DANVERS — The St. John’s Prep basketball team doesn’t have anyone in particular that it can lean on to make big plays this year, so the Eagles have to get solid team defense to remain competitive.
Last night at home against St. Mary’s of Lynn, St. John’s showed just how tough it can be when everyone commits to defense.
The Eagles dialed it up defensively in the second half and broke the game open with a big third quarter run on their way to a 67-43 win over the Spartans.
Leading by only eight at halftime (32-24), St. John’s started the third quarter with a 20-1 run that put away their visitors early.
“I thought in the second half we picked up our defensive intensity,” St. John’s coach Sean Connolly said. “I thought we did a pretty good job pressuring the ball with Tyler Dooley and Drex Costello. Our big guys were in foul trouble in the first half and I think they controlled the backboard in the second half.”
All together, the third quarter ended with St. John’s outscoring the Spartans 22-4.
St. Mary’s, the defending Division 4 state champs, have a different look this year with only a few experienced players returning. The Spartans’ young crew wasn’t ready to face the type of pressure that St. John’s can bring.
“It’s a young team. Matt Manning has some experience, Tommy Deveau has some experience, but after that we don’t have much experience,” St. Mary’s coach Kevin Moran said. “What better place than here to try to find it. Coach Connolly is a hell of a coach and his man-to-man pressure got to us.”
Had it not been for St. John’s Prep foul trouble, the final margin of victory could have been much greater.