, Salem, MA


February 12, 2013

In The Paint: Looking ahead to postseason basketball

In the Paint

Matt Jenkins

Roughly one week of games remain in the 2012-13 boys basketball regular season — which means everything is about to get serious.

The North Shore has been lucky enough to witness some major top-level team talent this winter. But how will that translate into the postseason, when the stakes are highest?

Let’s take a look, division-by-division, to see how our local teams match up with the Eastern Massachusetts talent.


St. John’s Prep has had an amazing year. Unbelievable, really.

The preseason chatter was that the Eagles could struggle and possibly face a year without tournament qualification. Even head coach Sean Connolly seemed so focused on just getting the necessary 10 wins just to earn a postseason bid. Maybe that’s why the Eagles’ bandwagon was a lonely ride in early December.

Now? The wagon is overloaded like a clown car, so full that the tires could burst from all the weight.

The Eagles have earned all their new-found love. They started fast, handling all their early-season non-league action, then quickly asserted themselves against their Catholic Conference rivals. A small hiccup against Waltham wasn’t enough to derail them when they faced their biggest test, the first of two regular season meetings with Central Catholic.

After a 55-52 victory over the Raiders, St. John’s (15-1) may have actually positioned itself as the current favorite in Division 1 North. If the tournament started today the Eagles would be the No. 1 seed, but they still face the rematch with Central Catholic this Sunday (7:15 p.m. at Central).

Senior guard Drex Costello has had a tremendous year, and deserves consideration for The Salem News Player of the Year honors at season’s end. Costello is a consistent scorer and an excellent defensive player. Paired with Tyler Dooley in the backcourt, the Eagles have one of the state’s hardest-working (and possibly most underrated) tandems around.

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