WHEELING - Philadelphia St. Joseph Prep's two Division I recruits played as advertised Saturday afternoon and that was good enough to help the Hawks roll past under-manned and young Wheeling Park 70-43 in the Cancer Research Classic at Wheeling Jesuit University's Alma Grace McDonough Center.
Wake Forest signee Miles Overton scored 21 points and had three assists while Notre Dame-bound Steve Vasturia fired in 20 points, collected eight rebounds and was credited with five assists to lead the way for St. Joe.
On a couple of occasions, Vasturia and Overton executed some impressive give-and-go manuevers that led to easy layups as the Hawks racked up their eighth victory against only one loss in their final test before heading into play in the rugged city Catholic League.
Wheeling Park’s Michael Thomas (22) drives past the guard of Philadelphia St. Joseph Prep’s Dan Nedbal during their CRC matchup on Saturday afternoon.
Photo by Art Limann
Michael Jebbia, the Patriots' head coach, liked what we saw of the two Hawks standouts.
''Vasturia looks better than anybody I've seen playing this year. I watched the games (Friday night) and nobody shoots the ball as well as he does.
''The other kid (Overton) is strong and definitely can play."
"We've been going through a tough stretch and I knew coming in what we were facing. St. Joseph has a well-oiled machine and is very well coached," Jebbia said.
The ageless William ''Speedy" Morris, a National Basketball Hall of Fame nominee and long-time coach of the Hawks, talked about how much he enjoys what is becoming an annual visit to the Ohio Valley.
''I love coming here," Morris said. ''It is such an outstanding tournament and for a great cause. We are treated very well every time we play here.
''I'm not disappointed with our kids but I thought we could have played better," Morria continued. ''First of all, I take my hat off to Mike. Even though they are undermanned and young, they played us well. The score is not indicative of how well they ran their offense. They missed some easy shots. While they would not have won, it would have been a lot closer if they made some of those shots," he added.
The Patiots never led and it was the Hawks two big guns that provided the early cushion as the 6-foot-5 Vasturia scored on a put back and Overton got his feet set behind the arc on the right wing and buried this triple attempt for a 5-0 advantage.
Senior guard Michael Thomas got the Patriots first two points when he nailed a short jumper and it was a four-point game a minute later as St. Joseph exploded for the next 11 points keyed by triples from Kyle Thompson and Overton, for an 18-4 advantage.
Sophomore Chalmer Moffett's basket from in close and classmate Reinbeau drilled a 3-ball to cut the deficit under double-digits.
After the Hawks' Chris Clover hit a pair of free throws and Vasturia's layup, the Patriots pulled to with 22-12 at the close of the quarter on Zach Phillips's conventional 3-point play.
Vasturia's 10 points in the second quarter enabled St. Joseph's Prep to leave the court at halftime in front 36-20. It was still just a 14-point advantage nearing the midway point of the third quarter but Overton scored seven straight points to spark a 15-3 explosion. Vasturia steal of an inbounds pass and an inside move to finish off the quarter had the Hawks coasting with a 57-31 advantage.
''Basically, it got away from us in the third quarter," Jebbia noted. ''We were hanging around down 13, 14 or 15 points but then we made a couple of bad passes that they turned into baskets. We have to play stronger and make each possession count."
''When we were able to run our offense for 15 or 20 seconds, we got a decent shot. If we did miss it, it was usually one and down as they came away with the rebound," he added.
Park, playing without starting senior guard Quashad Pugh and DuQuan Smith-Ellerbee, both sidelined with ankle injuries, shot just 33 percent from the floor (14 of 42), were outrebounded 34-30 and turned the ball over 17 times.
Luke Sasseen was the only Patriot in double-figures as he scored 10 points. Thomas and Reinbau followed with eight points each. Reinbau also pulled down seven rebounds.