WEST ROXBURY, Mass. -- Catholic Memorial went down early in the first quarter, fought back and overtook St. John’s Prep in the last minute of the first quarter, but truly opened up the game with a 17-4 run to close out the second quarter, taking a commanding 45-32 lead at the half never to look back at the Eagles, blowing them out by 25, 89-64.
“We play for our runs,” said CM coach Denis Tobin. “At that point, we got a couple of turnovers, we got some hoops… but I think the key to the game was our defensive effort.”
Prep jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, charged by their leading scorer Freddy Shove (30 points, 13 points, five assists, two steals, block) and Steve Haladayna (11 points), but that slowly faded. Catholic Memorial got into the groove, and the teams were neck and neck at 28 mid way through the second quarter.
Catholic Memorials press began to yield turnovers with steals by Matt Droney and Gerard Adams. The presence of Adams, a 6-foot-8 sophomore in the low post, forced Prep into jump shots. But as they came off the rim, players like Dan Powers, Adams and Armani Reeves were there to scoop up those baskets, leading the way for the Knight’s 17-4 run going into halftime up by 13.
“Coach always says the offense will come if the defensive pressure is there then we can beat anyone,” said CM senior guard Matt Droney.
Prep did not throw in the towel though, keeping the game within twenty points during the third quarter, the closest being 63-51 score with 1:22 left after a Shove free throw miss and make, but Catholic Memorial was relentless, grabbing rebounds, forcing St. John’s players into make bad passes and poor shot selection, opening up the lead to 22 by the 6:40 mark in the final quarter.
Droney finished the night with 26 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. Even at 6-foot-four, Droney was able to drain three three-pointers in that crucial second quarter for the Knights. His game leading scoring afforded his team the win, but the team’s defense is what Droney was most proud of.
Powers, a 6-foot-three senior, hit five three-point shots on the night, finishing with 17 points coupled with three steals, three assists and two blocks.
Adams, a new addition to the Knights’ cavalry this season, finished the night with 14 points, 8 eight rebounds, two blocks, two steals and an assist. Towering over all other players on the floor, when the ball came off of the backboard, if it was close to Adams he got it. If under the CM basket, he put it back up and in with little resistance, and if on the St. John’s Prep’s end, he chucked it into the hands of a teammate to bring the ball up court.
Although he looks more like an offensive lineman than a center, Adams even showed some nifty footwork, backing down a St. John’s defender late in the game and hitting a turnaround off the glass shot. The two steals that Adams got were attempts that the Prep made to shuttle outlet passes to waiting defenders which Adams was able to pick off, the passes thrown the distance of the court and Adams moving to get to them.
“Where he is right now is light years ahead of where he was that Monday after Thanksgiving," Tobin said.