“That was a crazy game.” Said A.J. Manalo, coach of the St. Augustine’s freshman boys basketball team, the day after a 45-43 win over La Jolla for the league title. “That was a crazy game,” he repeated, shaking his head.
Manalo did an incredible job teaching these fine athletes the game of basketball and they obviously listened.
Jake Cavanaugh was the undisputed leader wowing the crowds throughout the year with his Steph Curry like moves to the basket and explosive vertical power rejecting many opponents daring a lay up in his presence.
In the final game against La Jolla, Saints players took many liberties in the lane. Jake Armenta, for one, ventured into the lane on a drive to score more than once at critical times. Teammate Will Simon likewise, muscled his way to the hoop on multiple occasions. We can’t forget the centers, Jared Stearns and Moses Mercado both of whom made their presence known claiming their baskets with multiple La Jolla defenders all over them. Cole Barry also had a powerful drive to the basket which was nice to see from an athletic kid who typically just enjoyed shutting down opponents throughout the season.
What was most enjoyable to watch was how well all the boys played as a team. The moving of the ball around the court was at times reminiscent of the Globbtrotters. Of course the Saints had great support from the parents with Bill Simon, Albert Armenta and Rudy Mercado leading many encouraging chants. What a great season for these talented group of athletes and coaches.