St. Mary’s boys varsity basketball coach Bill Harkins said his team’s participation in this year’s SNY Invitational gave his team the chance to see how they would fare against New York City talent like Bishop Loughlin and Cardozo.
But it also provided the Gaels with a healthy dose of reality, he said, as the team suffered a pair of double-digit losses in last weekend’s tournament following its 9-4 start to the season.
“We played two really good teams and we got beat outright by both of them and the reality is that all the things you think you do well, you have to do better.” said head coach Bill Harkins. “I think that’s what we take away from it as a team - we’re not that good and we’ve got a long way to go if we want to move on in this league and onto a championship. That’s our goal.”
After dropping the tournament opener to Bishop Loughlin, 86-69, on Friday, St. Mary’s trailed by 27 at halftime of its consolation-round matchup against Cardozo and could not recover, falling 76-52 to the Judges.
“What we wanted to accomplish was to be competitive and maybe sneak out a win,” Harkins said. “That didn’t happen, obviously, but hopefully it helps us here in league play on Long Island.”
The Gaels were led by senior guard Stephen Milhaven, who had 21 points against Bishop Loughlin and another 24 against Cardozo in the consolation round. Freshman Chris Coalman added 15 points against Bishop Loughlin.
Harkins said he was impressed with his team’s success in its man-to-man defense against Bishop Loughlin as well as the poise of a Gaels lineup that starts two freshmen big men in Coalman and Nicholas Richards and one sophomore in point guard Damani Myers.
“You can always find some good stuff that you did, but you’ve got to do everything,” Harkins said. “We need all 11 guys on this team contributing, not just two or three. Hopefully, we can turn that around.”
Harkins said he was proud of the way the Gaels recovered from an early deficit against Loughlin on Friday and closed to within six late in the game, but said that his two New York City opponents in the tournament fielded more experienced teams that could hold a lead until the final buzzer.
“We need everybody to step up on every single play and don’t take a play off,” Harkins said. “We have to be more physical, we have to have our fundamentals in order and we just have to take it one play at a time and chip away, chip away, chip away. We did in the Loughlin game, we did it in the Cardozo game, but you have to compete for four quarters every single day and get after it.”