By Jean DePlacid
---- — PEABODY — When Bishop Fenwick boys basketball coach John Preziosa found out his leading scorer, Matt Costello, would miss last night’s game because of an injured finger, he told the rest of his team they’d need to step up.
The Crusaders responded to their first-year head coach and got contributions from up and down the lineup in a 60-33 blowout over Catholic Central League rival Archbishop Williams at home.
Senior tri-captain Dom Luoni of Peabody led Fenwick with 11 points while Jhon Olivera added nine and Devin Graham had seven. That helped make up for the absence of Costello, a senior captain who is averaging better than 19 points an outing.
“We needed people to step up and they did,” said Preziosa. “Travis Maxner, who is one of our captains (6 points), was a leader. Our bench really chipped in, and it was nice to see so many different people involved in the scoring.”
The Crusaders (5-6 overall, but 5-5 for MIAA tourament purposes) came out firing three-pointers as Luoni, Olivera and Graham all hit treys to quickly build up a 15-4 lead. By the end of the first quarter the home team had built up a 20-8 cushion and kept the pressure on in the second quarter.
“Everybody contributed to this win,” said Luoni, who has narrowed his top college choices to Nichols and Roger Williams. “It’s fun to play this up-tempo pressure defense game, especially on the wing.”
Bishop Fenwick’s fast-paced offense and smothering pressure defense led to a 30-11 halftime lead. The visiting Bishops were only able to put three points on the board in that quarter.
“When I first took the job I told the kids that we would shrink this (already small) court even more,” said Preziosa. “The whole concept of our pressure defense is to have a big rotation and get fresh legs out there. I want them to go all out, then have somebody else come in (off the bench) to do the same thing.
“We’re working on that defense, and I knew it was going to take time to get the system going the way I want. We’re starting to hit our stride nd are going to be a much tougher team to play in February. We’re getting there — and it showed the way we took better care of the ball.”
The Crusaders turned the ball over only nine times while causing 23 turnovers. Rishad DeSilva and Graham each had four steals while Olivera had three.
Fenwick went full tilt all game and took the ball to the basket aggressively. Ten different players figured in the scoring, with Josh Niconchuk coming off the bench to score nine points.
The Crusaders are back home Sunday when they host crosstown rival Peabody High at 2 p.m.