Once Aquinas used its defense to start running, it was all over.
The Fighting Irish used a 24-point second quarter to move safely in front during a 57-38 win against Evans on Thursday night in the boys championship game of the Robolli’s Christmas Tournament at Evans.
“We got stops and we pushed it,” Aquinas guard Ruben Garnett said.
Garnett scored all 10 of his points in the explosive second quarter, when the Fighting Irish pushed the lead from only 12-9 to a more secure 36-20.
As the Knights tried to keep pace, Aquinas’ transition game led to open looks, as did solid passes.
The Fighting Irish, who saw their first five baskets in the game come from five different players, hit four 3-pointers in the second quarter, with Garnett hitting a pair back-to-back during a 12-3 run.
Ahmed Hill also contributed during the big quarter, ending a fastbreak with an and-one layup before converting again in transition to close the half.
Hill put up 20 points in the victory – 12 in the one-sided second quarter – to earn tournament MVP honors.
Early on, Jacob Buchanan helped keep his Knights within striking distance, getting field goals inside and repeatedly going up for offensive boards to get second-chance opportunities.
Buchanan had a team-best 12 points in the loss and scored eight of Evans’ 11 points in the second quarter.
Myles McDavid added 11 for the home side, beating the buzzer in the third quarter and then hitting a jumper despite getting fouled in the fourth.
But with Evans’ turnovers and Aquinas center Willie Callaway getting rejections, the Fighting Irish increased their lead and got enough runs to take the title, as evidenced by Hill’s jam following a Garnett miss and Michael Scott’s jump shooting throughout the game.
“I just try to fit in with them,” Garnett said about Hill and Scott with a smile.