Category Archives: Lawrence

Andover takes out Lawrence 86-79 in double OT in D1 North quarterfinals

Julio Vicente (20 points) drives on EJ Perry (22 points)

Julio Vicente (20 points) drives on EJ Perry (22 points)

David Giribaldi launches the potential game winner at the end of the first OT

David Giribaldi launches the potential game winner at the end of the first OT

(Lawrence MA)  What a game!

#4 Andover ends up the winner, 86-79, in double overtime over #5 Lawrence on Saturday afternoon in the Division 1 North quarterfinals.

Don’t let that final score fool you.  Once Lawrence rallied all the way back from a fourteen point deficit (48-34) late in the third quarter this one entered the anyone’s game realm.

There were big shots all over the place and some of them potential game winners.  Julio Vicente (20 points) of Lawrence had the last shot in regulation and missed.  David Garibaldi (12 points) had the same opportunity for Andover at the end of the first overtime but also missed.

Andover made 31-of-37 free throws

Andover made 31-of-37 free throws

The big shot from the floor turned up regularly but in the decisive second OT it was the shooting from the line by Andover  that made the difference.  After Franziel Reyes (10 points) tied the score at 74-74 with 2:18 left, the Warriors shot nothing but free throws (fourteen) the rest of the way and clutched twelve of them.  Lawrence during the same stretch was 2-for-7 from the foul line missing the front end of two one-and-one’s (Julio Vicente & Dantae Neal) as well as several 3-point attempts to seal their fate.

Senior Connor Merinder (29 points) had a huge game for Andover.  Connor at 6-5 held his own on the inside against 6-9 Franziel Reyes and stayed out of foul trouble.  Connor also hit the last successful shot in regulation with thirteen seconds left that enabled Andover to reach overtime.

Fouls were an issue for Lawrence.  5-8 point guard Julio Vicente missed playing time after getting his 3rd foul with two minutes left in the first half and then adding his 4th with two minutes left in the third quarter.  Eventually, LHS coach Raymond Nunez was forced to play Julio 4 fouls or not late in the game and it paid off.

Chen Chen in the lane

Chen Chen in the lane

The Lancers lost speedy guard Chen Chen on fouls with 1 ½ minutes left in regulation.

Lawrence led early (9-4) but the visitors put a 12-2 run together (three hoops by Connor Merinder) to lead 16-11 late in the first quarter.

In the second quarter the Warriors put an 11-3 segment together highlighted by sophomore EJ Perry’s (22 points) 3-pointer to gain an 35-26 advantage with 1 ½ minutes until halftime.

The Warriors’ lead would extend to 48-34 before the Lancers put a serious rally together in the final quarter.

Connor Merinder (29 points) defends 6-9 Franziel Reyes

Connor Merinder (29 points) defends 6-9 Franziel Reyes

The crowds for both schools fit nicely into the Sixth Man category.  The Lancers seemed to ride the crowd wave down the stretch as they got closer and closer.  When Lawrence took the lead late in regulation you sensed that the Lancers might get the job done but two free throws and Connor Merinder’s basket offset a jumper by Dantae Neal (19 points) and overtime happened.

The end of the first overtime was about as exciting as it gets.  Andover was up by two with the ball and close to a minute left but EJ Perry got caught going behind his back and Lawrence had a steal for two to tie the game with thirty seconds left.  Andover chewed up a lot of clock before Jonathan Rodriguez drained a three with twelve seconds left.  Game-winner?  Not yet.  Julio Vicente found daylight down the other end and sent the game into a second OT with a three of his own.

Jonathan Rodriguez (13 points) would also notch a 3-pointer and four free throws in the second overtime.

Andover moves on to face top-seed Cambridge Ringe and Latin (19-2) on Wednesday night at North Andover at 7PM.

Andover and Lawrence are from the Merrimack Valley Conference.  They split their two regular-season games.

Andover box

Lawrence box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

jump ball

jump ball

Dontae Neal (19 points) shoots in traffic

Dontae Neal (19 points) shoots in traffic

Jonathan Rodriguez (#35), EJ Perry (#4), and Andy Henriquez (#15) battle for a rebound

Jonathan Rodriguez (#35), EJ Perry (#4), and Andy Henriquez (#15) battle for a rebound

Julio Vicente gets off a three in OT

Julio Vicente gets off a three in OT

David Giribaldi throws a fancy pass

David Giribaldi throws a fancy pass

EJ Perry gets a facial

EJ Perry gets a facial

Franziel Reyes shoots inside

Franziel Reyes shoots inside


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Third Quarter Blitz Sends St. John’s by Lawrence 87-73 To State Semis

Coach Sean Connolly, Connor Macomber, Pat Connaughton with D1 North trophy

(Boston) St. John’s Prep……….what a team!

The big stage was their stage as they eliminated Lawrence, 87-73, to take the Division 1 North at the TD Garden on Friday night.

Mike Carbone (31 points)

Jaylen Alicea (30 points)

Pat Connaughton (28 points)


The Eagles (23-1) survived the Lancers’ (16-9) best shots in the first half and then gained separation in a dazzling, Mike Carbone-led third quarter.

Lawrence was the #15 seed but the way they had upset higher seeds and gained a huge following made them very dangerous.

Higher seeds hadn’t been able to stop dart-quick Jaylen Alicea and the Eagles were added to that list.  Jaylen (5’8”) put up thirty points on nifty drives to the hoop that got him by outside defenders and over inside ones.

In the decisive 3rd quarter things changed.  Lawrence could make just three baskets and free throws (10 points) while St. John’s connected on seven baskets and two free throws (21 points).  Mike Carbone (31 points) hit all five long ones he attempted pacing the Eagles.

Steve Haladyna (#21) and Jaylen Alicea watch Pat Connaughton free throw attempt.

You’d suspect that the Lancers would have paid more attention to Mike but with the state’s best player (Pat Connaughton) also on the floor, and demanding attention, it wasn’t that easy to do.  In fact, afterwards, Mike credited Pat for opening up shots for him.

With a 12-point cushion going into the final quarter, Coach Connolly wisely turned just about every possession over to Pat Connaughton (28 points).  The Notre Dame recruit was able to kill the clock and get to the basket or the foul line for much of the 4th period.

Pat tallied eight of the Eagles first twelve points in the last quarter and St. John’s had a comfortable lead (80-63) with 3 ½ minutes left.

The first half was an entirely different (and uncomfortable) story for the eventual winners.  There couldn’t have been a soul left in Lawrence from the crowd I saw.  And could they make noise!  I’ve heard the St. John’s student section but they’re organized.  The Lawrence folks were just downright enthusiastic for what had become “their” team.

Mike Carbone guards dribbling Jaylen Alicea

And the Lancers rode that wave of pure support in the first half.  Every basket received a “winning basket” full-volume roar.

The Eagles had the lead only once (11-10) during the first quarter.  Yadoris Arias’ two free throws at the start of the second quarter gave the Lancers a 25-17 lead.  You began to wonder if a #15 seed could possible keep this sort of play up and reel in yet another high seeded team.

St. John’s, however, has played big games all season.  Who could forget the two with Central Catholic?  Led by Pat, Mike, and Steve Haladyna (17 points), the Eagles erased that lead in less than three minutes with a 17-4 run.

This activity gave St. John’s a 34-29 advantage but the Lancers rode the crowd and Jaylen to get back to within one (47-46) at halftime.

It was announced during the second half that Jaylen had reached his 1000th point.  I won’t attempt to describe that reaction of the Lawrence crowd to that news!

Jaylen Alicea holds D1 North runner-up trophy

Jesse Hiraldo (6’6”) had an impressive first half (eight points) for Lawrence on the inside but foul trouble limited his second-half minutes.

St. John’s moves on to the state semi-finals on Tuesday night (7:45PM) against Mansfield (24-2).  I saw the Hornets rally from an 8-point deficit late in the last quarter to win by a basket over Newton North in the last three seconds in the game before Lawrence/St. John‘s.

Mansfield will have to shoot a whole lot better to have any chance with St. John’s.  Several of Mansfield’s starters were still shooting air balls late in the game and I even saw their best player (Mike Lofton) put up an air ball from the foul line.

(I collect my own stats and take my own pictures.  I also draw my own conclusions.  Blame me for any mistakes!)

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Central Catholic struggles vs Lawrence 60-54 but continues undefeated

Carson Desrosiers – The Wake Forest recruit had 20 points and some foul problems against Lawrence.

(Lawrence) It took the Lawrence Lancers (7-4) nine possessions to get their first points but once they got going they gave Central Catholic all they could handle.

But at the end it was CC with a surprisingly tight 60-54 win in Merrimac Valley Conference play on Friday night before a spirited crowd on both sides.

The Raiders (9-0) by winning will stay among the top three in the state in Division One with Lynn English and St. John’s Prep.  They face the Eagles in Lawrence on February 17th.

Their gymnasium is loaded with banners describing the many championships they’ve won in all sort of sports.

Of more interest to CC might be their return date with Lawrence (February 5th) at Lawrence High School.  You’d have to think that the Lancers would shoot better at their gym then the 33% (22-for-66) they shot at CC.

What made this game interesting was the way Lawrence took the ball at All-American Carson Desrosiers (20 points/12 rebounds/4 blocks).  There were some rejections (Carson is 6’11”) but he also got called for fouls.  His second foul put him on the bench for a good portion of the second period and Lawrence responded with a rally that got them within three (24-21) at the half.

The Lancers started the second half with six unanswered including a slashing layup by Jaylen Alicea (20 points) and had the lead.  CC rallied back but a Dawrin Pereyra three had the teams even at 33 with three minutes left in the third period.

Central Catholic grabbed the lead for good over the next 1 ½ minutes running nine points in a row for a 42-33 advantage.  During this decisive segment guard Luis Pulleo  (9 points/13 rebounds) converted a miss, Carson drained his only three of the game, Jimmy Zenevitch hit a couple of free throws and Carson clicked on a short jumper.  This collection of solid offense was the difference maker.  Lawrence hustled its way back to within five a couple of times thereafter but could not get closer.  They even got a 4th foul on Carson early in the 4th quarter but it didn’t matter.

Carson appears to play now as he will at the next level.  You would imagine that he could dominate inside at the high school level, and he probably could, but he avoids the heavy traffic inside.  He doesn’t force his offense and the other CC players pursue their own offense. His greatest value in this game, in my opinion, was being the safety valve in the CC press breaker.  This position put him in a position to defend the basket if there was a backcourt turnover.

The Raiders were very good at breaking down the Lawrence defense on the rare occasions when they put two or three passes together.  Carson had several dunks at the end of such sequences.

The turnovers committed by a quality team like CC (23 including 11 in the second period) were shocking.  The Lancers swarmed nonstop but there were way too many bad passes to make any coach happy.

Jaylen Alicea launches a free throw. The 6′ junior scored 20 points for Lawrence.

The best matchup was easily Luis Pulleo defending Kaylen Alicea and vice versa down the other end.  You talk about quickness and althleticism!  Luis is a sophomore and Kaylen a junior.

The gym was filled and the crowds seemed to behave as far as I could tell.  I wasn’t so sure it was a good idea to have the first row of the CC student section standing right along the sidelines, however.

(All stats are unofficial.)

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