SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

February 11, 2014

In the Paint: Picking all-stars by grade is a balancing act

In the Paint

Matt Jenkins

When you watch the games and look at the boxscores from the North Shore boys basketball scene over the second half of the season, it’s pretty easy to see that there is extreme balance across all local leagues.

That balance may not result in every team hovering around .500, but most games seem to be extremely competitive. Salem, Beverly and Lynn English each split with one another. A Hamilton-Wenham team with only two losses needed to fight tooth-and-nail to edge a Masconomet squad that is fighting tooth-and-nail to get into the tournament. Bishop Fenwick defeats Peabody one week, then loses to the Tanners the next week.

It goes on and on, and the balance of power isn’t just spread out among teams. When you look at individuals, there is power in all classes this season as well.

Several freshmen and sophomores are playing major roles across the North Shore, so it seemed like a good time to name some class-specific all-star teams.

But there’s a catch: all 13 teams in the Salem News coverage area had to be represented by at least one player, and no team could have more than three. Also, each “all-star” team had a maximum limit of eight players.

It was a bit of a balancing act — choosing just three players from teams like Salem, Danvers and St. John’s Prep was very difficult — but here’s the end result:

SENIORS

Starting five: David Kazadi, Salem, C; Nick Cross, Beverly, F; Dom Luoni, Bishop Fenwick, F; Max Burt, St. John’s Prep, G; Johnnie Spears, Pingree, G.

Off the bench: Matt Jaeger, Ipswich, G; John Berchoff, Beverly, F; Henry Eagar, Hamilton-Wenham, F.

Scouting report: This group would have strength up front with Kazadi and Cross as starters and Berchoff and Eagar off the bench, and the team would be very good defensively with Kazadi protecting the rim and Burt and Spears harassing opposing guards. Luoni would be in a great situation with this group. He could work hard without the ball and become a dangerous spot-up shooter that feeds off the play-making ability of Burt and Spears. Jaeger, a returning Cape Ann League all-star, has quietly had another excellent season and could play the role of shooter off the bench.

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