DANVERS — The St. John’s Prep basketball team has followed a similar formula in each of its six wins to start the year: play hard man-to-man defense and wear its opponent down in the second half.
The Eagles did that once again last night and added a new wrinkle in their 61-40 victory over Reading.
St. John’s smothered the Rockets from end-to-end, but also got a breakout offensive performance from sophomore wing Ben Judson. The lanky left-hander drilled five three-pointers, scored a game-high 23 points, and looked like the go-to scorer that the St. John’s coaching staff hoped he could be.
“He was a lot more aggressive. We’ve been on him about taking the ball to the hoop and being more aggressive. The last couple days of practice and today he was more aggressive looking for his shot,” Prep (6-0) coach Sean Connolly said. “That’s what we were hoping for (from him) coming into the season. Obviously, he’s not going to shoot as well every night as he did tonight, but we want him to look for his shot.”
Judson made an effort to get to the hoop, but it was his long-range shooting that doomed Reading.
Judson hit three second-quarter threes that helped the Prep build a 10-point lead. He added two more triples in the second half as the Prep pulled away. His final three-pointer pushed the Eagles’ lead to 51-36 early in the fourth quarter.
“He stroked the ball,” Reading (3-2) coach Paul Morrissey said. “He was deep on some of those, too. He set his feet and we allowed him to get some shots off, and he made us pay.”
Ultimately, it was the Prep defense that caused the game to get away from the Rockets.