Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Boston Cathedral Continues Postseason Dominance Against Cohasset

By Tom Joyce (@TomJoyceSports)

QUINCY, Mass. - When your average margin of victory in three playoff games is 47 points, the rest of the state is going to take notice.

Tuesday night, the No. 2 Cathedral High boys’ basketball team (17-4) gave the rest of Division 4 more to worry about, despite playing its closest playoff game yet... Which the Panthers won by 35 points.

Using their run-and-gun offense, paired with an aggressive full-court press defense, the Panthers coasted past the No. 3 Cohasset Skippers, 90-55, at Quincy High School in the Div. 4 South Semifinals.

“Tonight wasn’t an effort thing,” Skippers head coach Bo Ruggiero said. “Our guys played their butts off but sometimes, you just lose to a better team. And they (Cathedral) were the better team.”

The Panthers started the game up 6-2 and while they would not endure success, the Skippers tasted it early. They went on an 11-2 run finished off by a Thatcher Stone 3-pointer followed by a Chase Bomeisler breakaway layup, giving themselves a 13-8 lead with 4:03 remaining in the first quarter.

After the timeout, the Panthers took off. They outscored the Skippers, 21-2, for the rest of the first quarter.

Playing full-court defense and playing is aggressively, senior forward Calvin Cheek jumped up in Skippers territory, caught the pass intended for the man he guarded, and nearly dunked on his fast break layup. His score gave his team a 23-15 lead.

The dominant scoring stretch ended at the beginning of the second quarter when Skippers sophomore guard Thatcher Stone hit a layup, making it a 29-16 game.

Just before the first half ended, Cheek hit a free throw, giving his team a 54-28 lead.

In the second half, the Panthers continued boasting their athleticism and, with 6:32 remaining, senior forward Trevor Lynch put up a layup off his own steal, giving his team a 56-30 lead. Shortly after him, junior guard Julian Howell put up a layup, smashing his way through traffic to put his team up 28 points.

With 35.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Howell got knocked down as he sank a layup, and he hit the corresponding free throw, giving his team a 69-33 lead.

In the fourth quarter, the Panthers slowed their play and showed mercy with 3:16 remaining when they subbed out their starting five.

In their previous contest, however, the Panthers drew the ire of many across the state, as they defeated No. 15 Nantucket 126-62 on Sunday, and appeared to wait a little too long before easing off the throttle.

“We were just playing basketball. It was not personal to anybody,” Panthers head coach Larry Merritt said. “Our kids just played very well. When you shoot over 50 percent from 3-point range, it’s hard to control that when you’re team’s playing so well.”

Senior center Manny Green dropped a team-high 21 points for the Panthers and Lynch was second on the team with 20 points.

Bomeisler and senior guard Liam O’Connell led the Skippers with 19 points apiece.

With the win, Cathedral moves on to face No. 9 Monomoy in the D4 South final on Friday at Brockton High School at 7:30 pm.

“We’ve got to get back to the drawing board and work on some things,” Merritt said. “We need to eliminate turnovers, so we can hold onto the basketball longer and have more opportunities to score. It’s not about me, it’s about the kids and I’m excited for the kids to have the opportunity to play in the sectional finals again this year.”

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