Basketball Rides Big Third Quarter to 76-66 Win Over Bard Early College

The St. Albans basketball team used a familiar formula in Saturday’s win over Bard Early College by dominating the third quarter 19-4.  The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 101-56 in the third quarters of their 5 wins this season.  The day after a 34-point third quarter barrage in Friday’s win over Georgetown Day School, STA used stifling defense to erase a 43-32 halftime deficit on the way to their fourth straight win. 
The Bulldogs had trouble getting their shots to fall in the first half while Bard could hardly miss.  The visitors built their lead to as much as 16 with less than 3 minutes to play in the second quarter before STA went on a 7-0 run led by a deep Miles Hicks three-point shot, a Caden Diggs drive through the lane, and a pair of free throws from Diggs and Julian Matthews to cut the lead to 9 at intermission.  The STA coaching staff used the break to make some defensive adjustments and the players shook off their first-half offensive struggles to turn the game around in the third quarter.  With more active defense overall and tougher work down low the Bulldogs held Bard to only 4 points in the quarter.  Offensively, Matthews ignited a 6-0 STA run to start the third quarter with a putback in the lane, followed by a pair of Hicks free throws, and completed with  a 15-foot jumper from Diggs on the right wing.  Bard sandwiched a pair of buckets around a Diggs three-pointer to give the visitors a 47-41 lead with 4:50 left in the quarter.  The Bulldogs held Bard scoreless the rest of the quarter while they poured in another 10 points to take a 51-47 lead into the fourth quarter. 
Bard turned up the pressure with their full-court press in the fourth quarter and converted two early turnovers to tie the game with 7:24 left, forcing an STA timeout to review their press break.  The teams traded baskets amid five ties and lead changes over the next three minutes.  The Bulldogs were down 58-57 coming out of a timeout with 5:14 left in the game and went on a decisive 12-5 run.  Matthews started the run by drawing a foul on an offensive putback attempt and making both free throws.  Diggs followed that with a three two possessions later and Matthews converted a nice feed from Luke Razi the next time down the floor.  Diggs was tripped on a break-away to put STA in the bonus and hit both of his free throws.  After a Bard score, Jack Sabel hit a three from the right wing.  Hicks forced a turnover on the ensuing Bard possession and got the ball to Sabel who hit a streaking Diggs for a two-handed rim-rattling dunk to give STA a 70-62 lead with 2:36 left.  Sabel finished a press break with a layup, Diggs hit a 10-footer, and Hicks hit two free throws to provide the Bulldogs with the final 76-66 margin.
Hicks and Diggs shared game-high scoring honors with 27 points each.  Matthews chipped in 7, Razi had 6, and Sabel and Elliott Eaton each had 5.  After hitting 10 threes Friday night, STA had 4 Saturday with Hicks nailing two and Diggs and Sabel one each.  With the win, St. Albans improved to 5-1 on the season and has won four straight since a December 3rd loss to Wilson.  The Bulldgos next face Sidwell Friends Monday at 4:00pm in the Martin Gym.  The team is then scheduled to play its first games away from home this season in the St. Andrew’s Holiday Classic Wednesday and Thursday.
Located in Washington D.C.,  St. Albans School is a private, all boys day and boarding school. For more than a century, St. Albans has offered a distinctive educational experience for young men in grades 4 through 12. While our students reach exceptional academic goals and exhibit first-rate athletic and artistic achievements, as an Episcopal school we place equal emphasis upon moral and spiritual education.