DANVERS — One of these games, the lack of size inside could be a problem for the St. John's Prep basketball team.
Last night was no such game.
The Eagles used hot outside shooting and dominant performances from senior guards Drex Costello and Tyler Dooley to dominate Malden Catholic, 73-45 at home as the Prep improved to a perfect 13-0 on the season.
Visiting MC went to a zone defense right away and the Eagles rapidly moved the ball around the perimeter to find the open shooters. Costello, Dooley and Max Burt combined for six, first half three-pointers as the Eagles jumped out to a 39-20 lead at the break. The Prep hit nine trifectas through three quarters and was 8 of 9 from the charity stripe. MC meanwhile, only had one player, Karlens Joas, hit more than one field goal in the first half.
"They (MC) were playing some zone. We've got some guards so we wanted to spread it out," explained SJP head coach Sean Connolly. "Obviously we shot well tonight so that made it easier. We played pretty well offensively."
Costello and Dooley were the catalysts early, in particular Dooley, who had four first half steals. In the first quarter, after picking the opposing guard's pocket, Dooley took the ball the length of the court and did his best Rajon Rondo imitation, faking a behind-the-back pass before converting the and-one layup. Dooley showed his creativity around the rim with a couple scoop layups and finished with 15 of his 20 points in the first half.
Defensively, Dooley held his match up, Joe O'Brien, to zero points on the game.
"He's (Dooley) very quick and athletic. He's kind of deceivingly quick. He was doing a good job getting to the lane and creating for himself and creating for other guys," said Connolly. "He's the guy that makes us go."
When it wasn't Dooley burning MC in the first half, it was Costello, who poured in a game-high 22 points. Costello showed his touch with a pair of runners in the lane and his range with three jumpers from down town. Without a true big man it's that much more important for Dooley and Costello to be on their games night in and night out.
"Those two have been our main guys all year," noted Connolly. "They're probably our best defensive players as guards and two of our better offensive players as well."
Max Burt hit a pair of corner three's and was the only other Eagle in double-digit scoring with 12 points. With a deep bench, St. John's Prep had 10 different kids score the basketball. No starter played in the fourth quarter for the Eagles and the bench was still able to outscore the Lancers (7-7) by a point in the quarter.
"I think we've got a lot of guys who can play. We think we can play eight or nine guys consistently against good teams," said Connolly.
"And I think that makes us a better team because we can play more guys and do a lot of different things."
Starter Max Butterbrodt scored four points but two came off of a steal in which Butterbrodt jumped a pass at the top of the key, ran the length of the floor and jammed the ball home while in almost a dead sprint.