere should be strong again next year even though Nance is headed off to Evanston, Ill. Chris Richardson (2019), 6’3”, is an athletic wing who has a nice stroke from outside.
Against St. V, Hunter Drenth (2020), 6’5”, came on after a slow start and showed an ability to finish through contact and rebound in scoring 14 points. Samson Albert (2019), a 5’9” point guard has some shake to his game and finds seams in the defense allowing him to get to the rack or facilitate.
5. Higgins update
VASJ point guard Jerry Higgins had a sensational senior year. Colleges had been cool on him because he of his height (he’s listed at 5’10”) but after averaging 22.8 points per game this year and becoming the school’s all-time leading scores Division I schools started to take notice.
Winthrop and the College of Charleston have expressed an interest in the point guard as have several other Division I programs, he sai