Team chemistry is arguably the biggest reason why St. John’s is playing so well. The Eagles lost all five starters from last year’s 13-8 team, and very little was expected of them this season. The preseason target seemed to be just qualifying for the playoffs this year, but that goal is adjusting daily.
“We like playing together,” senior captain Drex Costello said. “Last year was fragmented; it was just not a good season for us. This year, I like playing with my teammates. I like them all outside of basketball and on the court.”
Costello is also one of four St. John’s Prep players from North Andover, so there’s definitely some familiarity with one another. Costello, senior Tyler Dooley, and juniors Max Butterbrodt and Max Burt all hail from North Andover, and each is playing a crucial role.
It should be mentioned that this team has created enough buzz to keep former star Pat Connaughton interested. Connaughton, while home on break from his college schedule with Notre Dame, dropped by a practice recently.
Bishop Fenwick’s three senior captains this winter each transferred into the school and currently have younger brothers in the program.
Joe Buccheri came from St. John’s Prep for sophomore year, Ben Maxner also came from St. John’s as a junior, and Fran Hannon came to Fenwick for junior year from Malden Catholic.
Ben’s brother Travis is on the varsity team, while Joe’s brother John is playing JV, and Fran’s brother Dan is on the freshman team.
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.