Wachusett Regional has reached the Laska Yuletide Invitational final in seven of the past nine years, but it hasn't had much luck winning it. That changed Saturday night at Assumption College as the No. 2-ranked Mountaineers finally put it all together, using a true team effort on offense and defense to topple top-ranked St. John's, 55-43, in a game Wachusett led from the start. Senior guard Jesse Maresca was the brightest star of them all, winning the Laska MVP award after totaling 11 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Six-foot-6 center Alex Cooper also contributed 11 points and seven rebounds before fouling out with 3:22 left. Zack Berman and Jeremiah Perez each chipped in eight points. ‘‘Jesse is one of my best friends in the world,'' Berman said. ‘‘He came up big and I couldn't ask for anything better for the kid. He played his butt off and that's what we get from him every night and it was nice that he's getting some recognition for that.'' Sophomore forward Justin Bowker filled the void in Cooper's absence, coming up big down the stretch to finish with nine points and earn a spot with Maresca on the all-tournament team. The Pioneers' Kenny Harrington and T.J. Kelley and Shrewsbury's Mike Coggeshall were also named to the squad.
Wachusett 55, St. John's (Shrewsbury) 43
Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, at Shrewsbury
Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, 9:11 a.m.