Sunday, November 26, 2017

Aquinas's defense "travelled" to prime time tournament and led to a blowout win over a top 10 foe

Tre Gommillion led the team in scoring (17 ppg) and rebounding (11 rpg) last weekend.

Most teams go through complete seasons without the players and the coaches all being on one page and aiming for one goal. And most teams aren’t successful. Those that are successful usually take some time to gel. But Aquinas's players and coaches are both wonderfully aligned at a very early stage in the season. As far back as _, Aquinas coach Darren Douglas and his top returning player, and according to the Augusta Chronicle the area’s top returning player, Tre Gomillion, were perfectly aligned with their words. In our preseason interview (below) it became clear that among the three of us, I was the only guy who didn’t know that the Irish expected, and knew how, to hold opponents to less than 40 points per game:

The Fighting Irish proved in a pair of high level games at last weekend’s Holiday Hoopsgiving tournament that their actions on the defensive end of the court will speak even louder than their words.

Watch the archived broadcast of Aquinas's win over #9 (class A private) Eagles Landing at the link below:

In its season opener, Aquinas lost a close game (45-42) to Brooklyn (NY) power house Bishop Loughlin. The Irish led throughout the contest after allowing only 19 first half points. The next morning the Irish took their game to another level on both ends of the court against Eagles Landing Christian Academy, which the AJC ranked #9 in class A private in its preseason rankings. Aquinas held ELCA to 15 first half points, and Gomillion scored 20 points to lead a balanced Irish attack that included impressive inside play by 6’5” seniors Dajuan Hill and Cameron Gardner and timely shooting by senior guards Trent Bowdre and Gerald Merriweather. And senior South Aiken transfer Daniel Parrish excelled in all areas, as he does often, scoring 9 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and dishing 5 assists.

As you can hear in the interview above, the defensive chops at Aquinas under coach Douglas were firmly established during last season’s 26-2 run that ended with an appearance in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. But last season the Irish didn’t have a chance to showcase that defense on a stage like the one at the Holiday Hoopsgiving, or against teams like Bishop Loughlin or ELCA, until March.

Watching them do it in November this year makes me excited about what Gomillion and a cast of seniors will do in their second season under Douglas’s leadership.

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