Monthly Archives: February 2011

Pentucket Defense Overwhelms Watertown Girls 52-22 in D3 North First Round

Gabby Coppala (#10) defended by Vicky Castiglione (#20)

Vanessa Cahill blocks Casey Halle’s shot.

(West Newbury) We’ve seen it before in the early rounds of the MIAA girls basketball tournament.  A team from another conference gets to play Pentucket.  They know that the Sachems press but don’t have the time to get fully prepared.

Watertown (7-14) from the Middlesex League was Pentucket’s first round opponent this year and predictably found out the hard way what end-to-end defense looks like, losing, 52-22, on Monday night.

Pentucket will host Weston (14-7) on Thursday night at Pentucket in the quarter finals of Division 3 North play.

The visiting Red Raiders struggled to get the ball up the court and only the dribbling skills of freshman Gabby Coppala minimized the backcourt turnovers.

Sarah Higgins forces one of Watertown’s twenty-eight turnovers.

Even in the frontcourt, running an offense was difficult and Pentucket’s size discouraged layups and second chances.

It took Watertown 3 ½ minutes to score (Gabby Coppala layup) their first basket and another four minutes to score their second (Casey Halle) layup.

Meanwhile, Pentucket rang up twenty points.  They made six-of-seven free throws and had two 3’s from Coley Viselli.

Off to a 20-4 first quarter, Pentucket used the same formula (relentless defense) to put together a 15-4 second quarter.  Besides shutting down Watertown, the Sachems dominated the boards and turned up free throws (thirteen) by going to the basket and rebounding missed shots.

Sarah Higgins picked up seven points in the second quarter.

Pentucket led, 35-8, at the half.  This was a game begging for the Mercy Rule (softball) instead of a second half.  I overheard one couple from Watertown discussing whether they should stay for the second half!

Freshmen Sydney Snow (#3) and Liza Brackbill (#22) see some late-game action for Pentucket.

But they did play the second half and Pentucket played everyone.  The scoring highlight from the second half was an eleven-point run by the Sachems during the first 4 ½ minutes of the final quarter.  The scoring in this streak was provided by Alex Moore (layup), Coley Viselli (3-pointer), Sarah Higgins (layup & 2 free throws), and Tess Nogueira (2 free throws).

Sarah, Tess, and Coley all finished with eleven points.

Freshman Gabby Coppala (11 points) of Watertown was impressive.  The young guard was an excellent dribbler and passer in the midst of never-ending pressure.  Pentucket double-teamed her and tried hard to keep the ball away from her.

The statistics reveal the extent of the success of the Pentucket defense.  They forced twenty-eight turnovers, including seventeen in the first half when this game was decided.  The Raiders were 0-for-11 from long range and just 18% (9-for-50) overall from the floor.

Plenty of positives to take away from this one regarding Pentucket’s defense.

Their offense?  The stats from this game tell me that they’re going to have to get a lot better with the ball if they are going to go very far in the tournament.

Yes, they collected 52 points.  And yes, they played everybody.  But twenty-four turnovers!  That’s a lot of empty possessions against an undersized team that didn‘t trap.

Pentucket shot 20% (3-for-15) from long range and 30% (15-for-50) overall from the floor.  Plenty of high-percentage attempts didn’t fall.

Tess Nogueira free throw attempt

Free throw shooting was another problem area – 61.2% (19-for-31).  Tess missed six including one that didn‘t hit anything.

An area of strength was the offensive rebounding.  Vanessa Cahill and Tess Nogueira were terrific in this area.

Weston (14-7) is the next opponent and judging by their record I would expect a tougher game.  However, if Pentucket keeps bringing that terrific defense and sharpens their ball management and shooting they’ll be fine, I suspect.

(I collect my own stats and take my own pictures.  I write my own captions and draw my own conclusions.  Mistakes are unintentional.)

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Filed under Pentucket, Watertown

Regular season pictures I’ve taken of MIAA tournament-qualifying basketball team members

The pictures are sorted by Divisions and boys/girls.

Click on a picture to enlarge it.

Division 1 North

#1 seed – St. John’s Prep (19-1)

Pat Connaughton

Mike Carbone

#3 seed – Lynn English (19-2)

Keandre Stanton

Travonne Berry-Rogers


#5 seed – Central Catholic (19-2)

Jimmy Zenevitch

Luis Puello


#11 seed – Andover (14-5)

Joe Bramanti





#14 seed – Everett (12-8)

Emo Deschommes

Alain Jeanty


Division 2 North

#1 seed – Wilmington (17-3)

Vinny Scifo
Tim McCarthy







#5 seed – Salem (15-5)

Antonio Reyes
Dario/Raphy Medrano






#3 seed – North Andover (16-4)

Zach Karalis

Derek Collins







#11 seed – Masconomet

Adam Bramanti
Zach Zaniewski







Division 3 North 

 #1 seed – Hamilton-Wenham (15-3)

Stephen Tam






#5 seed – Newburyport (13-7)

Matt Leavitt

Eric Meyer


#8 seed – Pentucket (11-9)

Corey McNamara

Will Angelini






Division 4 North

#2 seed – Manchester-Essex (16-4)

Joe Mussachia

Sean Nally


#8 seed – Georgetown (12-8)

Johnny Spears and Tyler Wade









 Division 1 North (Girls)

 #6 seed – Masconomet (15-3)

Brooke Stewart






Division 3 North

#4 seed – Ipswich (13-7)

Hannah O'Flynn

Nyra Constant

#5 seed – Newburyport (13-7)

Molly Rowe

Beth Castantini


 #7 seed – Triton (11-9)

Jen Rock

Alyssa Conley

#3 seed – Pentucket (18-4)

Alex Moore

Tess Nogueira

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Filed under Everett, Uncategorized

Pat Connaughton (23 points) Leads St. John’s Past Central Catholic 72-70

Pat Connaughton (23 points) hits the game winner over Luis Puello with twenty seconds left.

Pat Connaughton and Jimmy Zenevitch (32 points)

(Danvers) This was the game you circled on your calendar when you got the 2010-11 schedule for either St. John’s Prep or Central Catholic.

Central Catholic at St. John’s Prep.  Plenty would argue that they’re the two best teams in the state.  And what a show they put on at St. John‘s in front of at least 1000 fans, some sitting and many standing, on Wednesday night.

No surprise that Pat Connaughton would have a big part late in the Eagles winning 72-70.  He made a tough shot over Luis Puello with twenty seconds left to give St. John’s the two-point edge and then topped that by blocking Jimmy Zenevitch’s tying layup attempt from behind down the other end.

The Raiders had one last try for a tie/win with 3.8 seconds to go but Freddy Shove intercepted the inbounds pass after a deflection by Isaiah Robinson to seal the victory.

Central Catholic (19-2) had a fifteen game winning streak snapped while St. John’s (19-1) extends their win streak to eight.  I also learned that the Raiders had an eleven-game winning streak versus the Eagles ended by tonight’s outcome.

The Eagles finished the regular season 13-0 at home where the support is organized, loud, and never-ending.

The possibility that these teams could get a rematch in the Division 1 North finals would appear likely.  Both will make it difficult for opponents between now and a rematch to run an organized offense.  Each has several big-time, go-to shooters.

There were eight lead changes in the first quarter before the Eagles ran off thirteen straight going into the start of the second quarter to pull away (24-12) and hint that a blowout might be in the making. Pat Connaughton converted a rebound, hit a jump shot, and then nailed a long one in this segment.

Jimmy Zenevitch connects on a three.

Over the next 3:45 the Raiders started the road back using a 10-2 spurt including a couple of Jimmy Zenevitch baskets to close to 26-22 with four minutes left.  The Prep led at the half, 36-31.

CC finally caught the Eagles (41-40) on a Jimmy Zenevitch jumper 3 ½ minutes into the third quarter.  There would be nine more lead changes before this game ended.

The third quarter finished with the teams tied at 55-55.  It wasn’t hard to suspect at this point that there was an exciting conclusion in the works.

Five minutes of playing time later you weren’t so sure.  After Central Catholic had gone up by three (60-57) on Jimmy Zenevitch’s three and a layup, the Prep rattled off ten straight points to take command (67-60) with just three minutes left.

Three of the points in that 10-point run were from Pat Connaughton connecting from NBA range.  In practice, NBA range was not out of his range.

Despite a very hostile environment, CC surrounded a missed Eagle shot with layups by Jimmy and Luis Puello.  Those clutch scores made it a one-possession game (69-66) with 1:21 to go.

Lack of a goaltending call on Jimmy Zenevitch led to a techical foul against St. John’s.

The most controversial play of the game followed and the way the Eagles reacted to it almost cost them the game.  An Eagle player (It looks like Freddy Shove in my picture to the left.) went in for a layup and Jimmy Zenevitch either deflected the shot or goal tended.  There wasn’t a soul in the house with Eagle connections that wasn’t sure that the basket should have counted because of a goal tend.  When it wasn’t called the St. John’s coaching staff erupted and Eagle coach Sean Connolly got whistled for a technical foul after brushing an official. (Never a good idea down the stretch in a tight game.)

Freshman Tyler Nelson made both technical foul shots.  CC got to keep the ball as well and Jimmy Zenevitch drove for a layup and to the dismay of the home crowd, Central Catholic was shockingly in front, 70-69, with 1:10 left.

Pat Connaughton – difference maker at both ends in crunch time

Naturally the Eagles had the ball in Pat Connaughton’s hands in the next possession and he got fouled and made one of two free throws with 1:03 left to tie the score.

Jimmy missed an attempt to break the (70-70) tie and that set the stage for Pat to score the winner and block Jimmy’s tying attempt.

Jimmy Zenevitch (32 points) used his height (6-7) to get inside points.  The lefty also made a three in the final quarter.  The talented senior reached 1000 points in the third quarter. However, in a game this tight the Assumption recruit may well look back at his 3-for-10 from the foul line with some dismay.

Pat Connaughton (23 points) was guarded by at least five different players in denial man-to-man mode.  Down the stretch you knew that the Notre Dame recruit would be getting the shots, as did CC, but they couldn’t keep the ball away from him.  His game-saving block late was just a great athletic move.

Mike Carbone (21 points) puts some serious defense on Jaycob Morales.

Mike Carbone (21 points) has the quick release to offset his lack of size.  He hit four 3’s and didn’t miss a free throw.  He also did a super defensive job on Jaycob Morales (5 points).

Luis Puello (12 points) is a favorite of mine.  His quickness is eye-catching and his defense is as well.  He can get to the basket anytime he chooses.

The crowd was awesome.  I checked out the St. John’s website and knew that the doors opened 1 ½ hours before the game started and that a sell-out was likely.  I got there shortly after 5:30 (the game started at 7) and there were few seats left.  Many of those who arrived in the next half hour ended up standing.  After that, the sellout the website referred to happened.

Both teams played man-to-man defense full-court.  Two normally productive point scorers Stephen Haladyna (4 points) and Evan Sheehan (2 points) were held in check by their defenders.

The pairings for the state tournament will be announced on Friday (February 25th) and the do-or-die games start on Tuesday.

Note the late-arriving crowd under the basket.

Wouldn’t Central Catholic like another chance against The Prep on a neutral site for the Division 1 North title.  I expect to be there if that game happens.

(I collect my own stats, take my own pictures, write my own captions, and draw my own conclusions.  Mistakes are unintentional.)

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Filed under Central Catholic, St. John's Prep

Central Catholic Routs Lynn English in the Second Half 88-62 to Win the TD Bank Board 130 Basketball Classic

Central Catholic’s co-captains Luis Puello and Jimmy Zenevitch pose after receiving the championship trophy.

Evan Sheehan (#22) buried five three-point shots.

(Lawrence) Suppose you went to a basketball game and a track meet broke out.  That sure seemed to be what happened at Central Catholic as the Raiders and the visiting Lynn English Bulldogs met in the finals of the TD Bank Board 130 Basketball Classic.

I try to script every game I cover and whenever I get one like the Central Catholic/Lynn English game it makes me wonder why.  There was some thought that maybe the referees called a lot of fouls because they needed a break!

Central Catholics (19-1) prevailed, 88-62, in a misleading final score.  Lynn English (18-2) was only behind 52-46 with two minutes left in the 3rd quarter.

The next 2 ½ minutes did in the Bulldogs as the Raiders tallied sixteen points during their next eight possessions while LE had only a Keandre Stanton layup to show for the same number of opportunities.

In an attempt to slow down the Bulldog offense, the Raiders switched away from their usual man-to-man defense and used an active zone instead in the second half.  It worked like a charm.  LE couldn’t gear down to patiently attack the CC zone and had just two second-chance opportunities the entire second half.

The Raiders ran after rebounds and created many high-percentage looks as fatigue set in on the visitors.  The result was a great run of productive offense sending  CC in front 68-48 with 7 ½ minutes remaining in the game and coupled with LE’s top scorer (Travonne Berry-Rogers) fouling out made for a show-time finish for the Raiders in front of a nice holiday crowd.

Assumption-bound Jimmy Zenevitch – tourney MVP

Jimmy Zenevitch (20 points) had several dunks while Evan Sheehan (21 points) punched his ticket to the All-Tourney team with yet another three.

It was the pace of the game that caught my attention.  Hadn’t these two teams just played twenty-four hours ago?  Didn’t seem to matter especially to Lynn English.  At times they had four defenders in the backcourt harassing CC dribblers and intercepting passes.

CC gave Lynn English fits in the frontcourt by getting into passing lanes.

The turnovers stats (25 for each team) were gruesome.  Maybe it was fatigue but both teams rolled up steals on each other at an alarming rate.

CC may have won by 26 points but you couldn’t have envisioned that sort of outcome watching the second period.

The Bulldogs’ all-out defensive attack worked to perfection and a 24-16 CC lead disappeared as LE put together a 15-2 stretch that left the home team behind, 31-26.

However, despite having ten turnovers in the second period alone, CC was able to rally back late on five points from Doug Gemmell and get a 38-37 halftime lead.

Central Catholic’s ball management was suspect but its shooting was a consistent 50% in both halves (13-for-26 & 20-for-40).

One huge advantage for CC was their ability to hit the open shots that LE’s never-ending trapping occasionally made available.   Evan Sheehan took full advantage of the open looks that came his way.

From the How-Can-It-Be Department:  Evan got fouled on the last long-shot he attempted in the 4th quarter and proceeded to miss all three free throws.

Travonne Berry-Rogers (#11) – held scoreless in the second half.

Travonne Berry-Rogers (16 points) led the Bulldogs scorers but was held scoreless in the second half.

Keandre Stanton had twelve points and several leaping blocks.  The Raider defense limited his moves on the offensive end by crowding him when he tried to dribble to get open.

The hero of the Andover game (Jaycob Morales) had all of his eight points in the second half.  With Luis Puello limited (bad lower back) Jaycob had more responsibilities getting the ball up the court and running the offense.

Both teams came into this game having avenged their only losses of the season – LE to Salem and CC to Andover.

Central Catholic plays St. John’s at Danvers on Wednesday night.  I can’t imagine the Raiders rolling up 88 points against them on the road.  If they do, then the mystery of which team will come out of the Division 1 North in the tournament has been solved.

I sat with Alfonso Payne who is the assistant men’s basketball coach at Assumption.  He was looking forward to having Jimmy Zenevitch on his roster for the next four seasons.

Central Catholic cheerleader toss during pre-game introductions.

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Filed under Central Catholic, Lynn English, TD Bank Board 130 Basketball Classic

Town Common Photo

This picture appeared on the front page of The Town Common (February 16th -22nd, 2011) with the following caption: “Johnny Spears (#4) of Georgetown defends Darren Lewis (#10) of Triton during the Vikings, 65-49, win on February 9th at Triton.”

The photo was taken at night in the very well-lighted Triton gymnasium.

Hard to resist a picture of (arguably) the two best players in the game when they are together.  They also were not moving at any speed which lessened blurring possibilities.

I used my Canon EOS Rebel T1i camera.  I was shooting in the TV mode.  Shutter speed was 1/160, F-stop 5.0, Exposure compensation + 1/3, and ISO at 1600.

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North Andover Controls Adam Bramanti and Defeats Masco 55-48

Colby Smith (#12) tries to prevent a pass to Adam Bramanti (#3).

Colby Smith hits two free throws near the end.

(Boxford) Plenty of denial defense was on display as North Andover defeated Masconomet, 55-48, at Masco on Friday night in Cape Ann League play.

A full house was on hand, partly to honor Masco’s three seniors, and partly to see if their Chieftains could grab a share (with Wilmington) of the CAL Division 1 title.  Well, one out of two, ain’t bad!

With the victory, North Andover (15-4) will have a chance to be co-champs with Wilmington if they can get by Hamilton-Wenham in a rescheduled game at home on Monday. HW coach Doug Hoak was in the house for the Masco/North Andover contest.

Derek Collins (16 points) hit a couple of three’s early in the 4th quarter to give the Knights a 47-41 lead with 4:45 to go and Masco (11-7) was kept at least one possession away thereafter.

An Adam Bramanti (13 points) layup with seventeen seconds left narrowed things to 51-48 but two free throws by Colby Smith gave the Knights the cushion they needed for the win.

Normal Knight high scorers (Zach Karalis and Derek Collins) were on the “two” end of Masco’s triangle-and-two defense.

Derek Collins hits a three over his “shadow” Ben Panunzio.

It worked against Zach as he was limited to seven points.  Derek, however, reached his average and hit from long range three times.  One of those 3’s in the 4th quarter was a real backbreaker (for Masco).  Derek ended up forcing a shot from closer to midcourt than the top of the key that went in as the shot-clock buzzer went off.

Adam Bramanti averages twenty but was held to thirteen.  He was shadowed by an assortment of Knights. NA did not allow him to use screens to get open by switching every time one was set for him.

Adam Bramanti saw tight defense everywhere. This time from Collin Hubbell.

Adam got off twenty shots (made five) but the looks he had against Hamilton-Wenham (scoring 28 points) were not available versus North Andover.

There were nine lead changes in the first half with NA getting the last one with a run of six straight points (Zach, Derek, and James Warden two points each) as the Knights closed out the first half in front, 30-25.

The Knights never trailed in the second half.  The Chieftains did tie the score (38-38) on a layup by Alex Brown (11 points) to start the final period.

James Warden (16 points) and Michael Moroney (8 points) found opening for baskets against Masco’s 3-man zone defense especially in the first half.

Masco’s student section was out in force.  They did make the mistake of chanting, “We can’t hear you,” in the direction of NA players from the JV game.  Sporting a lead late, the players responded with the obvious, “Scoreboard, scoreboard,” which silenced the Masco kids.  Memo: Chanting, “We can’t hear you,” works best when your team is AHEAD.

Masco is on a 4-game losing streak and has two non-league games (Revere and Malden Catholic) at home next week left on their regular season schedule.

NA had lost two in a row before defeating Masco.  The Knights also won over Masco in December. They have Hamilton-Wenham left.

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Filed under Masconomet, North Andover

Andover Defeated by Central Catholic Buzzer Beater 59-56

Joe Bramanti (22 points) applies some defense to Jaycob Morales.

Jaycob Morales (10 points) hit the last-second, 3-pointer to give Central Catholic the win.

(Andover) Jaycob Morales hit a three in the 3rd quarter to put an end to an 18-point Andover run and topped that shot with a game-winner in the 4th at the buzzer to give Central Catholic (17-1) a 59-56 victory on Thursday night at Andover High School.

Jaycob’s three climaxed a game that both teams seemed to have taken control of a couple of times.

Andover’s Craig Luschenat (13 points) tied the game (56-56) with a three from the right corner with 56 seconds left.  The teams then swapped missed shots setting the stage for the Raiders with 12.5 seconds to go.

You suspected that CC coach Rick Nault might set Jimmy Zenevitch (26 points) up in close for at least some foul shots or maybe have a drive to the basket from Luis Puello (13 points) or Jaycob Morales (10 points).  You knew that whatever CC did, it would be done late so that Andover couldn’t respond if there was a miss.

The “late part” went as expected.  The Raiders, however, stayed outside and when Jaycob’s final shot, from just to the left of the top of the circle, went through the net there wasn’t even time for Andover to get the ball inbounds.

Despite the fact that Central Catholic had already clinched the Merrimack Valley title the tone in this one was at the post-season, tournament-final level.  There was plenty of vocal support from the two team’s student sections and plenty of crowd-pleasing action to watch. The teams had split the two previous meetings.

Jimmy Zenevitch (26 points) puts up a free throw in the 4th quarter that tied the score.

CC was by far the better team in the first half.  Despite an unseemly twelve turnovers, they frequently got the ball into 6-7 Jimmy Zenevitch’s hands for high percentage shots.  They shot nearly 50% in the first half.

Andover had Joe Bramanti (“The Brama Bull”) bring the ball into the frontcourt on almost every possession.  He delivered twelve points but there never was an easy attempt.  Having Luis Puello chasing him everywhere he went factored into his struggles early on.  Andover trailed 27-20 at halftime.

It was obvious that Andover had zero chance of winning if the second half was a repeat of the first.  I don’t know what was said at halftime but the Golden Warrior team played a third quarter that was remarkable under any conditions.  Played against the #2 Division 1 team in the state and it was indeed something special.

Luis Puello (13 points) defends Joe Bramanti.

Andover went from trailing 27-20 to leading 38-27 in about 6 ½ minutes.  That’s a nifty eighteen unanswered points! You never saw such a turnaround.  The Raiders missed two free throws, eight shots from the floor, and committed seven turnovers during this ugly (for them) segment.  Joe Bramanti (8), Brian Salvesen (4), Craig Luschenat (4), and Jack Kieckhafer(2) all contributed points for the Golden Warriors.

You watched the onslaught and had to start thinking that Andover, with a 42-31 lead after three quarters, was on their way to a W.  It didn’t turn out that way.

The 4th quarter started and instantly it’s CC that can’t miss and Andover begins to struggle to score.  In three minutes and fifteen seconds the Golden Warriors squandered their entire eleven-point lead thanks to a 17-3 run by the Raiders.  Jimmy Zenevitch came alive with two layups and two old-fashioned 3-point plays.  Jaycob Morales hit his second of three 3’s in this comeback segment for Central Catholic.

With 4:44 to go and a 48-44 lead it looked as if CC was ready to roll to victory but credit Andover for fighting back.  Despite missing three free throws, the team rode slashes to the basket by James Costello and Jack Kieckhafer, and the last-minute three by Craig Luschenat, to a tie score before Jaycob Morales’ last-second heroics.

Luis Puello scored thirteen points but it was his defense that was noticeable.  He made Joe Bramanti work hard for his 22 points.  Luis picked up his 4th foul with five minutes left but managed not to foul out and also to continue to play great defense.

Joel Berroa scored only four points for CC but he set up Jimmy Zenevitch for a number of layups with his passes.

Joe Bramanti struggled with his outside shooting and had to face shot-blockers when he drove.  Still he managed 22 points.  His defense was impressive to watch against Luis Puello and also Jaycob Morales.

Coaches from St.John’s Prep and Lynn English were in the house.  Central Catholic plays at St. John’s on February 23rd.  Lynn English is in a tournament at Central Catholic starting Sunday and could face CC in the finals.

Seniors were honored before the game.

The Raiders have now won thirteen straight.

Andover (13-4) defeated North Andover earlier this week.

Luis Puello shoots over Jack Kieckhafer in front of the Golden Warrior student section.

The student sections created so much noise that you never heard individual voices.  The cheerleaders from both teams performed stunts that looked dangerous to this reporter.

(I collect my own stats and take my own pictures.  I also draw my own conclusions.  Mistakes are unintentional.)

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Filed under Andover, Central Catholic

Lynn English Scores Nineteen Points in Last Three Minutes to Defeat Salem 78-70

Lynn English celebrates after a big rally defeats Salem.

Antonio Reyes (34 points) makes a late free throw.

(Salem) Lynn English (17-1) trailed by ten points with three minutes left but rallied on both ends of the court and defeated Salem, 78-70, on Tuesday night before a sizable group of passionate  fans.

Salem (15-3) looked to be rolling to victory with a, 69-59, lead but seemed to collectively run out of gas and the Bulldogs capitalized in a big way in the final hectic three minutes.

The only positive Salem had in the last three minutes was one free throw (Antonio Reyes).  The rest was ugly: seven turnovers, two missed threes, and two missed free throws.

While all that bad stuff was happening to the Witches, Lynn English scored at least two points in nine of their last ten possessions.  After the score was tied at 70-70 with 1:04 left, the Bulldogs ran off eight unanswered points including six free throws without a miss in front of a loud Salem student section.

Travonne Berry-Rogers (26 points) shadowed Antonio move of the game. Here the two share a laugh.

Salem had won an earlier meeting (66-63) in late December.

This was the last regular season home game for Salem and their seniors were honored before the game.  This team will surely get a home game in the MIAA Division 2 tournament starting in a couple of weeks.

Antonio Reyes (34 points) put on one of those shows that people will be talking about years from now.  Against a team with shot blockers (Keandre Stanton and Corey McMillen) Antonio took the ball to the basket.  Against steady denial defense from Trevonne Berry-Rogers, Antonio found openings for 3’s.  He also took in fifteen rebounds and handed out eight assists.

However, in crunch time LE doubled Antonio to get the ball out of his hands and that led to a slew of turnovers that proved decisive.

Antonio would foul out with thirty-nine seconds left.  Keandre Stanton converted both free throws to put the Bulldog ahead 74-70 and Salem had no offense left the rest of the way.

Keandre Stanton (#15) rejects a Antonio layup attempt.

While Antonio had the fans oohing and aahing, Trevonne Berry-Rogers quietly picked up twenty-six points for LE.  He was good from all the scoring stations and also had a big steal and layin during the last thirty seconds of the game.

The Bulldogs have several serious shot blockers and when they weren’t actually blocking shots they were discouraging Salem’s undersized players from getting to the basket.

Salem started fast winning all the scrambling battles.  5 ½ minutes in they were up, 17-8.  During the last part of the second quarter all that hustling around, plus having played a game on Sunday, seemed to catch up to the Witches.  A 30-21 advantage was trimmed to just 33-31 by the fresher Bulldogs.

Salem started the second half rested and scored the first nine points (Antonio – five points, Christian Dunston and Raphy Medrano two points each).

Later in the 3rd quarter, the Bulldogs chopped eight points (six from Travonne and two from Corey) off a 48-38 lead and only trailed 54-51 at the end of that quarter.

Christian Dunston (#1) shoots from in front of the Salem student section.

On this night Salem rallied around Antonio and pushed the lead back to ten (64-54 and 69-59) in the final period.  One particular play during this good offense may have factored into Salem’s late-game demise, however.  Antonio went in for a layup on the left and Keandre came over and blocked the shot sending Antonio hard to the floor.  Antonio came out of that action was a sore hip with about five minutes left.

LE put together a 19-1 run during the final three minutes and avenged their only loss of the season in the process. LE has now won fourteen straight and clinched the conference title for the fifth straight season.

LE had twenty turnover through three quarters.  Salem played five guards and their quickness caused numerous Bulldog miscues.

Josh Costello collected sixteen points including four 3’s for LE.

Antonio had a huge night but made the Salem attack more predictable than usual in the second half.  When all five players are included in the offense, the double teams Antonio faced would have led to teammates getting open shots.

Raphy Medrano tallied thirteen points but was held scoreless in the final quarter.

Corey McMillen (23 points) and Keandre Stanton (13 points) led the Bulldog big men.

In a highly-charged atmosphere tempers can flare and things can get ugly off the court after the game.  Saw none of that at Salem High.  The reason?  The players were respectful of each other.  That set the tone for the fans.  When Antonio Reyes joked with Travonne Berry-Rogers during an interlude it lessened the animosity possibilities.  When they embraced afterwards you knew that the rivalry had reverted to respect and admiration.  Good stuff, I thought.

(I gather my own stats and take my own pictures.  I draw my own conclusions.  Mistakes are unintentional.)

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Filed under Lynn English, Salem

Hamilton-Wenham Boys Defeat Masconomet In Overtime 69-61

Stephen Tam (25 points) sends Hamilton-Wenham ahead in overtime with a 3-pointer.

(Boxford) Hamilton-Wenham (13-2) defeated Masconomet (11-5) in overtime, 69-61, on Monday night but the luster of the victory may be dulled by the loss of Pat Hendrickson to a severe knee injury.

Pat Hendrickson on the floor with what looked to be a severe knee injury.

Pat went down in the last minute of regulation on a drive to the basket.  The game was delayed for some time as Masco’s trainers examined Pat and decided that outside medical help was required.  Help arrived and Pat was put on a stretcher and given a rousing sendoff by the spectators from both sides.

Pat’s drive resulted in two free throws.  Colin Kenny made both and the Generals were up by three (56-53) with 35 seconds left.  You didn’t have to watch this game for very long to know who would be taking the shot for Masco (Adam Bramanti).  You just didn’t know where he’d shoot from.  He got open on the right side and tied the game in front of the Masco student section.

Hamilton-Wenham had plenty of time (28 seconds) and after a timeout seemed intent on running the clock down to just a few seconds before shooting.  Unfortunately, Stephen Tam dribbled the Generals into a five-second violation.

Adam Bramanti (28 points) forced overtime with this late 3-pointer.

That left Adam now with a chance to win the game with eleven seconds to do it.  He got over on the right side again but this time missed and Colin Kenny got the rebound to send the game into overtime.

In overtime, a Ben Panunzio layup on a rebound tied the score at 58-58 early but the Chieftain offense went south over the last 2 ½ minutes getting just three points.  The Generals, on the other hand, were very productive.  Stephen Tam hit a three and on seven of the next eight possession HW was at the foul line.  They hit on just eight of fourteen attempts but that was more

Jake Lindland (13 points) hit five-of-six free throws in overtime.

than enough to stay ahead of the suddenly cold-shooting Chieftains.

One of Stephen Tam’s 3-point attempts.

The willingness of both teams to put up 3’s was an eye-opener for me.  I’d seen Salem connect on fifteen on Sunday night but in this game both teams were at it.  Masco and HW combined to launch sixty 3-point attempts which was more than half the shots attempted in the game.

Adam Bramanti (eight 3’s and 28 points) and Stephen Tam (six 3’s and 25 points) made long ones in every period as well as overtime.  They never seemed to be out of range.

The Chieftains used their size to get second-chance baskets in the first quarter and led 15-10.  HW rallied at the start of the second quarter with eight straight points (3’s by Pat Hendrickson and Stephen Tam plus two Chris Hamilton free throws) to jump ahead 18-15.  However, Masco closed on an 8-2 run (3’s by Ben Panunzio and Adam Bramanti plus two Zach Zaniewski free throws) to lead at the half 34-27.

It took Masco three minutes to score a point in the second half and by then HW had connected three times from long distance (Pat, Jake Lindland, and Stephen) to surge in front, 36-34.  The Chieftains would end up chasing HW the rest of the way before finally tying the visitors, 58-58, very late in regulation.

Thereafter, both team had a chance to win in regulation, which they didn’t, and then HW took charge in overtime.

The loss had to be troubling for Masco coach Frank Shea.  His team had all sorts of size advantages but after the first half were far too content to try and get three points per possession.

Zach Zaniewski had a big first half (12 points).

Zach Zaniewski collected twelve points in the first half and then the 6’6” inside threat disappeared from the score sheet.

Pat Hendrickson had fifteen points while Jake Lindland added thirteen for the Generals.

If HW had lost this game the culprit would have been easy to spot – free throw shooting.  The team made just 23-of-38.  Do kids practice that shot anymore?

All five of Masco’s losses have been at home.

The crowd size surprised me considering the records of the two teams.

(I collect my own stats and take my own pictures.  My captions and commentary are original.  Mistakes are unintentional.)

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Fifteen 3’s Carry Salem High Boys Past Everett 70-63

(Salem) Salem (15-2) shot its way past non-league Everett (8-7) on Sunday night, 70-63, before a small crowd at Salem High School.

The Witches dazzled from long-distance (15-for-32) and built up a, 65-50, lead early in the 4th quarter before cooling off and enabling the Crimson Tide to make a 13-5 closing rush and cause the final score to look a little closer than it actually was.

Everett edged to within six (65-59) in the last period, on nine-straight Matt Costello points, but Brad Skeffington answered with a three to seal it for Salem.

The next game for Salem is a must-see on Tuesday night (7PM) at home against Lynn English.  The Bulldogs are 16-1 with the only blemish a 66-63 December loss to Salem.  That was a game where LE had a six-point lead late and the Witches rallied around a Brad Skeffington trey to pull it out.

LE has won thirteen straight since then.  Salem has now won nine straight.  Should be a good one.

Christian Dunston (14 points) takes a 3-pointer.

I’m sure that Salem would love to have some of the team-wide, 3-point accuracy against LE that they had against Everett.  Each starter had at least two 3’s. All five starters would end up in double figures. How do you defend that??

Everett used a box-and-one against superstar Antonio Reyes and he was content in the first half to open things up for his teammates.

Credit Everett.  They shot well early and turned up high percentage looks and held the lead until the last minute of the first quarter.

However, three’s from Dario Medrano and Antonio Reyes plus a Raphy Medrano free throw gave Salem the lead (25-19) 1 ½ minutes into the second quarter.  The Witches held the lead thereafter.

The Crimson Tide was still just a basket away after an Alain Jeanty layup near the end of the 2nd quarter but an eight-point Salem run, stretching into the 3rd quarter, pushed their advantage to 44-33.  Three’s by Raphy Medrano and Christian Dunston plus a Brad Skeffington layup provided the points.

Everett rallied to 55-48 before Salem put together a game-deciding, eight straight as three consecutive Crimson Tide turnovers led to points.  Antonio and Brad added two free throws each while Dario and Antonio netted layups.

Matt Costello (17 points) elevates over Raphy Medrano.

Salem’s advantage was now 63-48 and despite Matt Costello’s nine points in the last quarter this one never got close enough late to create an outcome mystery.

Two things about Salem that I noticed were: (1) they play a very active zone and (2) they will pressure an opponent after a rebound.

Their zone better be good because they really are going with five guards.  Granted, these guards can jump, but they are guards!

Defending Salem is a problem.  Those matchups that look juicy when you have the ball backfire when Salem has the ball.  They spread the court and an opponent has to respect their long-range talent.  This opens up lanes to the basket where their quickness is an advantage.

Antonio Reyes was very patient with his offense in the first half.  The second half he had the ball more and got to the basket and the foul line regularly. He can dominate a game.

Matt Costello (17), Alain Jeanty (16) and Emo Deschommes (11) reached double figures for Everett.

Salem’s starting five all recorded double figures – Antonio Reyes (17), Christian Dunston (14), Dario Medrano (16), Raphy Medrano (13), and Brad Skeffington (10).