ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Isaiah Stewart netted nine of his game-high 25 points and handed out an assist during a decisive 26-6 run to close the second quarter, and the McQuaid Jesuit Knights went on to defeat the Aquinas Li’l Irish, 64-45 in non-league action Thursday night at Wegman-Napier Athletic Complex.
Stewart used a drop step in the lane to snap a 16-16 tie. Six possessions later, the 6-foot-8 sophomore knocked down baseline turn-around jumper to give the Knights their first double-digit lead of the night at 30-19.
“My team put me in a great position to make shots,” Stewart said. “Our offense played great together. I felt like we just had everything working tonight.”
Next trip down the floor Stewart fed teammate Cam Wilson at the free throw line for a catch-and-shoot jumper and a 32-22 advantage. McQuaid did not allow the Li’l Irish within single digits for the remainder of the contest.
“It’s about playing consistently like we did tonight,” McQuaid coach Jack Leasure noted. “That was encouraging to see. We played the way we needed to and the way we’re capable of playing.”
Stewart hit 11 of 16 shots from the floor and converted all three of his free throws.
Anthony Iglesia handed out a game-high eight assists, most on post feeds to Stewart.
“I saw him getting the looks that he wanted,” Iglesia explained. “I just told him to be ready for the ball. ‘I’m going to get it to you.’ He was able to finish once I just gave him the ball.”
Two days after falling to Bishop Kearney 94-64, McQuaid equalled that output against a defense which had held all previous opponents to 62 or fewer points.
“We came out against Kearney, and we weren’t ready to play,” Leasure said. “We spent yesterday really just talking a lot. Just kinda hashing things out and talking about when it’s winning time, when it’s game point. The way you play on both ends of the floor.
“We didn’t execute. We didn’t run stuff against Kearney. We didn’t play hard on defense. We weren’t committed to what we were trying to do as a group. I think you have those games as a team, and you get wake-up calls throughout the season. That was a good one for us to have before sectionals started.”
“We just came to practice and had the mindset that we had to put that behind us,” Iglesia said. “Only thing we could worry about was the future. We locked down on defense. We read the scouting report. Got in our gaps and we were able to help the helper and contest shots, so to not give them open looks.”
Aquinas looked ready to cut into the margin to start the second half when they forced a turnover, then had a block on the next possession and caused an errant shot following that.
But the Li’l Irish could not convert on the offensive end, and McQuaid’s Divine Williams connected on one of his three 3-pointers on the night.
“Coach always tells me ‘don’t think; shoot,'” Williams explained. “Be confident with your shot. I work on it a lot. I know my teammates have confidence in me.”
Two possessions later, Stewart nailed a turnaround jumper from the right wing to give McQuaid a 51-27 advantage.
“Anthony gave me the ball in the best position,” Stewart explained. “I’ve been working on that all summer. I just felt it come to me.”
Aquinas beat McQuaid earlier in the season, 47-44. The win marked McQuaid’s first over Aquinas since 2008.
“I’ve been waiting so long since I’ve been at McQuaid, and it feels good,” Williams said of snapping the Aquinas streak. “It’s really important. It means a lot to us.”
McQuaid improved to 14-6 on the season. Iglesia and Wilson grabbed six rebounds apiece, and the Jesuit Knights outrebounded Aquinas 41-26 including nine offensive boards which they converted into a 10-6 advantage in second-chance points. McQuaid outscored Aquinas 30-8 in the paint.
Kobe Long had eight points for McQuaid. Wilson chipped in seven.
Jalen Pickett, who eclipsed the career 1,000-point mark in Tuesday’s win over Canisius (VI), finished with team highs of 13 points and five rebounds. Pickett handed out three assists. Jason Hawkes had nine points, four rebounds and three assists. Ruben Torres came off the bench and connected twice behind the arc to finish with six points. Luke Putnam added five points.
Aquinas forced 18 turnovers and scored 16 points off those mishandles.
Aquinas fell to 14-6.
MCQUAID JESUIT 64, AQUINAS 45
MCQUAID JESUIT (14-6)
Isaiah Stewart 11-16 3-3 25; Divine Williams 4-6 0-0 11; Anthony Iglesia
3-11 2-2 9; Kobe Long 2-5 2-3 8; Cam Wilson 3-3 0-0 7; Josh Purcell 1-1 0-0
2; Tyler Cyrus 1-3 0-0 2; Aidan Ruppert 0-0 0-0 0; RJ Brongo 0-1 0-0 0;
Patrick Broderick 0-0 0-0 0; Connor Kurz 0-0 0-0 0; Thomas Jones 0-4 0-0 0;
Nick Tomei 0-1 0-0 0; Connor Zamiara 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-51 7-8 64.
Jalen Pickett 5-13 2-2 13; Jason Hawkes 2-9 5-8 9; Ruben Torres 2-5 0-0 6;
Luke Putnam 2-8 0-0 5; Anthony Flegler 1-4 1-3 4; Eric Carter 1-1 2-4 4;
Rodre Lewis 1-1 0-0 3; Sincere Alston 0-1 1-2 1; Marc DiGirolamo 0-3 0-0 0;
Hiramil Hernandez 0-1 0-0 0; Graycen Carter 0-1 0-0 0; Kidtrell Blocker 0-3
0-0 0; Jimar Cunningham 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-51 11-19 45.
McQuaid Jesuit……………. 14 28 17 5 – 64
Aquinas………………….. 11 11 13 10 – 45
3-point goals–McQuaid Jesuit 7-17 (Divine Williams 3-3; Kobe Long 2-5; Cam
Wilson 1-1; Anthony Iglesia 1-6; RJ Brongo 0-1; Tyler Cyrus 0-1), Aquinas
6-29 (Ruben Torres 2-5; Anthony Flegler 1-2; Luke Putnam 1-5; Jalen Pickett
1-5; Rodre Lewis 1-1; Marc DiGirolamo 0-3; Hiramil Hernandez 0-1; Kidtrell
Blocker 0-2; Jimar Cunningham 0-1; Jason Hawkes 0-4). Fouled out–McQuaid
Jesuit-None, Aquinas-None. Rebounds–McQuaid Jesuit 41 (Anthony Iglesia 6;
Cam Wilson 6), Aquinas 26 (Jalen Pickett 5). Assists–McQuaid Jesuit 15
(Anthony Iglesia 8), Aquinas 10 (Jalen Pickett 3; Jason Hawkes 3). Total
fouls–McQuaid Jesuit 18, Aquinas 14. Technical fouls–McQuaid Jesuit-None,
Aquinas-Jason Hawkes. A-1000
Aquinas is 7-1 in the last 8 meetings between McQuaid and AQ.