HERCHY – Aidan Sands watched the film by Tadja Brody and heard of the senior player Middleton weighing 6-4, 230 pounds.
But when he lined up next to Old Dominion football recruit on Thursday at the Giant Center, Sands realized what he would have to face for the next 32 minutes.
“I thought,‘ This is a D1 footballer, ’” he said. “He’s big and strong.”
The Sands, however, were not intimidated. He did what Berks Catholic coach Snipe Esterley and assistant Jason Linderman told him, kept to his feet and held Brody.
His marvelous efforts became a mainstay of the Saints ’defense in a 60-37 match past Middleton in a 3rd grade 4A boys’ basketball championship match.
“This guy is tough, and Aidan has handled him,” said Berks junior Catholic Josiah Jordan. “He made him fight for his points.”
Senior 6-3 Sands scored Brody 15 points while shooting 5 of 14, including just six points in the first half when Saints gained a 32-12 lead. It was a low-scoring season for the Blue Raiders, who are defending champions.
“Aidan was incredible,” Estelle said. “We weren’t sure what we were going to do. We just didn’t want him to get in trouble. When he got a quick foul, we were going to switch and take it off.
“These plans have come out of the window. We got a lot of help from the weaknesses. It was a really big defense effort for everyone. ”
However, the greatest responsibility fell on his shoulders. He played a great internal defense in the second half of the season, especially in the playoffs.
He was once considered a duty of defense. Not anymore.
“Actually it all depends on the effort,” Sands said. “In high school it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Then I couldn’t kill. My parents only talked about protection. In my sophomore year I got worse. I lost effort.
“This year I want it more. I just wanted to win every game. ”
Sands was known as a steady shooter, but he is becoming a fuller player. He made 24 rebounds in three wins in the District 3 playoffs, including 10 in the title match.
“He’s a good defender,” Esterley said. “You saw it tonight. He can bounce. He can throw 3 and take the ball to the basket. “
Sands looked at the film by left-handed Brody and noticed that he had read the position of his defender before making his move and attacking the basket.
“I knew what he was going to do,” Sands said. “He likes to spin and then just stop. He waits while you jump to get and-one. He’s fine there. “
Sands was the best and this was the main reason that Berks Catholic celebrated its first district championship since 2018 and fourth overall.
“We always give Aidan tough jobs,” Esterley said. “We played with several high-caliber teams with good people. We told him to kick, replay him (Brody) in place and make sure he takes the ball away from the basket. “
When it was all over, Sands couldn’t help but smile broadly.
“It means so much because in my sophomore year I didn’t get much playing time, and last year we had the worst performance in school history,” he said. “We have worked hard over the summer. It’s weird.
“I had one shot and I got it. It was the biggest game of my life. “