Friday, January 20, 2017

No. 2 BC High Needs OT to Survive No. 6 St. John's Prep's Upset Bid

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

DANVERS, Mass. - BC High guard Travis Evee was concerned that his only opportunity had gone by the board. Luckily for him and his teammates, it hadn’t.

With BC High knotted up with their Catholic Conference rivals St. John’s Prep at 60 and under five seconds to go, Evee got into the paint and pulled up, only to have his mid-range jumper hit the back iron to send the game to overtime.

In the extra frame, Evee (22 points) acquired a second chance to be the game's hero, and this time he delivered. The junior point guard drove to the basket, maneuvered through traffic and hit the game winning layup as No.2 BC High knocked off St. John’s Prep, 70-68, on Friday night at St. John’s Prep High School.

Evee said coach Bill Loughnane told him to go straight to the basket.

“We set a high ball screen for me,” said Evee. “Coach (Loughnane) told me to be aggressive. They had drawn a couple of charges with me going to the basket, so I just had to be careful and try to get up high to avoid contact.”

The overtime period – in a mirror image of the fourth quarter – was a back and forth affair, with both sides landing heavy blows only for the opponent to respond.

St. John’s Prep drew first blood as Brett McNiff netted two free throws to give his team a 62-60 edge.

Back the other way though it was BC High baseball star Mike Vasil making his presence known on the basketball court, as he splashed home a three-pointer to hand BC a one point lead.

Myles Owens added two from the charity stripe to put BC High up three, 65-62, but St. John’s Prep’s Jarnel Snow-Guzman had an answer. The freshman guard hit a corner three as the shot clock expired to even things up once again, this time up at 65.

Again BC High took a three point lead – this time on a Jordan Minor free throw and Carl Pierre (21 points, 11 rebounds) basket – but as he did all evening long, Matt Relihan (11 points) had a response.

His third three of the night, this one bouncing off the top of the rim, up into the air, and in, tied the score at 68, setting up Evee’s final second heroics.

BC High coach Bill Loughnane said any win on the road in the Catholic Conference is a good win.

“Coming up here, where we have struggled, and coming away with a win is always nice,” said Loughnane. “In our conference, road wins are hard to come by – the kids earned this one tonight.”

Early on, St. John’s Prep looked simply unstoppable at the offensive end of the floor. The Prep shot 78-percent over the first five minutes of play, with Nate Hobbs supplying eight points to help his team jump out to an 8-3 lead.

Tommy O’Neil and Brian Nju-Ghong got in on the offensive onslaught along with
Hobbs, as a basket from O’Neil and a three pointer from Nju-Ghong helped build a 22-15 lead for the Prep after one-quarter play.

On the defensive side of the ball, meanwhile, Relihan and Hobbs were all over BC High’s scorers in Pierre and Evee. The tandem held BC High’s two offensive weapons to just 12 combined points in the first half.

“Those guys were terrific defensively in the first half,” said St. John’s Prep coach John Dullea. “I think we held to them to 10-12 first half points, and I told our guys if this stays like this, we’re going to win.”

BC High was in need of some of offensive production, and Loughnane turned to Matt Thompson to provide a spark.

Thompson answered the call, scoring six points to help BC High pull within two points, 24-22, midway through the second quarter.

O’Neil and Hobbs, however, had one last first half run in the them, as the two combined to go on a 10-2 spurt over the final three minutes of play to hand St. John’s Prep a 31-24 lead at the break.

Behind a hot third quarter from Evee, BC High was able to climb back into it. Evee sunk a three-pointer to begin the frame, and moments later was able to hit a floater plus a foul to hand BC High a 32-31 lead.

St. John’s Prep trailed 42-38 entering the fourth quarter, but behind the play of Relihan (11 points) and O’Neil (11 points, 9 rebounds), the Prep was able to remain within striking distance.

Following a Pierre (21 points, 11 rebounds) jump shot that pushed the BC High lead up to five, O’Neil came up with a key and-one layup to cut the Prep deficit to just two.

Later in the frame after Pierre broke a 51-51 via a reverse layup, the Prep’s six-foot eight-inch junior forward responded once again, this time driving with his left hand and finishing to even the game up at 53.

The two teams exchanged baskets right down to the final moments of the fourth quarter. A Pierre pull-up in the lane appeared to give BC High some breathing room at 60-57 with under thirty seconds to go, but back the other way Relihan drilled a three pointer form the top of the key off a slip screen to tie the game at 60 and send it to overtime.

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