St. Joseph boys lose opener to Ludlowe cagers

The St. Joseph boys basketball team isn’t used to losing on its home court. Chris Watts has only dropped a handful of games on the friendly confines of Montelli Gymnasium since taking over as head coach three years ago.

With tight dimensions and a wild student cheering section, it’s always one of the toughest places to play in the state.

“It’s a good court,” Watts said. “We have good support here. These are the rims we shoot on and this is the place we’re familiar with. We’re familiar with the court, so it helps.”

That’s what made Fairfield Ludlowe’s victory over the Cadets in the season-opener so impressive.

The Falcons didn’t just beat St. Joseph. They did it easily, jumping out to a 10-0 lead before rolling to a 69-44 victory.

St. Joseph, coming off a 10-12 record last season, might have been set up for a loss like this. The Cadets are still trying to come to grips with the loss of leading scorer Jon Dzurenda to graduation and Arkel Ager-Lamar, who transferred to St. Thomas More prep school.

The Cadets were also without three of its top players due to injuries.

But Watts wasn’t making any excuses.

“Ludlowe played well. Everything they shot went in, and they handled out pressure well,” Watts said. “But I don’t think anyone should ever be 30 points better than us. We just didn’t take care of business. Maybe I just didn’t have my guys ready.”

Junior guard Omar Telfer (five rebounds, two steals) scored a team-high 18 points while senior Joe Mangiamele added 12 points, including one 3-pointer