KENOSHA — When it comes to slowing down the St. Joseph boys basketball team, there has been no recent opponent better at that task than Racine St. Catherine’s.
The Angels again put a “Seahawks-like” grip on the Lancers’ offense en route to a 48-38 Metro Classic Conference and wire-to-wire victory Tuesday night at Madrigrano Gymnasium.
St. Catherine’s (14-3, 10-2 MCC) also defeated St. Joseph 42-34 on Dec. 20 in Racine. Both point totals are the Lancers’ lowest in a game this season.
“They’re a really good defensive team,” St. Joseph coach Jose Winston said. “I think you’ve got to execute against them. You can’t be one-dimensional. You’ve got to be able to do other things. I thought overall we played hard, but we didn’t execute.
“We allowed them to take us out of what we do best, and when you allow a team like that to take you out of what you do best they’re going to beat you.”
St. Joseph (12-6, 7-5) missed seven of its first nine shots and committed two turnovers in falling behind 12-4 after the opening quarter.
The Angels, who are ranked No. 6 in Division-4 in the Associated Press state poll and No. 4 in the WisSports.net state coaches poll, led 18-12 at halftime and 29-18 late in the third before St. Joseph answered with an 8-2 run, capped by Mike Singleton’s 3-pointer, that cut the deficit to 31-26 with 6 minutes, 33 seconds remaining.
The Lancers, who received votes in the AP poll and are No. 10 in the WisSports.net poll, couldn’t get any closer after that. Romeo Bouie’s fastbreak layup upped the Angels’ advantage to 37-26 with 4:23 left, and he made another steal and layup to increase his team’s lead to 43-30 with 1:19 remaining.
Bouie paced all scorers with 17 points, and he also tallied eight rebounds and five steals.
“Bouie is a phenomenal player. He’s one of the best players in the conference,” Winston said. “I thought overall we did a decent job on him — maybe not the best job we could have done on him — but you’re not going to shut a guy down like that.”
Jersey Eickhorst and Cole Gilbert scored eight points apiece, and Kelly Thomas grabbed 11 rebounds for St. Catherine’s.
However, Angels coach Bob Letsch sounded most pleased about the job Eickhorst and Zachary Rammelt did guarding St. Joseph’s Pete Del Fava (five points) and standout freshman DeAndre Johns (six points, which matched a season-low). Johns had only one basket until the final 1:09.
“We worked on that all week trying to stop them,” Letsch said. “We know Del Fava is a 3-point shooter and Johns wanted more to drive. We weren’t going to let him shoot the outside shot, but we preferred he shoot outside.”
Alex Marciniak paced St. Joseph with 15 points and nine rebounds, and Pete Schuler — plagued by foul trouble most of night — added eight points.
Winston said he’s hoping the teams meet up for a third time in the postseason.
“We’re a pretty good defensive team ourselves, and they’re a pretty good defensive team,” he said. “It just comes down to guys being able to make some shots.
“Unfortunately, tonight we weren’t able to, but every moment we get like that, every game we get an opportunity to play in pressure-packed games like that, just prepares us for the playoffs.
“So I’m excited where we’re at. We’ve just got to continue to get better and work toward the playoffs.”