St. Anthony Basketball
Basketball St. Anthony

Boys’ Basketball: St. Anthony Arrives With Bosco Winter Classic Title

The St. Anthony boys’ basketball team has arrived.

After a five-year march under head coach Allen Caveness to reach the heights of Division 1, the Saints officially planted their flag as an Open Division contender on Saturday afternoon, defeating St. John Bosco on the road to claim the Bosco Winter Classic Title. The Saints hung tough during a few dry stretches then rallied to defeat the Braves, 66-57.

The Saints are off to a 12-0 start this season, something that has even surprised Caveness.

“I would like to say I know it was coming but I didn’t,” he said with a laugh. “It’s a testament to the kids and how they’ve bought in completely.”

The Saints held a narrow 34-32 lead at halftime but fell behind in the third quarter by as many as nine points. However, as they have all year, the Saints relied on their defense to pull them out of the hole.

“They play a unique style, they’re relentless,” said Bosco coach Matt Dunn.

St. Anthony used a 10-2 run to get back into the game, then another 10-2 run to close it out at the end of the fourth quarter, to give themselves the win.

Bosco was able to stymy St. Anthony leader Jadon Jones in stretches, but he was able to get it going from distance to help lift his team to the win, earning Tournament MVP honors with 20 points, including five 3-pointers. Jones was less surprised than his coach about the team’s start.

“It’s not a surprise to me at all,” he said. “We have a great foundation and culture.”

Jones was pleased to get MVP, but had his own question for Caveness. 

“He said if we win a tournament we’ll get shoes, and we’ve won two tournaments, so on the record right now, when do we get our shoes?” he asked.

Caveness laughed and promised they’d be there on Monday morning.

In addition to Jones, St. Anthony was led by Gorden Boykins and Khai Williams, who each added 14 points.

Boykins and Jaayden Bush both earned All-Tournament honors.

The only thing that marred what was an otherwise celebratory evening for the purple and white was a kerfuffle in the handshake line, when Bosco coach Matt Dunn took issue with something said by St. Anthony’s Ahmaan Thompson, who transferred from Bosco to the Saints’ program this offseason.

Dunn confronted Thompson as the Saints were huddling after the handshake, and when Thompson protested, Dunn pointed at him and said he was “full of —-.” That angered Thompson to the point that he had to be held back from Dunn by his teammates and coaches.

Dunn said after the game he didn’t want to discuss the incident.

“For the most part their team were gracious champions and did it right,” he said.

Caveness was upset that his player had been approached in that way after the game.

“Coach Dunn used some profanity towards him and he responded in kind,” said Caveness. “It’s unfortunate that it happened during a really special moment for the team.”

St. Anthony athletic director Chris Morrison said the Saints were planning on sending a letter to the Bosco administration about the incident.

“We’re writing a letter, that’s all, just to put on the record what happened and that we didn’t like it,” he said. “You don’t talk to a kid that way–if he did something you can talk to me or my coach about it.”

The coaches spoke after the game and parted on good terms, which is fortunate since the two teams will be back in action against each other Friday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. for a nonleague contest, back at Bosco.

PHOTOS: St. Anthony vs St. John Bosco Basketball

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.