St. John’s Prep varsity basketball coach Sean Connolly stepped down in March, but athletic director Jim O’Leary didn’t have to look far for a replacement.

The Eagles announced Monday that assistant John Duella will succeed Connolly.

“I’m thankful to everyone at St. John’s Prep for the opportunity to be head coach and their confidence in me to keep the program going in the right direction,” Duella said. “This is something I’ve always wanted and I couldn’t ask for a better team.”

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Duella said he expressed interest in the position as soon as Connolly, who led the Eagles for five years, stepped down. He found out he got the job last week but had to keep it a secret until the official announcement Monday.

Duella, a physical education teacher for grades 6 to 8 in the Peabody school system, has been assistant coach since 2009 and helped Connolly lead the Eagles to the Division 1 state title in 2011. The Eagles also won Catholic Conference titles in 2010, 2011, and 2013.

He has high hopes for his first St. John’s Prep squad. “We were 18-2 last season but suffered a disappointing loss in the tournament,” Duella said. “I hope we can build off of [the loss] and go even farther this season.”

Baseball

Walpole 8, Wellesley 2 — Senior Mike Gaughan struck out 16 and allowed only two hits in the Rebels’ win.

Dartmouth 11, Durfee 4 — Jack Sylvia went 3 for 4 with two RBIs for the Indians.

Acton-Boxborough 8, Wayland 7 — Noah Zavolas’s walkoff single in the seventh capped a five-run inning for the Colonials (1-1).

Softball

Walpole 11, Wellesley 1 — The Rebels recorded a rare triple play in the fifth. Katherine Carbonaro took a grounder up the middle, stepped on second and fired to first for out No. 2. Nicole Yee then threw home to Julia Gagosian, who tagged out the runner from third.