The question surrounding the St. Joseph-Metuchen boys basketball team was how the team would fair Saturday without star player Karl Towns, who was sidelined with knee tendinitis.
Patrick School would answer that question with a 72-65 victory against the Falcons in the final game of the John “Butch” Kowal Scholarship Games in front of a packed gymnasium at Rahway High School.
“We took an act of precaution because of the future that young man has,” St. Joseph head coach Dave Turco said. “We want to make sure that he’s healthy and he’s ready to go when it is time.”
Without the University of Kentucky-bound Towns, the entire Falcons’ team would have to step up.
Wade Baldwin answered the call as he took control of the game, especially in the fourth quarter. He would knock down some early jumpers in the game scoring six points in the first quarter. Then after a scoreless second, he would respond with five in the third quarter.
Heading into the fourth Baldwin raised the Falcons’ energy level with early baskets. However, St. Joseph’s could not get a stop on the defensive side as DeAndre Bembry and the Celtics would go punch-for-punch with St. Joseph’s.
Baldwin 18 fourth-quarter points was not enough to spark the run the Falcons needed to keep up with Patrick School. Baldwin also added eight rebounds to his total.
“If we brought the intensity that we brought in the fourth quarter, we could have made it a different game,” Baldwin.
A 10-point second quarter and an 11-point third quarter sunk the Falcons.
Marques Towns did his best for St. Joseph’s as well without Karl Towns adding 15 points and three rebounds for the Falcons.
“I was very impressed with our energy and effort tonight,” Turco said. “We knew we were going to have to do something extra special without Karl. The kids showed us that they are really capable of playing with the energy and effort that is going to be needed to win a championship this season.”
The Celtics sought help from its top player DeAndre Bembry. Bembry scored 22 points and recorded eight rebounds in the win. Patrick School’s Isiah Still scored 10 points and Daniel Knight had 14. Jason Boswell added 13 points as well.
“We knew missing Karl, they would have an inside presence,” Turco added. “We thought we might have gone to a zone but they are a very good shooting team. They are able to beat you multiple ways.”
With the win, Patrick School moves to 16-3 on the season. St. Joseph’s is now 14-4 this year with tournament season right around the corner.