Cardillo checking in here after St. Joseph blew out Norwalk 90-65 Tuesday night in Trumbull.
Full game details can be found here, including a lot about St. Joseph’s success in scoring off missed baskets on long outlet passes, catching the opponent napping.
Not a bad night for St. Joseph when three players — Jake Pelletier, Johnny Dzurenda and Quincy McKnight — each score over 21 points, right?
The crazy thing is and it’s hard to pin down exactly why, but St. Joseph almost seems more lethal this year as opposed to the last two, when it won back-to-back Class LL titles behind the 6-foot-7 frontcourt pairing of Timajh Parker and Patrick Hopkins. Maybe it’s because McKnight seems that good, in control of all facets of the game. Maybe it’s better chemistry. If anything concrete, it’s the out-and-out speed the current Cadets squad has in all five positions. The points come easy for St. Joseph from all over the floor this season.
“We’re pretty much all guards this year, even Erick (Langston) is a guard,” Pelletier said.
The Langston-to-Pelletier long passes seem to be St. Joseph’s signature play. Either than or ferocious alley-oops to McKnight. (McKnight missed, in the third quarter, what would’ve been the best high school dunks I’ve seen. He was fouled and the ball rattled out.)
Quietly, there’s a lot to like about Dzurenda’s game. All he does is score points. You look up and he’s buried you for 20.
“Floaters, getting to the hoop, 3-pointers … he’s our best ball-handler. He’s the best,” Pelletier said of Dzurenda.
Maybe I’ve happened to catch St. Joseph on the right nights. Two weeks ago I saw them blow-out Bassick at the Webster Bank Arena and then tonight the Cadets blew Norwalk’s doors off. Sandwiched around those wins was a narrow three-point victory over Staples. So perhaps my opinion is a little skewed.
That said, St. Joseph is dangerous.
Are the Cadets the No. 1 team in the state? Probably not, especially after Fairfield Prep beat Hillhouse earlier Tuesday night.
Still, you’d have to like St. Joseph’s chances vs. just about anybody due to its ability to score in transition or the halfcourt, as well as its quick hands on defense.
After tonight, I’ve seen all of the teams you’d consider “contenders” in the FCIAC. Westhill has still left an impression with me thanks to the Vikings fluid, collective team play. Westhill, St. Joseph, Trinity Catholic and Central should form a pretty solid top-four for the league playoffs in two-plus weeks.
Norwalk is probably a solid shade below this group. There’s talent on Tom Keyes squad, the Bears don’t seem to function at their best as unit. Or at least they didn’t Tuesday compared to St. Joseph.
Sophomore Roy Kane started the game on the bench for disciplinary reasons. Interesting player. Not quite a guard, not quite a forward. Right now Kane seems to be a scorer — to the tune of 18 points a night. Lots of upside for the sophomore if he’s able to polish his game.
Friday night St. Joseph hosts Central. Should be a good one. Might make sense to get there early if you’re going to attend.