KENOSHA — If it’s any consolation to the St. Joseph boys basketball team, Whitefish Bay Dominican is going to have a less-than-pleasant practice today.
Ranked No. 8 in Division-4 in the latest WisSports.net state poll, the Lancers put forth a commendable effort against the top-ranked and two-time defending WIAA Division-4 state champion Knights, but came up short, 68-56, in a Metro Classic Conference matchup at Madrigrano Gymnasium.
“We’re not happy with this win,” Dominican standout Diamond Stone said. “We’re going to go to practice (today) and run a lot. Coach said to hold them under 40. They had 56, so we have to run 16 sprints. That’s not fun.”
The 6-foot-10 Stone, who is regarded as one of the top juniors in the country, finished with 26 points, 17 rebounds and eight blocked shots, but the Knights (11-3, 8-0 Metro Classic) took advantage of St. Joseph’s tightly packed 2-3 zone defense by canning eight 3-pointers in the first three quarters. Austin Moutry (14 points) and Chris Topp (11) combined for seven of the eight treys.
“You’ve got to pick your poison,” St. Joseph coach Jose Winston said. “We wanted to pack it in tight and make Diamond’s looks difficult, which I thought we did early.
“We didn’t sacrifice our bodies. There were opportunities where we could’ve taken charges. There were opportunities where the ball was hitting our hands. We have to come up with those 50/50 balls in order to beat teams like this and we didn’t. They were quicker to the loose balls and more active than we were.”
Freshman guard DeAndre Johns matched his season high with 21 points to pace the Lancers (10-4, 5-3). Pete Schuler scored 11 points and Matt Foster grabbed 14 rebounds.
St. Joseph trailed 17-14 after one quarter and 21-18 midway through the second quarter when Moutry and Topp knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers — the second coming after an effortless block by Stone.
Holding a seven-point lead, the Knights went on a 11-3 run in the final 3:08 of the first half to pad their lead to 38-23. Quinton Miller’s 3-pointer from the top of the key with two seconds left capped the first-half scoring.
“Everyone is concerned about me,” Stone said, “but I like to get my teammates involved and they hit some big shots.”
Dominican led by as many as 23 points late in the third quarter and Stone opened the fourth quarter with a powerful two-handed dunk and flushed home two more off an alley-oop from Moutry less than a minute later to make it 57-32.
“Diamond is a phenomenal player,” Winston said. “I believe he will be an All-American at the end of his high school career. I think the sky is the limit for him.”
The Lancers refused to quit, though. Johns scored 12 of his 21 points in the final 5:32 and Alex Marciniak and Mike Singleton both made 3-pointers to help cut the deficit to 63-52 with 1:42 to play.
“They didn’t take advantage of the moment,” Winston said. “They let the moment get too big. Later they were able to settle down, but they have to take advantage of the moment earlier.”
The teams will meet again on Feb. 22 in the regular-season finale at Dominican.
“We know that we can do better,” Johns said. “We’ll be ready next time.”