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Wednesday, March 21 High School Sports

Kolbe boys basketball moves to 4-0 with win over Staples

WILTON —When coach John Pfohl came back to take over the reins at Kolbe Cathedral last spring, there was no telling how his players would respond.

Four games into the season and so far, so good for the Cougars.

Kolbe remained undefeated with a 69-48 victory over Staples in the first round of the Warriors Classic Holiday Tournament. The Cougars will play Wilton, a winner over Newtown in Wednesday’s nightcap, on Friday night in the final.

“Going into the year,” Pfohl said, “I wasn’t really sure what to expect. 1-19 last year, and I saw them play. I felt like if they bought in early, we could do some things.”

The Cougars’ quickness and full-court press caused issues for Staples as the Wreckers were unable to slow the game.

After scoring 22 points in a quarter last Friday night against Trinity Catholic, Staples scored only 20 points in the entire first half against Kolbe.

“They turned up the pressure,” Staples coach Colin Devine said. “We didn’t respond real well. We just dug ourselves too big of a hole there to overcome.”

Despite the frustrations on offense, seniors Ben Pearl and Max Sussman provided much of the offense for the Wreckers.

Pearl finished with a team-high 12 points while Sussman added 10, including a pair of three-pointers.

After dropping their second straight game, Staples still has some things to work on, but they aren’t pushing the panic button, Sussman said.

This would not be the night, as it belonged to the Cougars, a team that has a completely different mentality heading into the season, senior guard Naz Vereen said.

“It’s just a want to get better,” he said. “I think the difference is we want to be better, we know where we want to be this year. 4-0 doesn’t mean anything if we don’t carry it out to get something.”

Vereen finished with 12 points, but it was fellow senior Anthony Senior who led all scorers with 19 points.

There is still a long way to go in the season, Pfohl said.

“We gotta be ready to go 20 times,” he said. “We hope we get 21st and so on. But our focus right now is every single game to have our effort at 100 percent.”


Although the credit should go to the entire defensive effort from Kolbe, Anthony Senior paced the offense with a game-high 19 points, including 12 in the first quarter.


“(We) always hold each other accountable. Be a man about things. When we say things to each other, it’s because we want to see each other get better.” — Kolbe Cathedral senior Naz Vereen

ajohnson@hearstmediact.com; Twitter: @aronJohnson_


KOLBE CATHEDRAL 20 20 16 10—69

STAPLES 11 9 11 17—48


Anthony Senior 6 3-3 19 Quinton Sneed 4 1-2 9 Naz Vereen 5 2-2 12 Demetrius Gordon 0 1-3 3 Kyle Federici 5 1-2 11 Evan Coleman 2 0-0 5 Jordan Slayton 1 0-0 2 Johnathan Salmon 0 0-0 0 Justin Leigh 2 0-0 4 Brandon Gadsden 1 0-0 2 Jaden McLellan 0 0-0 0 Taeshaun Sanchez 0 2-2 2 Drew Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 12-21 58.

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Luke Murphy 2 0-0 5 Ben Pearl 5 2-4 12 A.J. Konstanty 1 1-2 3 Max Sussman 4 0-0 10 Tristan Hochman 0 0-0 0 Stedman van Arsdale 2 1-4 5 Dylan Ward 1 1-2 3 Lefty Pendarakis 1 0-0 2 Evan Vishno 0 0-0 0 Sam Maged 1 0-0 2 Justin Honig 1 0-0 3 Theodore Dienst 1 0-0 3. Totals: 18 5-12 48.

3-pointers: KC—Senior 4, Coleman; S—Sussman 2, Murphy, Honig, Dienst.