By Dan Harrison
---- — BEVERLY—Tuesday night’s close home loss to unbeaten Danvers might have been the reason for the Beverly High basketball team’s slow start last night against Lynn Classical.
Or perhaps it was the stifling Rams’ defense, which focused on shutting down Jonathan Berchoff, Nick Cross and Cam Rogers, that caused the most damage.
Either way, the Panthers played with no energy on either end of the floor and were blown out, 66-45, after scoring just three points in the first quarter.
“We just didn’t have any energy tonight,” said Lewis. “We wanted to attack them inside, and I thought we settled for the first shot that came along. But I’m just really disappointed (in how we played) on the other end: on defense, the lack of communication and the lack of energy. They just beat us to the ball.”
Phillip Rogers abused Beverly (10-5) on the inside throughout the game, beating the hosts in transition, grabbing offensive rebounds and creating steals on defense. The sophomore forward finished with 31 points and 15 boards.
“He was just attacking the glass,” explained Lewis. “He played with energy and got after it. I told our kids, ‘He’s good. We have to get a body on him and know where he is at all times and keep him off the glass.’ He just did what he wanted in the paint.”
Beverly, meanwhile, tried sporadically to get the ball to Berchoff (8 points) and Cam Rogers, but the Rams were prepared. If it weren’t for a trifecta from Dom Abate (12 points), Beverly wouldn’t have scored in the opening quarter.
The third player the Rams tried to shut down was Cross, who didn’t record a point until nearly five minutes into the second half when he hit a mid-range jumper. It was his only points of the night.
Cross, Rogers and Berchoff had all contributed big games in the Panthers’ 53-45 win over Classical in the first game of the season.
“We played one of our junk defenses where we keyed on three people (Cross, Rogers and Berchoff) if all three were in the game,” said Classical (11-7) coach Tom Grassa. “They accounted for 43 points in my gym, and I’ve been looking at the boxscores. Those three consistently might account for 40 points.”
The one player in Orange-and-Black who did bring the energy was junior forward Zach Duguid, who pounded the glass and scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half. Duguid was the only real presence for Beverly outside of Abate.
“(Duguid) played really hard. He did a great job, got after the glass and scored in the paint,” said Lewis. “And he had energy. If we all had energy like that tonight, it might have been a different score.”