Tyler Sablich (@TySablich)
Following Sunday’s game against Imhotep, St. Joe’s Prep senior Steve Vasturia said his 26-point performance was irrelevant because it came in a losing effort for the Hawks. However, on Wednesday afternoon it meant much more, as Vasturia once again scored 26 points but this time the Hawks beat Shipley 58-42.
“We just gotta keep playing hard and keep winning ball games,” Vasturia said. “That’s the most important thing.”
It was a game featuring two vastly different coaches, in terms of age and tenure. Hawks coach Speedy Morris, who spent 15 years coaching at La Salle University prior to coming to Prep, has been with the team since 2001. Morris captured his 900th Catholic League win last February, by far the most in league history.
On the other hand, Shipley’s coach Phil D’Ambrosio has only been with the team since 2010. With an inexperienced coach at the helm of a young team, the Gators have fallen to 1-5 this season.
“(Shipley) is not as good as (Imhotep),” Morris said. “We didn’t play all that well today, end of story.”
The game was neck-and-neck throughout much of the first quarter until Prep slammed the door and raced out to a 10-2 run, leading 21-12 after one. With three minutes remaining in the second quarter, Shipley was forced to call a timeout when a 16-4 Prep run began to get out of hand. The halftime score was 29-18 in favor of the Hawks.
After a close fourth quarter in which Shipley cut the deficit down to six at one point, Prep ended the game on a 10-0 run.
Prep’s toughest task was figured to be 6-foot-9, 280-pound Shipley center Zac Tillman, who is headed to Monmouth next fall. However, the Hawks shut Tillman down in the paint. He scored only seven points, including just two in the first half. Instead, it was junior Shawn Harvey who led the way for the Gators with a 16-point performance.
“We did a good job of doubling down (on Tillman),” Morris said. “You just can’t let him catch the ball near the basket. We did a pretty good job of that and just making sure he was being pressured.”
Vasturia, a Notre Dame commit, was one of the few offensive bright spots on St. Joe’s Prep for a second straight game, scoring almost half of its points. Senior Miles Overton once again struggled from the field, scoring just eight points after notching 11 in the opener against Imhotep.
Morris has not been pleased with Overton’s shot selection through the team’s first two games of the season.
“(Overton) is not playing good basketball. He’s a much better player than the way he’s been playing,” Morris said. “For us to get better, he needs to get better. He needs to play team basketball.”
If Overton, a Wake Forest commit, continues to underperform, Prep may not be nearly as strong as initially thought heading into the season. In what was supposed to be a two-headed monster made up of Vasturia and Overton, the Hawks have relied on the former far too much.
“It’s a long season. We just gotta keep working hard,” Vasturia said.
In what is, indeed, a long season, Vasturia appears to already be in mid-season form. It’s the other half of the Hawks’ senior duo that needs to get on track.