Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Shaughnessy Leads Needham Past St. John's Prep for Early Season Statement

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

Danvers, Mass. - Thomas Shaughnessy is never one to shy away from the big moment, so it was to no one's surprise that the fourth quarter brought out his best.

Led by Shaughnessy’s 18 points, six assists, and four rebounds, Needham came away with a statement 72-62 win over No. 1 St. John’s Prep on Connaughton Court at St. John’s Prep.

Eagles’ senior forward Tommy O’Neil finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds to pace SJP.

The defending Division 1 South Sectional champs asserted themselves from the opening tip, leaning on their star in Shaughnessy, and receiving big production from Brandon Monheimer (13 points) and sophomore Will Dorian (11 points) to control the pace of play.

Needham (1-0) won three of the four quarters, including the first and the fourth by a combined 43-28 margin.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Rockets held a mere 47-45 margin over the hosts, but behind their senior leader instantly pulled away.

Shaughnessy got the frame started by completing an old fashion three-point play. On the Rockets ensuing possession, Shaughnessy drove with his left hand and dumped it off to Jack Cruickshank who put it home.

Moments later, after Will Cooper knocked down a pair of free throws, Shaughnessy came up with a steal and passed it up ahead to Cooper for a layup that capped off a 9-0 run to make it 56-45 Needham with 5:45 to play.

“I felt like we needed a couple buckets so I tried to find some space to either get a shot up or dish to one of my teammates,” said Shaughnessy. “Luckily enough, we were able to get some good possessions out of that.”

Shaughnessy was in foul trouble for most of the night, exiting the contest two minutes into the second quarter with a pair of fouls. He came back in later in the stanza only to pick up his third foul after just three seconds.

Despite that, the Rockets stayed the course.

Needham held a 20-11 lead when Shaughnessy went to the bench in the second quarter, and the Prep seemed poised to go on a run.

Dorian stepped up, knocking down a pair of clutch three-pointers, while Adam Freudnich scored seven points over the final minutes of the quarter to hand Needham a 37-29 lead at the break.

“We’re so deep this year,” said Needham head coach Liner. “Monheimer shot the ball extremely well. Will Dorian, who is just a sophomore, he looked like he had played in these games before. He hit some big shots and played great at point guard with Thomas (Shaughnessy) out.”

Defensively, the Rockets were terrific all evening long. They held the Eagles to just 5-of-18 from behind the arc in the first half, to 5-for-16 in the paint.

St. John’s Prep was undoubtedly at their best at the start of the second half.

Matt Relihan (19 points) began the frame by pulling up for a trey and O’Neil followed up by connecting on an up and under to cut the Rockets lead to just four, 38-34.

A Shaughnessy jumper pushed Needham’s lead back up to five, 42-37, but consecutive buckets by Patrick Sweetman and Nate Hobbs pulled the Eagles within one.

The Rockets extended their lead back up to six on a Monheimer three pointer, but O’Neil finished the quarter with back-to-back layups to pull St. John’s Prep within two, 47-45, heading into the fourth quarter before Needham pulled away.

No comments :