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January 30, 2013

PREP BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Roland picks up 42 in Saints’ nail-biting W over Addison

ADDISON — JaDavian Roland had a career scoring night, and Sean Moriarty made a late layup to help St. Bernard narrowly put away Addison 53-52 in a pivotal Class 1A, Area 14 contest.

The Saints needed some last-second magic from John Gurtowski to pick up a thrilling win in the rivals’ last matchup, but all St. Bernard required Tuesday night on the road was a large helping of Roland sprinkled with a dash of Moriarty.

Despite dishing the ball effectively to his fellow Saints all night, Roland’s teammates usually wound up giving it right back, allowing the senior to go off for an astounding 42 points.

“He took shots that he had, but he really didn’t try to force anything,” coach Wade Knight said of the star. “He’s really a special player.”

Moriarty, St. Bernard’s other senior, only had seven points in his return after missing a few games last week. His last two proved to be huge, however, giving the Saints’ a four-point lead. The Bulldogs only managed to close to one before the final buzzer sounded.

“Those two have really led us,” Knight said of Roland and Moriarty. “They’ve worked harder or as hard as anybody. I think the other kids have followed their leadership.”

Gavin Harris and Dean Smith both pitched in two points for St. Bernard.

Four Addison players finished in double figures. Kaleb Estill was top dog with 16 points, Zach Anders wasn’t far behind with 12, and Jesse Seales and Levi Tyree both popped off 10. Ronnie Willette and Jake Bryson had two points apiece.

The one-point squeaker improved the Saints’ win total to nine  and secured a 3-5 record in area play. That mark matched Meek’s for the third seed, but St. Bernard lost the tiebreaking coin toss to wind up fourth, setting up an instant rematch with last-place Addison in the first round of next week’s area tournament at Decatur Heritage. The other opening-round game will pit Falkville versus Meek.  

Knight has had a familiar face assisting him on the Saints’ bench this year — his son, Kurt. He said having the opportunity to work alongside Kurt has been an unforgettable experience.

“We’ve both been talking about how fun this year has been,” Wade said. “He’s really helped a lot. We’ve got a group of really, really good, young men.”

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