Survive and advance! St Anthony completed a second half comeback for a 51-44 victory over Santa Margarita in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs on Tuesday. The Saints were led by Jaayden Bush’s 21 points, and Elijah Price’s 18.
Prior to the tip off, Saints coach Alan Mitchell gave what he believed would be the keys to their victory.
“Control the tempo. We want to win the rebounding battle and execute. You can get lost in playing fast and have empty possessions. But we want to control the tempo and execute at the same time,” said Mitchell.
For the first four minutes of the game, they were able to do that. St Anthony got out to a 5-0 lead but Santa Margarita responded with a run of their own and the Saints began to lose control. They found themselves down 26-18 going into the half.
However, this was a tale of two halves as the Saints turned over a new leaf in the third quarter. It started with back to back buckets from Jaayden Bush. Then a corner three from Josiah Spratley brought the lead down to only three points.
As they continued to fly around on defense, coming up with steals. blocks, and limiting Santa Margarita to one shot per possession, St Anthony held a 37-33 lead going into the fourth quarter.
“In the second half, our defense and execution went up another level, and that was the difference,” said Mitchell.
The Saints never let their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter and were able to complete the comeback. They move on to host Colony High School in the quarterfinals on Friday.