Tag Archives: Christian Dunston

Second half turnaround sends Salem past Malden Catholic 73-68 in D2 North boys tournament action

Marvin Baez (25 points) had four triples in the last quarter.

Jered Lewis (20 points) had eighteen in the first half

(Salem) Salem ousted Malden Catholic 73-68 in the preliminary round of the D2 North with as dramatic a second-half turnaround as you’ll ever see.

The Witches (10-11) trailed by twelve (34-22) at the half and didn’t look capable of hitting enough shots to make things interesting in the second half.

But right off the bat in the second half the shots started falling and they never stopped as Salem dropped an amazing fifty-one points on the visitors. The full-half burst of scoring gave the Witches more opportunities to pressure the Lancers, and it also gave the Salem crowd lots of plays to get excited about.

A ten-point run got the deficit down to a manageable level by the end of the third quarter (47-46) and Salem took the lead for good (57-54) with 5:11 left in the game.

Marvin Baez (25 points) hit more big shots in the final quarter than most players will make in a season.  The Salem junior tallied fourteen points with four 3’s and a layup off of a steal in a display that the Witch fans will be talking about for a while.

Marvin gave Salem its first lead (49-47) on his first long one of the final quarter.  About 2 ½ minutes later his three with an assist from Christian Dunston gave the Witches the 57-54 lead they would carry to the end.

Christian Dunston (22 points) made six free throws in last minute

Marvin’s last three put Salem in front 67-60 with 2:21 left.  Christian Dunston (22 points) collected six points out of three pressure-packed one-and-one’s to keep Malden Catholic (9-12) from getting within one possession of the lead the rest of the way.

Jered Lewis (20 points) had an awesome first half for MC.  The 6-2 senior knocked down 3’s and converted rebounds to the tune of eighteen first half points.  The Witches appeared to have no answers for him.

Jered was limited to two points in the second half and really struggled with leg problems throughout that half.  Minus his scoring in the second half, the Lancers hit several droughts that let Salem back into the game.

The best run of offense for MC in the second half was after Salem put up eight straight to take a 52-47 led a minute into the 4th quarter.  With a loud Salem crowd all over them, it would have been expected that MC would fall further behind. Instead they rallied for seven straight of their own and got the lead back, 54-52.

A John Mastascusa (12 points) layup, two Kyle Sangster (17 points) free throws, and a Chris Philpot (14 points) long one provided the Lancer points in this surge.

But Salem would regain the lead and never, after Jared Louf-Woods converted rebound with four minutes left, enable MC to have the ball and a chance to tie the score the rest of the way.

The talk will be of the big scoring nights of Marvin Baez and Christian Dunston but Emilio Beato’s fifteen points were significant too.

Chris Philpot (14 points) shoots a three from in front of the Salem crowd

Chris Philpot had four 3’s for Malden Catholic.

Turnovers were costly for the Lancers.  They had nineteen through three quarters.  That first half lead (thirteen points) could have been much higher with better care of the ball.  The turnovers in the 3rd period were of the very costly variety where Salem had breakaway layups from them.

Salem (#16 seed) gets to play #1 seed North Andover on Thursday night (7PM) at Lawrence High School.  The NA coach just “happened” to be at the game tonight.

Salem boxscore

Malden Catholic boxscore

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

scramble under the basket

Marvin Baez

Emilio Beato (15 points) shoots in traffic

Jered Lewis

Jordan Lewis pressured

Salem cheerleaders

Kyle Sangster (17 points) shoots over Billy Muse

John Mastascusa (12 points) up for a block

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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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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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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).