Saints ride play of veteran guards to 56-47 win over Waterford

Ned Griffen, The Day, New London, Conn.
·3 min read

Feb. 24—MONTVILLE — The St. Bernard School boys' basketball team has guards. Man, do they have guards. They could platoon backcourts if they wanted.

The Saints finally started putting all those guards to good use late in the third quarter of Tuesday night's game against Waterford and started moving the ball around to get great looks instead of good ones.

Walker Baillargeon, Frank Pacheco and Cederick Similien combined to score 54 points to knock off the Lancers, 56-47, in an Eastern Connecticut Conference South Division game.

St. Bernard (2-1) trailed 17-14 at the half.

Waterford (3-1) led 23-18 with 4:38 seconds left in the third quarter when the Saints took off.

"When we move the ball, we're a really hard team to guard," said Pacheco, who scored all 16 of his points in the second half. "I think in the first half, we were being really stagnant, not moving the ball enough, taking tough shots."

St. Bernard scored just four in the second quarter and didn't get its first basket of the quarter until there was 2:42 left in the half.

"We talked at halftime and got it together," Pacheco said. "It showed on the court. When we moved the ball, we can do anything."

Baillargeon scored 21 and Similien scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half.

Tyson Wheeler, the Saints' fourth guard, added four assits and three steals.

St. Bernard also used its on-ball pressure to give the Lancers trouble at times. Waterford turned it over seven times in the first quarter alone and had 20 overall.

Pacheco had four steals.

"When that speed picks up in a game, you need to make sure that we're comfortable with what we're doing," Waterford head coach Bill Bassett said. "I felt like sometimes our guys got away from what we do really well because (the Saints) were trying to speed it up on us.

"We don't mind going up-and-down, don't get me wrong, but we have set plays. We have some strategies on how we're going to win the game. We need to kind of make sure we control our tempo, not be dictated (by the opponent)."

Sean O'Connell had 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Lancers. Trevor D'Amico added 10 poitns and five rebounds, Logan Peabody scored 10 and Sam Menders had eight rebounds.

Waterford's loss leaves Fitch (4-0) as the only unbeaten team left in the South.

The game was tied at 33 late in the third quarter when Similien put St. Bernard ahead to stay. Wheeler drove left to right towards the basket and kicked it out to an open Similien in the right-hand corner for a three at the buzzer.

"We have a lot of guys who can dribble drive," Saints head coach Mark Jones said, "and when they're making the right decisions and working together, we're a tough team to beat."

Similien made another three to push St. Bernard's lead to 39-33 with 6:53 left in the game.

Pacheco scored nine straight points to give the Saints' a 52-46 edge with 40.2 remaining.

n.griffen@theday.com