Seaforth displays depth in season opening win over St. Pauls

The Hawks had four players score in double figures.


In its first regular season game with new head coach Leo Brunelli and without a 2023 Gatorade Player of the Year in Jarin Stevenson, Seaforth won over St. Pauls on Nov. 20, 74-47.

The Hawks displayed the luxury of depth and team chemistry with over 10 players hitting the court and four scoring in double figures. Junior guard Nate Emerson, a transfer from Southern Lee, led the Hawks with 16 points, scoring 13 of them in the second half.

“They play so well together,” Brunelli said. “That’s the first thing I noticed in my first opportunity in the gym with them. They make the extra pass, they’re fundamentally sound, and when you already have that, you know you have something special.”

Seaforth got going early against a tall, athletic St. Pauls team by attacking its big men and creating turnovers out of the full-court press. Defense turned into a fast-paced offense for the Hawks, leading to quick buckets for Seaforth and foul trouble for St. Pauls when trying to catch up in transition.

In early half-court sets, Seaforth found opportunities in the mid-range with sound passing and good shot selections. Senior forward Kooper Jones led the way in the first half, scoring 10 points while shooting 50 percent from the floor.

The Hawks also recorded seven assists in the first half, leading 41-30 at the break.

“Not all of them went in,” Brunelli said. “But when they’ll give up a good shot for a great shot, that’s unselfish ball.”

Once the Bulldogs’ rim protector, Tyson Thompson, had to sit with four fouls, opportunities in the paint opened up even more for Seaforth, especially in the second half.

The final two quarters belonged to Emerson who took advantage of an open lane by attacking the basket. He exploded for eight points in the third quarter while also hitting a three to build the Hawks’ lead.

“I was just hot tonight,” Emerson said. “I want to thank my teammates. Without (them), I wouldn’t have been able to score all of those points in the second half.”

Emerson ended up leading the Hawks in scoring, but he didn’t even start. Brunelli ran a five-in, five-out rotation, bringing in a full and fresh lineup almost every time he made a substitution.

“Going through the preseason and the summer, we felt like we were really deep,” Brunelli said. “We’re going to try to create a game that a lot of teams aren’t ready for and is hard to prepare for.”

Brunelli said that Seaforth’s system is built for anyone to have a good night, which worked well for the Hawks in their season opener with Jones and Emerson leading the way in different halves.

Seaforth also saw significant contributions from senior guard Tyshawn Davenport, who had 11 points and multiple steals, and junior Matthew Lucas, who finished with 10 points.