St. John’s Prep football coach Jim O’Leary has confirmed that highly-touted running back, Johnathan Thomas, has de-committed from Maryland, in turn, accepting a scholarship offer from Penn State.
“That was always Johnny’s first choice,” said O’Leary, who has strong ties to Nittany Lion head coach Bill O’Brien, a Prep alum.
“He came into practice the first day as a freshman wearing a Penn State football hat, and he’s always had this idea that Penn State is his dream school.”
Penn State - which has a limited number of football scholarships in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal - initially did not offer Thomas a scholarship, so he accepted Maryland’s offer in the spring.
But in late September, five Nittany Lion scholarships were reinstated, and Penn State made him an offer before he faced Everett on Sept. 28.
Penn State tight ends coach John Strollo attended that game, in which Thomas, then leading the state in rushing, tore his anterior cruciate ligament; but the offer remained.
“He was really committed to Maryland, there was no place else he wanted to go, but when that new information came across that he got the scholarship he always wanted, things changed,” said O’Leary
“Clearly, Penn State has been his first choice for a very long time.”
The Northeastern Conference voted 6-5 against expansion Friday, ending for the moment the attempts by four Greater Boston League schools and Masconomet to join the 11-team conference.
The motion was to add Medford, Malden, Somerville, and Everett, along with Masconomet, currently a member of the Cape Ann League. Needing eight votes to expand, principals and athletic directors met for two hours before voting.
"It was a healthy discussion," said Northeastern Conference spokesman and former Amesbury principal Les Murray. "In the end they just didn't see the need to expand."
Masconomet is in talks with the Merrimack Valley Conference about joining that 11-team conference. Cambridge is leaving the GBL to join the Dual County League, leaving the GBL as a four-team league.
Danvers baseball coach Roger Day will take over from Shawn Thornton as the new athletic director at Pope John in Everett.
Thornton, who is in his second year at Pope John after eight as St. Clement's athletic director, is leaving at the end of this school year to take an administrative role at the Clarence Edwards Middle School in Charlestown.
This past winter, Thornton was honored at the District H Athletic Director of the Year and also as the MIAA girls' basketball Coach of the Year. He will step down as girls' basketball coach as well.
Day was elected to the Massachusetts State Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in January, and with more than 400 career victories, he is one of the winningest coaches in state history. His team was 19-2 going into Tuesday's Division 2 North quarterfinal game against Reading.
In addition to coaching, Day recently retired as a physical education teacher at the Holten Richmond Middle School in Danvers.
It took No. 8 North Reading 17 games to suffer its first loss, a 2-1 decision to Masconomet on Saturday. The loss dropped Frank Carey’s crew one spot from last week, giving Danvers the No. 7 spot after a 2-0 week. The Falcons defeated Winthrop and Marblehead by a combined 13-2.
Also moving up a spot was No. 3 Newton North after an undefeated week.
The top 20 added four newcomers to the bottom four spots. No. 17 Central Catholic currently leads the Merrimack Valley Conference and No. 18 Medford clinched the Greater Boston League title this week. No. 19 Bishop Fenwick is also leading the Catholic Central. The Crusaders’ consideration was also helped by its upset of Peabody.
Former top 20 teams in Lincoln Sudbury, Acton-Boxborough, and Malden Catholic all lost at least two games last week.
No. 1 St. John’s Prep continues to roll along this season, taking down Xaverian and St. John’s of Shrewsbury before traveling to Chelmsford and Catholic Memorial for road victories. The Eagles easily retain their top spot this week.
As for No. 3 Peabody, the Tanners move up in the rankings despite a lopsided 6-1 loss to No. 16 Beverly this past Wednesday. What aided Peabody were two losses this week by then No. 3 Newton North. The Tigers dropped two of their three games last week, losing to unranked Weymouth and Woburn respectively.
With the victory over the Tanners, Beverly qualifed for the state tournament and cracked into the Globe Top 20 this week. The Panthers haven’t lost since the first of the month and could easiliy continue to rise up the rankings in the coming weeks. Another team making its top 20 debut is No. 19 Acton-Boxboro. The Colonials defeated Concord-Carlisle and Easton of Pennslyvania this week by a combined scored of 19-7.
A team notably missing from the top 20 this week is defending Division 1 champion Xaverian. The Hawks are just 6-8 on the year and have lost four of their last five contests. An argument could no longer be made for Xaverian among the top 20 teams in Eastern Massachusetts.
St. John’s Prep takes over the new No. 1 spot in the top 20 after defeating BC High, 6-5, last Wednesday on the road. Newton North is still undefeated at 10-0 but the the Prep’s schedule against the likes of BC High and Xaverian gave them the edge this week over the Tigers.
As for the fourth and fifth-place spots, it was a hard call between BC High and the Rebels of Walpole. Walpole has played more games (currently 9-1) than the Eagles but if strength of opponents gave the Prep the edge we had to apply that same principal to the close battle for fourth and fith place.
Danvers moved up three spots from last week after going 2-0 since last Sunday. The Falcons are 6-0 on the year, joining Newton North, Archbishop Williams and North Reading in the undefeated top 20 teams club.
As for Coyle & Cassidy, the Warriors might not be undefeated but they are leading the Eastern Athletic Conference at the moment. With an 8-1 overall record paired with an undefeated league mark, the Warriors climbed to the 11th spot this week.
Looking toward the bottom of the rankings, Xaverian stays in the top 20 despite a less-than-stellar record so far this year. Much like last year, the Hawks have struggled to start this season with a 5-4 record. They split their two games this past week, defeating Brockton last Monday but losing to Catholic Conference rival Catholic Memorial on Wednesday. It’s getting harder and harder to keep the Hawks on this list based on anything but name and their Division 1 title from a year ago.
After St. John’s Prep head varsity basketball coach Sean Connolly stepped down in March, athletic director Jim O’Leary didn’t have to look far for a replacement. In a news conference at the school Monday at 4 p.m., it was announced that assistant varsity coach John Dullea of Peabody would 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,” Dullea said. “This is something I’ve always wanted and I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
Dullea 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 in a meeting with St. John’s Prep principal Keith A. Crowley, and O’Leary, but he had to keep it a secret until the official announcement.
Dullea, a physical education teacher for grades 6 to 8 in the Peabody school system, has been assistant varsity coach since 2009 and helped Connolly lead the Eagles to the Division 1 state championship in 2011. He also assisted in leading them to Catholic Conference championships in 2010, 2011, and 2013.
He has high hopes, and believes he can lead St. John's Prep to another tournament win.
“We were 18-2 last season but suffered a disappointing loss in the tournament,” Dullea said. “I hope we can build off of [the loss] and go even farther this season.”
St. John's Prep senior Alex Moore, the Globe's Division 1 Player of the Year, has committed to the University of Pennsylvania.
"Their tradition of excellence academically and on the football field, you can't get a better combination than that,'' said Moore, who was the state's Gatorade Player of the Year.
Moore chose Penn over Dartmouth and Brown. Football, as well as the Wharton School of Business, were the deciding factors.
A running back and safety, Moore led St. John's to the Division 1 Super Bowl title. He ran for 857 yards and 14 touchdowns, caught 20 passes for 455 yards and 5 TDs and had four interception on defense. He's lifting this winter, preparing for the baseball season and foootball at Penn in the fall.
Established in 1992, the Danvers High School Blue and White Club Hall of Fame recognizes the accomplishments of DHS athletes who have made an important impact in their sport while at the school.
This year the Blue and White Club honors six former Danvers High School athletes at their annual induction ceremonies set for November 20th at the Village Green Restaurant on Route 1 North in Danvers at 6:00 p.m.
The class of 2012 features Bob Parsons (1947) a football and basketball player who served as a special contributor for 35 years in the Danvers School System, Len Elwin (1966) a standout on the basketball court, Joanne Lavender (1980) a three-sport star in field hockey, basketball and softball, Brian Thibodeau (1991) who excelled in both hockey and baseball, Amy Papamechial Barth (1992) another three-sport star in field hockey, basketball and softball and Mike Maroney (1993) who was a top talent on basketball court and baseball diamond.
The event is sponsored by The TD Club of Danvers and tickets are $40.00. You can contact Barry Robertson at (978) 821-9972 to purchase tickets or for additional details.
The MIAA has released the pairings for this year’s boys’ soccer tournament and once again we are in for a thrilling couple of weeks of top-notch action on the pitch, crowning three new Eastern Mass champions on the way to the state championships. Below is a glimpse into how things may shake out in each of the six sectionals. Please keep in mind that last year we didn’t even have Division 1 EMass champion Masconomet in our Top 20 poll heading into the tourney, so take it all with a grain of salt and feel free to post your own predictions.
DIVISION 1 NORTH:
This sectional boasts defending EMass champion and current No. 1 Masconomet, and is very top heavy with the likes of No. 2 Somerville, No. 3 St. John’s Prep and No. 6 Acton-Boxborough standing out as favorites here.
Best first round matchup: Framingham at St. John’s Prep - Framingham heads to Danvers on Saturday to face off against No. 3 St. John’s Prep. The Eagles stumbled slightly down the stretch, catching two draws over their last three games. The Flyers are always battle-tested come tourney time thanks to their brutal Bay State schedule and have tied No. 5 Needham, 2-2, early in the season and beat No. 11 Wellesley last week.
Finals prediction: Masconomet and Somerville – The two favorites should make it through for a heavyweight collision into the finals.
Sleeper: Chelsea – They are quick, skilled and underrated and despite not losing all season long they have garnered little-to-no fanfare.
DIVISION 1 SOUTH
This sectional is as loaded as it gets. With 25 teams in the mix, it will be a free-for-all, so expect some big teams to get knocked off early. Fourth-ranked Needham and fifth-ranked Weymouth have been top-five teams all season long, but No. 7 New Bedford, No. 12 BC High and No. 16 Nauset are all on the verge. Then there are the Oliver Ames's of the world who bring with them one of the best goalies around as David MacKinnon brings in an EMass best 0.17 goalies against average.
Best first-round matchup: Wellesley at Nauset – If the Raiders can get by preliminary opponent King Phillip, it would set up a solid first round bout with Nauset and Cody Savonen, a scoring machine looking to make a mark in his final season.
Finals prediction: Needham and Weymouth – The Rockets took the season series 1-0-1, but of course things were only decided by one goal. These Bay State behemoths would provide a must-see class in this final.
Sleeper: Silver Lake – The Patriot League Keenan division champions had an impressive closing stretch against ranked teams where they tied St. John’s Prep and Dartmouth and defeated Hingham.
DIVISION 2 NORTH
Concord-Carlisle will be looking for a stunning fourth straight D2 North crown and they hope it will lead to their third state title in four years. It won’t be easy and of course it never is. Teams primed to knock the Patriots off of their perch include No. 18 Pentucket and No. 8 North Andover.
Best first-round matchup: Salem at Lynn Classic - Although Lynn Classical just took down Salem, 4-1, last Thursday, you can always expect the best when two teams from the same league make it a one-and-done deal. These two Northeastern League Large foes will get Manning Field ready for what is always a very busy postseason.
Finals prediction: Concord-Carlisle and Winchester – A rematch of last year’s D2 North semifinal that saw the Patriots escape with a 2-1 win.
Sleeper: Wilmington – Just like his Division 2 state champion hockey team, coach Steve Scanlon will have his Wildcats ready to execute their game plan.
DIVISION 2 SOUTH
It’s the anti-Division 1 North with regards to the team powers that you we may be used to. But don’t for a second take this division and section lightly. There are plenty of teams in this one who may not have had the regular season success that they are used to, but tougher schedules make these contenders strong. See Canton, Milton, Hingham, Holliston, Norton, and Duxbury.
Best first-round matchup: Medfield at Westwood – The Lis brothers (Olek and Seb) will look to defend home turf for the Warriors, but Tri-Valley rival Medfield tied Westwood, 0-0, early in the season and defeated them, 1-0, on October 23rd.
Finals prediction: Hingham and Holliston – The H’s have it in Division 2 South.
Sleeper: Martha’s Vineyard – Opponents should not dismiss the Vineyarders because of their commute. It gives them more time to hammer out their game plan!
DIVISION 3 NORTH
This sectional is maybe the most up-for-grabs in the North. Matignon is poised to push things past their quarterfinals appearance last year, while St. Mary’s wants to catch at least one more win than a year ago to put themselves in position for a D3 North title. Of course you can never count out the ports, as Newburyport and Rockport are always forces to watch in this region.
Best first-round matchup: Georgetown at Watertown – The defending EMass champion Royals have to make the long trek to Watertown to try to defend their title, which won’t come easy with a scrappy Red Raiders team first on the docket.
Finals prediction: Rockport and Matignon – Two years ago the Warriors didn’t even make the postseason, but over the last two seasons coach Michael Haynes has gotten the best of his bunch and now they are serious contenders. The Vikings boast Cape Ann goal scoring leader Conor Douglass (24) who alongside Shaun Aspesi (18 goals) make a lethal scoring combo.
Sleeper: Bishop Fenwick – They have tied (0-0) and beat (1-0) preliminary round opponent Austin Prep and if they get by them it will set up a first round matchup with St. Mary’s, whom the Crusaders defeated, 2-1, in mid-October.
DIVISION 3 SOUTH
This sectional is filled with all sorts of gems that have yet to be admired. From Seekonk to Bourne to Coyle & Cassidy. This region could find some new blood to represent them in the EMass final. Of course, last year’s sectional finalists Cardinal Spellman and Dover Sherborn lurk in the depths of the low seeds, waiting to strike.
Best first-round matchup: Cardinal Spellman at Mashpee – The Cardinals must first take out Holbrook in the prelims, but if they do, they will post a massive threat for Mashpee in round one.
Finals prediction: Nantucket and Mashpee – The Cape and Island teams are a lot stronger this year than in year’s past and these two teams will prove it.
Sleeper: Bourne – The leadership of 30-goal scorer Jack Canterbury can be enough to carry the Canalmen at times.
Best of luck to all the teams who have made it this far. The road to the hardware will be a tough one, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Three teams dropped from the ranks of the undefeated as Weymouth, Acton-Boxboro and Winchester all got their first taste of defeat this season.
That gives us four remaining teams without a loss, so let us praise them for a second, shall we?
Top-ranked Masconomet (12-0-2) is seemingly getting stronger with each game, which was the way they did things last year en route to a Division 1 EMass title.
No. 2 Somerville (13-0-2) seems to be scoring at will since the arrival of Felix DeBona, as the field has opened up into junior Thayrone Miranda’s playground.
Underrated Hingham (10-0-3) has quietly dispatched of most everyone in its path, save from a few draws along the way, and have forced their way into the top 10, coming in at No. 9 this week.
Lastly, the Red Devils of Chelsea, our first new team in the Top 20 in three weeks, debut at No. 20 with a 11-0-1 mark on the season thanks to an offense that is averaging 4.1 goals per game.
If this were football, "The Bus" would have plenty of seats open.
The teams in the top half of the boys' soccer Top 20 poll remain the same for the most part with St. John's Prep taking a leap over a few teams after a three-win week moves them up from seventh to fourth.
Acton-Boxboro, the only new team on the Top 10, leaps North Andover after another quality week that included a tie against No. 7 Concord-Carlisle.
Some former unbeatens took big hits and slipped down the rankings with Danvers having the biggest drop from No. 9 to No. 19 after an 0-2-1 week.
Oliver Ames also lost twice, moving them from No. 12 to No. 18 and Nauset caught a tough loss against rival Sandwich, sinking them to No. 15.
No new teams breached the Top 20 poll this week, but that could all change with one shot as we hit the all-important stretch run of the season.
By Ayoub Kourikchi, Globe Correspondent
Xaverian's baseball team extended its win streak to five games and earned a postseason berth after toppling Catholic Conference powerhouse and No. 5 ranked St. John’s Prep, 2-0, Monday at home.
The Hawks (10-1, 3-4) have now downed another ranked team this week along with No. 6 BC High and No. 16 Peabody.
"This was a big win for us because before the season one of our big goals it to pick up the 10th win and play into the postseason,” said head coach Gerry Lambert. “Hopefully we can finish up strong and can carry the momentum into the post season.”
Senior pitcher Tim Duggan (3-1) recorded five strong innings, scattering five hits while collecting six strikeouts to earn the win. He showed poise in the fifth inning when he struck out an opposing batter on a full count while facing a bases loaded situation with one out.
Duggan (1 for 3) also showed his versatility early on after singling to left field to knock in senior captain and second baseman Chris Hoyt, who drilled a leadoff single early in the first inning.
“You count on your seniors to be the backbone of your team,” Lambert said. “They are the ones that have carried us to the level of success that we have had this season and Tim has been one of those terrific competitors.”
In the bottom of the fifth, first baseman Mike LaVita singled to center field to lead off the inning and advanced to second base after a sacrifice bunt by senior Mark Stefaniak. With two on, sophomore catcher Andrew Elliott laced a single to right field to drive in Lavita to put the Hawks up 2-0.
Stefaniak entered the sixth inning to relieve Duggan and recorded his first save of the season after giving up two hits and striking out two batters in two innings to hold off the Prep.
“When we were 5-6, I thought we were in trouble, but at a certain point you have to stop the bleeding, and you have to understand that when you play a tough schedule you have to make sure you qualify for the post season,” Lambert said. “This win was a strong testament to the team’s mental toughness. Now we have been able to put that losing streak behind us and move forward with positive momentum.”
The Hawks look to continue their win streak against Catholic Conference rival Catholic Memorial Tuesday.
St. John’s Prep and BC High lead off our baseball Top 20 this week. Both teams have 7-1 records and seem to be evenly matched so far this season. The two teams were scheduled to play for the first time Monday at BC High before weather stepped in postponed the game. It will now be played Friday.
Former No. 1 Xaverian dropped to eight after losses to Brockton and Wellesley early in the season. The Hawks were to be tested by No. 11 Catholic Memorial Monday. The only losses for the Knights came against St. John’s Prep and BC High.
Walpole was a big mover, jumping from 15 to 3. The Rebels are 7-0 and have quality wins against Braintree and Wellesley. Lowell (5-1) and Franklin (4-1) have been solid so far and stay at spots four and five respectively.
Marshfield is the first new addition to the Top 20. The Rams look to be the class of the Atlantic Coast League with an 8-0 record, which puts them at the seven spot in front of conference rival Plymouth North. Marshfield has scored 10 or more runs three times so far and has not allowed more than four runs in a game.
Barnstable (5-1) has also not allowed more than four runs and moves up one spot to nine, while Lincoln-Sudbury (5-1) closes out the top 10. The Warriors are 3-0 in the Dual County Large and had a big 8-7 victory at BC High Saturday.
Newburyport and Reading are both 4-0 (the Rockets loss was an exclusion game to BC High) and each moved up in the standings. The Clippers are 12th while the Rockets are 13th.
Wellesley (5-2) is added to the top 20 at number 14. The Raiders started their season with a win against Xaverian and look to be the biggest competition for Walpole in the Bay State Herget division.
Newton South (5-0) hasn’t lost and should challenge Lincoln-Sudbury in the DCL Large. The Lions are new to the top 20 at the 15 spot.
Lexington (3-2) drops down from 7th to 16th after losses to Lowell and Melrose. Danvers (6-1), Dighton-Rehoboth (7-0), Peabody (5-2) and Austin Prep (6-1) are all new additions and round out the Top 20.
Early season rankings (or preseason rankings, still, for some teams) are always difficult to craft considering we haven’t seen a lot of these teams in action yet, and most of the coaches don’t even know what they’re squad is going to give them.
But at least at the very top of the Boston Globe boys lacrosse Top 20, the choice was easy.
There’s little doubt around Massachusetts that Duxbury is the clear No. 1. Boasting a slew of Division 1 recruits (12, to be exact) and eight of the last 10 state championship trophies, the Dragons have gained national attention as one of the premier teams in the country. But that doesn’t mean no one else has a chance.
Of the other “Big Four” teams – Lincoln-Sudbury, St. John’s Prep and Billerica – No. 2 L-S appears most primed to make a run. The Warriors had an up-and-down season last year filled with injuries, but a lot of young players earned some valuable experience and coach Brian Vona will have a ton of talent to work with.
No. 6 St. John’s Prep is very raw, but talented, and John Roy always seems to have his team in top form by tournament time, and that’s when it counts.
No. 7 Billerica, meanwhile, could really sneak up on people. The Indians are being discounted after the graduation of Grant Whiteway, but Cam Slatton and Ben Melaugh have formed a dangerous 1-2 punch at the attack, on perfect display during a 6-5 win over Wellesley on Thursday when the two combined for four goals and three assists. And with goalie DJ Smith between the pipes, the typical hard-nosed Billerica defense could give any team trouble.
At No. 3, Needham is full of promise. They’ve gained national attention in some rankings and David Wainwright returns 10 seniors, mostly on the defensive side. But with the graduation of All-American Will Stenberg, sophomore UMass-Amherst commit Mike Panepinto was expected to play a huge role, and he suffered a broken collar bone in the preseason that could keep him out all year. His brother, Nico, is a scoring threat, though, and while Needham could be one of the first teams to fall from the top-five, don’t count them out. The Rockets might just need some time to peak.
No. 5 Wellesley is loaded with talent, including All-American goalie Connor Darcey, but there’s a lot of football players on that roster and their over-aggressive style could haunt them with too many man-down situations. If the offense can score, this team could be as good as it gets.
No. 4 seems like a good spot for Medfield, which lost its coach and starting goalie, among others, but remains very deep as usual. It’s all about going back to basics for the Warriors, and if John Isaf and Mike Douglas can get their players to buy in, a three-peat is possible.
No. 14 Acton-Boxboro has a chance to really surprise people this year. The Colonials are athletic, and their schedule is tough, so if they can stay healthy and get better as the season goes on, they should be dangerous.
At the bottom of the list, Newton North is an intriguing team. Perhaps not a squad with the most talent, but there’s some serious size on that defense, and long-time head coach Bussy Adam has 14 returning players. A lot rides on junior goalie John Hogan.
Remember, there’s a lot of season to be played, and this list could look entirely different in a few weeks. See the full Globe boys lacrosse Top 20.
Qualms, comments, story ideas or anything else? Email me at email@example.com
Last five out (in alphabetical order): Andover, Cohasset, Foxborough, Lexington, Walpole
There aren’t many familiar faces on St. John’s Prep's lacrosse team after advancing to the Division 1 Eastern Massachusetts finals for the third straight season last year, but the Eagles survived a big early season test on Thursday night, beating BC High, 9-7.
Without All-American Jimmy O’Connell (playing at Trinity College) and the speedy Colin Blackwell (playing hockey at Harvard), among others, the Prep used three goals from sophomore midfielder Drew O’Connell and two from junior attack Dan Mini to improve to 2-0.
“Confidence is a big part of this game, and getting confidence early in the season is huge,” said coach John Roy.
St. John’s Prep took a 5-4 lead into halftime before scoring the first two goals in the second half. BC High eventually narrowed the lead to one, but couldn’t finish the comeback.
BC High won both regular season matchups between the two teams last year.
“It was a tough, physical game,” Roy said. “It’s not what we want to do, but if it’s called for, we can play like that.”
Though young, the Prep is considered one of the few area teams capable of stopping Duxbury – who has 12 Division 1 college bound players on its roster – in the state tournament this season. The Dragons have won eight of the last 10 state titles.
St. John's Prep senior forward Sam Kurker scored two goals to lead the North All-Stars past the South All-Stars, 4-2, at the DCU Center in Worcester Sunday in the third annual MSCHA High School All-Star Game.
The South jumped on top at the 41-second mark when Tom Cahill (Pembroke) buried a feed from Conal Lynch (Boston Latin) in the slot to go up, 1-0. The defenses took over until Kurker scored back-to-back goals 20 seconds apart with just over a minute remaining to put the North on top after 15 minutes.
North goaltender Joe Cerulo (Wakefield) made three saves in the period while his counterpart Kyle Moran (Marshfield) stopped seven.
To start the second, the North’s Daniel Holland (Woburn) was tripped on a rush by the South’s Ken Jacobson (Duxbury), drawing a penalty. The North quickly capitalized as defenseman Nikko Markham (St. Mary’s) beat Derek Kwok (Natick) under the crossbar at 1:32 to give the North a 3-1 cushion.
The South’s best chance in the second period came when Jake O’Rourke (Medway) weaved through two defenders but was stoned by North goaltender Dave Letarte (St. John’s Prep).
Kurker almost struck again late in the period when his feed out front deflected off the post, keeping the score at 3-1. The shots stood at 17-12 in favor of the North after 30 minutes of play.
The South cut the deficit to 3-2 in the third as Kevin Emmerling (St. John’s Shrewsbury) buried a cross crease feed from Lynch at the 4:10 mark. The North answered right back at 5:30 when Peter Sikalis (Acton-Boxboro) teed up a shot from the left point that beat Connor Murray (Needham) glove side to give the North another two-goal cushion. The North squashed any hopes of a South comeback, allowing only four shots in the third period. North goaltender Kyle Williams (Central Catholic) made three saves to close out the win.
Springfield Central beat St. John's of Shrewsbury 52-47 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield in the Division 1 matchup. Tyrell Springer led Central with 16 points.
Mahar will take on Brighton in the Division 2 state championship after beating St. Bernard's Tuesday night 58-36. Mahar's Travon Godette led all scorers with 20 points.
St. Joseph Central beat Whitinsville Christian 61-59 in the Division 3 matchup. Joseph Wiggins led Central with 17 points. They'll face Danvers.
The state finals will be held on Saturday at the DCU Center in Worcester.
- Div. 1: Brockton vs. Springfield Central
- Div. 2: Brighton vs. Mahar
- Div. 3: Danvers vs. St. Joseph Central
Danvers' inside-outside combo of Eric Martin (5 points, 6 rebounds, 12 assists) and George Merry (22 points, 8 rebounds) down low proved too much for Wareham Monday afternoon as the Falcons (20-4) ended the Vikings (24-1) perfect season and took home the Division 3 EMass championship, 68-45, at TD Garden.
The Vikings, who trailed, 30-22, at the half, started the third on a 10-0 run, capped off by a Darien Fernandez (19 points, 9 rebounds) drive, to a take a 2-point lead with 6:30 to play in the quarter.
However, the Falcons knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers, on their way to to scoring 24 of the game’s next 28 points.
At the end of the third quarter, the Falcons had amassed a commanding 18-point lead, and were saluted with chants of “one more quarter” by Danver’s faithful fans.
“We got punched in the mouth a few times,” said Danvers coach John Walsh, “but we punched back, you know. That’s a great team, Wareham, they’re tough kids, we’re tough kids. I was happy the way we played, we didn’t back down from anybody.”
“I just felt the energy drain [after Danver’s connected on those threes],” said Wareham coach Kevin Bregoli. “Even though we played hard the rest of the way. I thought that was the difference in the game.”
The Falcons were able to cruise through the fourth, outscoring the Vikings, 14-9, as both teams pulled their seniors to standing ovations with a minute to play in the game.
With the win, Danvers advances to take on the winner of today’s game between Whitinsville Christian and St. Joseph’s for the Division 3 state title at the DCU Center in Worcester on Saturday.
If the Falcons were nervous to take on the only undefeated team left in Eastern Massachusetts, it didn’t show as Merry, who stands 6-foot-7, hit four of his first five shots to help Danvers take a 21-9 lead after the first quarter.
The Falcon’s defense, which has held opponents to just 45.4 points a game this season, frustrated Fernandez and the normally high-flying Vikings. Wareham, which averages 70 points a game, finished 25 short of their usual mark on Monday.
“We knew they like to shoot the three ball,” Walsh said. “So we knew if we could limit that, that they probably couldn’t make enough two’s to get up into the 70’s where they like to play. We knew if we held this game into the 40’s-50’s range that we were going to be in good shape and give ourselves a real chance to win.”
Nick Bates (17 points, six rebounds) and Nick McKenna (12 points, five rebounds) also turned in strong performances for the Falcons.
“This is probably one of the greatest achievements of my life,” said a tired, but excited looking Merry. “Ever since freshman year, I knew we were going to be a good team, but I didn’t know we were going to be able to take it this far.”
“We’re just going to work hard all week,” Merry continued, “carry over what we’ve been doing and try to take the energy from today’s game on over to the next one.
Defending champion Malden Catholic advanced to the crossover round along with BC High, St. John’s Prep and Central Catholic. Here's highlights from Sunday's action at Merrimack College.
Malden Catholic, the defending champion of the Division 1A tournament, will be matched against Central Catholic (Wednesday, 8 p.m., Merrimack College) after going 3-0 in Super 8 play and outscoring opponents 13-4. Central Catholic went 2-1 in the round-robin games.
On the other end of the bracket, BC High will take on St. John's Prep (Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.) Prep also went undefeated, while BC High was 2-1.
The two games for the crossover round will be held at Merrimack College's Lawler Arena.
Danvers (19-4) held Saugus (14-10) to 15 points in the second half and only three points in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons did not allow a point in the final 5:17 of the game, securing a trip to TD Garden to face South champions Wareham on Monday in the Eastern Mass Division 3 title after the Vikings beat Martha's Vineyard 70-65.
With 3:10 left in the second quarter, junior Nick McKenna drained a 3-pointer to give Danvers a 23-21 advantage. The Falcons would not trail again in the game.
“That three was enormous,” said Danvers head coach John Walsh.
Along with McKenna's three, the Falcons were fueled in the second quarter by 6-foot-7-inch center George Merry who scored 11 points in the quarter including going 7 of 8 at the free throw line. Merry finished with a game-high 22 points and added 11 rebounds for a double-double.
“Anytime the ball goes into [Merry] it can always come out and when they are collapsing on him we can swing it around a little bit and get some open looks,” Walsh said. “I think that is a big part of everything for us.”
Danvers led at half 30-25 and pulled away after the break going on a 9-0 run early in the third quarter taking the 39-29 edge with 4:15 left in the third. The defense, helped in part by some huge boards by junior guard Nick Bates (12 rebounds), held the lead for the Falcons.
“[Bates] really played well defensively and especially getting rebounds. He seemed like an animal on the boards,” Merry said.
Walsh talked about how the defense improved in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter.
“We just tried to defend and tried to keep the ball away from some of their big scoring options and we did a better job of that in the fourth quarter and only held them to three points,” he said.
Trying to make sense of who is moving on and who is going home in the Division 1A hockey tournament is enough to drive a person crazy.
Once thing is certain — take note Springfield Cathedral and St. John’s (S) — everyone is still alive.
Now we must try and make sense of it all as we head into the final day of Super 8 pool play Sunday.
First and foremost, the top two teams in each bracket will advance, with the top teams crossing over to play the second-place teams from the opposite bracket Wednesday night.
If two teams finished tied for a spot, then their head-to-head result from the tournament will determine who advances and who gets the higher seed. The tricky part comes when three teams finish tied, which lines up numerous tie breakers scenarios.
The first tie breaker in a three-way tie would be goal differential (goals scored minus goals allowed), the second is goals quotient (goals scored divided by goals allowed) and the third and fourth tiebreakers involve the same as the first two tiebreakers, but only in games that these three play against each other. If somehow nothing has been decided after all of that, the fifth and final tiebreaker will be won by the team that was seeded highest coming into the Super 8.
Both Malden Catholic (+3 goal differential) and St. John’s Prep (+2 goal differential) are 2-0 atop their respective brackets and will advance with victories. If those two win out, then the next simplest formula would involve BC High (0 goal differential) and Central Catholic (0 goal differential), both currently 1-1, advancing with wins of their own.
Hingham (-1 goal differential) and St. Mary’s (0 goal differential), also 1-1, will be facing the 2-0 teams, and if they can pull off victories, then we will surely see the tie breakers come into play.
Which brings us back to Springfield Cathedral (-2 goal differential) and St. John’s (S) (-2 goal differential) who both sit at 0-2 and will need big wins to help their chances, but in doing so will also bring their opponents down to 1-2 with them. If either, or both, win then they will need the top seeds to finish 3-0 and force the three-way tie breakers to be implemented.
Last season we saw the three-way tiebreaker come into play, with Weymouth needing the second tiebreaker, goals quotient, to get into the crossover round.
BC High and St. John’s (S) kick off Sunday’s action at noon, followed by Malden Catholic vs. Hingham at 2:15 p.m., which will clear up the bracket 1 picture early in the day. If BC High wins in the first game then Hingham must beat MC, and by more than one goal for the purposes of tie breakers.
St. Mary’s and St. John’s Prep cap pool play at 7 p.m., following Central Catholic and Springfield Cathedral at 4:45 p.m. A Central Catholic victory will force St. Mary’s hand in the nightcap.
If your head is not spinning after all of this, then you are more than ready for a full day of action at Lawler Arena, where things will begin to clear up as the day plays out.
NORTH ANDOVER -- The final game of the second round in the Super 8 saw a sixth tournament game decided by one goal as St. John’s Prep escaped with a 4-3 win over Central Catholic at Lawler Arena on Wednesday night.
After getting blanked, 4-0, by the Prep in a regular-season matchup, the Raiders got a quick goal from Alex Lester at the 2:48 mark of the first period to gain the early advantage.
The Eagles worked their second power play of the game around the Raiders zone and Sam Kurker unloaded a shot from deep in the slot that was tipped in front by Andrew Brandano to tie the game at 8:15 of the first period.
The Prep put itself in a hole after a major boarding call on Brian Pinho was followed by a minor boarding call on Nick Pandelena and the Raiders took full advantage of the 5-on-3 situation with Ryan Daigle cashing in on the doorstep to put Central Catholic ahead, 2-1.
Brandano had a chance for his second of the night when he picked up a puck near the right post as Central goalie Kyle Williams went down to play it.
With Williams sprawled and the net open, Brandano's shot trickled across the goal mouth to the left side where it was cleared away by the Central defense.
The Eagles come out flying in the second period and wrested the lead from Central Catholic with two quick goals.
Derek Osbahr scored his second goal of the season at the 2:06 mark to pull the Eagles even and that was followed by a Sam Kurker (one goal, two assists) power play goal just a minute and half later, giving the Prep a 3-2 lead with less than four minutes expired.
The Prep would maintain its one-goal advantage heading into the third period and had a chance to increase the lead after gaining a power play opportunity two and half minutes in.
In the midst of killing the penalty, Raiders forward Michael Kelleher picked off the puck in the Eagles zone and deked David Letarte, then flipped it over his pads at 3:45 of the period.
Midway through the third, Brandano (two goals, one assist) broke free up the left side, collected the puck in the neutral zone, then skated in alone down the left wing and deposited his second of the game past Williams, putting the Eagles back on top for good, 4-3.
Globe correspondent Craig Forde recaps the first round of the Super 8 ice hockey tournament at Merrimack College Sunday.
NORTH ANDOVER – Sam Kurker’s overtime winner capped another thriller on Day 1 of the Super 8 tournament at Lawler Arena as St. John’s Prep escaped with a 4-3 victory over Springfield Cathedral.
“Everybody knows how important that first game is in the tournament,” said St. John's Prep coach Kristian Hanson. “We wanted to come out today and get a win. In the end we were fortunate to get a bounce.”
The last time these two teams met, just two weeks ago, the Prep made a miraculous comeback scoring four goals in the final five minutes of the game to walk away with a 5-5 tie.
The Eagles wanted to avoid being behind the eight-ball in this one and Andrew Brandano ensured that they wouldn’t be playing from behind at all when he stuffed home a puck just 1:28 into the game to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
The second period started with another quick St. John’s Prep goal as Brian Pinho won a draw forward, picked up the puck and swept in on the left side before stuffing it past John Liquori for a 2-0 lead just 0:53 seconds in.
“We were just trying to get the puck deep and on net,” Pinho said. “I just skated hard to the middle and put one on. Our game plan was to crash the net and it went in for me.”
Frank Crinella got the Panthers on the board mid-way through the second period after picking the puck from the stick of Sam Kurker, then sweeping in from the left to backhand it past David Letarte on a short-handed bid, making it a 2-1 game.
Frank Crinella would pull Springfield Cathedral even when he followed up on a rebound off a shot from Peter Crinella, popping it past Letarte for his second of the game to make it 2-2 before the second intermission.
A power play opportunity allowed the Prep to start the third period like the other two, by scoring first, this time on a missile by Pinho just past the blue line to make it 3-2 at the 3:28 mark.
“I thought Brian was our best player out there,” Hanson said. “He had two big goals and he played well defensively. He was our player of the game.”
Two minutes later Peter Crinella knocked in a rebound for the Panthers second short-handed goal of the game, evening the score at 3-3 and as just like two weeks ago, regulation was not enough time to determine a winner, so a 12-minute sudden death overtime was tacked on to the proceedings.
As the extra frame wound down, a bouncing puck fell in front of Liquori who was unable to snag it in the air and Kurker swooped in on the doorstep to deposit the rebound, giving the Eagles the victory.
“Who better than Kurker to be the guy standing there,” Hanson said. “I saw that far, top-side open and Sam did a great job of putting it up there.”
It may not have been pretty, but it seemed appropriate that Corey Persson's 100th career goal come on a play of pure hustle.
The Danvers senior notched a hat trick in the Falcons' 4-1 win over Marblehead on Thursday, reaching the century mark on her third goal when Persson gathered a cross in the box and punched it into the net.
"It's only fitting that it came on a 100-percent effort goal," Danvers coach Jimmy Hinchion said. "That's just her. She can grind it out in the box among two or three defenders and still find a way to get it in the goal."
Persson became the second Falcon to reach the 100-goal mark after Brittany Russo, who now plays for UMass Lowell, did it last season. Persson is one goal away from tying Russo's all-time goals record at Danvers.
Hinchion didn't tell his captain of the approaching milestone, so the mid-game announcement came as a surprise to the mild-mannered Persson and the Falcons (9-2-1).
"It definitely came as a surprise, even though she probably knew she was in the area," said Hinchion, in his 13th year with Danvers. "We saved the ball and we'll present it to her at the end of the season, and the team gave her a little celebration, but we kept it pretty quiet."
There were tons of great games in Week 2 of the high school football season and we've got a few featured in The Huddle, including a look at Dennis-Yarmouth's close win over Barnstable and Central Catholic's overtime win over St. John's Prep. There's plenty to enjoy in the highlights.
Also: Coaches or parents who would like to contribute video for The Huddle are encouraged to contact me via email to make arrangements to supply short clips.
Central Catholic (1-1) scored first in overtime, St. John’s Prep (0-2) matched the touchdown, but the Eagles’ game-winning, two-point conversion attempt failed, giving the Raiders a 7-6 victory. See the highlights above.
The St. John's Prep varsity rugby squad completed its fifth consecutive undefeated season with a win over Marshfield on May 11.
The Eagles completed their regular season with a 7-0 record.
This season, St. John's Prep also beat Xaverian, Bishop Hendricken (R.I.), Lincoln-Sudbury, BC High, Brookline and Belmont (non-league) en route to the Division 1 League title.
The rugby team, which has been a varsity sport since 2003 at St. John's Prep and has more than 100 student-athletes in the program, will now compete for a state title on Saturday at Moakley Park in Boston.
The Eagles will face Brookline at 9:30 a.m. and Belmont at 12:10 pm. If they can win both games, they will play for the state title later in the afternoon.
Pain is only temporary – just ask St. John’s Prep senior pitcher Pat Connaughton.
Connaughton, who missed the first two weeks of the season after spraining his left ankle moving furniture with his father, took the mound for his first start of 2011 and pitched a no-hitter as St. John’s Prep (6-1) beat Arlington 5-0 Monday.
“It was fun, I was looking forward to [the start] for a few days,” Connaughton said. “As the week progressed, I started practicing my mechanics and it worked out well. It’s the first time I’ve ever missed any games in my Prep career for any sport.”
The right-handed, Notre Dame bound hurler struck out 15 batters and walked just two, while touching 94 miles per hour on the radar gun.
“I just threw strikes,” Connaughton said. “If I can throw strikes, then it makes things more effective. I’m able to throw the ball a decent speed, and I throw more pitches because it makes the hitters more selective. If I’m not throwing my fastball for strikes, it makes it easier for them.”
Since the injury, Connaughton was working very closely and diligently with athletic trainer Matt Lovett, who is in his first season at St. John's Prep.
“There was a lot of good therapy,” Lovett said. “We were real conservative and we had him in a boot. But once he was able to start doing some stuff we did some whirlpool, some exercising and some range of motion. I would do some massaging to get the additional swelling down.”
Connaughton did not hit in the game as he is still having some trouble with lateral movement, and he sat out of Prep’s double-header with Hopkinton Tuesday.
“I told him he would be able to pitch before he was able to hit if you can stabilize it landing wise,” Lovett said. “But I don’t think he’s ready to start running the bases and I tested him Sunday and he still had a hitch in his step. He improved greatly, but still wasn’t ready for [running].”
Fortunately for the Eagles, they are done with games for the rest of the week and Lovett said they can expect to have Connaughton back full strength by Monday.
“He just works hard and it shows,” Lovett said. “If you’re able to play through a little bit of pain, I’ll do the best I can to get you back on the field. He’s just a very tough kid, and it will serve him well in the future.”
Senior catcher Tyler Coppola was behind the plate for Connaughton’s no-hitter, the first he’s ever caught and had nothing but praise for the performance.
“It was great, he was throwing right to the mitt and pounding the zone,” Coppola said. “His curveball was working and it was hard for [Arlington] to hit him.”
Coppola, who has been starting since his sophomore year, has caught Connaughton for three years.
“He’s been amazing all three years,” Coppola said. “He definitely came in this season throwing harder. He was around the high eighties as a sophomore, but now he’s just at a whole new level.”
Connaughton, an Arlington native, said that the no-hitter was not only special because it was the first of his career, but because it was against his hometown.
“When I first sprained my ankle, I kept making jokes to my friends that I was going to come back against them,” Connaughton said. “It was fun, I knew every single kid on that team. I knew a majority of the people in the stands whether it was my friends or family. It was a nice day – a perfect day for baseball.”
Malden Catholic has been waiting 20 years to win a Super 8 championship, with none more eagerly than the three seasons since the Lancers lost in the finals to Reading.
A few extra minutes of hockey certainly wasn’t going to damper MC’s celebration.
Celebrate the Lancers did after junior Brendan Collier’s overtime goal pushed MC to a 4-3 win over St. John’s Prep in last night’s Super 8 final –– the program’s first Super 8 title since the tourney’s inception in 1991 and the school’s first hockey title of any kind since 1974.
“I heard we had 100, more than 100 alum flying in just to watch us,” Collier said. “It’s not just us. It’s not for the team. It’s for the school. We had kids from last year coming in the locker room crying, that’s how happy they are. It’s just for everybody."
The overtime finish was the first in a Super 8 finale since Catholic Memorial knocked off BC High, 1-0, in overtime in 2001.
Collier netted the goal –– his 30th of the season –– with an individual effort for the ages. The Boston University-commit took control of the puck in the high slot, cut right around an SJP defender, and lifted a no-look, backhand shot right by Prep goalie David Letarte at the opposite corner.
“I started going left and saw there was more room right, so I made a quick little forehand-backhand move,” Collier said. “Got a little step on their defenseman and threw a backhand on net, and it just happened to go in.”
Join us for live updates on the Super 8 hockey final between St. John's Prep and Malden Catholic at 5:30 p.m. Game starts at 6 p.m. and we'll conclude at its end.
We didn't miss anything from Saturday's hoops finals. And with so much going on, it was easy to stare at the court more often than not. With 12 hours of great hoops, it was hard not to. But there was some pageantry at the DCU Center in Worcester that every fan likes to experience. There were just so many great fans, you almost want to say you had to be there to enjoy it.
Not this time.
We tried to capture the pageantry in this montage, which features some of the best clips on and off the court. Enjoy.
WORCESTER – Trying to predict who will lead the St. John’s Prep Eagles in scoring is like trying to predict New England weather – impossible.
Steve Haladyna finished with a game-high 29 points to lift the Eagles (25-1) over St. John’s of Shrewsbury (21-4) 72-57 to capture the Division 1 state championship at the DCU Center last night.
The junior guard exploded for 17 points in the third quarter and single-handedly drained the life out of the Pioneers.
“We made it a point at halftime to get out and run,” Haladyna said. “We wanted to make it a fast-paced game and just push it on them and get fastbreak points.”
Haladyna’s run started when he opened up the half with a jumper, followed by a 3-pointer to give the Prep a 33-21 lead.
Junior Owen Marchetti, who finished with eight points, added another to give the Eagles a 35-21 lead.
With 2:11 remaining in the half, Haladyna knocked down another 3-pointer to give his team a 52-34 lead.
Senior Richard Rodgers, who finished with 26 points, tried to keep his team close, but Haladyna refused to let the Pioneers get close.
“[Haladyna] is a big time player,” Prep coach Sean Connolly said. “When people key in on Pat [Connaughton], he’s tough. He has an array of shot’s, he can hit 3-pointers and floaters and he’s just a tough cover.”
Connaughton, who finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds, was satisfied with his performance, but all his praise was for his teammate.
“He’s been the second-hand guy ever since he came up,” Connaughton said. “And that’s really what sparks us – he’s another weapon. I told him coming out of the locker room at halftime that it’s going to be the last time I play with him in a St. John’s Prep uniform, so let’s make it a memorable one.”
Senior guard Pat Connaughton from St. John’s Prep of Danvers was selected as the Massachusetts Gatorade Basketball Player of the year, making him the first player chosen from the Prep.
The 6-5, 205 pound guard is averaging 22.0 points, 16.6 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game and has led the Eagles (24-1) to the Division 1 State tournament championship game against St. John's of Shrewsbury on March 19.
Connaughton has been named a Catholic Conference All-Star three times and has been recognized as the league MVP twice.
The two-sport athlete has committed to Notre Dame where he will play basketball and baseball.
Last year's Massachusetts Gatorade boys basketball player of the year was St. Mark's Nate Lubick, who matriculated to Georgetown.
Globe correspondent Jake Seiner recaps the Super 8 semifinals at Lawler Arena as St. John's Prep beat Weymouth 5-1 and Malden Catholic finishes off BC High 4-2.
NORTH ANDOVER — After his team’s 5-1 loss to St. John’s Prep Wednesday night, Weymouth hockey coach Matt Cataldo was understandably disappointed and disheartened, and his tone reflected his deflation during his postgame meeting with the press.
At least until he was asked about Prep (18-5-1) centerman Colin Blackwell, who torched Cataldo’s Wildcats (18-6-2) for three goals and two assists in the win, which sends the Eagles to their first Super 8 final in program history.
“That Blackwell kid, I don’t know how you contain him,” a wide-eyed, flabbergasted Cataldo said. “Put him in a cage? He’s just so fast and so talented. He was unbelievable tonight. I’ve never seen anything like it at the high school level.”
Blackwell netted his first goal fifteen seconds into the second period. The Harvard-bound centerman scooped up a loose puck in the neutral zone, and rocketed down the right wing. Two Weymouth defenders were in prime position to defend the play, but by the time Blackwell reached the in-zone faceoff dot, he was already turning the corner on both players.
With the defenders’ sticks desperately slapping the ice at his heels, Blackwell swung the puck to his backhand and poked it past Weymouth goalie Brian Brady.
“That kid, I’ve just never seen speed like that,” Cataldo said. “His first two steps, it’s like a rocket ship.”
A breakdown of the highlights from Tuesday's boys basketball state semifinals and the Division 4 state championship at the TD Garden.
With four minutes left in last night’s Division 1 state semi-final, St. John’s Prep desperately needed someone to step up as Mansfield was making a comeback.
But junior Steve Haladyna, who finished with 20 points, answered and scored 10 points late in the fourth quarter to lift the Prep (24-1) over Mansfield (24-3) 64-55 at the TD Garden last night.
“He won the game for us down the stretch,” Prep coach Sean Connolly said. “He hit some big shots and he always comes up in big games. Pat [Connaughton] and Mike [Carbone] were struggling, but he stepped up for us.”
With his team trailing 48-44 with 3:15 remaining, Haladyna knocked down a jumper to expand the lead to six.
After Mansfield’s Joseph Gracia hit a 3-pointer to pull the Hornets within three, Haladyna came back down the court and drained another jumper to make it 52-47.
“I had a tough first half, so I wanted to step it up in the second,” Haladyna said. “Mansfield’s a great defensive team and it’s tough to score on them, but we toughed it out at the end.”FULL ENTRY
Globe correspondent Jake Seiner breaks down the third round of the Super 8 tournament, paying attention to who moves on to the crossover round while looking at the day's action.
LOWELL –– Of the 12 round-robin games played in this year’s Super 8 tournament, nine were decided by a goal or less.
Sunday's nightcap wasn’t one of them.
Harvard-bound senior Colin Blackwell put No. 2 St. John’s Prep on the board 10 seconds in, and the Eagles soared to a 6-1 victory over No. 3 BC High.
The win makes Prep the top-seeded team to come out of Bracket Two, meaning St. John’s will skate against No. 4 Weymouth Wednesday night. Meanwhile, BC High earns the unpleasant task of taking on No. 1 Malden Catholic
Over its previous six games, BC High had allowed three goals total. St. John's Prep matched that in the first 1:37 of Sunday's showdown.
Blackwell’s (one goal, two assists) goal was the first of four in the first period for St. John’s Prep. Blackwell scored the breakaway goal by simply toasting the entire BC High defense down the left wing. The senior cut at the left dot toward the net, and backhanded one through the five-hole of Eagle goalie Peter Cronin.
Thirty seconds later, Devin Murray turned a Ryan Palmer breakout pass into another breakaway finish. Then, 57 seconds after that, St. John’s Prep played pinball with the puck as Colin Blackwell one-touched a pass to John Farrow on the doorstep, where Farrow one-timed in the third goal.
End of 2nd period, St. John's Prep 4, BC High 1 -- BC High got on the board in the second, with Terence Durkin poking in a loose puck in front. The shots are dead even at 13 apiece, but SJP has clearly been the better team so far.
End of 1st period, St. John's Prep 4, BC High 0 -- It's safe to say there was more drama below the rink than on it during the first 15 minutes of this one. On the ice, St. John's Prep scored three times in the first 1:37. Colin Blackwell started the scoring with a breakaway finish 10 seconds into the game, followed 30 seconds later by a breakaway tally from Devin Murray. Then, 1:37 in, Blackwell played keystone in a tic-tac-toe passing play that resulted in a tap-in goal for John Farrow.
Shane Eiserman added a third breakaway goal with 25 seconds to play in the frame.
While all this was going on, MIAA officials met in the tunnels with coaches from Weymouth and Central Catholic discussing the outcome of their identical 1-2 records in round-robin play. Central beat Weymouth head-to-head, and both held an identical advantage in goal differential over Hingham, also 1-2.
Officials eventually informed the teams that Weymouth would advance thanks to an advantage in goal quotient, which is goals scored divided by goals allowed.
Stay posted for updates throughout the game. You can also follow along on Twitter at @GlobeSchools or @jseiner.
On the boys’ side, Mansfield and St. John’s Prep advanced to the state semifinals, while girls’ teams from New Bedford and Andover did the same Friday night at TD Garden. Here's our video recap.
End of the game: St. John's Prep 87, Lawrence 73
- Connaughton scores 11, Haladyna adds four in the fourth quarter as the Prep cruises to a 87-73 win.
- Carbone goes 7-8 from 3-point land and scores 31.
- Alicea finishes with 30 and scores his 1,000th point as Lawrence's Cinderella run comes to an end.
End of the third quarter:
- Carbone scorches the net with four 3-pointers to help the Prep to a 68-56 lead. Carbone leads all scorers with 30 points.
- Prep outscores Lawrence 21-10.
- Alicea scores 1,000th point on a jumper with a minute to go.
End of the second quarter:
- Fans' heads are spinning watching this one. The Prep leads 47-46 at the break and Carbone is leading the way with 15 points for the Eagles, while Connaughton chips in 13.
- Alicea is torching the Eagles for 15 points as well to lead Lawrence, while Hiraldo has eight and six rebounds.
End of the first quarter:
- Lawrence leads 23-17 behind Hiraldo, who has six points and three rebounds.
- Connaughton leads the Prep with six as well.
We're about to get started with the North final here at the Garden for the last game of the night. St. John's Prep looks to end Lawrence's cinderella run through the playoffs and lock up the North title.
G – Kadeem Perez
G – Jaylen Alicea
G – Darwin Pereyra
F – Francis Spraus
C – Jesse Hiraldo
St. John's (22-1)
G – Pat Connaughton
G – Mike Carbone
G – Owen Marchetti
F – Steve Haladyna
F – Fred Shove
St. John’s Prep pummeled Needham 5-1 and BC High eked by Woburn, 1-0, as the Catholic Conference rivals clinched crossover round berths in the Super 8 tournament.
Final, St. John's Prep 5, Needham 1 -- More dominant play from the Eagles in the third backed by goals from Devin Murray and Shane Eiserman, and Prep skates away with the victory to move to 2-0 in Super 8 play. With a win tonight from BC High or a win Sunday over BC High, St. John's Prep can guarantee itself a spot in the crossover round.
End of 2nd period, St. John's Prep 3, Needham 1-- The Eagle lead stays at two thanks to a goal from Colin Blackwell 57 seconds into the frame. The senior charged the Needham zone for a one-on-two, but by the team he reached the hashes, he'd already deked through both defenders. Blackwell roofed the puck by Murray from right atop the doorstep.
Needham had consecutive power-play chances right after the Blackwell goal, but failed to convert, and didn't get on the board until the 2:08 remained in the frame. No word on Rocket forward DJ Walsh's religious views, but either way, the junior's Ash Wednesday prayers were answered when he whipped a desperation centering pass into a pack of Prep defenders. The puck bounced off an Eagle leg and skidded five-hole on goalie David Letarte, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
End of 1st period, St. John's Prep 2, Needham 0 -- Freshman Shane Eiserman put the Eagles on the board first, but credit should really go to senior Harvard-commit Colin Blackwell. The standout broke from the left halfwall with the puck and emerged with it in the slot after deking around the entire Rocket defense, which was cramped mostly around the left hashmarks. From the slot, Blackwell wristed one in front, where Eiserman's tip bounced off Needham goalie Connor Murray and in for the 1-0 lead.
Nick Pandelena stretched the lead to 2-0 with a buzzer-beater at the end of the frame. Yes, that's right, a hockey buzzer-beater. The defenseman wound and fired a desperation slapper from the right point, and just before the horn sounded, the shot zipped under the crossbar.
Top-ranked St. John's Prep (22-1) dashed No. 2 Central Catholic's (21-3) hopes of repeating as state championships with a 63-60 win at Lawrence last night in the North sectional semi-final.
The win was the perfect ending to Prep coach Sean Connolly's 31st birthday.
But the coach's day nearly turned sour as he watched his team let a 54-43 lead heading into the fourth quarter almost slip away.
"We got a little tentative," Connolly said. "I think guys were playing back on their heels, but that's what Central does to you. They keep attacking and they're tough. Thankfully, we stemmed the tide and got it back in our favor and hung on at the end."
Central Catholic senior Jimmy Zenevitch, who led all scorers with 33 points, added eight in the final frame to help the Raiders otuscore the Eagles 17-9.
Central's junior guard Luis Puello, who finished with 11 points, scored with 1:23 left to pull his team within two, trailing 61-59.
On the ensuing possession, Prep junior Freddy Shove grabbed the rebound on a miss by senior Pat Connaughton and scored to give his team a 63-59 lead.
Shove, who finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, was fouled and missed the free throw, but the and-one basket gave his team a two-possession lead.
“I just didn’t want to lose,” Shove said. “I wanted to make sure we got the ball every time we had a chance to.”
Zenevitch added a free throw on the next play to pull his team within three, and a potential costly turnover by Connaughton on the next drive left the Raiders with a chance to tie with 16 seconds left.
But Central Catholic struggled to get an open look and Zenevitch launched a contested 3-pointer that rimmed out as time expired.
"[The play] broke down," Central Catholic coach Rick Nault said. "We wanted Luis to go off a high screen and Tyler [Nelson] to come off a double. Jimmy was the last option to pop up and he's hit a lot of three's for us this year, so it was a look I was okay with."
St. John's Prep senior captain Pat Connaughton struggled from the field and scored 14 points, while going 0-6 from the 3-point line. But where Connaughton lacked on offense, he made up for under the glass and grabbed 19 rebounds.
"It wasn't the prettiest [win]," Connaughton said. "But we had [our team] make plays down the stretch and that's all that mattered. We knew [Central Catholic] was going to come out with a counter punch. I didn't play my best down the stretch, but we made enough plays to win."
And while Connaughton struggled to score, Shove, and junior guard Steve Haladyna, who led the team with 24 points, helped carry the load.
"Hal steps up in big games, I don't have to worry about him," Connaughton said. "I don't really have to worry about any of my team. I know they're going to give 110 percent when we compete. Freddy plays the hardest of anyone on our team, and his hard work gets us the win."
The last time these two teams squared off, Haladyna scored just four points in the Prep's 72-70 win Feb. 23 and Connolly pointed out his mistakes to him on film.
"Hal didn't have a very good game against them last time and we showed it to him," Connolly said. "I expected him to come out, he usually doesn't come out two games in a row playing bad so I figured he'd have a good game."
Haladyna said watching the film motivated him for last night's game.
"[Connolly] was on me real bad after that game," Haladyna said. "He gets on us and that's what you need out of a head coach and that's what got me going for this game."
Haladyna scored 13 points in the first half and Shove dropped nine in the second quarter to build on a 21-19 first quarter lead and help the Prep to a 39-31 halftime lead.
The dynamic duo helped spark a 12-0 run to open the second quarter which gave the Eagles a 33-19 lead – their biggest of the game.
But Central responded with an 11-6 run to cut the lead to eight going into the break.
Connaughton and Haladyna helped maintain the lead in the third quarter, and the Notre Dame-bound senior added a 10-foot jumper as time expired to give the Eagles an 11-point 54-43 lead going into the final eight minutes before Central Catholic stormed the court.
But when the final buzzer sounded, the Prep's deep lineup proved too much for Central Catholic.
"They're the best team in the state," Nault said. "They're so well coached, and it's not all about Pat [Connaughton]. Haladyna's a sensational player that took it to us tonight, and Shove had a tremendous night and attacked Jimmy [Zenevitch] at will. They have all the right pieces and they do all the little things well. They won the hustle battle and that was the difference tonight."
With the win, the Prep will continue its quest for a state title when they face either Lawrence or Lynn English Friday at TD Garden in the North final.
"We're in for a battle [Friday]," Connolly said. "Every game is going to be a battle, both teams are very good. Both are talented with good guards and are athletic, so we just have to prepare for that."
Winslow Townson / For the Globe
Check out photos of the first round of the Super 8 tournament here, featuring St. John's Prep's 4-3 overtime win over Woburn and Weymouth's comeback win over Hingham. There's also shots from Malden Catholic's close win over Central Catholic.
NORTH ANDOVER – The last time No. 2 St. John's Prep and No. 7 Woburn collided, the Eagles soared over the Tanners in a 6-0 trouncing.
This one, it's safe to say, was quite a bit closer.
Casey Shea –– who scored five goals in Woburn's 5-2 play-in game victory over Springfield Cathedral Monday –– netted an equalizing tally with 6:41 to play to send the game to overtime.
But the Eagles prevailed in the extra frame, with John Farrow netting his second goal of the game to secure a 4-3 St. John's Prep victory.
Harvard-bound senior Colin Blackwell started the winning play, crashing the Woburn net from the left side with the puck. Blackwell's initial shot was denied by goalie Cam McGlashing, but the rebound trickled beyond the right side of the crease.
Farrow was there, albeit on his rear, to shove the puck back into the cage.
The goal was Farrow's second of the game, with the first coming 44 seconds into the second period. The senior scored fresh off the bench, leaping over the boards and heading straight for the slot. Matt MacDonald found Farrow with a pass from below the goal line, and Farrow slid the puck five-hole on McGlashing.
Final: St. John's Prep 4, Woburn 3 (OT)-- Colin Blackwell rushes the puck to the Woburn net and slides a shot off goalie Cam McGlashing's pads. The rebound comes right to John Farrow, who was put on his rear by a defender. Farrow swooped the puck while on his back once off McGlashing, then by him for the overtime winner.
End of 3rd period: St. John's Prep 3, Woburn 3-- Midway through the frame, Casey Shea continued his dominant Super 8 run with the goal of the tournament to this point. Shea rushed the zone 1-on-2, smoked one defender down the wing then slid into the slot by deking through the other D-man's legs. The deke threw Prep goalie Dave Letarte off the trail, and the junior tied the game with a backhanded finish.
With that, we're headed to a 12-minute, sudden-death overtime. If that doesn't solve things, we'll head to a shootout.
End of 2nd period: St. John's Prep 3, Woburn 2 --It took the Eagles just 44 seconds to extend their first period lead, with John Farrow hopping off the bench and sliding a pass from Matt MacDonald five-hole. Two minutes later, the Tanners responded, as Alex Hollan joined his brother on the scoresheet with a snipe from near the right faceoff dot.
End of 1st period: St. John's Prep 2, Woburn 1 -- Dan Holland put the Tanners up early, swooping behind the cage and spinning a pinpoint wrister just under the crossbar. The Eagles responded with back-to-back tallies just past the midway mark. Colin Blackwell netted the first, one-touching a centering pass from rookie Shane Eiserman past Woburn goalie Cam McGlashing. Then Sam Kurker put St. John's Prep on top by beating his defender down the right wing and sliding one five-hole on McGlashing about a minute later.
On Sunday, our All-Scholastics section will come out in the paper. The Globe's Chad Finn and high school sports editor Bob Holmes take a brief look at some of the football stars that made the cut.
Danvers High junior striker Corey Persson has verbally committed to attend Penn State University on a soccer scholarship for the 2012 fall season.
Persson earned Globe All-Scholastic honors last season as a sophomore, when she collected 42 goals and 13 assists for Danvers.
"She’s amazingly talented at the striker position," Danvers coach Jim Hinchion told the Globe's Doug Saffir. "She's earned this opportunity. Her hard work has really paid off at the club and high school level, and when she does get there in couple years she’ll do great things.”
The 5-foot-4 Persson will join one of her club teammates in Happy Valley, former Globe All-Scholastic forward Hayley Brock of Acton-Boxborough, who is a freshman forward this season with the Nittany Lions (3-6-1 overall).
Persson has 74 goals and 101 career points in 47 games for the Falcons.
Despite soaring to a Division 2 North title last season and returning some of its top talent, the Danvers girls soccer team refuses to get ahead of themselves.
“Our expectations moving into the heart of the season are to treat each game like we are playing the best team on our schedule,” stated head coach Jimmy Hinchion. “We are only looking at one game at a time, so at this point we're out to win our next game.”
This task is made easier by the 1-2 scoring punch of senior Brittany Russo and junior Corey Persson. Both strikers notched hat tricks on Thursday in an 8-0 win over Salem and in the process Persson picked up her 100th career point only four games into her third season. Russo also hit the 100 point mark in her junior season last year.
“To reach 100 points is an amazing feat. To do it during your junior year is incredible,” lauds Hinchion. “You don't see that often.
“It's a pleasure to get to coach these girls each and every day,” added Hinchion. “Any coach would die for even one striker with their ability. I'm fortunate to have them both.”
The Falcons are off to a 3-0-1 start thanks to their scorers, but it has been an overall team effort that keeps the Falcons in flight. Coach Hinchion points to his team’s experienced players as a driving force behind the team’s success and unity.
“Our whole team is quite close this year on and off the field and they really seem to enjoy being around one another,” Hinchion said. “I think the younger girls are starting to get comfortable with the pace of the varsity game and that bodes well for the entire team.”
Senior goalie Allison Tivnan has been a three-year starter for the Falcons and had 13 shutouts in her junior season. Senior midfielder Becky Landers serves as one of the team’s captains and her resume includes a league MVP as a sophomore and two All-State selections. Senior Kellie MacDonald is another of the team’s captains and a solid defender that has started all four seasons for the Falcons and has an Eastern Mass. All-Star nod to her credit. Senior sweeper and captain Gabby Vega adds more all-star talent to the roster and serves as the “glue in the back” thanks in large part to her “super speed.”
A squad with this much talent is sure to give any opponent fits, but they remain a humble bunch and their coach keeps them grounded with his "one game at a time" mantra.
“We're hoping to continue to compete for our league's title as well as qualify and hopefully make a deep run in the state tournament,” concluded Hinchion.
Editor's note: Globe correspondent Mike Grossi takes a look back at the past weekend of football in Division 2 and 2A. Check back tomorrow for a preview of this weekend’s Division 2 and 2A action.
Dime Package -In this segment, I delve deeper into the games that I covered over the weekend.
Duxbury 16-Plymouth North 12
-This was the best game that I saw this weekend. The ending featured a touchdown pass as time expired, and a well-timed blitz that caused Plymouth North to fail in its conversion attempt. The attempt was intercepted and then returned for two points. Here is a link to interviews with Duxbury coach Dave Maimaron and Plymouth North coach Dwayne Follette.
-Both teams were very sloppy during the first half, but both also showed that they are dangerous. The physicality of both defenses really impressed me. Duxbury didn’t allow any running room for Plymouth North’s bulldozer, Matt Walsh. The Eagles also didn’t allow much running room for Duxbury.
- Duxbury seems to be the more complete team of the two. They have a good passing attack that features Kane Haffey at quarterback and Matt Hallisey as the primary target. The Green Dragons didn’t have a problem finding open receivers.
- Plymouth North needs some more refinement in the passing game. It is obvious that the Eagles are built to run. Cody Merritt overthrew some easy targets and that led to a couple of turnovers. For the Eagles to be successful this season, they will have to get a lead, because they just aren’t equipped to make big comebacks on a regular basis.
- It is my feeling that Duxbury will represent the Patriot (Keenan) in the playoffs. Plymouth North has a tougher road ahead but still has a shot. The Eagles have to play Falmouth and Dennis-Yarmouth, both of which have looked strong this season, as well as an always tough Marshfield squad.FULL ENTRY
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.