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ATLANTA – The St. Pius coaching staff and players made an agreement at halftime, and the Golden Lions held up their end of the bargain.
In the first contest between St. Pius and Lakeside-Atlanta in 12 years, the Golden Lions came away with a 67-50 road victory in an intense contest on December 6.
Even though Lakeside had the home-court advantage, the atmosphere was very similar to neutral-site game since the Golden Lions had just as much support from their student section as the Vikings.
And at the start of the second half, St. Pius gave them plenty more to cheer for especially since Brookes Kahlert (18 points), Chase Cormier (13 points, seven rebounds) and Callum Petersen (13 points, including three 3-pointers) all found their rhythm offensively.
With the Golden Lions trailing by six to open the third quarter, Cormier converted back-to-back layups before Petersen drilled a 3-pointer on a pass from Kahlert for a 30-29 edge. A little later, Petersen nailed another 3 after a free throw by Kahlert to cap the 10-0 run.
“We said we wanted to have a 7-0 run to start the third and I think we had a 10-0 run,” St. Pius coach Aaron Parr said. “That was big so I’m real proud of those guys.”
“At halftime, we talked about everything that we did bad in the first half and we came out with more energy–that was the main thing,” Cormier said. “We blocked out the crowd and all that, and just played hard and bought in.”
Following a shot from the arc by Jai Jester (11 points, eight rebounds) to pull the Vikings back within one, Cormier scored another bucket in the lane and Petersen connected from deep to extend the margin to 38-32.
The opening minutes of the fourth quarter went just as well for the Golden Lions, thanks to an 8-0 burst which was sparked on a 3-pointer by Cormier and punctuated on a three-point play by Kahlert, who absorbed the contact from a taller defender and flexed his muscles to celebrate after finishing through the contact.
“In the first half, I might have been a little too involved with the crowd but I found my own pace later in the game and was able to drive at will and find open guys as much as I could and it started clicking in the second half,” said Kahlert, who scored 13 points after halftime.
At that point, St. Pius led 52-37 and remained ahead by double digits the rest of the way.
“Our two guards [Kahlert and Cormier] were about as good as it gets,” Parr said. “They were handling the ball, passing the ball, making plays, getting to the rim, knocking down 3s. They just controlled the entire second half. They have the ability to do that. I can’t say enough about their mental toughness tonight to have that first half where they both picked up two fouls and then come out in the second half and just control the entire game. I thought that was so key.”
Daniel Beverly scored 12 points for the Golden Lions and led them in rebounding with nine boards.
“It just shows St. Pius is family,” said Beverly of the crowd support. “We have so many people come out to the games and support us.”
Elwood Moore was Lakeside’s biggest scoring threat, finishing with 19 points due to his ability to score in the paint and from the perimeter. Miles James added 11 points.