Tag Archives: Mike Carbone

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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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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Third Quarter Blitz Sends St. John’s by Lawrence 87-73 To State Semis

Coach Sean Connolly, Connor Macomber, Pat Connaughton with D1 North trophy

(Boston) St. John’s Prep……….what a team!

The big stage was their stage as they eliminated Lawrence, 87-73, to take the Division 1 North at the TD Garden on Friday night.

Mike Carbone (31 points)

Jaylen Alicea (30 points)

Pat Connaughton (28 points)

 

The Eagles (23-1) survived the Lancers’ (16-9) best shots in the first half and then gained separation in a dazzling, Mike Carbone-led third quarter.

Lawrence was the #15 seed but the way they had upset higher seeds and gained a huge following made them very dangerous.

Higher seeds hadn’t been able to stop dart-quick Jaylen Alicea and the Eagles were added to that list.  Jaylen (5’8”) put up thirty points on nifty drives to the hoop that got him by outside defenders and over inside ones.

In the decisive 3rd quarter things changed.  Lawrence could make just three baskets and free throws (10 points) while St. John’s connected on seven baskets and two free throws (21 points).  Mike Carbone (31 points) hit all five long ones he attempted pacing the Eagles.

Steve Haladyna (#21) and Jaylen Alicea watch Pat Connaughton free throw attempt.

You’d suspect that the Lancers would have paid more attention to Mike but with the state’s best player (Pat Connaughton) also on the floor, and demanding attention, it wasn’t that easy to do.  In fact, afterwards, Mike credited Pat for opening up shots for him.

With a 12-point cushion going into the final quarter, Coach Connolly wisely turned just about every possession over to Pat Connaughton (28 points).  The Notre Dame recruit was able to kill the clock and get to the basket or the foul line for much of the 4th period.

Pat tallied eight of the Eagles first twelve points in the last quarter and St. John’s had a comfortable lead (80-63) with 3 ½ minutes left.

The first half was an entirely different (and uncomfortable) story for the eventual winners.  There couldn’t have been a soul left in Lawrence from the crowd I saw.  And could they make noise!  I’ve heard the St. John’s student section but they’re organized.  The Lawrence folks were just downright enthusiastic for what had become “their” team.

Mike Carbone guards dribbling Jaylen Alicea

And the Lancers rode that wave of pure support in the first half.  Every basket received a “winning basket” full-volume roar.

The Eagles had the lead only once (11-10) during the first quarter.  Yadoris Arias’ two free throws at the start of the second quarter gave the Lancers a 25-17 lead.  You began to wonder if a #15 seed could possible keep this sort of play up and reel in yet another high seeded team.

St. John’s, however, has played big games all season.  Who could forget the two with Central Catholic?  Led by Pat, Mike, and Steve Haladyna (17 points), the Eagles erased that lead in less than three minutes with a 17-4 run.

This activity gave St. John’s a 34-29 advantage but the Lancers rode the crowd and Jaylen to get back to within one (47-46) at halftime.

It was announced during the second half that Jaylen had reached his 1000th point.  I won’t attempt to describe that reaction of the Lawrence crowd to that news!

Jaylen Alicea holds D1 North runner-up trophy

Jesse Hiraldo (6’6”) had an impressive first half (eight points) for Lawrence on the inside but foul trouble limited his second-half minutes.

St. John’s moves on to the state semi-finals on Tuesday night (7:45PM) against Mansfield (24-2).  I saw the Hornets rally from an 8-point deficit late in the last quarter to win by a basket over Newton North in the last three seconds in the game before Lawrence/St. John‘s.

Mansfield will have to shoot a whole lot better to have any chance with St. John’s.  Several of Mansfield’s starters were still shooting air balls late in the game and I even saw their best player (Mike Lofton) put up an air ball from the foul line.

(I collect my own stats and take my own pictures.  I also draw my own conclusions.  Blame me for any mistakes!)

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St. John’s Cruises By Billerica 80-59 in D1 North First Round

Stephen Haladyna (22 points)

Pat Connaughton (22 points)

Mike Carbone (16 points)

 

Stephen Haladyna defends Pat Bradanese.

(Danvers)  St. John’s got by Billerica, 80-59, on Friday night in a first round Division 1 North game and that sets up a clash with 18-3 Lincoln-Sudbury on Sunday night (5PM) at St. John’s.

And for those who like to look even further ahead, the winner of the St. John’s/Lincoln-Sudbury match will take on the winner of the Central Catholic/Charlestown game.  A couple of awfully good teams are going to be out of the tournament on Sunday night.

The Eagles (20-1) prepped for the challenges ahead by taking the lead from #16 seed Billerica (11-11) after 2 ½ minutes and never trailing the rest of the way.

The Indians, in fact, were in trouble even before the game started as key player Pedro Trindade was reduced to being a spectator because of an injury in the preliminary round.

Mike Carbone pressures Kasey Higgins.

The Eagles’ man-to-man defense was solid throughout limiting inside shots.  That defense forced Billerica into a two serious scoring droughts, one in each half.  The one in the first half provided separation for St. John’s while the one in the second half did in Billerica completely.

A jumper by Pat Bradanese (13 points) put Billerica within one (20-19), two minutes into the second quarter.  The Eagles, however, dominated the rest of the quarter to the tune of 19-3 and left with a, 39-22, halftime advantage.  Stephen Haladyna (22 points) had eight of those points during this run getting set up on a couple of the baskets by Pat Connaughton (22 points).

The second drought began with St. John’s ahead, 46-36, with 2:45 left in the third quarter. Over the next 5 ½ minutes, stretching into the 4th quarter, St. John’s outscored the Indians, 23-6, grabbing a 69-41 lead and moving this game into bench-clearing territory with five minutes left.

Pat Connaughton (#24) moves in for a second half layup.

During this steady offense, Pat Connaughton earned chants of, “Pat, Pat, Pat,” from the organized, loud, and appropriate Eagle student cheering section.  The Notre Dame recruit has the knack of getting past a defender on the baseline in very little space and then leaning back out and putting up a shot on either side of the basket depending on what other help defenders do.

He had ten of the Eagles twenty-three points in a run that put the game into the win column for St. John’s.  Billerica’s student section chanted “Over-rated,” when Pat shot free throws during this winning drive probably referencing the fact that he missed all seven of his three-point attempts.

Important for St. John’s was that their defense was great and will need to stay that way in the game(s) ahead.  To be on the floor for the Eagles a player must be able to defend an opponent without teammate help.

Equally important was the point production of Stephen Haladyna (22), Pat Connaughton (22), and Mike Carbone (16).  When all three of them are hitting shots, the opposition defense can’t be sagging in protecting for layups.  Stephen has been the one struggling and I’m sure that Coach Connolly was pleased at his output versus Billerica.

Stephen Haladyna layup in traffic.

Mike Carbone squirms through for a first half layup.

 

Connor Elmore (19), Ryan Donahoe (12), and Pat Bradanese (13) paced the scorers for Billerica.  Connor collected his nineteen points despite spending time on the bench with early foul trouble.

( I collect my own stats, take my own pictures, and draw my own conclusions.  And have fun doing it!  Any mistakes are unintentional. )

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Regular season pictures I’ve taken of MIAA tournament-qualifying basketball team members

The pictures are sorted by Divisions and boys/girls.

Click on a picture to enlarge it.

Division 1 North

#1 seed – St. John’s Prep (19-1)

Pat Connaughton

Mike Carbone

#3 seed – Lynn English (19-2)

Keandre Stanton

Travonne Berry-Rogers

 

#5 seed – Central Catholic (19-2)

Jimmy Zenevitch

Luis Puello

 

#11 seed – Andover (14-5)

Joe Bramanti

 

 

 

 

#14 seed – Everett (12-8)

Emo Deschommes

Alain Jeanty

 

Division 2 North

#1 seed – Wilmington (17-3)

Vinny Scifo
Tim McCarthy

 

 

 

 

 

 

#5 seed – Salem (15-5)

Antonio Reyes
Dario/Raphy Medrano

 

 

 

 

 

#3 seed – North Andover (16-4)

Zach Karalis

Derek Collins

 

 

 

 

 

 

#11 seed – Masconomet

Adam Bramanti
Zach Zaniewski

 

 

 

 

 

 

Division 3 North 

 #1 seed – Hamilton-Wenham (15-3)

Stephen Tam

 

 

 

 

 

#5 seed – Newburyport (13-7)

Matt Leavitt

Eric Meyer

 

#8 seed – Pentucket (11-9)

Corey McNamara

Will Angelini

 

 

 

 

 

Division 4 North

#2 seed – Manchester-Essex (16-4)

Joe Mussachia

Sean Nally

 

#8 seed – Georgetown (12-8)

Johnny Spears and Tyler Wade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Division 1 North (Girls)

 #6 seed – Masconomet (15-3)

Brooke Stewart

 

 

 

 

 

Division 3 North

#4 seed – Ipswich (13-7)

Hannah O'Flynn

Nyra Constant

#5 seed – Newburyport (13-7)

Molly Rowe

Beth Castantini

 

 #7 seed – Triton (11-9)

Jen Rock

Alyssa Conley

#3 seed – Pentucket (18-4)

Alex Moore

Tess Nogueira

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Pat Connaughton (23 points) Leads St. John’s Past Central Catholic 72-70

Pat Connaughton (23 points) hits the game winner over Luis Puello with twenty seconds left.

Pat Connaughton and Jimmy Zenevitch (32 points)

(Danvers) This was the game you circled on your calendar when you got the 2010-11 schedule for either St. John’s Prep or Central Catholic.

Central Catholic at St. John’s Prep.  Plenty would argue that they’re the two best teams in the state.  And what a show they put on at St. John‘s in front of at least 1000 fans, some sitting and many standing, on Wednesday night.

No surprise that Pat Connaughton would have a big part late in the Eagles winning 72-70.  He made a tough shot over Luis Puello with twenty seconds left to give St. John’s the two-point edge and then topped that by blocking Jimmy Zenevitch’s tying layup attempt from behind down the other end.

The Raiders had one last try for a tie/win with 3.8 seconds to go but Freddy Shove intercepted the inbounds pass after a deflection by Isaiah Robinson to seal the victory.

Central Catholic (19-2) had a fifteen game winning streak snapped while St. John’s (19-1) extends their win streak to eight.  I also learned that the Raiders had an eleven-game winning streak versus the Eagles ended by tonight’s outcome.

The Eagles finished the regular season 13-0 at home where the support is organized, loud, and never-ending.

The possibility that these teams could get a rematch in the Division 1 North finals would appear likely.  Both will make it difficult for opponents between now and a rematch to run an organized offense.  Each has several big-time, go-to shooters.

There were eight lead changes in the first quarter before the Eagles ran off thirteen straight going into the start of the second quarter to pull away (24-12) and hint that a blowout might be in the making. Pat Connaughton converted a rebound, hit a jump shot, and then nailed a long one in this segment.

Jimmy Zenevitch connects on a three.

Over the next 3:45 the Raiders started the road back using a 10-2 spurt including a couple of Jimmy Zenevitch baskets to close to 26-22 with four minutes left.  The Prep led at the half, 36-31.

CC finally caught the Eagles (41-40) on a Jimmy Zenevitch jumper 3 ½ minutes into the third quarter.  There would be nine more lead changes before this game ended.

The third quarter finished with the teams tied at 55-55.  It wasn’t hard to suspect at this point that there was an exciting conclusion in the works.

Five minutes of playing time later you weren’t so sure.  After Central Catholic had gone up by three (60-57) on Jimmy Zenevitch’s three and a layup, the Prep rattled off ten straight points to take command (67-60) with just three minutes left.

Three of the points in that 10-point run were from Pat Connaughton connecting from NBA range.  In practice, NBA range was not out of his range.

Despite a very hostile environment, CC surrounded a missed Eagle shot with layups by Jimmy and Luis Puello.  Those clutch scores made it a one-possession game (69-66) with 1:21 to go.

Lack of a goaltending call on Jimmy Zenevitch led to a techical foul against St. John’s.

The most controversial play of the game followed and the way the Eagles reacted to it almost cost them the game.  An Eagle player (It looks like Freddy Shove in my picture to the left.) went in for a layup and Jimmy Zenevitch either deflected the shot or goal tended.  There wasn’t a soul in the house with Eagle connections that wasn’t sure that the basket should have counted because of a goal tend.  When it wasn’t called the St. John’s coaching staff erupted and Eagle coach Sean Connolly got whistled for a technical foul after brushing an official. (Never a good idea down the stretch in a tight game.)

Freshman Tyler Nelson made both technical foul shots.  CC got to keep the ball as well and Jimmy Zenevitch drove for a layup and to the dismay of the home crowd, Central Catholic was shockingly in front, 70-69, with 1:10 left.

Pat Connaughton – difference maker at both ends in crunch time

Naturally the Eagles had the ball in Pat Connaughton’s hands in the next possession and he got fouled and made one of two free throws with 1:03 left to tie the score.

Jimmy missed an attempt to break the (70-70) tie and that set the stage for Pat to score the winner and block Jimmy’s tying attempt.

Jimmy Zenevitch (32 points) used his height (6-7) to get inside points.  The lefty also made a three in the final quarter.  The talented senior reached 1000 points in the third quarter. However, in a game this tight the Assumption recruit may well look back at his 3-for-10 from the foul line with some dismay.

Pat Connaughton (23 points) was guarded by at least five different players in denial man-to-man mode.  Down the stretch you knew that the Notre Dame recruit would be getting the shots, as did CC, but they couldn’t keep the ball away from him.  His game-saving block late was just a great athletic move.

Mike Carbone (21 points) puts some serious defense on Jaycob Morales.

Mike Carbone (21 points) has the quick release to offset his lack of size.  He hit four 3’s and didn’t miss a free throw.  He also did a super defensive job on Jaycob Morales (5 points).

Luis Puello (12 points) is a favorite of mine.  His quickness is eye-catching and his defense is as well.  He can get to the basket anytime he chooses.

The crowd was awesome.  I checked out the St. John’s website and knew that the doors opened 1 ½ hours before the game started and that a sell-out was likely.  I got there shortly after 5:30 (the game started at 7) and there were few seats left.  Many of those who arrived in the next half hour ended up standing.  After that, the sellout the website referred to happened.

Both teams played man-to-man defense full-court.  Two normally productive point scorers Stephen Haladyna (4 points) and Evan Sheehan (2 points) were held in check by their defenders.

The pairings for the state tournament will be announced on Friday (February 25th) and the do-or-die games start on Tuesday.

Note the late-arriving crowd under the basket.

Wouldn’t Central Catholic like another chance against The Prep on a neutral site for the Division 1 North title.  I expect to be there if that game happens.

(I collect my own stats, take my own pictures, write my own captions, and 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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