Tag Archives: Brad Skeffington

Mark Melanson (17 points) Leads Burlington Boys Past Salem 69-64 in Division 2 North

Mark Melanson (17 points) clinches the Burlington win with two free throws with 2.9 seconds left in front of a stunned Salem student section.

Mark Melanson bothers Dario Medrano on his late layup attempt.

(Salem) Mark Melanson came up huge in the last twenty-six seconds and led Burlington (#12 seed) past the host Salem Witches (#5 seed), 69-64, in the first round of the Division 2 North.

This was a game in which neither team passed a chance to launch from long range.  I counted sixty-one 3-point attempts!

The crowd saw a fast-paced game with the final outcome uncertain until late in the last minute.

Burlington’s Ryan Putney got into the lane for a game-tying (64-64) layup with twenty-six seconds left.  After a Salem timeout, Mark Melanson came up with three crucial plays.

(1) When Salem broke through Burlington pressure, Dario Medrano went in for a go-ahead, layup attempt.  Mark was close by (note the picture) and harassed Dario into a miss without fouling.

(2) Going the other way against Salem pressure, Burlington broke through and Mark was located by Ryan Putney in the corner in front of the Burlington bench.  He drilled a three from there to give the Red Devils a 67-64 lead with nine seconds left.

Antonio Reyes sets for a late-game three with Connor Gallivan (#3) defending.

(3) After an Antonio Reyes attempt to tie, Mark grabbed the rebound, got fouled, and drained two free throws in front of a stunned Salem crowd to seal the win with 2.9 seconds left.

Salem (15-6) came into the final two minutes of the game with a 2-point (64-62) lead but came up empty on five straight possessions.  You kept waiting for a three to drop for them but they had nothing to show for nine tries in the last quarter.

One mystery I solved before the game related to Zach Hurynowicz.  Zach reached 1000 points for the Devils this season.  He was a preseason 3rd team player according to ESPN.  He had a remarkable 48 point game in January against Woburn.  He was averaging close to 20 points per game.  He was also sitting on the bench in a recent game with no explanation for the reason in the article including that information.  I’m thinking injury and I’m wondering how serious.  I pick up a program as I enter the Salem gymnasium and Zach isn’t even on the roster.  Now I’m really wondering.  I find someone with a Burlington athletic jacket on and get the full scoop – Zach is off the team because of grades.

Minus Zach, I liked Salem chances.

Sometimes, however, when a key player is missing, others step up.  And that’s what happened with Burlington.

After Salem jumped off to a quick 6-3 lead on two Antonio Reyes 3’s, the Devils cranked up their defense (Salem had one basket in their next sixteen possessions) while on offense Burlington went on an 16-2 run.  Mark Melanson had two 3’s and Greg Sheridan had one as part of this run.

Burlington led 18-10 after a quarter.

Raphy Medrano (21 points) launches a three over Ryan Putney (#23).

In the second quarter, Raphy Medrano got so hot (made four 3’s) that I thought I’d see the fire marshal at any moment!  Raphy was key in twelve straight Salem points and the Witches went up, 28-23, with 4 ½ minutes left in the quarter.

Salem had a one-point (34-33) lead at the half.

I suspected at halftime that three-point shots would be crucial the rest of the way.  Having seen Salem twice, I figured that they were the likely team to cash in the most from long range.  I sure got that wrong!  The Witches were 3-for-17 in the second half while Burlington was a sizzling 6-for-11.

The Devils put together 2 ½ minutes of unanswered offense (nine straight) and pulled away, 53-47, with a minute left in the third quarter.  Burlington got inside for three layups (Joe Renaud, Ryan Putney, Shane Farley) and also had a three from Shane.

A last-second three (Dario Medrano) narrowed Burlington’s lead at the end of the third quarter to, 53-50.

Salem put together a 12-2 spurt early in the final quarter and went up by four (62-58) with 4 ½ minutes left.  A key play there was a steal by Antonio Reyes that he turned into a layup down the other end.  Chants of “MVP, MVP” rang out from the Salem student section after that play.

The Devils got inside twice to Joe Renaud to tie the score before Antonio Reyes and Ryan Putney traded baskets.  This set the stage for the final twenty-six seconds and the Mark Melanson heroics.

Raphy Medrano (21 points) led all scorers.  He made five 3’s.

Mark Melanson (17 points) also had five 3’s.

Antonio Reyes – One of the North Shore’s best over the last three seasons.

Antonio Reyes (15 points) hit his first two shots from long distance and never made another one the rest of the way.  I suspect that many of the Salem faithful were as surprised as I was by that.

Ryan Putney (13 points) was isolated late and got into the lane for the tying layup in the last minute.

The sudden end for Salem was a surprise after they won the Division 2 North last year.  They are also graduating Antonio Reyes, Brad Skeffington, and the Medranos.

The Witches, out of the Northeastern Conference (North), ended up losing five of their last six games.

I have watched Antonio Reyes play for three seasons.  With the body of a linebacker (his position on the Salem football team) and a sizable collection of moves and shots, he was a special player.

Burlington (13-8) gets to continue their season against the winner of the Marblehead/Boston Latin Academy game.

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

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Fifteen 3’s Carry Salem High Boys Past Everett 70-63

(Salem) Salem (15-2) shot its way past non-league Everett (8-7) on Sunday night, 70-63, before a small crowd at Salem High School.

The Witches dazzled from long-distance (15-for-32) and built up a, 65-50, lead early in the 4th quarter before cooling off and enabling the Crimson Tide to make a 13-5 closing rush and cause the final score to look a little closer than it actually was.

Everett edged to within six (65-59) in the last period, on nine-straight Matt Costello points, but Brad Skeffington answered with a three to seal it for Salem.

The next game for Salem is a must-see on Tuesday night (7PM) at home against Lynn English.  The Bulldogs are 16-1 with the only blemish a 66-63 December loss to Salem.  That was a game where LE had a six-point lead late and the Witches rallied around a Brad Skeffington trey to pull it out.

LE has won thirteen straight since then.  Salem has now won nine straight.  Should be a good one.

Christian Dunston (14 points) takes a 3-pointer.

I’m sure that Salem would love to have some of the team-wide, 3-point accuracy against LE that they had against Everett.  Each starter had at least two 3’s. All five starters would end up in double figures. How do you defend that??

Everett used a box-and-one against superstar Antonio Reyes and he was content in the first half to open things up for his teammates.

Credit Everett.  They shot well early and turned up high percentage looks and held the lead until the last minute of the first quarter.

However, three’s from Dario Medrano and Antonio Reyes plus a Raphy Medrano free throw gave Salem the lead (25-19) 1 ½ minutes into the second quarter.  The Witches held the lead thereafter.

The Crimson Tide was still just a basket away after an Alain Jeanty layup near the end of the 2nd quarter but an eight-point Salem run, stretching into the 3rd quarter, pushed their advantage to 44-33.  Three’s by Raphy Medrano and Christian Dunston plus a Brad Skeffington layup provided the points.

Everett rallied to 55-48 before Salem put together a game-deciding, eight straight as three consecutive Crimson Tide turnovers led to points.  Antonio and Brad added two free throws each while Dario and Antonio netted layups.

Matt Costello (17 points) elevates over Raphy Medrano.

Salem’s advantage was now 63-48 and despite Matt Costello’s nine points in the last quarter this one never got close enough late to create an outcome mystery.

Two things about Salem that I noticed were: (1) they play a very active zone and (2) they will pressure an opponent after a rebound.

Their zone better be good because they really are going with five guards.  Granted, these guards can jump, but they are guards!

Defending Salem is a problem.  Those matchups that look juicy when you have the ball backfire when Salem has the ball.  They spread the court and an opponent has to respect their long-range talent.  This opens up lanes to the basket where their quickness is an advantage.

Antonio Reyes was very patient with his offense in the first half.  The second half he had the ball more and got to the basket and the foul line regularly. He can dominate a game.

Matt Costello (17), Alain Jeanty (16) and Emo Deschommes (11) reached double figures for Everett.

Salem’s starting five all recorded double figures – Antonio Reyes (17), Christian Dunston (14), Dario Medrano (16), Raphy Medrano (13), and Brad Skeffington (10).