Friday, February 17, 2017

BC High Tops St. John's Prep for First Catholic Conference Title Since 2009

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

BOSTON - All season long, BC High’s staple has been its defense. But, over the last two games, that changed.

The Eagles combined to let up 168 points in two matchups against Catholic Memorial, leading to two consecutive losses to the Knights.

On Thursday night, however, BC High was back in early season form as, behind 17 points and 17 rebounds from Jordan Minor, the Eagles took down St. John’s Prep, 66-56, at Boston College High School.

The win gives BC High its first Catholic Conference title since 2009, and pushes BC High coach Bill Loughnane (197-84) to just three wins away from 200 victories at two different schools.

Loughnane said he knew Minor was going to have to be at the top of his game against a big St. John’s Prep team.

“We have been telling our guys rebounders are mistake eaters,” said Loughnane. “(Jordan Minor) was a beast tonight in all areas of the game and we really needed it against (St. John’s Prep’s) size.”

Midway through the fourth quarter, BC High appeared to be in full control as a Minor driving and-one layup gave them a 53-39 advantage.

St. John’s Prep, however, began to show signs of life.

Matt Relihan (12 points) knocked down a trio of free throws before Tommy O’Neil (18 points) connected on a triple to pull the Prep within eight.

On BC High’s ensuing possession, St. John’s forced a turnover, allowing Relihan to get out in transition and drill his second three-pointer to get the Prep within 53-48.

Mike Vasil made sure that BC High would be heading home with the conference title, as he splashed a trey of his own from the left wing to put BC High back up eight.

The Prep had one last chance with under two minutes to play trailing by seven, but Minor came up with a loose ball and knocked down a pair of free throws to seal the win for BC High.

“Coach (Loughnane) always says it starts on the defensive end,” said Minor. “I need to be the defensive anchor for my team, and I am just happy I was able to step up in a big way tonight.”

In the early going, BC High – boosted by Minor’s energy on the glass – was the aggressor.

BC High’s defense held St. John’s Prep to just one field goal in the opening quarter, and spearheaded by Minor’s six quick points they took a 9-3 lead after one.

A Matt Thompson triple and a pull up by Travis Evee (16 points) widened BC High’s edge to 13 points, 16-3, but Nate Hobbs helped slowly bring the Prep back.

An and-one by Hobbs, along with four trips to the charity stripe, brought St. John’s within 29-20 with under a minute to go in the half.

Carl Pierre (17 points) would give BC High some breathing room before the break. Pierre started off by hitting a fall away in the lane and then, off an outlet pass, connected on a three pointer as the buzzer sounded to put BC High up 34-20 at the break.

“The conference is a big deal,” said Loughnane. “It is one of our preseason goals, we haven’t won it a while. There are no bunnies in this league, every game is a battle, and the kids love it. They get up for it, they go after it, so this really feels good.”

BC High will now move on to the Comcast Tournament this weekend at Malden Catholic, where they will take on Newton North, then either Brighton or Needham.

St. John’s Prep, for its part, takes on Fenwick this weekend before facing off against Masconomet or Beverly.

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