During the second half Saturday night, a representative with Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s boys basketball team leaned over and quipped: “So this is what it’s like to be on the other end of one of these.”
In an anticipated clash between state powers, No. 2-ranked Trotwood dunked on, defended and dominated No. 6 SV-SM in a 100-61 stunner. That the Rams (10-0) won wasn’t surprising. How they did it was.
Trotwood outrebounded the 2016 Division II state runners-up 47-28. Trotwood outscored SV-SM in the paint 34-8. And the running Rams scored 25 points off 19 Irish turnovers.
“They beat us every facet of the game. It was just a good old-fashioned ass whooping,” said SV-SM coach Dru Joyce. “They played with more energy. They played with more aggression. That’s what happens when you don’t meet someone’s aggression and passion. You take a whooping. And we took a whooping.”
Trotwood turned a 19-11 lead after one quarter into a 48-26 advantage at halftime. The lead hit a game-high 41 points three times, the last coming when sophomore Malachi Mathews drained a 3-pointer with 38 seconds remaining in the game.
Senior Torrey Patton scored a game-high 20 points. Sophomores Amari Davis and Justin Stephens each scored 18 points and junior Myles Belyeu added 16.
“I have a ton of respect for St. V,” Trotwood coach Rocky Rockhold said. “It’s great our kids respect them but don’t fear them. It was go play our game and do what we do. That’s probably what I’m most proud of.”
Davis highlighted the second half during a personal 8-0 run. Two of the baskets came on dunks after steals. Among other highlights, Belyeu’s alley-oop pass to Amir Foster brought Rams Nation to its feet when Foster slammed the lob.
“When those dunks were going on — I got one, Amir got one and Stephens got one. We were all happy for him,” Davis said.
“It’s definitely a confidence boost. Going into the season we knew we had to get over this challenge before we could face other ones.”
As good as the Rams were on offense — they unofficially hit 40 of 63 shots for 63 percent — the defense was better. SV-SM (6-4) boasts one of the state’s top backcourts in seniors John Williams and Jayvon Graves. Williams didn’t hit a field goal until the fourth quarter and finished with seven points. Graves finished with 18, but eight came in the final 5:35.
“I think we took them out of a lot of things they wanted to do,” Rockhold said. “ I think our pressure (kept them) them from getting in some of the sets they wanted to. There was a point where I said we’re pretty good when we play team defense and share the ball. If we continue to build on that it’ll mean good things for us down the road.”
SV-SM shot 30 percent (19-of-63) and connected on five of 21 three-point attempts.
“Every time we win a game like that we’re sharing the ball. We play good defense. We rebound. Block shots,” Stephens said of the Rams’ formula for success.
Stephens demonstrated that drive late in the second quarter. Twice in the final two minutes of the first half he grabbed the rebound off a missed Rams’ free throw and muscled it in for a score.
“We expected to get the win,” Patton said. “We knew if we came out and played our game we could get what we wanted.”
As for the Irish, they’re wishing for a rematch. That wouldn’t happen until the Division II state tournament.
“I think we learned from this,” Joyce said of Saturday’s setback. “We’d definitely like another shot (at them).”
Added Patton: “We know we’ll end up seeing them in the tournament again. We’ll be prepared for whatever they bring.”
If there was a bright spot for SV-SM, it’s that the Irish didn’t have to think about this one on the three-hour drive back to Akron. The Irish remained in town to play Pickerington North at 3 p.m. today in the Flyin’ to the Hoop Invitational at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
Trotwood plays in the event 1:15 p.m. Monday against Prolific Prep (Calif.).