Veritas boys basketball earns season sweep of Bishop Seabury with 65-48 win

photo by: Carter Gaskins

Veritas senior Brennan Clements (35) blocks Bishop Seabury sophomore Shamus Sawyer (5) during a rivalry matchup Tuesday night at Bishop Seabury on Feb. 2, 2021.

Veritas boys basketball never trailed in its eventual 65-48 victory over Tuesday night at Bishop Seabury, but it was anything but easy in the latest installment of this highly-contested rivalry matchup.

Winless Bishop Seabury (0-9) stayed within striking distance for much of the night, but Veritas seemingly always had an answer for its crosstown foe. That allowed the Eagles (9-6) to earn their first-ever season sweep over the Seahawks, who have swept both games during this meeting in each of the last two years.

“That was just so exciting considering our two losses for the past two years,” said Veritas senior guard Will Rau, who poured in a game-high 29 points in the win. “This year getting some revenge and sweeping the series was a great feeling.”

Rau’s clutch performance proved to be the different maker, as he helped the Eagles pull away after the Seahawks got within 7 midway through the third quarter. Sophomore Shamus Sawyer buried a 3-pointer at the 4:40 mark in the third period, trimming Veritas’ lead to a 37-30 margin.

It seemed like all the momentum was swinging in favor of the Seahawks, who faced a 35-23 deficit at halftime.

But Rau had something to say about that.

With 3:10 left to play in the third period, Rau delivered a game-changing slam in transition. He stole the ball away from Bishop Seabury near the perimeter and raced to the other end. Senior Cameron Green went to challenge Rau at the rim, but the talented guard had a step on him and finished off the sequence with a two-handed slam.

“They were hanging in most of the time and we were just trying to put them away at the end,” Rau said. “I was just trying to get hands in the passing lane and get out in transition. I wanted to create momentum for our team, and we really needed that.”

Rau took over the game after that. He ended up scoring 16 of Veritas’ next 25 points, which effectively removed any doubt about the outcome. Nearly all of Rau’s production came at the rim, as he beat multiple Bishop Seabury defenders off the bounce or simply posted up smaller guards in the paint.

For the game, Rau went 11-for-19 from the floor. He converted on 7 of his 12 attempts at the free throw line. He also added 13 rebounds, five steals and five assists to provide an all-around offensive performance.

“There was no stopping him, and he was the difference,” Veritas head coach Carl Huslig said. “I thought he was really good about handling his emotions and leading the team, even when Seabury made a couple shots. He was the calming factor out there.”

No other Veritas player reached double figures in the win. Bishop Seabury had a pair of double-digit performances in the loss, which included junior Sam Hertzog pacing the team with 18 points.

Sawyer scored 15 points on a 4-for-8 effort from the floor, demonstrating an impressive ability at getting to the rim and firing up contested shots. It was a strong showing by the Seahawks in their first game without Stavian Jones, who recently left the team after scoring 40 points in his last game.

It was also just a sign of growth for Bishop Seabury, which had suffered a 71-46 loss to Veritas in its season opener on Jan. 8.

“I think we got better tonight and that’s the most-important thing,” first-year head coach Jamelle Blunt said. “I think we played better as a team, especially after that first game.”

Bishop Seabury made seven shots from beyond the arc in the loss. Hertzog knocked down three triples himself, while Sawyer buried two from long range. Sophomore Enzo Karam and sophomore Truman Hill each hit one 3-pointer.

Green provided a strong presence in the post, despite giving up a size advantage to a Veritas team that started five players who are 6-foot-4 or taller. Freshman Aidan Page also contributed off the bench for the Seahawks.

Veritas led all night after racing out to a 7-0 lead in pretty emphatic fashion. Junior Owen Welch drilled a 3-pointer from the corner on the game’s opening possession. The Eagles followed that up with a stretch of back-to-back dunks in transition by junior Aden-Jay Baker and Rau. Seniors Brennan Clements and Will Bartkoski help set the tone with their potent presence in the paint.

But the Seahawks showed fight all night after settling in from that moment on.

“We played like we wanted it a little bit more tonight,” Blunt said. “We are not good coming out in the second half, so to see that was the turning point for me. That probably made me happiest tonight.”

Bishop Seabury will host Midland Adventist Academy on Thursday, while Veritas will travel to St. Joseph Christian on Friday.

Veritas (65)

Will Rau 11-19 7-12 29, Aden-Jay Baker 4-8 0-1 8, Owen Welch 3-8 0-1 8, Brennan Clements 4-7 0-0 8, Will Bartkoski 1-7 1-2 3, Jordan Donaldson 3-7 0-2 7, Abel Brackenhoff 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 27-58 FG 8-17 FT 65 points.

Bishop Seabury (48)

Enzo Karam 2-11 2-2 7, Truman Hill 2-5 0-0 5, Shamus Sawyer 4-8 5-6 15, Cameron Green 1-2 0-0 2, Sam Hertzog 5-17 5-6 18, Aidan Page 0-6 1-2 1. Totals: 14-49 FG 13-16 FT 48 points.

Veritas 20 15 13 17 — 65

Seabury 10 13 11 14 — 48

3-point goals: VCHS 3-16 (Welch 2, Donaldson); BSA 7-21 (Karam, Hill Sawyer 2, Hertzog 3). Turnovers: VCHS 7; BSA 10. Fouled out: None.

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