DANVERS-- It’s been said a million times; basketball is a game of runs, and St. John’s Prep’s home tilt against Boston English on Friday night is a prime example to support that timeless cliche.
At the end of the first quarter, the Prep, coming off of two straight losses, found themselves down two points to the visiting English squad. It was a back-and-forth first frame as Boston English and their star point guard, sophomore Mekhi Dedrick, found answer after answer for the Eagles, with the two teams trading buckets throughout the quarter.
It was in the second quarter, however, that the Prep finally found its groove and its first run of the game.
Junior captain Aidan Callahan started to heat up and the Eagles’ full-court pressure finally broke the English ball-handlers, resulting in a game-changing 16-3 run that turned a three-point deficit into a ten-point half-time lead for the home side.
“We needed some energy, we needed some life,” said St. John’s coach, John Dullea, “and once we started playing some defense and getting some better quality shots, things started to snowball for us in a positive direction.”
Echoing Coach Dullea’s snowball comparison, the third quarter saw the Eagles build upon their lead even more with another show-stopping run with the Eagles outscoring Boston English, 14-2, building their lead to 56-39. Much of this run can be attributed to Callahan, a silky-smooth scorer for the Prep. The junior guard finished the night with a team-high 17 points and much of that came within the second and third quarters.
Yet, it was Callahan’s passing that stole the show, capping off a crowd-raising 8-0 run in the third quarter with a behind-the-back pass to senior Matt Duchemin. Throughout the entire night, while attracting a majority of the attention from the English defense, Callahan constantly found open teammates and put them in good scoring positions.
“I try to encourage my teammates [to shoot] and hit them when they’re open. I just try to lead the team and lead by example and it’s great when we’re all hitting shots,” said Callahan after the game.
The biggest thorn in the Prep’s side all night was Boston English’s Dedrick and his gazelle-like strides up and down the court. Dedrick finished the night with a game-high 31 points, often sparking mini English runs that threatened to close the margin between the two teams. Ultimately, though, Dedrick was only one player and St. John’s balanced scoring and effective full-court traps was more than enough to overcome his efforts.
Besides Callahan, a number of Prep players turned in solid games in front of their home crowd. Junior Luke Poirier finished second on the team in points, tallying 11 total, and hit two timely 3-pointers to boost his squad. Another quality performance was turned in by Jackson Stacey, a junior who came off of the bench, as he finished with 10 points and two 3-bombs.
Mason Davis held down the paint for the Eagles, finishing with eight points and a number of rebounds, and Duchemin, a senior, came off the bench to score nine points on the night.
Friday night’s victory was a much-needed one for the Prep, snapping their two-game losing streak and providing a bit of a boost before an upcoming slate of important conference games. With four of their next five games coming against Catholic Memorial, Xaverian, BC High and Malden Catholic, Coach Dullea expressed his team’s need to be better and acknowledged that their win over Boston English was a step in the right direction.
“I think that in the second and third quarters we played pretty well. I think that in the first and fourth quarters, we can play a little better, but we’ll take the win, obviously,” said Dullea, “We’ll take this win. We’re looking forward to a number of Catholic Conference games coming up and we’ll have to keep getting better.”
St. John’s Prep 74, Boston English 65
at St. John’s Prep
St. John’s 15 22 28 9 -- 74
Boston English 17 10 18 20 -- 65
St. John’s Prep: Callahan 6-5-17; Poirier 4-1-11; Costinayra 3-0-6; McDonald 1-0-2; Davis 4-0-8; Perry 3-0-9; Stacey 4-0-10; Duchemin 4-0-9; O’Brien 1-0-2; Bruno 0-0-0; Atkins 0-0-0.
Boston English: Dedrick 13-2-31; Pena 4-0-12; Oloagun 5-0-10; Montanez 2-2-6; Vatel 1-0-2; Perez 1-0-2; Durosca 1-0-2; Thermidor 0-0-0; Sheppard 0-0-0.
Halftime: St. John’s Prep 37, Boston English 27.
3-pointers: BE, Perry 3, Poirier 2, Stacey 2, Duchemin; SJP, Pena 4, Dedrick 3.