Category Archives: St. John’s Prep

Mike O’Brien (28 points) leads St. John’s over Lowell 78-46

Mike O’Brien (28 points)
Mike O’Brien guarded by Thomas Heinen

(Danvers MA) St. John’s Prep has size inside.

“Their bigs are their focal point,” said Lowell coach Bob Michalczyk afterwards.  “If I’m them, that’s the game plan.  You’d be foolish not to.”

Junior Mike O’Brien finished early and often around the hoop gathering twenty-eight points as St. John’s defeated Lowell, 78-46, on Sunday afternoon.

The Eagles (3-4) were so effective inside that long-range shots were seldom attempted.

Jeter Santiago (13 points)

“In most games we have a distinct height advantage and we want to establish things down low,” explained St. John’s coach John Dullea post-game.  “It’s a point of emphasis for us to look for players closer to the basket.”

Point guard Stephon Patrick was the best at getting the ball to Mike O’Brien in the paint.  On this afternoon when Mike got the ball good things followed for the Eagles.

“The taller one (Mike O’Brien) is very skilled,” added Coach Michalczyk. “I’ve watched him in a bunch of games.  The other one (Kyle Webster) is like an ox.  He uses his body very well.”

Stephon Patrick with Mike O’Brien breaking free ahead

Credit the team from the Merrimack Valley Conference, they put up a fight.  They defended the perimeter well and forced turnovers that led to layups.

But after a quick three (Javien Kirmil) to start the game, Mike O’Brien became a problem for the Red Raiders.  The Eagles rolled off eleven straight points and Mike had eight of them.  Two were assisted by Stephon Patrick and another was the finish after an offensive rebound.

The visitors trailed, 16-5, after a quarter but held their own in the second quarter.  Jeter Santiago (13 points) hit three times from long range to keep Lowell (2-5) in range, 39-27, at halftime.

Kyle Webster gets a rebound

The Red Raiders got even closer in the first two minutes of the second half.  A jump shot by Thomas Heinen pushed Lowell to within eight, 43-35.

The rest of the way it was all St. John’s.  The Eagles continued to score on high percentage shots while Lowell stopped being able to make the tough shots that were available.

“We started the game out a little bit slow and came on in the second half,” added Coach Dullea.

You couldn’t help but agree.  After the Red Raiders had closed to eight points, the Eagles went on a 22-2 run over the final six minutes of the quarter to put the game away.

Mike O’Brien blocks a shot

Mike O’Brien had fourteen points in the third period that ended with St. John’s leading, 65-37.

The final quarter was a convincing display of “Blessed are the merciful,” by St. John’s.  Everyone played for both squads and the push for points (by the Eagles) was minimized.  That’s good sportsmanship!

St. John’s   16   23   26   13   =   78

Lowell           5   22   10     9   =   46

(The pictures enlarge.)

Daniel Trainor applies pressure
Mikey Nabbout at the rim
Joshua Mlongecha
Gael Muchnik drives by Jerome Pola
Jack Perry pressured in the backcourt
Jeremiah Mitchell tries a shot over Mike O’Brien
Joshua Mlongecha gets a rebound
Stephon Patrick double-teamed
Dominic Greaves to the rim
Alex Chau and Daniel Trainor
Jack Angelopolus caught in a Lowell trap
Jeter Santiago heads to the hoop
Lowell box
St. John’s box

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St. Mary’s defeats St. John’s 52-42

(The pictures below will enlarge if you click on them.)

St. Mary’s pressures St. John’s
Omri Merryman (10 points)

(Danvers MA) St. John’s Prep didn’t have the firepower to stay with St. Mary’s for an entire game.

When the (6-1) Spartans put baskets together in the second half the Eagles didn’t have answers and fell, 52-42, on Sunday afternoon.

The Eagles led at halftime (18-17).

In the second half, St. Mary’s finished well inside while defending the home team into a low percentage outside game.

Kyle Webster (nine points)

Senior Kyle Webster was St. John’s top scorer with nine points.

The Spartans’ David Brown was very effective on both ends of the court.  David had eleven points with five assists plus seven rebounds and five steals.

David also had a crowd-pleasing dunk in the first half and a block in the final quarter. 

The Prep’s Jack Perry looked to be in free for a layup but hustling David caught up and got the exciting block.

David Brown (right) about to block Jack Perry’s shot
Mike O’Brien set to block

Derick Coulanges led St. Mary’s with thirteen points, all in the first three quarters.

Omri Merryman added ten points with seven boards.

Senior Henri Miraka finished with nine points including a dagger three in the final minute to seal the deal for St. Mary’s.

The Eagles’ defense was solid, but they didn’t have the points.  The Eagles graduated forty-two points per game in scoring and lost their best passer as well.  They’ll need to find some answers, but there is time.

Ali Barry was St. Mary’s top scorer last year averaging fourteen points per game.  Today he was limited to one point and few shots.

St. Mary’s is D3 and in the Catholic Central League.

St. John’s is D1 and in the Catholic Conference.

St. Mary’s   6   11   18   17   =   52

St. John’s  11    7    10   14   =   42

(The pictures will enlarge if you click on them.)

St. Mary’s box
St. John’s box
Eyeing a rebound
David Brown guarded by Steph Patrick
Jack Angelopolus
Steph Patrick
David Brown
Ryan Fraher
Ali Barry (4) and Kyle Webster (42)
Henri Miraka (nine points and six rebounds)
Rebound battle
Nathan Hendriks surrounded
David Brown (2) guarded in the lane
Ali Barry
Mike O’Brien surrounded
St. John’s coach John Dullea
Jack Perry (seven points)
David Brown (2) and Kyle Webster (42)

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Central Catholic downs St. John’s Prep 81-74 in overtime to win D1 North semi-finals

Ben Judson (30 points) and Tyler Nelson (19 points)

Ben Judson (30 points) and Tyler Nelson (19 points)

Central Catholic controlled the inside.  Here Aaron Hall (19 points) puts back a rebound

Central Catholic controlled the inside. Here Aaron Hall (19 points) puts back a rebound

(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.

AJ Pettway defends Kareem Davis

AJ Pettway defends Kareem Davis

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.

Nick Cambio (19 points) shoots over Mike Bisson

Nick Cambio (19 points) shoots over Mike Bisson

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.

Central Catholic box

St. John’s Prep box

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

Tyler Nelson drives on Max Burt (16 points) as CC coach Rick Nault watches

Tyler Nelson drives on Max Burt (16 points) as CC coach Rick Nault watches

Alex Santos puts in a rebound

Alex Santos puts in a rebound

Central Catholic cheerleaders

Central Catholic cheerleaders

Max Butterbrodt defends Tyler Nelson

Max Butterbrodt defends Tyler Nelson

Kareem Davis launches a three at the end of the first quarter

Kareem Davis launches a three at the end of the first quarter

Max Butterbrodt, Kareem Davis, Max Burt, Ben Judson

Max Butterbrodt, Kareem Davis, Max Burt, Ben Judson

Tyler Nelson sank six free throws in overtime

Tyler Nelson sank six free throws in overtime

Aj Pettway and Ben Judson

Aj Pettway and Ben Judson

Eagles student section tries to distract free throw shooter Nick Cambio

Eagles student section tries to distract free throw shooter Nick Cambio

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St. John’s Prep hangs on to defeat Central Catholic 55-52

Tyler Dooley (12 points) finishes a layup

Tyler Dooley (12 points) finishes a layup

Tyler Nelson (10 points) defended by Drex Costello (13 points)

Tyler Nelson (10 points) defended by Drex Costello (13 points)

(Danvers) St. John’s Prep never trailed in this one.

St. John’s Prep had a 14-point lead (46-32) in the third quarter and an 11-point lead (53-42) in the last quarter.

But that all being said, St. John’s had to hang on for dear life to defeat Central Catholic, 55-52, on Sunday afternoon before a full house at the Prep.

After the Eagles (15-1) put that 53-42 lead in place with four minutes left in the game, the Raiders (13-3) ran off ten straight points.  That streak of offense got Central Catholic to within a point (53-52) with thirty-eight seconds left.

A St. John’s turnover (they had four in the quarter) followed (five second violation) and the Eagles miscue gave CC plenty of time (twenty-six seconds) to complete the comeback.

Nick Cambio (with the ball) just before the final Central Catholic turnover

Nick Cambio (with the ball) just before the final Central Catholic turnover

But the Raiders didn’t get there.  They turned the ball over on their next possession (Drex Costello steal) and Drex made a free throw.  They recorded another turnover on their second possession (bad pass Nick Cambio) and Ben Judson made a free throw with less than a second left to finish the scoring.

If St. John’s had lost this game it would have been because of poor foul shooting.  The final quarter was a nightmare at the line for the Eagles.  Granted, there was plenty of pressure, but when you make only two-of-seven free throws after you have an eleven-point lead with four minutes left, you’re asking for trouble.  And to top it off, two of those misses were on the front end of one-and-one’s!

The Eagles jumped on the Raiders right from the start with seven unanswered points (jumpers by Drex Costello and Josh Syska followed by a Tyler Dooley three) in the first 2 ½ minutes.

Joel Berroa, Nick Cambio, Lucas Hammel, and Jamahl Lopez

Joel Berroa, Nick Cambio, Lucas Hammel, and Jamahl Lopez

Early in the second quarter, Central Catholic ran six straight (two layups Nick Cambio and two free throws Tyler Nelson) to pull within two (18-16).

The Eagles came right back with six of their own on layups (Drex Costello, Max Butterbrodt, and Jake Burt off a steal) to get that eight-point lead back, 24-16.

St. John’s had a 32-24 halftime edge.

The Eagles pushed their advantage, in the third quarter, to 40-26 and later 46-32 before the Raiders rallied with six unanswered (two free throws Nick Cambio and two layups Tyler Nelson and Joel Berroa) to lower their deficit to eight (46-38) after three periods.

St. John’s was back in the double-digit comfort zone, 53-42, in the final quarter with four minutes left before the Raiders made the run that nearly stole this one from the Eagles.

Tyler Nelson hits the floor

Tyler Nelson hits the floor

Joel Berroa (18 points) and Nick Cambio (14 points) led the CC scorers.

Drex Costello (13 points) and Tyler Dooley were the top point-getters for the Eagles.

Prep seniors Drex Costello, Josh Syska, and Tyler Dooley were honored before the game.  That trio had plenty to do with the Eagles’ win.

A big play by Central Catholic late in the game was a shot block by Nick Cambio of Max Burt’s layup attempt in the last minute.

The two teams will meet again at Central Catholic on February 17th.  That could well be worth seeing!

Despite the loss, Coach Rick Nault (seventh year) has a remarkable win/loss record of 149-19.

The Eagles are lacking the Pat Connaughton-type big stars and so hadn’t gathered much respect before this game.  This win should change all that.

Jamahl Lopez defends Tyler Dooley

Jamahl Lopez defends Tyler Dooley

A great matchup to watch was between the two point guards – Tyler Dooley and Jamahl Lopez.  Contact was plentiful!

CC was fourteen-for-fourteen from the foul line.

Max Butterbrodt had a nine-point second quarter for St. John’s.

Central Catholic was missing 6-8 Andrew Hamel.

St. John’s Boxscore

Central Catholic Boxscore

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

Tyler Dooley

Tyler Dooley

Max Butterbrodt (#42) had nine points in the second quarter

Max Butterbrodt (#42) had nine points in the second quarter

Central Catholic cheerleaders

Central Catholic cheerleaders

Eagles student section

Eagles student section

Seniors Tyler Dooley and Josh Syska leave the court happy

Seniors Tyler Dooley and Josh Syska leave the court happy

Joel Berroa heads for the hoop

Joel Berroa heads for the hoop

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St. John’s Prep overwhelms St. Mary’s 67-43 in boys basketball opener

Drex Costello (13 points) breaks away for a layup after a steal.

Drex Costello (13 points) breaks away for a layup after a steal.

Tommy DeVeau (14 points) closely guarded by Mike Bisson

Tommy DeVeau (14 points) closely guarded by Mike Bisson

(Danvers) In the season opener for both teams, St. John’s ran away from St. Mary’s in the second half winning, 67-43, on Monday night in non-league play.

The Eagles (1-0) blew open a relatively close first half (32-24) with twenty-two points in the third quarter while limiting the Spartans to only four points.  When that dust cleared The Prep was in total charge, ahead by twenty-six (54-28).

St. Mary’s (0-1) opted to play a zone defense against the taller Eagles for much of the game but the long-range shooting of St. John’s wrecked that strategy.

Max Burt (30) scored thirteen for the Eagles

Max Burt (30) scored thirteen for the Eagles

Both Drex Costello (13 points) and Max Burt (13 points) connected three times from downtown as part of ten successful 3’s by the Eagles.

The Spartans best quarter was the second when seven points from Tommy DeVeau (14 points) and a couple of three’s had them outscoring St. John’s, 17-16.  But beyond that a very good Eagles man-to-man defense kept the Spartans away from too many high-percentage shots.

Matt Manning had ten points for St. Mary’s.

Spartan starter John Teehan left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury.

St. Mary’s didn’t do itself any favors with their foul shooting – 19-for-33 with a number of the misses coming on the front end of one-and-one’s.

Division Four St. Mary’s has a state finals rematch with Cathedral on Friday night (7PM) at Cathedral.

Division One St. John’s will be hosting Lynn Classical on Saturday at 5PM.

St John's box score

St John’s box score







St Mary's box score

St Mary’s box score







(The pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Josh Syska defends

Josh Syska defends

Matt Manning (10 points) looks for room

Matt Manning (10 points) looks for room

Tyler Dooley cuts between Kyle DeFillipo and Nick Amenta

Tyler Dooley cuts between Kyle DeFillipo and Nick Amenta

Ben Judson shoots over Kyle DeFillipo

Ben Judson shoots over Kyle DeFillipo

loose ball

loose ball

Drex Costello gets a layup

Drex Costello gets a layup

Johnny Teehan looks for room

Johnny Teehan looks for room


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Late goal gets St. John’s Prep past Masconomet 2-1 in Division 1 North boys soccer semifinals

Eagles rush to celebrate D1 North semifinals win over top-seed Masconomet.

Keyon Olia (10) and Mike Ennis (8) make a late run

(Lynn) St. John’s Prep scored with just over four minutes left in regulation and defeated Masconomet, 2-1, in Division 1 North boys semifinals soccer on Friday afternoon/evening at Manning Field in Lynn.

Senior Bruce Ocko tallied the game-winner converting a loose ball in front of the Masco net assisted by Lev Kazelyan.

The Eagles will now face Somerville (19-0-2) at Manning Field on Sunday at noon for the D1 North title.

Top-seed Masco (18-1-2) had not lost a game since last November’s, 2-1, D1 state title setback to Ludlow.

#4 seed St. John’s (17-1-2) had the speed to match Masco and the upper hand in total corner kicks, direct kicks, and offensive end throw-ins.  (I don’t believe that the Cape Ann League champs had seen the kind of pressure the Eagles put on during their twenty-game unbeaten streak.)

Adam Grammer (7) shoots over Eagle GK Ben Alpern

The Chieftains came close to getting more goals a couple of times: Jack Heintzelman hit the crossbar near the end of the first half and Adam Grammer sped in on the left and narrowly missed wide right halfway into the second half.

Junior Matt Chilton set up teammate Nate Schmidt for the first Eagle score at 20:44.  Matt broke open down the left sidelines and had time to look up, sight Nate surging down the middle, and get a pass to Nate that he could head into the net to GK Derek Grammer’s left.

It wasn’t a minute later that Masco responded with a goal to tie the game.  The goal was off of a Chip Sherman corner kick. Chip’s kick resulted in a loose ball in front and Jack Heintzelman drove it home.

As the rest of the half was played out and much of the second half went by, I suspected that this game would require overtime.  But St. John’s had the better chances and made one pay off avoiding overtime.

Very impressed with senior Bruce Ocko.  Not just because he scored the winning goal.  Most of the game he was part of the last line of Eagle defense.  He also launched several direct kicks and throw-ins into the scoring area in front of the Masco net.

Chip Sherman goes down but does not draw a penalty.

Last look at Masco’s Chip Sherman.  The senior has been recruited by division one Sienna.  Last year I saw Chip draw a penalty in a tourney game at Manning Field and then collect the PK for the game winner.  Chip tried to draw a penalty kick late in this game but the referee treated Chip’s effort as a dive and ignored it.

Tough loss for the Chieftains who surely hoped for another chance at a D1 state title.  With eleven prominent seniors on the 2012 squad, it may be a while before they’ll challenge again.  But we shall see on that one.

Masco had given up just four goals all season.  To see them give up two in one game was a big surprise.

St. John’s Prep has won the Catholic Conference three straight years.

Manning Field is a terrific venue for soccer.  Plenty of seats and parking.  Great sightlines.  Nice turf surface.

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

Eagle goalie Ben Alpern

Bruce Ocko (2) gets congratulated on game winner

Nate Schmidt (17) and Alex Gikas (14) chase a loose ball in front of the Masco net

Matt Chilton (14) prepares to set up teammate Nate Schmidt for the first Eagle goal.

Jack Heintzelmans shot rolls into Eagle net

Masco GK Derek Grammer saves

Brooks Clark lines up a shot

Eagle GK Ben Alpern jumps to make a save.

Bruce Ocko (2) cuts off Mike Ennis (8)

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East Boston holds on to defeat St. John’s Prep (58-52) in boys basketball

Will March (16 points) fires from the corner

Steve Haladyna (31 points) gets a rare open shot.

(Danvers) East Boston spoiled the last regular season home game for St. John’s Prep with a 58-52 win at St. John’s.

The Jets took the lead for good (10-9) on an Ian Jones three late in the first quarter.  The EB spread would get as large as seventeen (41-24) with three minutes left in the third period before the Eagles rallied to make things very interesting down the stretch.

Senior Steve Haladyna had a memorable final home game (31 points) that was highlighted by fifteen points in the final period.  Those points were consecutive and at their end the Eagles trailed only, 52-49, with two minutes left.

Credit Eastie, they felt the come-backing heat in front of a raucous Eagle student section but had answers.  Consecutive points on a free throw by Pat Santos (1:57), a layup by Pat after a scramble (1:20), and a layup from Will March (48 seconds) and the Jet spread was eight (57-49) and in the books for the visitors.

I have seen a number of St. John games and am regularly impressed with their persistent defense.  This time the persistent defense belonged to East Boston.  Respecting the Jet speed, the Eagles settled into a zone with special coverage on Will March most of the game.  However, when the Steve Haladyna-led run got going it was heavy Eagle pressure that put a scare into East Boston.

Will March (16 points) and Kyle Fox (15 points) led the East Boston scorers.  Kyle drained three long ones.

Mike Carbone set up to tie the game

Mike Carbone (8 points) was set up for a three from in front of the student section with the Eagles down three with less than four minutes left.  That he missed that one was a surprise to me since I’ve seen him make so many for three seasons.  If that one had gone, St. John’s would have been all the way back………but it didn’t and Eastie had enough left to hold their lead.

Can an “incident” wake a team up?  That may have been the case in this one.  A scramble for a loose ball with three minutes left in the third quarter led to some pushing and pulling.  Before you knew it, the student section vocals picked up and the St. John’s players got riled up.

third quarter scramble

The glide-to-the-finish mode disappeared and the intensity on both sides picked up considerably.  Who benefited?  Definitely the senior-honoring Eagles.  Over the next 5 ½ minutes of playing time extending into the fourth quarter, the Eagles put a 21-7 hurt on the Jets and climbed to within two (47-45).

3 ½ minutes later, St. John’s was still one shot away (52-49) but Eastie didn’t cave in and came away with the W.

St. John’s (10-6) has qualified for the MIAA tourney but is a long way from last year’s team led by Pat Connaughton.  If Steve Haladyna can find some scoring help maybe the Eagles can make a run in the tournament.

East Boston (14-4?) was impressive.  Not too many teams perform very well in front of noisy Eagle partisans but Eastie jumped in front significantly early to take the crowd away.  And when things got close, and the fans got involved, Eastie was able to hold not fold.

The program provided had players’ numbers incorrect and at least one player unlisted.  Try identifying pictures with that handicap!

East Boston boxscore

St. John’s boxscore

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

Kyle Fox (15 points) breakaway

Eagle student section

Jet coach Malcolm Smith

Algino Jean and Freddy Shove

Steve Haladyna gets 2 of his 15 fourth quarter points

Marcos Echevarria faces pressure from Pat Santos

Pat Santos

Steve Haladyna

Owen Marchetti

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Central Catholic Still Unbeaten – Rout St. John’s Prep 80-56

Steve Haladyna (10 points) closely guarded by Joel Berroa (#25 – 20 points) and Tyler Nelson (#11 – 11 points).

Lucas Hammel (11 points floats in)

(Lawrence) Central Catholic is good……..very good.

The Raiders (12-0) overwhelmed St. John’s Prep, 80-56, Sunday afternoon before a crowd that dwindled as the start of the Patriots/Ravens game neared.

It was hard tell which CC was better at, scoring or pressure defending, because they were impressive at both.

The Raiders were able to run an organized offense against a tight Eagle defense and found openings for nineteen layups.  They also hit from long range connecting on six triples.

Defensively, the combo of Joel Berroa and Lucas Hammel, kept the ball away from high-scoring Steve Haladyna.  (I saw Steve drop twenty-six on BC High on Friday night.)  In this one, his total was ten points with only two coming in the second half.

The Raiders inside players 6-4 Joel Berroa (20 points) and 6-5 Nick Cambio (16 points) produced the big numbers for the home team.  Nick hit three triples.

Mike Carbone defended by Doug Gemmell

Mike Carbone (18 points) carried the Eagles (9-3) in the second half with thirteen points.

St. John’s made a game of it for about six minutes trailing just 14-13 as Steve Haladyna got inside for three straight hoops.  Thereafter the denial defense on Steve kicked in and the Raider runs began.

A three by Luis Puello, and a couple of Lucas Hammel layups and the Raider lead jumped to ten (23-13) early in the second period.

The Eagles were able to hang around and trailed only 27-22 with 2:50 remaining in the first half.

Over the next 3:40 of playing time this game got away from the Eagles.  They searched for offense and gave up four layups and two long ones.  That nasty combo turned into a 15-2 Raider surge and CC led, 42-24, early in the second half.

Freddy Shove shoots over Nick Cambio as Coach Rick Nault watches

Central Catholic cruised along with a comfortable lead until early in the 4th quarter when their 62-45 advantage shrunk to 62-52 with six minutes left, after seven straight by the Eagles.

A timeout by CC coach Rick Nault seemed to straighten things out as all five starters scored in the next four minutes. The Raiders put a 12-1 hit on the Eagles and were in complete control 74-53.  The reserves from both sides filled out the final two minutes.

Raider coach Rick Nault picked up a technical foul in the second period.

Nick Cambio had a crowd-pleasing jam in the third quarter.

After seeing CC for the first time, it is not too difficult to imagine them playing at the Worcester Centrum in mid-March.  But on the other hand, the Raiders only beat Lawrence by two points and have a return engagement at Lawrence coming up. Let’s see how that goes first before making too many March assumptions.

Central Catholic boxscore

St. John’s Prep boxscore

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

Luis Puello shoots

sophomore Nick Cambio

Central Catholic cheerleaders

Joel Berroa surrounded by Eagles

Steve Haladyna scores

CC coach Rick Nault gets T

Freddy Shove goes up and over

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Steve Haladyna Leads St. John’s Prep Past Boston College High 58-45 in Boys Basketball

Steve Haladyna (26 points) played solid defense too.

Owen Marchetti (23) and Tyler Dooley (34) chase Charles Collins (14)

(Danvers) This game was about Steve Haladyna, tight defense, and pitiful foul shooting.

Steve Haladyna (26 points) tormented Boston College High on both ends of the court and led St. John’s Prep to a 58-45 victory in Catholic Conference action on Friday night at St. John’s.

Steve’s quickness enabled him to get shots where teammates were getting shots blocked.  He also had a hand in a number of BC High turnovers on the front of the St. John’s press.  His only problem was getting his fifth foul with four minutes left but by then the home team led, 57-38, and BC High was using reserves.

The defense was end-to-end by both teams.  Double-teams were frequent and turnovers were plentiful. Driving to the basket wasn’t such a good idea either because both teams could and did reject shots.  The referees weren’t buying the drive-and-flop routine so there were more than a few ugly shots taken as the drivers hit the deck and had to scramble to get back on defense.

The foul shooting was a serious problem for one team – BC High.  They were pitiful at both ends.  How does six-for-twenty-one sound!  Two of the misses were the front ends of 1-and-1’s.  The BC takeaway from this one could well be that if they had made their free throws they could have won the game.  I’m not sure about the winning part but as the stats indicate it sure would have been a heck of a lot closer if the freebies had fallen.

Steve Haladyna layup

With just the final score, you wouldn’t realize how this game went early on.  There were seven lead changes before a Mike Carbone (9 points) triple at 4:55 of the second period gave St. John’s the lead (22-19) for good.  St. John’s built their lead to 30-21 after two Steve Haladyna free throws before BC ran six straight to trail just, 30-27, one minute into the second half.  At this point, the outcome was far from decided.

In the next ten minutes of playing time it was.  The home Eagles were all over BC to the tune of 26-9 to build a decisive twenty point lead (56-36) with five minutes left in the game.  Not surprising to those on hand, Steve Haladyna (signed with Tufts) had half of St. John’s points including 7-of-8 from the foul line.

St. John’s (9-2) avenged a loss to BC High (9-3) on January 3rd (53-47) at BC High.

Coach Sean Connolly did not start his usual starters.  Could well have had everything to do with the Eagles last-game loss.

Jameilen Jones (#13) led BC High with ten points

Jameilen Jones led BC’s scorers with ten points.

The Boston Globe had BC High ranked 2nd in their Top Twenty poll and St. John’s 9th.  That will change.

On Sunday (1:30), St. John’s travels to Lawrence to play undefeated Central Catholic.  They’re ranked #1 by the Globe.  This game might be a nice appetizer before the Patriots game.

St. John’s boxscore

Boston College High boxscore

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

Justin Roberts

Freddy Shove

Oderah Obukwelu

Muigai Unaka (5) and Drex Costello (33)

Mike McAuley looks for an opening

Mike Carbone

Jameilen Jones hits 3 at end of first quarter

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Solid Defense Gets St.John’s Prep a 62-41 Basketball Win Over Lynn Classical

Mike Carbone gets the Eagles off to a fast start with a breakaway layup.

Freddy Shove heads in for one of his thirteen points.

(Danvers) The best player on the floor may have been Lynn Classical’s Uche Nwokeji but in a team game that isn’t usually enough as St. John’s Prep defeated the visiting Rams, 61-42, on Thursday night.

Uche dropped in a game-leading twenty points and all of them were from in close.  He rebounded well and played good defense with only one foul. But he wasn’t enough on his own to challenge the defending Division 1 champs on this night.

St. John’s is in the post-Pat (Connaughton) era and the biggest challenge will be replacing the Notre Dame freshman’s 20+ points per game.

Steve Haladyna paced the Eagles with seventeen points but it took him a lot of shots to get that many against Lynn Classical.  He had some pretty good looks.

Uche Nwokeji (5) gets inside Steve Haladyna (21) for two.

In my opinion, the key Eagle in this game was Freddy Shove.  In a contest where finesse seemed lacking, he thrived with his aggressive approach on both ends.  The lefty has enough of a 3-point shot to require outside attention and he definitely has the will to get to the rim if covered closely outside.  Freddy tallied thirteen points.

Pat may be gone but the Eagle’s defense is still the same – every inch of the floor is contested heavily.  And that defense is going to win a lot of games.  If the Rams had an offensive pattern I never saw it.  They were kept on the outside as the Eagles were determined that every pass was caught going away from the basket.

It wasn’t much easier for St. John’s down the other end because of the raw athleticism of LC but the Eagles had slashers who could get to the rim on occasion.  For LC it happened very infrequently.

St. John’s (2-0) got the breakout they needed in the first period as a 5-4 advantage after three minutes turned into 16-5 by the end of the period.  Freddy Shove had a trey and a layup.

Steve Haladyna (21) gets two of his seventeen points just before halftime.

The Rams (0-2) cut that deficit to 23-15 in the second period when Moise Builou (9 points) nailed a fall away long one with 3 ½ minutes to go until halftime.  The rest of the half belonged to the Eagles.  Steve Haladyna cashed in a couple of layups late and St. John’s was up 29-15 when the period ended.

The Eagles’ scoring run continued to 33-15 before Uche led a Ram rally to 35-21.  But back again came the St. John’s offense, this time with nine unanswered points, including a three by Mike Carbone, to get their biggest lead of the night – 43-21.

LC was able to cut into the twenty-one point lead but never came close to putting an Eagle win in danger by getting with double-digits of them the rest of the way.

Lynn Classical coach Tom Grassa was forced to spend some game time mellowing out Ram spectators behind his bench.  In a game with offensive fouls and skin-to-skin defense, there were calls that met with mixed reviews from both sides.

The first thing I noticed upon arriving was the much lighter color to the gym floor.  It had been sanded.  My camera was never real happy with the combo of the white St. John’s uniforms and that very clean floor.

Uche Nwokeji missed every free throw he attempted (five).  At halftime he came out and practiced a couple more and missed those as well.

Coach Tommy Doyle (Salem) was on hand to check out Lynn Classical.

St. John’s box score

Lynn Classical box score

The pictures enlarge to normal size if you click on them.

Steve Haladyna

Uche Nwokeji surrounded by Eagles

Freddy Shove

Ram coach Tom Grassa

Ryan Hayward (0) & Owen Marchetti (23)

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