Senior guards Drex Costello (14 points per game) and Tyler Dooley (12.2 ppg) have been very consistent so far, and junior guard Max Burt (10.6 ppg) has been impressive off the bench. Burt is a shooter capable of stretching the floor, and he has helped Connolly by also serving as a backup point guard.
“I have been very pleased. The kids are working hard and getting better every day,” Connolly said. “We’re really working hard on defense, which is a big reason we’re 5-0.”
Costello and Dooley are both excellent perimeter defenders, and Costello has made some big shots for the Prep this season.
On the inside, Josh Syska and Jake Burt have been giving the Eagles good minutes.
Connolly knows this fast start was just what the Eagles needed because of their difficult schedule. St. John’s still has two games each against B.C. High, Catholic Memorial, and Central Catholic.
“The toughest part of the schedule is coming with league play. There are still a lot of tough games,” Connolly said. “Early on when we were looking at the schedule we realized if we wanted to make the tournament we’d have to start this way because there are so many tough games down the stretch.”
Austin Prep is off to a 4-0 start this season thanks in large part to Beverly’s own Rich Gilbride. A sophomore, Gilbride has already made his presence felt with a couple of big scoring games. Gilbride went for 25 points in the team’s win over Matignon two weeks ago, then led the way with 23 points in an overtime victory over Cristo Rey earlier this week.
In The Paint, a column on North Shore boys’ basketball, runs every Tuesday during the winter sports season in The Salem News. Contact staff writer Matt Jenkins at 978-338-2648, by e-mail at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @MattJenkins_SN.