SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

February 12, 2013

In The Paint: Looking ahead to postseason basketball

(Continued)

Forwards Josh Syska and Max Butterbrodt are tough-as-nails players who have increased their scoring as the season has gone along. Sophomore Ben Judson is a dangerous long-range shooter while Max Burt, Jake Burt and Quentin Bullen have been valuable reserves.

Division 1 is crowded with solid representation from the Merrimack Valley Conference (Central Catholic, Lowell, Andover) and the Greater Boston League (Malden, Somerville, Everett, Medford). Waltham, the team that handed St. John’s its only loss, is also a team to keep an eye on.

DIVISION 2

Northeastern Conference teams Salem and Beverly have each had solid seasons and Masconomet is on the brink of qualifying after an excellent midseason run.

Division 2 just happens to be a very crowded bracket. North Andover, from the Merrimack Valley Conference, is one of the best teams in the state, and teams from both the Middlesex League (Melrose, Wakefield, Woburn, Burlington) and Boston City League (Brighton, New Mission) will make this a very difficult tournament to navigate through.

Salem is undersized but gets a lot from its starting five — Christian Dunston, Billy Muse, Marvin Baez, Emilio Beato and Jared Louf-Woods. Junior reserves David Kazadi and Jamie Dominguez have been playing particularly well lately for the Witches (13-4).

Beverly, meanwhile, showed just how tough it can be when it recently played undefeated Danvers right to the buzzer. No team has played the Falcons as tough as the Panthers did, and they could be a tough matchup for many teams in the postseason. Forwards Cam Rogers, Jon Berchoff and Nick Cross are each inside-outside threats, and guards Dom Abate, Jonangel Franco and Josh Cairns each play their roles well. Franco can really make the Panthers go when he’s playing aggressively.

Masconomet still needs one more win to qualify, but with three games remaining and the Chieftains playing their best basketball recently it seems like a formality.

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