AUBURN — Gabe Carey opened the contest by swishing a pair of 3-pointers, and putting Saint Dominic Academy on its way to a 68-53 boys basketball victory over Pine Tree Academy on Monday at Callahan Family Memorial Gymnasium.

As if to one-up his first 3-pointer — which came after the Breakers (0-1) were nearly successful on a half-court trap out of the opening inbounds pass — Carey launched his second 3 from far beyond the arc.

Against Richmond he (shot) 2-for-I-don’t-even-know-what, but he didn’t have a 3, which that’s not like him,” Saints (1-1) coach Josh LaPrell said. “So that first one was huge, just to see it go in, and then I knew he was going to be OK.”

Carey finished with a game-high 29 points.

“Felt great. And I got the team energized, just got us in a rhythm. And that’s what we needed,” Carey said. “We missed a rhythm last game, and the team got the rhythm right off the bat.”

Alex Willings then out-did his St. Dom’s teammate, scoring seven points in the first quarter to Carey’s six, and the Saints led 16-10 after the first eight minutes.

“Alex has just been phenomenal. He’s had 22 both games, huge first halves in both games,” LaPrell said. “He’s tough on the boards, he can shoot the 3. He had a couple tonight, he had three against Richmond. I think he’s just getting the confidence, and I think it’s just going to continue to grow.”

Ricky Morales and Aimable Nkurunziza made back-to-back 3s out of a timeout for Pine Tree to cut the Saints’ initial start down to a slim 8-6 advantage.

Nkurunziza scored for Pine Tree to open the second quarter, but the Saints answered with a 10-0 run to pull away for good. Noah Cyr started the spree with a 3, then Willings scored the next seven. Willings totaled 11 points in the quarter, while Carey — quiet since those opening treys — scored seven points in the final two minutes to help St. Dom’s go into the locker room up 39-22.

“The first half, first quarter was all nerves (because it was their first game),” Pine Tree coach Jeff Davis said. “We had two different defenses, they were supposed to be high-pressure, high-trapping, and they weren’t really going all-in because they were so nervous. So our goal in the second half, at halftime, was, ‘Let’s win the second half,’ and we did. We were down 17 at halftime, we lost by 15. So the goal was, ‘OK, we’re not going to win at this point, so can we win the second half, get our nerves down and get some experience from this game?'”

The halftime break did little to cool down Carey, who scored 12 points in the third to pace the Saints’ push to a 60-36 lead after three quarters.

“When we need a spark — last year I was it, and now I got Alex to help me, so when I’m not in a rhythm we got each other,” Carey said. “But I just got to lock in my mindset. I was injured last game, and I healed up, so I’m good this game.”

“It was good to see him drive and not settle. I think sometimes he settles for 3s,” LaPrell said. “So it was good to see him get going to the basket. We talked about that. He just needed to see the ball go in the hoop.”

Morales did his best to try and keep the Breakers in it, scoring seven of Pine Tree’s 14 points in the period. He then added six more in the fourth, and Nkurunziza scored nine in the final frame to draw the Breakers closer.

“(Ricky) is an experienced player, he’s a senior, and like everybody it’s been a long time since he’s been able to play a game of basketball, and it came together to work for him in the second half,” Davis said.

Willings was held scoreless in the second half until two putback layups in the final three minutes of the game. He finished with 22 points. Freshman Logan Carey, Gabe’s brother, drained a 3 in the third quarter for his first varsity points — prompting Gabe Carey to celebrate while getting back on defense. Seven of the 10 Saints players scored a basket.

Morales paced Pine Tree with 21 points, Nkurunziza had 18 and Benjamin Ndamukunda added eight.

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