Carpenter's all-around effort leads Crusaders past Lee
PITTSFIELD -- Tank Roberson may put up gaudy numbers, but he's not the only tool the St. Joseph's boys basketball team has at its disposal.
The Crusaders have a virtual utility belt in Michael Carpenter.
"Every time I look at the end of a game, he's got double-digit points, double-digit rebounds, six assists, five steals, two blocks. He is in every category," said St. Joe's coach Paul Brindle. "He's just the ultimate player."
Carpenter did it all again for the Crusaders in a 72-47 win over Lee on Friday night at the Boys and Girls Club. The senior finished with 17 points, 15 boards, a couple of steals and a block. Roberson had 21 points, but only four after halftime. That's when Carpenter took over with nine points in the third quarter to give St. Joe's (5-2, 5-0 South) the win in a rematch of last year's Western Massachusetts final.
Roberson appreciated the help on the scoreboard and the glass. Carpenter ripped down boards, reeling the ball in with a vigor that made it clear no one else was getting a hand on the ball. St. Joe's needed some kind of spark after the Wildcats hung around throughout the first half.
"Carp just came into his own and said, ‘Hey, I'm going to grab every board,' " Roberson said. "He got every board and I'm just going, because he knows I'm gone [in transition]. He helps me out with the scoring. He helps the whole team out with the scoring with the runs that we go through."
Lee (4-4, 2-2) got 21 points from Heamon Williams and 22 from Jake LePrevost but just four points from the rest of the team. St. Joe's depth and ability to adapt under pressure made the difference.
"They know how to respond and react when you take away their first option, when you take away what they're trying to get," said Wildcats coach Dan Korte. "We're not quite there yet. When the other team takes away our first option, takes away whatever we're going for, we don't know how to adapt to find the open man and make a nice play. Sort of playing off the cuff instead of playing by the script."
Carpenter and St. Joe's showed just how good they can be at writing their own ending. The Crusaders really put some distance between them and Lee in the third quarter, when Roberson -- the county's leading scorer -- wasn't piling on points. The Crusaders had five different players score in the quarter. Jon Bianchi had two of his 12 points in the third while Lavante Wiggins scored five of his nine.
Carpenter was the star of the push that put the game out of reach. He scored seven points in 95 seconds, including one bucket where he cleaned up a Roberson miss. That's what he sees his role as: doing a little bit of everything to help the team.
"I just do what Coach needs me to do," Carpenter said. " If I need to score, I need to score. If he needs a rebound, I get a rebound. If he needs an assist, I'll dish it."
To reach Christopher James:
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