Saints’ trio shines in rout of Knights

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AUBURN – If the idea is to be peaking at the right time, i.e. down the stretch and into the tournament, St. Dom’s seems to have the right idea.

Led by the formidable front line of Andy Allen, Joe Bonneau and Billy Colasante, the Saints dominated Poland from the outset and cruised to a 79-51 win Thursday night at Callahan Family Gymnasium.

The trio combined to outscore the entire Poland team, 52-51. Allen led the way with 23 points and nine rebounds. Bonneau tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds and Colasante added 13 points and five boards.

“We wanted to get a really strong start. The frontcourt’s huge for us,” Allen said. “That’s what’s been carrying us the whole year. We’ve meshed a lot over the years. We’re hitting our passes and executing plays.”

The frontcourt tandem accounted for all of the Saints’ points as they jumped out to a 10-2 lead and never looked back. Poland, playing without leading scorer Joe Douglass, who’s battling back problems, missed 12 of its last 13 shots in the opening period and never recovered.

“We’ve been battling a lot of injuries. Mimi Knowles has only practiced once in the last seven or eight days with bursitis in his elbow, and a lot of it is the team morale is kind of down right now,” Poland coach Chris Willer said. “It’s tough when a kid like Joe is out, who’s our leading scorer and really our spark that gets us going.”

Knowles finished with 18 points to lead the Knights (5-8), while Mike Littlefield added 12 points and three blocks off the bench. Poland went inside to Littlefield in the second quarter to pull within seven late in the period. But the Saints (11-3) answered with a pair of baseline drives by Bonneau sandwiched around a Colasante hoop and triggered a 10-2 run to close the half and gave them a 32-17 cushion.

Poland held a 24-8 edge on the boards in the first half, including 9-1 on the offensive glass.

“We moved the ball the best we’ve moved it all year,” said St. Dom’s coach Ryan Deschenes. “It seemed like every time I hollered out a play, we’d execute it perfectly. Our defense was there, our rebounding was there. It was our most complete game of the year.”

The Saints never led by less than 11 in the third quarter and shot a blistering 9-for-13 in the fourth to pull away. They shot an even 50 percent from the floor for the game, while Poland shot just 31 percent.

“We executed plays great tonight. We set hard screens, got open, had open shots, and we made a lot of them,” Allen said.

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