DANVERS — Each win piled up by the St. John’s Prep basketball team this winter has been accompanied by a little more respect and a little more notoriety.
The shift from tournament hopeful to legitimate contender in Division 1 North was completed last night.
The Eagles handled Catholic Conference foe and state power B.C. High, 67-58, and served notice that they’re for real, and they’re not going anywhere.
“We’ve got a target on our back now,” St. John’s captain Drex Costello said after scoring 15 points despite having two heavily taped fingers on his left hand.
Costello could serve as a microcosm for this Prep team due to his toughness and consistency. St. John’s coach Sean Connolly was preparing to play B.C. High without Costello after the senior guard dislocated a finger at Thursday’s practice. Costello had to go to the hospital to get the finger popped back into place, but he had no intention of missing last night’s game and letting his teammates down.
That type of team chemistry helped St. John’s solve B.C. High’s famous 1-3-1 defense early, then pull away in the second and third quarters.
St. John’s actually built the lead to 19 (53-34) late in the third.
“B.C. High is tough and very well coached. They have very good athletes and luckily we shot the ball very well tonight,” Connolly said. “We did a pretty good job defensively, in the first half especially. It was a good team win for us.”
Sophomore Ben Judson was a major reason why the Eagles shot the ball so well. Judson hit five three-pointers for the game, and had 15 of his 20 points before intermission. He hit four triples in the first half, including a four-point play.
“They shot it really well. We had a layup or two that we didn’t convert and they came down and made us pay,” B.C. High (4-2) coach Bill Loughnane said. “We knew (Judson) was a good shooter and he proved it tonight.”