Category Archives: St. John’s

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. John’s Prep Defeats St. John’s (Shrewsbury) 72-57 In D1 Title Game

St. John’s Prep (2010-11 Division 1 state champs)

Steve Haladyna (29 points to lead all scorers)

(Worcester) St. John’s (Shrewsbury) won the first ten minutes (17-16) and the last three minutes (11-2).  In between St. John’s Prep (Danvers) won the Division 1 boys title at the DCU Center on Saturday night.

The “in between” numbers were 54-29, over nineteen minutes of play, in favor of the Eagles, and that spelled the difference in this one and gave them their first state title.

Three players dominated the score sheet – Richard Rodgers (26 points), Steve Haladyna (29 points), and Pat Connaughton (25 points).

During the decisive “in between” nineteen minutes, Steve collected twenty-seven of his twenty-nine points.  Richard and Pat had fifteen points apiece during that segment.

Steve (6-3 junior) scored from everywhere getting layups, jump shots, 3’s, and free throws.  I didn’t see him dunk but it wouldn’t have been a surprise if he had because he had everything else going.

St. John’s Prep (25-1) shot an unreal 60% (21-for-35) during the game-changing segment while St. John’s of Shrewsbury (21-4) was limited to 32% (11-for-34).  The Pioneers also committed ten turnovers while the Eagles had just four.

The Eagles’ lead was 28-21 at halftime before they exploded for thirty points in the 3rd quarter alone.  The Eagles started trapping early in the third period and it seemed to disrupt the Pioneers.

The Eagles built their lead to 70-46 with three minutes left in the 4th quarter before the Pioneers went 11-2 the rest of the way.

A big moment for The Prep was the removal of starters near the end, especially seniors Connor Macomber and Pat Connaughton.  Plenty of talent is returning to Danvers so a trip back to the state finals is not out of the question.

Pat Connaughton (25 points in state title game)

I saw a lot of St. John’s, “Pat-the-point-guard,” offensive set in this one.  In it, Pat Connaughton brings up the ball and sees what he can create.  Those not covering him often become less interested in the man they’re supposed to be covering when the Eagles do this.  If the help defenders stay home it creates opportunities for Pat.  If they try to help then the openings are there for his teammates.

We’ve seen Pat shoot and we’ve seen him rebound.  He turned out to be a pretty good ball-handler and passer in this game.  You’d have to believe that at 6-4 his future at Notre Dame will be as a guard. He actually has the tools to play anywhere they let him!

Speaking of athletes, I hadn’t seen the Pioneers’ Richard Rodgers before.  He could well have played his last basketball game, although I’m certain there are college programs who would love to have him.  He is committed to the California Bears where he will be a wideout or a tight end on their football team.  At 6-5, 230, I guess he can play anywhere he wants!

Richard Rodgers (26 points and now off to play football for the California Bears)

One of the more interesting sideshows was when Richard and Pat were matched up for a while.  Pat managed to block one of Richard’s shots in the second quarter.  I recall Pat doing the same thing to 6-7 Jimmy Zenevitch (Central Catholic) late in a game at St. John’s.

The Eagles got away with a quiet game from Mike Carbone (3 points) because of the major step-up by Steve Haladyna.

Senior Matt Harrington (17) and junior Matt Palecki (10) also reached double figures for the Pioneers.

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

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