(Beverly MA) Central Catholic put ten straight points together in overtime to defeat St. John’s Prep, 81-74, in the Division 1 North semi-finals on Tuesday night.
The Raiders (20-5) will now play Andover in the D1 North finals on Saturday at the Tsongas Center.
Ten lead changes in the first quarter gives you a sense of what kind of game St. John’s/Central Catholic was early on. The pace was fast and the shots were falling for both teams.
The Eagles went on to dominate most of the second and third quarter (up 59-50 in the 3rd) before the Raiders came all the way back and took the lead on an Alex Santos layup in the last minute of regulation.
On the Eagles possession, Mike Bisson was able to make one of two free throws to tie the score (67-67) with forty-five seconds left.
The Raiders then had a turnover (steal by Max Butterbrodt) setting up St. John’s with plenty of time to get the point or points needed for the win. But a terrific defensive job my sophomore AJ Pettway on junior Kareem Davis (11 points) extended the game into overtime.
In overtime, St. John’s had the lead (71-69) 1+ minutes in on a spinning layup by Max Burt (16 points).
AJ Pettway, who was shutout for four quarters, scored four points in overtime giving CC the lead for good (73-71) with a rebound conversion.
Junior Ben Judson (30 points) carried the Eagles for three quarters collecting twenty-four points. Five of the baskets came from long range. Thereafter, the lefty cooled off and each miss seemed to add to his frustration. That frustration turned costly as Ben was assessed a technical foul with a minute left in overtime after missing a shot. Tyler Nelson drained the resulting free throws putting Central Catholic ahead, 75-71. The Eagles never recovered as CC added four more free throws.
St. John’s spent most of the night taking and making difficult shots. The Raiders had size inside (Nick Cambio & Aaron Hall) and normal layups for the Eagles were infrequent.
On the other hand, Central Catholic shot plenty of high percentage shots. The Eagles had no answers for 6-6 Nick Cambio (19 points) when he got the ball down low. Aaron Hall (19 points) stayed close to the basket and when Tyler Nelson (19 points) required an extra defender it was usually Aaron’s defender. Tyler had six assists (by my count) and most of them were to Aaron for layups.
The Beverly Fieldhouse filled early because if there is a rivalry that will deliver excitement it is this one.
Also on hand were two of the best student sections you’ll ever see. There was plenty of back-and-forth chanting and cheering as the game unfolded.
Alec Buresh hit two straight 3’s for CC in the second quarter.
Alex Santos had ten points for Central Catholic. The Raiders set up Alex (6-foot) in the lane on an inbounds play.
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)