November 26, 2012

Monks keeping it close

St. Joe's, which beat USM 70-56 Sunday, is already a tightly knit group, says Coach Rob Sanicola.

By MARK JEANNERET Special to the Press Herald

GORHAM -- Rob Sanicola thinks he has a pretty good thing going, if early season atmosphere and camaraderie count for anything.

click image to enlarge

Nicholas Jobin of St. Joseph’s, who finished the game with 13 points, tries to drive around USM’s Tanner Storey on Sunday.

Photos by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Steve Simonds of St. Joseph’s tries to drive through Southern Maine defenders Conor Sullivivan, left, Brandon Graham and Mike Poulin in a 70-56 win over the Huskies on Sunday in Gorham. Simonds led the Monks, who improved to 2-0, with 15 points.

Additional Photos Below

Sanicola knows it's early and just about every team is still ripe with unbridled optimism.

But as the veteran coach of the St. Joseph's men's basketball team reflects on his previous nine seasons, he believes this year's edition has already shown a quality that's difficult to teach.

"This is the closest group of players this early in the season that I've had in my 10 years," said Sanicola after St. Joe's topped University of Southern Maine 70-56 in a non-conference men's college basketball game played Sunday afternoon at USM's Hill Gymnasium.

"They've been very close since day one, and as a coach that's the most important thing but it's also the hardest thing to have early on."

The victory helped the Monks improve to 2-0 on the young season and marked their fifth straight in Costello Cup competition. The Huskies, playing in their home opener, suffered their first loss to drop to 3-1.

The game was certainly not a thing of beauty early on. Neither team was particularly sharp in the shooting department in the opening half.

The Monks went 14 for 39 from the field in the first 20 minutes while USM was an abysmal 11 for 37.

St. Joe's used a 10-0 run in the early stages of the game to surge into a 14-8 lead. The Huskies followed the five-minute scoreless stretch by netting seven of the next eight points to even the count at 15-15.

"We came out maybe a little over-hyped and a little anxious," said Nich Jobin, a Westbrook grad who had 13 points for the Monks.

"We were putting up shots that were good shots, it's just we weren't necessarily looking inside first. We were playing outside in toward the start of the game instead of inside out."

A three-pointer by Craig Luschenat broke the tie and restored the Monks advantage, one that they would never relinquish.

St. Joe's put together another solid defensive stretch in the latter stages of the opening half -- aided by USM's collective inability to hit shots -- as they held the Huskies scoreless for four minutes and stretched the lead to 27-19.

"We just didn't make shots," said USM coach Karl Henrikson. "I credit their defense for a lot of that.

"And I think sometimes when you don't score it affects your defense at the other end. I think that in a nutshell was the case. St. Joe's is not the type of team -- they're very disciplined -- that is not going to shoot you back into a game with bad shots."

St. Joe's led 30-24 at the half.

The Huskies kept the game within six points through the first six minutes of the second half.

St. Joe's cemented its advantage with a 9-2 run -- featuring a three-pointer by Matthew Medeiros -- to move ahead 50-37 with 12 minutes left.

Steve Simonds paced the Monks with 15 points while Medeiros finished with 12.

Conor Sullivan paced the Huskies with a game-high 18.

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors


Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Matt Sullivan of St. Joe’s collides with USM’s Tyler Penney as he drives to the basket during the Monks’ 70-56 win at Hill Gymnasium on Sunday.

  


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


 

Blogs

Clearing the Bases - TODAY
Pitching, pitching, pitching

More PPH Blogs

Winter sports 2013-2014

High School Football 2013

Fall sports photos