|Travis Evee (left) and Carl Pierre (right) pose with their coach after Bill Loughnane's 200th win at BC High|
By Nate Weitzer (@Nweitzer7)
BOSTON - Bill Loughane has been coaching basketball for over 35 years and playing much longer than that.
He’s achieved a lot during his lifetime and on Wednesday night at BC High, he became the first high school coach in Massachusetts state history to win 200 games with two different programs, as the No. 2 Eagles took down No. 18 Marshfield, 53-41, in a Division 1 South first-round matchup.
“It’s always about the players,“ Loughnane said about reaching uncharted territory with the win. “I thank these kids every week for letting an old guy come in an coach them. I love basketball, it keeps me in the gym and I’m lucky enough to have had good players who love the game too. It’s a privilege to coach them.”
Over the last 14 seasons, Loughnane has maintained a standard of excellence while leading BC High to a state championship in 2006. He’s coached several waves of great players, including his current star tandem of senior Carl Pierre and junior point guard Travis Evee.
While Evee struggled with his shot in the opening round of the state tournament and Pierre couldn’t find his offense at first, junior Mike Vasil (12 points) came off the bench with three 3s to lead BC High (19-2) on a 16-4 run at the end of the first half.
“We needed it,” Loughnane said about Vasil’s barrage. “That’s for sure, Mike has been doing that all year for us, he gives us instant offense and thank God he had it tonight.”
The Eagles led 32-20 at the break and expanded that lead to 44-24 after three quarters by stymying the visiting Rams with their length on defense.
But underdog Marshfield (6-12) came fighting back behind the efforts of senior captain Pat Collins (15 points) and junior forward Jude Bain (10 points, 4 rebounds), as the Rams made it a 10-point game with just over two minutes to play.
That’s when Pierre (22 points, 12 rebounds) came up with a couple of clutch shots, while his teammate Jordan Minor (8 points, 10 rebounds) added a key put back down the stretch.
With a notable size advantage, the Eagles were able to out-rebound their foes 41 to 22 and pile up 20 of those boards on the offensive end, allowing them to survive and advance to face Braintree in the D1 South quarterfinals this Friday.
“I saw the team tighten up a little,” Loughnane analyzed afterwards. “It was good to see some junk defenses and see Marshfield mix it up, we didn’t do a good job of responding and that’s what tournament play is. They came in with a good plan, we didn’t do a great job of responding but it’s about surviving at this stage in the year.”