Roughley Shines as Wahconah Boys Down St. Joseph
DALTON, Mass. -- The St. Joseph Central High School boys basketball team may have picked the wrong night to visit Wahconah.
The Crusaders had the misfortune of being Wahconah’s final tuneup before a stretch of eight straight Berkshire County North Division games, and coach Dustin Belcher’s squad made the most of the opportunity, rolling to a 76-42 win on Monday in Ed Ladley Gymnasium.
“Part of it is using tonight as a little bit of preparation,” Belcher said of his approach to Wednesday’s showdown at Taconic (9-1). “Some of the things we focused on tonight: We did a better job on the boards than we’ve done, and [Kekoa McCardle] is a legitimate big guy inside for [St. Joe]. We had to do some work to get some rebounds tonight. That’s going to be key for us, certainly.
“Tomorrow, we’ll talk a little bit more about Taconic, specifically. But I thought tonight was prepping for that -- just kind of trying to get back to playing with some rhythm on offense, and I thought we did a good job of that tonight.”
Brandon Roughley led Wahconah’s offense with 23 points and grabbed 13 boards to help his team earn a 51-34 advantage on the glass.
Luke Steinman scored 18, and Noah Bracci added 10.
Wahconah (9-1) took control of the game with a 15-4 run in the first four minutes and put it away with a 10-0 spurt to open the second half and open up a 53-20 lead.
St. Joseph (3-8) got 13 points and 10 rebounds from Jalen Duck and eight and 12 from McCardle. But the Crusaders had no answer for Roughley, especially after Steinman knocked down a couple of first-quarter 3-pointers.
“[Roughley] is certainly starting to gain some confidence,” Belcher said of the 6-foot-8 sophomore. “And when Luke [Steinman] is hitting his shots, they open each other up a little bit.”
Roughley had six points, five rebounds and a block in a three-minute stretch to open the third quarter as Wahconah put the game completely out of reach.
“His timing and spacing on the floor is getting better every night,” Belcher said. “Definitely, we’re really happy with how Brandon is progressing, for sure.”
On Monday, Belcher also had to be thrilled with the way his team shared the ball. Wahconah had 29 field goals in the game; 16 came with assists attached. Jeremy Girard and Will Geneway had six assists apiece, and Bracci had three.
“It’s one of our points of emphasis that we thought was one of the keys to success tonight: Share the basketball and take care of the basketball,” Belcher said. “And I thought we did a really nice job of making the extra pass -- passing up a good shot for a great one, that kind of mentality.
“That’s what we’re going to have to do. That’s the kind of team we are. That’s our identity. We’re going to have to be able to do that -- especially now going into eight straight North games. We’re going to have to be on top of that.”