By: Nathan Rubinstein (@Nate_Rubinstein)
Wilbraham & Monson 105, Canterbury 110 (OT)
The Canterbury Saints may have been 2-5 going into their matchup against the NEPSAC class AA powerhouse Wilbraham & Monson Titans, but that record did not describe the play Coach Rado’s Saints exemplified Saturday afternoon.
Rado mentioned how the team had a strong week of practice in preparation for the game. Division 1 prospect Shawn Montague returned to the lineup after missing the first seven games of the season. Both of these factors allowed Canterbury to come out with the energy and excitement that was necessary for success against the Titans.
The fans at Piggott Arena on Canterbury’s campus were in for a thriller, witnessing a back and forth contest that was packaged with highflying dunks, and clutch shots that would ultimately decided the outcome.
Down the stretch, the Titans began to figure out their offense and took an eight point lead. As soon as they thought they were in the clear, Canterbury regained the momentum and made a run in the final two minutes.
“We needed to stop settling for three pointers down the stretch,” said Coach Rado after the game. “When we came down the court and made one pass and a shot, or no passes and a shot, we were unsuccessful. When we ran our offense and took better shots we had better results.”
The Saints pushed the game into overtime off of a DeAnte Bruton three pointer, made possible by a steal on the defensive end by Zach Jacobs. In the overtime period Canterbury was able to capitalize and put an impressive win on their resume for the 2015-2016 campaign; capping a 110-105 victory.
The Saints were able to create offense out of defense with their high-pressure guard play, and the ability to stop Kentucky Wildcat commit Wenyen Gabriel. Canterbury was able to hold the 6’10 forward to 14 points.
Brenden Vessicchio was the leading scorer for the Titans bringing in 24 points, with 12 of those points coming from three-point land. He is ranked number 20 in the state of Massachusetts for the senior class per New England Recruiting Report.
The Saints offense was propelled by their other division 1 talent DeAnte Bruton, who knocked in 41 points, proving that he is a high quality prospect in New England. Bruton has been the nucleus of Canterbury’s scoring this year having a plethora of games scoring over 30. The 6’0 senior guard knows how to score all different ways, and is able to lock down any guard in the NEPSAC.
Bruton’s partner in crime, Shawn Montague, had a strong opening game for his senior season putting in 22 points. Montague was able to expose his leaping ability with highlight dunks, including a euro step jam while drawing the foul to earn a trip to the charity strip.
Athletic is an understatement when describing the 6’5 Montague. He is a strong wingman who has already received a multitude of offers, with serious interest from high conferences such as the Atlantic-10. Now that he is officially back, look out for Montague to make even more noise in the New England prep circuit.
Along with Bruton and Montague, the Saints have a couple of talented juniors in their arsenal as well. Combo guard Keith Rado, Jr. has a high basketball IQ, making superb decisions and creating scoring opportunities for his teammates in a crafty way. Rado chipped in 10 points in the victory over Wilbraham and Monson.
Mike Sulik is another junior guard has potential to be a hidden gem for this Canterbury roster. Standing at 6’6, Sulik has the length that college coaches dream to have in their back court. He was able to net 15 in the contest. Look for Sulik to make a name for himself in the next two years.
The Saints continue their journey to defend their NEPSAC Class B title on Wednesday as they host Trinity-Pawling.