Salem News Boys Basketball Player of the Year
St. John's Prep, Senior
The St. John's Prep basketball team entered the 2012-13 season as an overlooked group, a club with low expectations placed on it by outsiders. The same could be said of its best player, senior guard Drex Costello.
Costello found his place with the Eagles over the previous two years, but hadn't proven to be much more than a good defensive player off the bench for Sean Connolly's crew. This season he made sure everyone found out that there was more to his game than just defense.
Costello was a picture of consistency on both ends of the floor for the Eagles. He brought his usual tenacity on defense, highlighted by a late-season showdown with Central Catholic in Danvers. In that game, Costello hounded and harassed Central Catholic's high-scoring guard Tyler Nelson, holding him to just 10 points on 1 for 13 shooting.
On offense, it seemed like Costello was a lock to score somewhere between 12-18 points every night. He ended up averaging 13.5 points per game and pulling down five rebounds a game. Costello was especially dangerous from the perimeter and he had shooting range that extended well beyond the three-point line
He guided the Eagles to an 18-2 record overall and an 8-0 mark in the Catholic Conference. He earned the Catholic Conference MVP in the process.
Costello's defining moment in an Eagles uniform happened in the first round of the year-end IAABO Board 130 Classic Tournament in the second meeting between Central Catholic and St. John's. Locked in a tie game, Costello drilled a deep three with seven seconds left to lift St. John's to victory.
The 6-foot-4 Bates was one of the most athletic players on the North Shore ... Averaged more than 12 points and 11 rebounds per game in a balanced Danvers attack ... Named Northeastern Conference All-Star ... Scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in win over Salem ... produced 12 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks in Division 3 state championship win over Smith Academy ... Will continue playing basketball at either Keene State, Salve Regina, or Salem State.
A breakout star for the Panthers this winter, Berchoff led the team in points with 291, good for a 13.9 average ... Second on the Panthers in rebounds and steals ... Named Game MVP in the Panthers Holiday Classic Tournament final by scoring 18 points in Beverly's win over Boston Latin ... Scored 20 points or more in the final three games of the regular season and averaged 19.5 points per game in his final four regular season contests.
Falcons' shooting star finished the season with an area high 73 three-pointers ... Averaged 11 points per game ... Named Northeastern Conference All-Star and won the league's three-point competition by going 10 for 10 ... Scored 27 points and knocked down eight threes in a win over St. Mary's of Lynn ... Hit his final four shots of the season, each coming late in Danvers' win over Smith Academy for the Div. 3 state championship.
A tough, hard-nosed post player for Danvers, Connors averaged more than 12 points per game ... Exploded for 32 points in a win over Revere ... Selected as a Northeastern Conference All-Star ... Considers the team's state championship victory over Smith Academy as the high point of the season ... Also an excellent baseball player, Connors is undecided about college.
St. John's Prep, Senior
An excellent all-around player, Dooley was the Prep's engine on offense ... Averaged 11.1 points per game and seven assists for the Eagles ... One of the top perimeter defenders on the North Shore ... Scored a season-high 27 points in a win against Lynn Classical ... Carries a 3.92 GPA ... Hopes to continue his basketball career at the college level, but is currently undecided about his school.
Electric guard who has been a three-year standout for the Witches ... Third in the area with 16.2 points per game average ... Selected as a Northeastern Conference All-Star ... Scored 27 points and hit the game-winning shot in a first round playoff win over Winchester in the Division 2 North tournament ... Aiming to play basketball in college and study Criminal Justice.
Sophomore guard had a phenomenal season, leading an inexperienced Generals team to the postseason ... Averaged an area-best 18.9 points per game ... Also led Hamilton-Wenham in assists and steals ... Earned All-League status for the Cape Ann League ... Scored 30 points, including four free throws down the stretch to seal a win over Pentucket ... Has a 4.4 GPA on a 4.5 scale.
Developed into a dangerous scoring threat for the Tigers ... Contributed 14 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game ... Named team MVP and All-Cape Ann League ... Hit a buzzer-beating three to defeat Rockport, 56-55 ... Scored 22 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and came away with four blocks and four assists in win over Pentucket ... Hopes to play both soccer and basketball in college.
Louf-Woods played the role of dirty work forward for the Witches the past two seasons ... Recorded seven double-doubles as a senior ... Posted 15 points and 10 rebounds in Div. 2 North tournament victory over Winchester ... Had a 16-point, 14-rebound gem against Lynn English ... Credits Salem coach Tommy Doyle for making him mentally tough on the court.
The Falcons' floor general capped a great three-year run by helping his team to its second straight Div. 3 state championship ... Earned the Northeastern Conference Small MVP ... Dished out 11 assists in Danvers' North semifinal win over Whittier ... Hit clutch jumper in final moments of team's state semifinal win over Martha's Vineyard at the TD Garden ... Scored 10 points and handed out 12 assists in win over Revere ... Had 18 points, six assists and five boards in victory over St. Mary's ... Will play soccer at Division 1 UMass Lowell.
A talented offensive player, McKenna led Danvers by scoring 18 points per game ... Missed seven games due to mononucleosis but still scored more than 300 points ... Dropped 34 points on Winthrop during the regular season ... Averaged 17.8 points per game in six postseason contests, including three games of 20-plus points ... Northeastern Conference All-Star ... Will continue playing at Springfield College next year.
North Shore Tech, Senior
The Bulldogs' go-to scorer finished the season on a major hot streak, averaging 20 points per game in the final nine contests ... Had two 27-point games, 26 in another, and a pair of 20-pointers in the second half of the season ... Extremely dangerous from three-point land, nailing an area-best 63 through the regular season ... Commonwealth Conference All-Star ... Has been accepted at Bay State College and New England Institute of Art, and intends to study audio engineering.
A do-it-all player for the Panthers, Rogers led the team in rebounding and steals ... Third on Beverly in scoring (10.9 per game), third in assists, and second in blocks ... Scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a win over Revere ... Named Panther Holiday Classic MVP after producing a combined 27 points and 17 rebounds in two games ... Hit buzzer-beater in overtime to defeat Swampscott ... A two-time Northeastern Conference All-Star.
Super quick point guard that Pingree coach Steve Gibbs considered to be one of the best perimeter defenders in the Eastern Independent League ... Unselfish playmaker who averaged eight assists a game ... Also scored 15 points per contest and added five steals a game ... EIL All-Star ... Scored season-high 25 points in Highlanders' loss to Green Farms in the New England Class C Championship ... Credits his grandfather, Barry Spears, for teaching him the game.
St. John's Prep, Senior
Hard-working forward who defended and rebounded well from his position ... The 6-foot-5 Syska averaged 11 rebounds a game ... Catholic Conference All-Star ... Produced 15 points and 15 rebounds in one win over B.C. High ... Scored team-high 16 points — including a baseline jumper with seven seconds left in regulation that momentarily gave the Prep a lead — in tourney loss to Andover ... Hopes to continue playing at either Keene State or Roger Williams.
Beverly — Nick Cross, Jr. F; Jonangel Franco, Jr. G; Dom Abate, Sr. G.
Bishop Fenwick — Ben Maxner, Sr. C; Matt Costello, Jr. F.
Danvers — Kieran Beck, Jr. F.
Hamilton-Wenham — Henry Eagar, Jr. F.
Ipswich — Matt Jaegar, Jr. G.
Masconomet — Tighe VanLenten, Sr. G; Chris Schleer, Sr. G.
North Shore Tech — Jaz Sanchez, Sr. F.
Peabody — Maynard Wheeler, Sr. G.
Pingree — Kyle Lentini, Jr. F; Connor Reardon, Jr. F.
St. John's Prep — Ben Judson, So. G.
Salem — Billy Muse, Sr. G; Marvin Baez, Sr. G
Swampscott — Steven Bowers, Sr. F; Dan Trentsch, Sr. G; Val Temin, Sr. G.