By Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7)
BOSTON, Mass. – While their performance came against a program that is not in their division, but the Boston High School Eagles look every bit the part of a championship contender in their third straight victory to open the season.
Led by junior point guard Travis Evee and a slew of lengthy, versatile forwards, the Eagles jumped out to an early 27-12 lead over the Panthers of Boston Cathedral and never looked back on their way to a 91-71 victory at home.
“We saw [The Panthers] play and they like to play fast, play off a turnovers and make runs, so we new we had to get on top of them early and give ourselves a cushion for when they tried to make that run later on,” Evee said about the importance of a fast start.
The Panthers are not your average Division 4 program, but they simply could not match up with the a BC High squad that hopes to contend for a D1 Title this season. The Eagles held a dominant 30-13 advantage on the glass throughout the first half and finished with a 53-37 lead in total rebounding, while also tallying 12 blocks in the rout.
Senior Carl Pierre (20 rebounds, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks), as well as juniors Jordan Minor (13 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists) and Troy Salmans (8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks) controlled the paint on both ends of the floor and made it difficult for Cathedral’s penetrating guards to finish.
“Tonight, [The Panthers] made some tough shots over us, but I like our length, I think our big guys have a nice IQ. They know when to go after it and when not to foul and they battled the whole game,” said Eagles head coach Bill Loughnane.
Another key big game, Spencer Riley, was honored before the game for returning to the court after battling lymphoma over the past several months. The 6-foot-5 junior hit a pair of triples in the first quarter and finished with 8 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and another block to add to his teams’ total.
Cathedral was paced by senior guard Calvin Cheek, who poured in a game-high 29 points that included several acrobatic finishes in the lane, and dropped in a nice floater to cut the deficit to 52-40 midway through the third quarter.
Yet that’s when the Eagles put the game beyond all doubt with a 16-4 run that was sparked by Evee, Pierre and two key reserves in Matt Thompson (3 points, 3 assists) and Mike Vasil (11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists).
Vasil is well known for his exploits as the ace of BC High’s formidable baseball team, but he played a different role as an energetic player off the bench in this contest.
“Everyone plays a role on the team and they played it well tonight,” said Evee. “Jordan [Minor] is a beast on the boards and he gets us extra possessions, and it’s great to see guys come off the bench and contribute like Mike [Vasil].”
Even (25 points, 6 assists, 4 blocks) controlled the game from start to finish with the poise of a veteran, but this is in actuality his first full season at point guard for Loughnane after his son and star floor general Jack Loughnane graduated.
“I think [Evee]’s been terrific,” praised Loughnane. “It’s a big adjustment. He had to play two-guard and the point occassionally last year and now he’s a full-time point, he’s stepped up and played very well.”
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Pierre blocks on one end and Vasil swings to Evee for another 3. After 1Q: BC High 29, Cathedral 12. @HerewegoJoe @masspreps pic.twitter.com/kOHSoXdoNW— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) December 22, 2016
Eagles baseball star Mike Vasil showing he can hoop. 33-14 BCH early Q2 pic.twitter.com/G7MQDhlei3— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) December 22, 2016
Calvin Cheek winning the degree of difficulty layup contest...but BCH winning the game 42-24 late Q2 pic.twitter.com/tUV5X1uyzX— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) December 23, 2016
Calvin Cheek with the soft teardrop. BCH leads 52-40 mid Q3 pic.twitter.com/2zCBjufpaX— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) December 23, 2016