When the deep ball is falling at a rate this high, the St. John the Baptist boys basketball team can become quite dangerous.
After the No. 4 Cougars knocked down 13 three-pointers at home in Friday night’s 92-38 NSCHSAA quarterfinal victory over No. 5 St. Dominic, sophomore guard Steven Williams believes shooting performances like these make his team as dangerous as they come.
"Nobody can beat us," said Williams, who had 21 points and three treys of his own. "Nobody can beat us. I don’t care what anybody says. Our record doesn’t say who we really are."
St. John the Baptist (13-9) will face No. 1 Chaminade in the semifinals on Sunday at St. Joseph’s at 5 p.m.
Roderick Jones Jr. also had 21 points for the Cougars, and led the three-point shooting attack with five. Christian Williams added 16 points.
"We all shoot the ball," Jones said. "[Positions] one through five we’re all going to shoot it. That’s what makes us so special."
With Clinton Efinda scoring just nine points, despite entering the night leading the team at 20.1 points per game, St. John the Baptist coach Jake Ellis credited his team for developing a multitude of players who are capable of scoring in bunches.
"It’s a good problem to have," Ellis said. "Guys can score, and if one guy gets shut down, someone else steps up. The depth here is really good right now and we’re in a good place as a program."
St. Dominic (11-10) cut an early deficit to 26-18 in the opening minute of the second quarter, but St. John the Baptist responded with a game-changing 13-0 spurt over the next five. Steven Williams made a layup followed by a three with 2:30 left in the half to extend the Cougars’ advantage to 41-18 before entering the locker room ahead 46-26.
St. John the Baptist continued to apply stout pressure in the second half and allowed only four points in the third en route to the win.
"At halftime we talked a lot about our defensive movement," Ellis said. "We wanted to emphasize that more. A lot of times those locker room speeches don’t carry over into the game, but it did today. I think our boys are playing at the best they have all season."
Following his team’s two losses to Chaminade in the regular season, including an 81-69 overtime defeat in their last meeting on Jan. 28, Jones believes this version of the Cougars is far more dangerous.
"We’ve gotten better since then," Jones said. "Last time was a different story."