Category Archives: Lynn English

Lynn English defeats Newburyport 28-7 to win fifth straight

Nolan Mulcahy (53) brings down Newburyport quarterback Finn Sullivan
Niko Silverio (50) and Brady Ford (73)

(Newburyport MA) The Lynn English Bulldogs (5-6) are on a roll.

Yes, they have six losses but the last one was on October 1st.

LE has now won five straight adding Newburyport to the list, 28-7, at Stehlin Stadium Thursday night.

It was the last home game for the Clippers (4-6).

Newburyport visits Amesbury on Thanksgiving Day.

The Clippers put three straight wins together early in the season but have struggled with five losses in their last six games.

In tonight’s game, Newburyport trailed only, 14-7, early in the fourth quarter after a Finn Sullivan 15-yard scramble and extra-point kick.

Bulldogs quarterback Jesse Maggs

But the Bulldogs responded with points on each of their next two possessions to seal the win.

One of the keys to the Bulldogs’ win was their ability to contain quarterback Finn Sullivan.  Finn’s running has been crucial to the NHS offense all season.  Lynn English shut that part down except for the 15-yard touchdown scramble early in the final quarter.

Meanwhile, LE showed the ability to run and pass.

Midway through the opening quarter, Newburyport junior Aidan Blunt deflected a pass in the end zone to keep freshman Edwin Castro from putting Lynn English on the scoreboard.

First LE touchdown celebrated

Lynn English would not be denied. They started a drive at their own thirty-eight, late in the first quarter, that paid off at 9:02 in the second quarter.

Mixing passing, running, and a fumble recovery (Edwin Castro) the Bulldogs reached the Newburyport 18.

QB Jesse Maggs then found Edwin Castro yards behind his nearest defender for an 18-yard score.  Clipper Angus Webster broke up the 2-point conversion attempt, but LE had a, 6-0, lead.

The Bulldogs put another threatening drive together in the second quarter aided by a major penalty on the Clippers.  However, QB Jesse Maggs fumbled and Angus Webster recovered at the Newburyport 17 with less than two minutes left.

The rest of the second quarter the Clippers showed an excellent passing attack.  There was protection and the sidelines routes were nicely executed.  But the clock was the problem.

Newburyport reached the LE 22 with time for one last play.  The Bulldogs’ defense responded as sophomore Mitchell Purter brought the pressure and sacked QB Finn Sullivan to end the half.

Wes Chandler (89 yards)

Lynn English padded their lead in the third quarter.  The key to LE’s second scoring drive was catches by senior Shea Palmer. Shea’s second catch was a leaper along the right sidelines that reached the Newburyport 14.

Senior Wes Chandler (89 yards) broke left, cut back and scored untouched.  Wes also ran in the two-point conversion.  LE now led, 14-0, with four minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.

The Clippers needed a big break to get back in the game and the Lynn English coaching staff supplied it.

Located deep in their own territory (28-yard-line) on fourth down, the Bulldogs decided to go for it.  (I’m thinking the two-touchdown lead and significant confidence in their running game may have been the motivation.)  Anyhow, QG Jesse Maggs tried and failed to get the one yard needed, setting Newburyport up at the LE 28.

QB Finn Sullivan (155 yards passing) passed to sophomore Sean Miles to get NHS to the L15 and scrambled in from there.

Finn Sullivan off on his 15-yard touchdown run
Finn Sullivan dives into the end zone

The Clippers were now only behind, 14-7, with most of the final quarter ahead of them.  Could they tighten up the defense and get closer?

Unfortunately, for the home team, the defense couldn’t get it done.

Ernie Panias runs away from the Clippers defense to score his 2nd touchdown of the half

The Bulldogs had size on their line and had already picked up quality yards running or passing. 

Sophomore Ernie Panias started the third scoring drive with a 20-yard run and then the QB Jesse Maggs to Wes Chandler connection clicked twice to reach the Newburyport 2.

Ernie Panias covered the last two yards at 9:43. Wes Chandler rushed for the 2-point conversion.  LE was now in front, 22-7.

Jack Hadden

The Clippers took a 4th down gamble on their next possession, and like the Bulldogs, came up empty.  Sophomore Kane Brennan was stopped in his tracks by the Bulldogs defense to set them up at the Newburyport 42.

Lynn English capitalized on the good field position two minutes later.  Ernie Panias went in off the right side standing up.  The two-point conversion (Lionel Rivera) was stopped.  LE was in command, 28-7, with 6:40 left.

Credit the Clippers.  The game was essentially over but that didn’t stop them from putting a solid drive together.  A key play was a catch by junior Jack Hadden getting Newburyport to the one-yard-line.

However, a pass interference call against the Clippers in the end zone frustrated the golden scoring chance.

Lynn English    0  6  8  14 – 28

Newburyport  0  0  0    7  –  7

I noted a tremendous difference in the atmosphere at the stadium from Wednesday night (boys soccer tourney game) and Thursday night (football game).  Weekday, non-tournament games can reduce the crowd to close friends and family.

Finn Sullivan passed for 155 yards

The weather was cool but not cold.

Lynn English is in the Northeastern Conference and Division Three.

Newburyport is in the Cape Ann League and Division Five.

Bulldogs’ quarterback Jesse Maggs reminded me of Pentucket’s Chase Dwight.  Both are big, strong, and faster than you suspect.

(I wasn’t intending to write this game up.  I planned to cover it with a few pictures, which I did on my Twitter account (McClellandPeter).  When I realized that there was no local coverage (at all) I decided to put this story together.  I didn’t talk to coaches and players afterwards.  Those interactions are important, and it would have helped me to have had them.)

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

Ball on the ground
Ernie Panias (7) and Jeff Thurston (9)
Robert Merenda (67), Nolan Mulcahy (53), Finn Sullivan (10)
Ernie Panias (7) has blockers in front
Logan Jones (3), Josh McDonald (4), Jack Hadden (6), and Ernie Panias (7) battle in the end zone

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Lynn English wins 17th straight 78-46 over Beverly

Catherine Stinson passes ahead to Diondra Woumn (#1)

Catherine Stinson passes ahead to Diondra Woumn (#1)

Diondra Woumn (22 points) shoots over defenders

Diondra Woumn (22 points) shoots over defenders

(Beverly MA) That’s seventeen straight for undefeated Lynn English.

The Bulldogs (17-0) displayed their never-ending offense as they ran away from Beverly, 78-46, on the road on Friday night in Northeast Conference action.

The Panthers (6-9) never could find a way to contain the LE scorers but they did manage to stay competitive through 2 1/2 quarters thanks to the long-range accuracy of Natalie Mellinger (17 points) and Bridget Keaton (12 points).

Natalie had three long ones in the first five minutes of the game and that helped Beverly hold a 15-8 advantage.

Natalie Mellinger (17 points) hit five long ones

Natalie Mellinger (17 points) hit five long ones

Lynn English, however, just never went away offensively.  Diondra Woumn (22 points), Catherine Stinson (19 points), and Deidra Newson (16 points) had the speed and dribbling skills to find plenty of layups and open looks from the outside.

Two free throws by Deidra Newson gave LE an 18-17 lead after a quarter.  Diondra Woumn cashed four layups and two free throws in that quarter.

The Bulldogs pushed their lead to ten (30-20) in the second quarter but Beverly put seven unanswered points together and were within four (35-31) early in the third period.

Four LE layups later the Bulldogs were in front 43-31 with three minutes left in the third quarter.  Beverly answered with two three’s (Bridget Keaton) and a Natalie Mellinger jump shot and only trailed, 46-39, with a 1 1/2 quarters left.

Those last twelve minutes were absolutely all Lynn English to say the least.  Fatigue had plenty to do with it as Beverly had played, and defeated, Lynn Classical on Thursday.

The Panthers began to have trouble even getting shots off while, down the other end, the Bulldogs continued to take and make shot after shot.  The rest of the way Beverly was outscored, 32-7!

Catherine Stinson (19 points) hit four long ones

Catherine Stinson (19 points) hit four long ones

LE had unanswered runs of nine points and eleven points during the closing twelve minutes.  Beverly was held to just four points in the final quarter.

The individual skills of the LE players were impressive.  They could dribble their way into good shots.  They could move without the ball to get open.

Then you add 1000-point scorer Catherine Stinson to the mix.  She had four 3’s and three layups.

Lynn English has had only one close game this season and that was their 59-51 win over St. Mary’s on December 28th.

Last year the Bulldogs were upset in the Division 1 North quarterfinals by Andover.  In that win, Andover made three’s and got several LE starters into foul trouble.

Lynn English is 59-6 over the past 2+ years.

Another thing about Lynn English that caught my attention was their lack of emotion.  Nothing seemed to change about their demeanor whether they were behind early in this game or cruising to victory later on.

Very small crowd of spectators watched this game.  At times it was so quiet that if you closed your eyes you might have thought you were in the Beverly Public Library.

Makayla Everette (10 points) gets inside

Makayla Everette (10 points) gets inside

Makayla Everette (10 points) was the fourth Bulldog in double figures.

Beverly had twenty-two turnovers while Lynn English had fourteen by my unofficial count.

Last time I was in the Beverly Fieldhouse they had stands set up under each basket.

Beverly’s next game is at Revere on Tuesday (5:30PM).  LE visits Lynn Classical on the same night.

Lynn English box

Beverly box

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

Deidra Newson gets two

Deidra Newson gets two

Bridget Keaton (12 points)

Bridget Keaton (12 points)

Diondra Woumn defends

Diondra Woumn defends

Bulldogs double-team

Bulldogs double-team

Catherine Stinson guards Melissa Lubas

Catherine Stinson guards Melissa Lubas

Michayla Woodward guards Deidra Newson (16 points)

Michayla Woodward guards Deidra Newson (16 points)

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Fred Hogan reaches 1000 and leads Lynn English past Danvers 71-66

Fred Hogan afterwards with family and friends

Fred Hogan afterwards with family and friends

Fred Hogan splits Mark McCarthy and Devon Allen to reach 1000 points

Fred Hogan splits Mark McCarthy and Devon Allen to reach 1000 points

(Danvers MA) A huge second half by Fred Hogan enabled Lynn English to defeat Danvers, 71-66, on Tuesday night in Northeast Conference action.

The 5-11 Bulldogs senior had a 21-point second half and reached the 1000-point plateau in the process.

Fred gained his 1000th point on a drive to the basket in the fourth quarter with 3 1/2 minutes left.  The basket was not only cause for stoppage in play but it also gave the Bulldogs their first lead (62-60) of the night.

The score was tied (64-64) going into the last minute of regulation.  This was where Fred Hogan really took over.  He assisted on Danny Lukanda’s layup and followed that with a fast-break layup of his own to get LE up by four (68-64).  After Mark McCarthy’s drive brought Danvers to within two (68-66) with twenty-four seconds left, Fred took the inbounds pass, was fouled, and made both ends of a one-and-one to get the Lynn English lead back to four.  Solid Bulldogs defense forced a wild Falcons’ shot and then Danny Lukanda made a free throw with ten seconds remaining to close out the scoring.

Mark McCarthy (17 points) finds an open look

Mark McCarthy (17 points) finds an open look

Those of us on hand watching the first half would never have dreamed that Fred Hogan would have a chance to get the sixteen points he needed to reach 1000.  In a two-point first half, Fred saw few opening and plenty of freshman defender Devon Allen.

The entire LE team was unimpressive in the first half.  They came in having lost three of their last four.  They were quickly down 7-2 and then 14-6 one minute into the second period.  The Falcons put a 12-2 run on LE later in the second period and had a nice 30-14 led with 1 1/2 minutes left in the half.

The Bulldogs trailed 33-22 at halftime.

But what a difference the second half was.  The Bulldogs took control of the tempo and the steals and breakin’s began to add up.

LE got within three (40-37) midway into the third period but credit Danvers they had a rebound putback by impressive Devan Harris (22 points), and a three of the bench by Mike Nestor to keep the lead.  The Bulldogs had free throws by Erick Rosario (15 points) and a layup by Fred Hogan to end the quarter trailing by just two (49-47).

Fred Hogan floats in for two

Fred Hogan floats in for two

The last quarter featured six ties before Fred Hogan took over the final minutes and led the visitors to an important win.

No question Danvers (10-2) missed inside presence 6-8 Peter Merry.  Peter has a hip injury but should return soon.  The Bulldogs’ guards took the ball to the basket with a lot less concern with Peter Merry sitting on the Danvers bench and not in uniform.

No question the backcourt pressure created by LE took a toll on the Falcons in the second half.  The Bulldogs also had the luxury of having shot-blocker Johnny Hilaire (6-6) as the final defender when Danvers broke through the pressure.

The next game for Danvers will be hosting Billerica (2PM) on Super Bowl Sunday.

Lynn English matches up with Salem away on Friday night (7PM).

Danvers box

Lynn English box

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

Devan Harris (#25) had 22 points for Danvers

Devan Harris (#25) had 22 points for Danvers

Johnny Hilaire defends Devan Harris

Johnny Hilaire defends Devan Harris

Erick Rosario (15 points) gets a breakaway

Erick Rosario (15 points) gets a breakaway

Fred Hogan uses his left hand to get a layup against defender Devon Allen

Fred Hogan uses his left hand to get a layup against defender Devon Allen

loose ball

loose ball

Fred Hogan hits in the lane

Fred Hogan hits in the lane

Johnny Hilaire (15 points) finishes a dunk

Johnny Hilaire (15 points) finishes a dunk

Erick Rosario and Stevie Collins double-team Mark McCarthy

Erick Rosario and Stevie Collins double-team Mark McCarthy

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Danvers defeats Lynn English 90-70 to remain undefeated after seven games in boys basketball

Nick McKenna (23 points) gets two

Nick McKenna (23 points) gets two

Dan Connors (20 points) heads for the hoop

Dan Connors (20 points) heads for the hoop

(Danvers)  Danvers (7-0) put together a thirty point third quarter and defeated Lynn English (4-4), 90-70, on Wednesday night at Danvers in Northeastern Conference action.

This game was fast-paced from beginning to end as both teams applied full-court pressure.  That pressure produced more fastbreaks than it did turnovers.  On this night, the Falcons were better finishers, often making an extra pass to get an open layup.

The defending Division 3 state champs, if anything, look stronger than last year.  So far they have won every game by at least twenty points.

All five starters for Danvers reached double figures with Nick McKenna leading the way with twenty-three.

Fred Hogan (21 points) gets a three at the buzzer

Fred Hogan (21 points) gets a three at the buzzer

The twenty-point spread at the end was a bit misleading because the Bulldogs only trailed by four (42-38) at halftime.

The possibility of the Bulldogs going on in the second half to pull the upset vanished as the Falcons exploded during a four-minute segment of their thirty-point third quarter.

With 5 ½ minutes left in the third quarter, the Falcon lead was just five (49-44).  During the next four minutes the game got away from the Bulldogs as Danvers outscored them, 19-4, to race to a twenty-point lead (68-48).

This game ended with a twenty-point difference so the two teams were even on the scoreboard over the remaining nine minutes of playing time.

During the crucial run, Vinny Clifford (16 points) collected eight points including a pair of 3’s.  Teammate Dan Connors (20 points) also added eight points getting his from in close.

Eric Martin (13 points and 8 assists) and Stevie Collins (6 points)

Eric Martin (13 points and 8 assists) and Stevie Collins (6 points)

The Falcons had the long-ball going (they made eight 3’s) and they also had plenty of assisted baskets.  I had point guard Eric Martin down for eight assists.  Eric had the knack of drawing the defense to him and then feeding to open players lining up 3’s.  Nick McKenna had five long ones.

It is easy to go on and on raving about Danvers but undersized Lynn English never quit no matter what the score was.  Their speed was impressive and their willingness to go at the Falcons led to some acrobatic shots.  Unfortunately, the visitors missed a ton of layups or this game could have been closer.

Fred Hogan (21), Erick Rosario (15), and Johnny Hilaire (12) led the Bulldogs in scoring.

LE got down 29-14 early in the second quarter but Erick Rosario put five points into seven straight Bulldog points to close that gap.  The Bulldogs finished the final 2:22 of the half with a 10-1 segment as Fred Hogan cashed seven points including a last-second three to pull LE to 42-38 at the half.

Erick Rosario (15 points) goes for two

Erick Rosario (15 points) goes for two

In the fourth quarter the Bulldogs had every reason to lose heart down 77-54 with seven minutes left.  Instead LE put up twelve unanswered points getting four each from Erik Rosario and Johnny Hilaire over the next 3+ minutes and the difference between the two teams was eleven (77-66).

But Danvers is so explosive that one minute later they had put together seven consecutive points (Nick Bates had three of them) and an eleven point lead quickly jumped back to eighteen, 84-66.

The next game for Lynn English will be at Winthrop on Friday night (7PM).  Danvers will be hosting Salem at the same time on the same night.

I suspect that it will be a standing-room only crowd at that Danvers/Salem game.  One side of the court still doesn’t have the wooden bleachers in place.

Johnny Hilaire took a Falcon turnover (they had thirteen) in for a dunk in the fourth quarter.

Dan Connors found plenty of openings in close.

Nick Bates (14 points) takes a three over Anthony Silfa (11)

Nick Bates (14 points) takes a three over Anthony Silfa (11)

Nick Bates went coast-to-coast after getting a rebound in the last two minutes of the game.

This was my first time seeing Danvers play since March 17, 2012 at the Worcester Centrum when they defeated St. Joseph’s of Pittsfield, 59-47, to win the D3 state title.

It is not hard to imagine the Falcons being the number one seed in Division 3 North come tournament time.  I know, there are a lot of regular season games left!  Just sayin’.

Danvers boxscoreLynn English boxscore

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

Danny Lukanda blocks

Danny Lukanda blocks

Danvers cheerleaders

Danvers cheerleaders

Brian Redondo goes for the fake

Brian Redondo goes for the fake

Erick Rosario

Erick Rosario

Fred Hogan shoots

Fred Hogan shoots

Ben Bowden (11 points)

Ben Bowden (11 points)

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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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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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St. John’s Wins D1 Classic 79-78 Over Lynn English in North Semis

Ryan Woumn can only look on as St. John’s defeats his Bulldogs

(Salem) It was a classic even before it was played with enough plots, subplots, and teases to entice even nonsports fans.

An estimated 3000+ fans took in the game. Irving Vizciano takes a free throw in front of The Prep crowd.

And what a crowd it drew – an estimated 3000+ spectators to Salem High School on Tuesday night.

And what a game they saw, as St. John’s Prep (21-2) rallied in the last quarter to defeat Lynn English (21-2), 79-78, in the Division 1 North semifinals.

In simple math terms, Lynn English dominated St. John’s in the second and third quarters by a combined 46-27.  In the first and final quarter, St. John’s had a 52-32 advantage.

The back-and-forth of things gave both sides plenty to cheer about and trust me the standing cheering sections from both schools were very active throughout.  St. John’s asked about “SAT scores,” and Lynn English countered with “free tuition.”  And so it went.

The official stats from the game were shaky to say the least.  In the four sources that I checked (Lynn Item, Salem News, Boston Herald, Boston Globe) the final numbers varied.  That’s why I keep my own stats and report them as “unofficial” at the end of the blog bottom.

Left to right – Pat Connaughton (16), Tripp Doherty (1), Mike Carbone (14) and Stephen Haladyna (28)

Stephen Haladyna led all scorers with 28(?) points.  His game was all about slashing to the basket or in numerous cases being on the scoring end of a press break.  I’ll guess it was a career game for the 6-4 sophomore.

The Bulldogs limited the open court for the Eagles usual top scorer (Pat Connaughton) and he ended up with sixteen points getting just six of them in the second half.

Jarell Byrd (21 points) paced the Bulldogs but in my opinion, he didn’t get the ball nearly enough.  The Eagles defense was in trouble during the infrequent times he actually had the ball in the frontcourt because he has range and can rip to the rim.

The Prep had a four-minute breakout in the first quarter with a 17-2 segment that changed a 5-4 deficit into a 21-7 advantage with two minutes left.  The damage was from in close except for one Mike Carbone trey.  The Prep led 23-11 at quarter’s end.

In the second period, the Bulldogs continued to look to be in serious trouble trailing 31-17 with 3 ½ minutes left.  Suddenly LE found a stretch of offense (17-4) that carried them to a 34-31 halftime spread.  Inside stuff, free throws (six), and an Irving Vizciano trey did the damage for the comebacking LE team.

Having seen both teams play well (and poorly) for a quarter, what we’d see in the second half was anybody’s guess.

LE made their move at the end of the third quarter, closing it with ten unanswered points.  Sophomore Keandre Stanton’s dunk and tip-in were Bulldog crowd-pleasers in the last minute.  LE led 57-50 after three periods.

The rest at the end of the third quarter seemed to settle the Eagles as they came out on a 13-2 tear in the first 2:25 to sit comfortably at 63-51.  Three straight inside scores by Stephen Haladyna and a trey from Mike Carbone did most of the damage.

That lead was eight (76-68) with two minutes to go before the “fun” began.  A Jarell Byrd trey, an Irving Vizciano free throw, and a Jarell Byrd layup while the Eagles had four empty possessions set the score at 76-74 with thirty seconds left.  Anyone’s game, for sure.

Tripp Doherty was fouled in the backcourt and made one free throws with 24 seconds left.  Again plenty of time for LE.

Mike Carbone – 14 points including two clinching free throws for The Prep

This time the, “Where are you, Ryan Woumn?” thoughts had to be dancing through many from the LE side.  However, suspended and sitting in the front row he wasn’t available.  And what happened was that LE went through 19 seconds looking for a slash to the basket that never occurred.  Jordan Rogers got off a desperate trey late that Mike Carbone rebounded.  With five seconds left, Mike made both free throws to close the door on LE, 79-74.  LE’s four points in the last few seconds did not alter the outcome.

Sophomore Mike Carbone (14) had four 3’s but his two free throws in the last five seconds were the game-sealers for St. John’s.

St. John’s gets to move on to face Central Catholic on Friday night at the TD North Garden.  CC won an earlier matchup by four points in Lawrence.

LE functioned without head coach Buzzy Barden and top player Ryan Woumn.  St. John’s started juniors and sophomores yet played like a team of seniors.

Is it too early to suggest that Sean Connolly will not always be coaching at The Prep?  What a job he has done with a young team.

( All stats are unofficial. )

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Lynn English Stays Undefeated Winning 14th at Beverly 86-56

Ryan Woumn – 29 points via layups and free throws

(Beverly) No question, Lynn English (14-0) is good.

They defeated Beverly (8-6) 86-56 at Beverly on Tuesday night at Beverly to complete a sweep of the Panthers.

I have now seen the Big Three of Division One – St. John’s, Central Catholic, and now Lynn English.  St. John’s took their first loss tonight (Catholic Memorial) while both Central Catholic and LE continued undefeated.  CC beat Andover.

The Bulldogs weren’t really tested by Beverly so I can’t do a comparison with the other two teams.

That’s not to take anything away from the Beverly effort – there was plenty of it.  Before the game, however, I already suspected that they were in trouble when I saw Co-captain Mike Clayton out of uniform.  Not many underdogs can do much minus their primary ball handler and his 14 points per game against what Lynn English throws at you.

With LE they got pressure, turnovers, and points in bunches against them.  LE pressure led to turnovers (16 for Beverly in the first half).

The Panthers didn’t fold immediately, in fact, trailed just 12-10 with 3 ½ to go in the first period.  The beginning of the downhill slide kicked in over the next 5 ½ minutes, however, as good LE fullcourt, trapping defense turned into easy offense with a 14-2 run for the Bulldogs.  The LE points came on nothing but layups and free throws.  Ryan Woumn (29 points) had four of those layups.

Curtis Manuel (24 points) responded with five in a row, partly on free throws, thanks partially to Travone Berry-Rogers’ unappreciated evaluation of a referee.

Irving Vizciano – 17 points for Lynn English

The rest of the second quarter, I saw other parts to LE’s offense that make them more of a headache to defend.  Irving Vizciano (17 points) and Paradise Hogan (6 points) hit three’s.

Just when I thought LE was all about layups and long-range basketball, they started the third quarter with interior passes to sophomore Keandre Stanton (6’6”).  He had a collection of moves that got him to the basket and he knew how to finish.

I was disappointed not being able to see 6’5” LE senior Jarell Byrd (6’5”) play.  He warmed up but never saw any action.  I learned afterwards that he had hurt his ankle versus Marblehead.  During warm-ups, he looked ready to play but there never was a need against Beverly.

Jarell didn’t play so I couldn’t get a read on him.  Ryan Woumn (6’3” – senior) did play and was also hard to read.  He had 29 points but most of them were on breakaway layups and free throws.  He did take the ball into traffic to draw fouls.

No question LE has plenty of weapons.  With five games left, I like their chances of going undefeated although Brockton (Feb 7th) might have something to say about that.

Looking ahead, wouldn’t it be great to see LE in the MIAA D1 North tournament get into a dream matchup with Central Catholic with both teams entering the game undefeated.  Last year the Bulldogs upset CC in the tournament.

( All stats are unofficial. )

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