Boston High School: Bill Loughnane

Recap: No. 10 Mansfield 84, BC High 69

February, 8, 2015
Feb 8
BOSTON -- Forgive the Mansfield boys’ basketball team for appearing human in stretches of its non-league matchup with BC High on Sunday afternoon.

After earning double-digit wins over Hockomock League foes Taunton and Milford on Friday and Saturday, respectively, No. 10 Mansfield struggled early against the Eagles, who came out firing from the opening tip.

The Hornets fell behind 10-6 early, as BC High’s zone offense stirred up trouble for the team’s offense. Eventually Mansfield figured out a way to beat the Eagles’ stingy defense, however, as the visiting Hornets rallied to earn a 84-69 win after making a dozen shots from behind the arc.

“I thought we were so hesitant shooting,” said Vaughan of his team’s early struggles. “For a team that shoots a lot and has a lot of different people that get shots off, in that first quarter that triangle and two sort of disrupted our flow. Guys who normally make shots weren’t hitting, (BC High’s defense) kind of took away from what we do well.”

It didn’t take Mansfield (16-2) long to find its stride. The visiting Hornets went on a 15-2 run to take a 21-12 lead when sophomore Philip Vigeant sunk a dead-center three-pointer with less than two minutes to play in the opening quarter.

Despite Mansfield’s shots starting to fall, BC High (5-9) did not back down. The Eagles went on a run of their own, as freshman Travis Evee’s jumper in the frame’s final seconds capped off a 9-0 run for BC High and tied it 21-21 after eight minutes of play.

Ultimately, the Eagles, who were led by senior Isaiah Bowman (26 points) and junior Jack Loughnane (17 points) were unable to contain Mansfield’s plethora of perimeter shooters. Senior Ryan Boulter finished with a team-high 24 points for the Hornets, while sophomores Philip Vigeant (17 points) and Matthew Ehrlich (15 points) each added crucial buckets to go along with 15 points from senior Michael Boen.

“We see that a lot with the schedule we play, which is why our record is what it is,” said BC High coach Bill Loughnane of Mansfield’s shooting ability. “Those guys hit the shots when they were open, they moved the ball well and were unselfish with each other, and every time they did that we paid.”

Boen & Boulter: The two senior captains have a history of providing the Hornets with a jolt when they need it the most, and Sunday’s victory was no different.

Boulter, who also led Mansfield with eight rebounds, scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half. The 6-foot-6 forward not only shined from behind the arc where he hit four three-pointers, but was also effective attacking the rim.

“He’s been doing it all year, he just finds ways to chip away and hit a big shot or get to the foul line,” said Vaughan. “But talk about a player who completed his game. He used to be a stand-still three-point shooter, and now he’s getting to the rim and the foul line. He’s becoming a very difficult player to defend and its fun to watch.”

Boen, who also grabbed seven rebounds in the win, scored nine of his 15 points in the second half. Although it wasn’t the senior’s best offensive performance of the season, Vaughan believes it’s the little things the 6-foot-4 forward does that make the biggest difference.

“Everything he does, it’s all a benefit,” said Vaughan of Boen. “He plays hard, he competes, he’s moving different guys, taking different tasks, rebounding the ball—it was a great performance from him. He doesn’t always have to score a lot, we can still be a quality team as long as he’s doing the other things.”

Three in a Row: Sunday’s win marked the eighth consecutive for Mansfield, who has yet to lose since falling to Brighton 71-69 on Jan. 19. The team dominated Taunton and Milford with 78-51 and 70-47 wins on Friday and Saturday, respectively, with its win over BC High putting the stamp on a huge weekend for the Hornets.

“We had two great teams, both potential Division 1 south opponents in Taunton and BC High with Milford in the middle,” Vaughan said. “It’s great that the kids responded, sometimes you worry about the mental fatigue that a game like that plays -- maybe that affected us a little bit in the first quarter -- but as the game went on I thought we got better and stronger and guys stepped up to make plays.”

Among those who stepped up was Vigeant, who came off the bench to bury five three-pointers against the Eagles.

“It’s a good three wins for us,” added Boulter. “I feel very confident in this team going forward. Our bench is finally stepping up, if they keep playing the way they’re playing I don’t think anyone can really stop us right now.”

Recap: No. 16 C'Town 65, No. 18 BC High 59

January, 31, 2015
Jan 31
CHARLESTOWN, Mass. -- It’s often said that basketball is a game of runs.

Of course, as Charlestown (12-4) proved in a narrow 65-59 over Boston College High (6-6), the most important run is always the last one.

Trailing 50-43 after three quarters, the Townies rattled off a 16-3 run to take control of the game in the fourth. They were led by the efforts of senior guard Warfa Abdillahi, who scored 11 of his 18 points in the final frame.

“We never give up. We always have faith in each other, and we always have the hope that we can win. Even if we’re down big, we know we can come back,” said Abdillahi.

Despite a slow start in which they missed their first seven attempts from three-point range, and turned the ball over seven times in the first 13 minutes, the Townies kept the game tied after two quarters by crashing the glass and earning second chance scoring opportunities.

Junior forward Keywan Platt was huge on both ends of the floor, as he finished the game with an eye-popping line of 16 points, 9 rebounds (5 offensive), 6 steals, and 5 blocks.

“Keywan’s a monster,” said Charlestown head coach Edson Cardoso. “He’s averaging 13 rebounds a game, and seven of those are on the offensive end, so we look for him to crash the boards and get second chance opportunities whenever he can.”

For the Eagles, a fourth-quarter collapse led to a disappointing non-conference result for a team that’s fighting to stay above .500 in the brutal Catholic Conference.

“Their size gave them extra possessions, and they were able to take advantage,” said Eagles head coach Bill Loughnane. “Our guys did a great job of competing on the boards, and while we don’t play well all the time, we always compete. We just weren’t good enough to beat a great team today.”

Turning Up The Pressure: BC High built a lead after three quarters by executing in half court sets, so Charlestown made an effort to keep them from getting into their offense during the fourth quarter.

“That last unit is my best defensive unit, and even though we ended up losing to St. John’s Prep [last Sunday], they showed me a lot during that game,” said Cardoso.

He continued, “So in the final quarter, we were a little more aggressive. We went to a box-and-one to try and keep the ball away from [Jack] Loughnane, and it paid off.”

Abdillahi didn’t just come through on offense. Along with Tyrone Jackson, Lionel James, and Platt, his activity on the defensive end led to several turnovers, and created transition opportunities for the Townies.

“Warfa isn’t our best defender, but when he plays well on defense we usually win. He was absolutely a huge part of that comeback,” Cardoso said.

Wearing Down The Opponent: Charlestown couldn’t always push the ball down the stretch, but the Townies managed to figure out the Eagles 2-3 zone by the fourth quarter, and forced BC High to adjust their defense in the final minutes of the game.

With senior point guard Charles Washington running the show, Abdillahi, Platt, and James were able to get a number of easy looks.

“I wouldn’t rather have any other point guard than Washington,” said Abdillahi. “He moves the ball perfectly, and always puts us in good positions.”

These teams traded blows throughout the afternoon. First, the Townies opened up with a 10-2 run, but the Eagles came right back to tie it at 14 after one quarter. Then Charlestown finished the second quarter with an 11-2 run that was capped off by a Platt dunk in transition.

In the second half, the runs came in shorter spurts.

The Townies scored six of the first eight points to start the half, but the Eagles came back with two separate 8-2 runs that led to their 50-43 lead after three quarters.

However, when the visitors had to counter Charlestown’s impressive fourth quarter performance, they couldn’t seem to muster the energy.

“I hate to use the excuse, but I think they got us tired. They pressured us the whole game, wore us down, and I think we made a few mental mistakes that cost us,” admitted Loughnane

After losing junior forward Henry Ennen (knee) for the season, the Eagles were even thinner than usual, and will have to work on their endurance if they want to make the final run that usually decides close games.

Charlestown 65, BC High 59

CT 14 18 11 22 --- 65
BC 14 18 18 9 --- 59

Top Performers:
Charlestown – Keywan Platt (16 points, 9 rebounds, 6 steals, 5 blocks)
Charlestown – Warfa Abdillahi (18 points, 2 steals, 2 blocks)
Charlestown – Charles Washington (5 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists)
BC High – Jack Loughnane (10 points, 7 assists, 2 steals)
BC High – Nick Gill (11 points, 11 rebounds)
BC High – Carl Pierre (12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks)

For BC High's Loughnanes, it's a basketball life

January, 23, 2015
Jan 23
DORCHESTER, Mass. -- The defense naturally relaxed after the officials blew the play dead.

This was an opportunity for Malden Catholic to catch its collective breath, and wait for a simple pass from the baseline that would put the ball in play. But Jack Loughnane and his father had other plans.

The junior point guard for Boston College High (5-4) looked to his right, where one of the Eagles’ deadly three-point shooters flashed towards the corner. He waited a beat, then caught a glimpse of a cutting teammate out of the corner of his eye, and hit him in stride for an easy layup that marked one of his eight assists on the night.

“As a point guard, you have to be an extension of the coach,” said Jack’s father and head coach, Bill Loughnane. “One of our goals is to get six to 12 points every game on out of bounds plays. It’s a way of generating some easy offense, and with Jack, our best passer, taking it out, we’re able to accomplish that at times.”

The Eagles went on to upset then-No. 18 Malden Catholic 76-74 on Friday January 16, and took down their second ranked opponent that weekend when they defeated No. 16 New Mission 61-50 at the BABC Winter Classic on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jack Loughnane did not come off the floor in either of those contests. He combined to produce 29 points, 15 assists, and 6 steals while playing 64 minutes as he led his team to consecutive victories.

“The team’s morale has been up after those two big wins. We know that we can play with the best now,” Jack said during a recent practice. “When you play as much as I have, you know that you have to fight through everything. Me and my teammates have learned how to battle through adversity, and our toughness has shown in those close games.”

Following In Big Footsteps

Jack’s father has been the head coach at BC High for the past 12 years, and spent 19 years coaching at South Boston High before that, yet some basketball fans may remember him as the former point guard of the Northeastern Huskies.

Bill Loughnane holds the school single-game record with 17 assists in a game, and finished third in career assists (500) after spending four years playing for Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun.

While playing on the AAU circuit, Jack said many of the referees would recognize him as"‘Loughnane’s kid," and regale him with stories of his father’s playing days.

Jack said, “It’s difficult sometimes, knowing that dad was a Division 1 point guard. The expectations are high, but it does motivate you.”

He also recognized that “It’s good to pick his brain because he was a great basketball player, and a great coach. He’ll see things I don’t, so it’s good to get his perspective on things.”

For Bill Loughnane, it’s all about guiding his son by offering advice when appropriate.

“We’ve had a lot of good rides coming home from games,” Bill. “A lot of times I’d wait for him to ask a question, and then I’d give him a long answer. We’re very lucky he’s had a lot of good coaches along the way. Nothing’s been given to him, and he’s earned everything.”

Growing Up An Eagle

Loughnane began coaching Jack in a local church league for kindergarteners, but that wasn’t when his son began playing.

“I’ve heard stories that at about a year old I’d have a basketball in my hands trying to dribble it. It wasn’t because [dad] was pushing me, it was just part of our lifestyle,” said Jack.

He continued, “In our house, it’s all basketball all the time. We’re out at dinner and he’s drawing up plays using forks and knives at the table. It’s just what we love, and what we want to talk about.”

For Jack, there was no doubt about where he wanted to play high school ball. He said he’s been to every practice since his father became head coach at BC High when he was in third grade, a routine that his younger brother Mike, 10, has now taken up.

By the time he was in middle school, Bill recalled how he would use Jack in drills when the varsity team needed an extra player. But on most occasions, the young teenager had to jump rope for 10 minutes before he could even touch a basketball and work on his game.

Initially, Jack played junior varsity as a freshman, but was called up to varsity before he finished his first season. During his sophomore campaign, Jack led the Eagles in points and assists, and enjoyed playing alongside his older brother Alex, as BC High made a run into the second round of the state tournament.

“The three of us had some great rides home,” Bill reflected. “I’d listen to them argue, and they were always supportive of each other, but if one of them made a mistake, they weren’t shy about letting the other one know about it.”

Time To Fly

Now one of the most experienced players on BC High’s relatively young roster, Jack seems to set a positive example through his play.

His ability to single-handedly break a press, his deadly pull-up jumper, and his uncanny court vision all combine to make Jack one of the most valuable players in Eastern Massachusetts.

While his father loses his cool from time to time, and Jack tends to fire back from the court, they still maintain a relatively normal player-coach relationship.

“He’ll tell you that I’m probably harder on him than anybody else on the team,” Bill. “I expect a lot from him, and I expect improvement every day from him just like every other kid in this program.”

The Eagles will travel to St. John’s Prep Friday night for their fourth consecutive game against a ranked opponent, so their coach wanted to make sure they were prepared.

That meant installing a new set on a baseline out of bounds play, with Jack directing traffic.

Again, as the point guard, Loughnane maintained, “You have to see what the coach sees. You have to be able to tell people where to go. I see it now as a coach, and I try to make sure he sees it too. [Jack]’s quiet by nature, but I think the last few games he’s really become more vocal on the floor”

Jack Loughnane leads his team in more ways then one, and it comes as little surprise when you consider the pedigree of his teacher.

Recap: No. 4 Catholic Memorial 99, BC High 73

January, 20, 2015
Jan 20
WEST ROXBURY, Mass. -- They come at teams with speed. They come at teams with length, deadly shooting, and the opposition never seems to know where the next blow will come from.

Brandon Twitty scored a game-high 27 points, including 18 in the first half, as the Knights ran away from a hot BC High team and held on by a score of 99-73.

Catholic Memorial (12-1) has now won eight straight, posted six consecutive double-digit victories, and done so against some of the top ranked teams in the state.

Fresh off back-to-back wins against ranked opponents (No. 18 Malden Catholic and No. 16 New Mission) BC High (5-4) is far from a weak adversary, but the Knights made them look mediocre in this contest. They turned the Eagles over nine times, scored 16 fast break points, and controlled the pace of the game throughout the first half.

“We want to bring the pressure,” said Catholic Memorial head coach Denis Tobin. “We’re willing to trade a couple of easy baskets to create turnovers and increase the pace, which is where we’re at our best.”

The Eagles scored 12 first-half points when they managed to break the Knights’ full-court pressure, but paid dearly when they could not. CM forced a BC High team that usually takes care of the ball into a few uncharacteristic mistakes, as the sweltering environment at Ronald S. Perry Gym seemed to force the visitors into cramped spots on the floor.

The Knights ran off missed shots as well, and opened up a 46-30 lead by halftime. With so many weapons on the roster, it’s nearly impossible to string enough stops together against Catholic Memorial, and the Eagles were unable to mount a comeback after falling behind.

Pick Your Poison: Twitty was relatively quiet in Catholic Memorial’s previous conference game (an 80-68 win at St. John’s Prep), but stepped up his scoring in this contest.

“That’s what makes us hard to defend. Between Brandon [Twitty], Guilien [Smith], Matt [Hanna], and my own son Denis, who can also shoot, you kind of have to pick your poison with us,” said Tobin.

The Knights handed out 20 assists as a team, and committed only seven turnovers, so with ball movement like that, it’s not surprising that they could have a different leading scorer every game.

“Tonight happened to be my night,” said Twitty, “But it could be anybody else on a given night. That’s what makes this team so dangerous, and so special I feel.”

Coaches are never satisfied with sloppy play, but Tobin yielded the importance of avoiding ‘live ball’ turnovers throughout the game.

“The less we turn it over the better, but we prefer that if we do turn it over it’s out of bounds. We weren’t being pressured, so we better take care of the ball under those circumstances,” Tobin said.

Counter Punches: The Eagles made several pushes to get back into the game after getting down 22-12 in the first quarter.

Jack Loughnane hit a tough three to cut the lead to seven (26-19) early in the second quarter, and finished a layup, plus a foul shot to cap a 9-2 run that kept BC High within striking distance down 36-28.

However, as soon as the visiting team made a run, CM countered with one of their own. The Knights finished the first quarter on a 7-0 run, and responded to Loughnane’s and-1 with a 10-2 run that put them firmly in control heading into the break.

“We practice end of quarter situations a lot,” said Tobin. “It’s helpful that we have a lot of great one-on-one players that can create, and they know how to score so that the other team isn’t left with a lot of time.”

On To New Mission: The Knights are on a very impressive run right now, and are ranked towards the top of nearly every poll in the state due to their dangerous, fast-paced attack.

“We love to just get the ball and go. You wear teams out like that, and that’s the style we like to play in,” said Twitty. “We played really well as a team tonight and we’ve got to keep this rolling.”

Tobin said he was pleased with his team’s performance, but isn’t looking too far ahead based on recent results.

“Our first goal is to win the league, then we’ll worry about the state tournament, but honestly right now, it’s the Belichick way, we’ve got New Mission on Sunday, and that’s all we’re going to think about.”

New Mission and the other teams in eastern Massachusetts can think about how they plan to stop Catholic Memorial all they want, but like BC High, they might not know where the next punch is coming from.

Catholic Memorial 99, BC High 73

CM 22 24 28 25 --- 99
BCH 12 18 27 16 --- 73

Top Performers:
Catholic Memorial – Guilien Smith (7 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists)
Catholic Memorial – Kellen Grady (20 points, 2 steals, 2 blocks)
Catholic Memorial – Brandon Twitty (27 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists)
BC High – Isaiah Bowman (22 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals)
BC High – Jack Loughnane (17 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists)

BABC: BC High 61, No. 16 New Mission 50

January, 19, 2015
Jan 19
BOSTON – Toughness.

It’s a trait that unranked Boston College High has shown in spades over the Eagles’ last two games, and a valuable commodity that New Mission head coach Cory McCarthy feels is lacking from his squad right now.

Fresh off a dramatic 76-74 victory over conference rival Malden Catholic, BC High overcame an early deficit once again as they took a 61-50 win over No. 16 New Mission at the BABC Tournament on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Eagles (6-3) held a slim lead at the half, but proceeded to outscore New Mission 21-4 during a dominant third quarter in which they held the Titans to just one field goal.

“We came out of the break ready to go. Physically and mentally, our players were very prepared,” said Eagles head coach Bill Loughnane.

The Titans (7-3) were able to remain competitive throughout the first half by knocking down four of their nine attempts from long range, but when the outside shot stopped falling, they seemed to fall apart. New Mission missed it’s first 14 attempts from deep in the second half, and could not stop the bleeding as BC High opened up a 55-32 lead by the end of a lopsided third quarter.

“That’s never the plan,” McCarthy said about the amount of three-pointers his players attempted. “But give all credit to BC High. They decided to play a zone and dare us to hit threes.”

He continued, “We’re just not tough right now. Usually we’re very tough, but we’re lacking experience, and we lack intensity out there. You should never have to question the intensity level of a New Mission team, and right now, I question that.”

Fabulous Freshman: For the second straight game, 5-foot-5 freshman guard Travis Evee made a significant impact off the bench for BC High.

He entered the game midway through the first half and promptly scored nine points to help the Eagles take their first lead of the game. Facing relentless defensive pressure all the way up the court, Evee found a way to get into the heart of the Titans defense and drop an excellent bounce pass to junior forward Nick Gill as he displayed aplomb beyond his years.

“Travis [Evee] is a keeper,” Loughnane said. “He’s getting better each game. I’m sure his first game is one he’d like to forget, but ever since then he’s shown that he’s a gutsy kid that doesn’t mind the big stage, and he can really play.”

It was a three pointer by Evee that capped the Eagles 18-3 run to start the third quarter, and a few plays later, the pint-sized freshman made the extra pass to junior point guard Jack Loughnane, who put a cap on the frame with his third three of the contest.

Rough Patch: Competing without leading scorer Alex De La Rosa, and with only two players that were on the varsity roster last season, New Mission was hard pressed to get past a tough BC High team.

Still, as the Titans’ head coach points out, missing 13 free throws (12-25 at the line) and 17 layups simply will not get it done against any legitimate opponent.

Once again, McCarthy believes those lapses can be attributed to his team’s lack of toughness.

“We’ve got players that think they should be starting for the worst team in the NBA when they’re not even good enough to start for New Mission,” said McCarthy. “I’d like to think this is a wake up call, but we’ve got a few more of those coming on the schedule. It starts with me, but our guys have to realize that the Basketball Gods don’t reward anyone unless you try.”

Too Little, Too Late: Despite their third-quarter collapse, the Titans managed to make the Eagles sweat down the stretch.

New Mission’s defensive pressure forced BC High into several turnovers, and junior Devin Palmer finally broke the Titans cold spell from beyond the arc with back-to-back threes.

“We went brain dead for a few minutes,” Loughnane said about his team’s fourth quarter lapses. “Part of it was us, but a good part of it was New Mission’s pressure. They did a good job of turning us over, we started rushing things, and we got away from going to the basket.”

However, with only two minutes left and a double-digit deficit left to overcome, New Mission was unable to change the result of this contest.

For the second time this weekend, the Eagles managed to scrap past a ranked opponent, and Loughnane gave plenty of credit to his undersized front line for their efforts.

“Our big guys aren’t very big, but we ask them to battle. Nick [Gill], Steven [Timmins], and Henry Ennen are all two-sport athletes, so they’re competitors by nature, and they work hard every game,” said Loughnane.

Both Gill and Ennen fouled out for the second consecutive game, but they did an excellent job of keeping New Mission out of the paint, and off the boards.

In essence, they demonstrated plenty of toughness, and that goes a long way at this level.

BC High 61, New Mission 50

BC 11 23 21 6 --- 61
NM 15 13 4 18 --- 50

Top Performers:
BC High – Jack Loughnane (13 points, 7 assists, 3 steals)
BC High – Nick Gill (14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists)
BC High – Travis Evee (12 points, 3 of 5 from 3PT range)
New Mission – Devin Palmer (16 points, 4 of 9 from 3PT range)
New Mission – Charlie Mitchell (4 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals)
New Mission – Jakilil Smith (5 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 4 blocks)

Recap: BC High 76, No. 18 Malden Catholic 74

January, 16, 2015
Jan 16

BOSTON -- Everything is magnified in the final two minutes of a close game.

Conference rivals Boston College High (4-3) and Malden Catholic (7-2) exchanged blows in a fourth quarter with seven lead changes, but in the end, it was a simple push shot from junior guard Steve Timmins that made the difference.

With the score knotted at 74 and 30 seconds remaining, the Eagles ran what Timmins said is one of their usual sets. Junior Jack Loughane initiated the action from the top of the key, feeding senior guard Isaiah Bowman on the baseline. Bowman attacked the rim, but dumped the ball off to Timmins before Malden Catholic’s shot blockers could react, and the football standout made the biggest shot of his basketball career as he put BC High up 76-74 with 20 seconds remaining.

“It’s something we work on all the time in warm-ups, and the practice paid off tonight. Even though it was a big situation, muscle memory kind of carried me through,” Timmins said after the game.

“We got a lot of movement off that play,” recalled Eagles head coach Bill Loughnane. “We tell our guys, if you see an open spot you’ve got to get to it. [Timmins] must have taken that shot a thousand times in practice, so that was a great look for us.”

Of course, BC High still had to stop a talented Lancers team from tying the game, or taking the lead on their final possession. Michael Boyd and Karlens Joas combined for 49 of Malden Catholic’s 74 points in this contest, so it wasn’t surprising that as a senior captain, Joas attacked the paint in an effort to keep his team’s hopes alive.

It certainly didn’t come as a surprise to Jack Loughnane, as the coaches’ son read the play, got his hand on the ball, and pried it loose to seal the win.

Battling Adversity: Malden Catholic led 23-18 after one quarter, and 41-37 at the half, but the Eagles were able to make a couple of key adjustments as they fought back to take their first lead late in the third quarter.

“They’re a very good team, and they made us play bad for long stretches tonight, but our guys just kept competing and fighting when things weren’t going well for us,” said Bill Loughnane.

The Eagles faced more adversity when two of their best rebounders (Nick Gill and Henry Ennen) fouled out midway through the fourth quarter. Malden Catholic forwards Ryan Smith and Austin Batchelor are both listed as 6-foot-4, and combined for nine offensive rebounds in the contest, so Loughnane had to bring some size off the bench in the form of the 6-foot-2 Timmins.

“We’re a small team, and those guys got their fouls because they battled. Steven [Timmins] came in and battled down low, and we had to move Isaiah [Bowman] to the four, and those guys did a great job of continuing the battle.”

Sparks Off The Bench: Only eight players saw the floor for BC High, and the first young man off the bench was 5-foot-5 freshman guard Travis Evee.

Evee promptly hit two triples that kept the Eagles within striking distance during the first half, and his third three of the game tied the contest at 56 towards the end of the third quarter.

Senior guard Keshler Charles didn’t make an appearance until the second half, but he also hit his first three-point attempt of the night, and came up with two huge steals down the stretch.

“They both were able to contribute on the offensive end, but defensively they did a really nice job,” Loughnane said about those two substitutes. “Their guards were getting penetration that led to easy shots, and they helped contain that action.”

The coach continued, “[Malden Catholic] had a lot of easy looks in the first half, and they deserve credit for running their stuff really well. We made some adjustments to give weak side help, and in the end it worked out.”

Tough Sledding: This is Malden Catholic’s second loss of the season in as many games. They fell to No. 4 Catholic Memorial on Tuesday and are playing in a Catholic Conference that is clearly one of the most competitive conferences in the state.

BC High will face New Mission next Monday in the BABC tournament at Reggie Lewis Center, before facing Catholic Memorial and No. 7 St. John’s Prep on the road.

Timmins said, “We’ve had a couple of tough losses at the beginning of the year, but this could help us keep the momentum going, and hopefully we’ll continue to get better and better as the weeks go by.”

Finding a way to eek out close wins against quality opponents should give the Eagles confidence as they head into one of the tougher portions of their schedule.

BC High 76, Malden Catholic 74

BC 18 19 23 16 --- 76
MC 23 18 17 16 --- 74

Top Performers:
BC High – Jack Loughnane (16 points, 8 assists, 3 steals)
BC High – Henry Ennen (17 points, 6 rebounds)
BC High – Travis Evee (16 points, 4 of 6 from 3PT range)
Malden Catholic – Michael Boyd (25 points, 5 of 9 from 3-point range)
Malden Catholic – Karlens Joas (24 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists)
Malden Catholic – Ryan Smith (13 points, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks)

Recap: No. 7 St. John's Prep 72, BC High 67

January, 7, 2015
Jan 7
BOSTON -- What goes around comes around. For the second straight week, St. John's Prep reciprocated a tough loss with a gritty win on the road.

Back on Jan. 29, Prep routed defending Division 4 state champ St. Clement in the BABC Holiday Classic two days after getting slammed, 77-35, to national powerhouse St. Anthony (N.J.) This week, they sought similar retribution two days after a tough 69-64 loss to Newton North, and they got it by putting together a close 72-67 win over Boston College High in both teams’ Catholic Conference opener.

The first half was an evenly-matched battle between the two. BC High won the tip off and immediately drew a Prep foul. BC High’s Carl Pierre got his team off quickly with an easy layup off of the inbound pass.

Prep responded quickly, and led for the rest of the half. BC High kept close, however, going into the half trailing 37-34.

Prep came out firing at the beginning of the second half, scoring 10 unanswered points until BC High got on the board for the half. BC High’s first basket of the half sparked momentum, and they matched Prep’s pace for the rest of the half. Ultimately, however, BC High was unable to overpower Prep’s offense, and fell 72-67.

Senior point guard Kareem Davis led Prep in scoring with 14 first-half points, and also added four assists and two rebounds.

“Kareem [Davis] stepped up and made a big basket for us” said Prep coach John Dullea about his team’s late-game performance. “Last game we didn’t execute the way that we wanted to at the end. This game, we emphasized that. We got a few stops, got rebounds, protected the ball.”

“We played well down the stretch,” Davis said. “Last game, we had a lapse towards the fourth quarter. We just had to execute. We started executing in practice, and we picked it up better in this game. Every single game we play BC High they play tough. Their zone gives us trouble.”

In recent weeks, Prep has had trouble shooting free throws, which contributed to their two losses so far. Tonight, Prep capitalized on nearly every opportunity, going 11-for-12 from the charity stripe.

Prep also saw the full return of senior Jake Burt, a 6-foot-4 Boston College football commit who was injured in their loss to national powerhouse St. Anthony (N.J.) Burt helped Prep secure the victory with a strong second-half performance which included four rebounds, two of which were offensive, and two points.

“Jake [Burt] was huge in the last couple of minutes,” said Dullea. “We missed a couple of shots, but he had [the] two [offensive] rebounds and kept the ball alive for us.”

For BC High, this game marks their third loss of the year -- all against teams ranked in the Top 25 of's statewide poll. However, if today’s game is any indication, BC High is on track to have a strong season.

“We play a good schedule, and the teams we play are tough. We’re not making big plays when we need it, but the teams we play are making [them]” said coach Bill Loughnane. “We need to make the plays… We have no easy games on the schedule.”

Prep next faces rival Central Catholic at the TD Garden on Saturday night, in the Good Sports TD Garden Invitational.

“We need to play hard [against Central Catholic]. All they do is get after us, regardless of whether we’re at Central or they are with us,” Davis chuckled. “Our game plan is to get out there, play hard, and have fun.”

“I told these guys that it really doesn’t matter what the records are for either [BC High or Central Catholic] team” said Dullea. “When we play them, it always seems to come down to the last few minutes, so we prepare ourselves for a dogfight. . . We’re expecting a very hard-nosed, down-to-the-wire battle, which is the way we and everybody want it.”

D1 South: Catholic Memorial 83, BC High 73

March, 1, 2014
BOSTON -- Catholic Memorial coach Denis Tobin has been with the Knights for over 30 years, and even after all that time he still has but one way to describe a tournament game against a Catholic Conference foe.

“Nerve-wracking,” Tobin said with a laugh, “The hour before the game when you see the packed house and can’t do anything about calm down once the game starts. [We] were probably nervous at the beginning, but then it calms down and becomes a basketball game.”

One player who clearly wasn’t nervous was sophomore star Kellan Grady. In the highest scoring output of his high school career, Grady led the Knights with 32 points –- including eight 3-pointers in all, and 19 points in the second half to seal the 83-73 victory for CM (21-1) over rival BC High (14-8).

Grady had another way to describe the scene leading up the game -- a scene where dozens of fans, turned away because the gym was filled to capacity, stood outside Ronald Perry Gymnasium in hopes of catching the next installment of the teams’ 106-100 overtime thriller three weeks ago.

“I wouldn’t say nervous, I’d say a little more anxious. Last game we didn’t play well against BC High. Even though we scored 106 [points] last time, we really wanted to send a message and beat them on our home court,” Grady said.

Though a close game through the first quarter, the Knights were able to build a 13 point lead by halftime to gain some momentum going into the third quarter. Grady hit three treys in the first half, but in the third quarter he managed to one-up an impressive first half performance, knocking down four three-pointers in the quarter –- including treys on back-to-back possessions while heavily guarded to build the Knights’ lead up to 62-40.

“Huge breakout game, he’s just a sophomore," Tobin said. "I’ve seen him do it in summer leagues, I’ve seen him do it in fall leagues, but to break out on this stage for him is terrific. He was in the zone, he was really in the zone and he has been the past couple of games. My sophomores seem to like to step up against BC High, Brandon [Twitty] had 31 in the first game here, and Kellan had 32 [tonight]."

"They have a great sophomore in Jack Loughnane themselves, so we’ve got two more years of terrific CM-BC High games coming. Kellan’s worked hard all year and he has unlimited potential.”

Loughnane, whose 17 points led the Eagles to an impressive comeback victory over Wellesley on Wednesday, was able to manage just eight points against the Knights. Aamahne Santos (13 points), Grady, and Guilien Smith (19 points, 7 rebounds) harassed Loughnane on the defensive end all night before he fouled out late in the fourth quarter.

Young fuels Eagles’ comeback: When Catholic Memorial went up by 22 in the third quarter it looked as if the deficit might simply be too much for the Eagles’ offense, which had been sputtering to say the least, to keep up.

Putting in a warrior’s effort off the bench, Eagles’ senior captain Steve Young (19 points, 7 rebounds) scored eight straight points to start off the fourth quarter -– helping BC High bring the lead down to seven points with over six minutes to go in the game.

Young, who suffered a slight tear in a ligament in his ankle back in December, looked as if he might be able to will the Eagles all the way back to tie the game up until he fell down hard on his ankle with five minutes left. He was able to return a few minutes later and the Eagles got the lead down to five in the closing minutes, but CM’s lead ultimately proved to be insurmountable.

“We made a good run to start the second half to go up 20, but we knew a Bill Loughnane-coached BC High teams was never going to just roll over -– we knew that they had a run in them," Tobin said. "I kept stressing to my guys ‘when the run gets made, keep your poise,’ and I thought we did. They got it to seven, we took a timeout, and then I think we scored off that timeout to kind of quell their final run a bit.

"They’re a very good team, we knew that coming in. We didn’t want to draw them, we haven’t had the luck of the draw the past few years. Our guys earned two homes games and I think playing on our home court was a big advantage.”

On to UMass-Boston: With the win, the Knights will move on to the Division 1 South semifinals on Tuesday. CM will take on a familiar name: defending Division 1 South champion Mansfield. The Hornets, who like CM lost just one game during the regular, knocked off Brookline 63-49 to advance to the semis.

Grady hinted that the Knights are chomping at the bit for a chance at the defending South champs:

“We can’t wait. Eastern Mass. champs last year and everybody is talking about them. We want to bring it to them and show them we’re the best team in the state.”

Recap: No. 3 CM 106, No. 15 BC High 100 (OT)

February, 5, 2014

BOSTON -- With Guilien Smith’s hand hot as ever, there was never any doubt that Catholic Memorial would put the ball in his hands for the final play of regulation, needing two points to tie their Catholic Conference rival BC High.

“We wrote up the play so it would be Guilien,” said CM coach Denis Tobin. “We told him in the timeout, ‘We want you to go out there and create something. Create a scoring chance for yourself, and if it’s not there, Aamahne (Santos) will be right be you.’ He found a way to get to the hoop himself.”

With seven seconds left, Smith took the inbounds pass out of a timeout just in front of halfcourt. A clear-out play gave the lightning-quick guard a chance to get to the basket, and he took off for the hoop.

As he neared the basket, Knights’ senior Gerard Adams sealed off the defender with a perfectly timed screen, and Smith laid the ball in off the hoop to send the game to overtime.

“It didn’t go quite like we drew it up, but G opened things up with the screen and gave me an easy chance,” said Smith.

He added four of his game-high 33 points in OT to help the Knights (16-1) slip past BC, 106-100, inside McNeice Pavilion on Tuesday night.

Smith’s scoring was only a fraction of his impact for CM. He grabbed 11 rebounds in the win, with six coming on the offensive end. He also dished out four assists and was an anchor on defense, despite playing nearly the whole fourth quarter and all of OT with four fouls.

“I’m really proud of the way he handled that,” said Tobin. “He sometimes has a habit of getting hit with a bad foul, and the fourth may have been that. So I stressed to him on the bench that he couldn’t take one of those, and he was great the rest of the way.”

Added Smith: “It was definitely nerve-wracking playing with four fouls. I knew I couldn’t reach in and swat at the ball, but the other four guys on the floor with me did a great job picking me up the rest of the way.”

Points A Plenty: With both teams reaching triple digits, there was plenty of opportunity to rack up points. Nine different guys in all reached double figures on the night.

Santos, who also had seven rebounds and six assists, finished second on the Knights with 22 points. Kevin Claflin had 17 and Brandon Twitty chipped in 16 to pace the run-and-gun CM offense. Smith, Claflin and Twitty all hit four 3-pointers in the win.

On the other side, Tom Galanek led the scoring charge for BC, pouring in 25 points -- including 17 after the half.

Steve Young finished right behind Galanek, scoring a career-high 24 points off the bench. Phil Leotsakos, who proved to be a high-energy guy for the Eagles all night, added 22 points. He also had 17 rebounds, six assists and five blocks for BC.

“Phil is a really good player and he had a big night tonight,” said BC coach Bill Loughnane. “Even that shot he took near the end (a possible game tying three late in OT), that was halfway down before it rimmed out. He’s our big guy, but we’re confident with him taking that shot.

The Eagles also got 14 points from Isaiah Bowman and 10 Jack Loughnane as they fell to 9-5.

Recap: No. 2 Mansfield 63, No. 14 BC High 49

December, 23, 2013

MANSFIELD, Mass. -- Anytime that No. 14 BC High was able to come up with some offense, No. 2 Mansfield had an answer.

The Hornets never trailed and pulled away in the fourth quarter to clip the Eagles 63-49 on Monday night.

Mansfield had an 11-point lead in the first quarter, and then a 10-point lead early in the second. But the Eagles continued to close the gap, heading into halftime down just 31-26. The Hornets used a 14-3 run in the third quarter, but a couple of baskets late made it just a 45-38 game after three.

In the fourth quarter, Ryan Boulter opened the scoring with a bucket and then senior Kyle Wisnieski hit back-to-back three-pointers to turn a nine-point game into a 15-point game at 53-38 and Mansfield never looked back.

"Especially in the first, I thought we got some really good looks and the ball didn't go in," BC High coach Bill Loughnane said, after his team shot just 24 percent from the field in the first quarter. "When [Mansfield] got the open looks, it went in."

The Eagles went to a man-to-man defensive strategy early on, while the Hornets switched into a 2-3 zone after starting with man-to-man. The zone allowed for more looks from distance for BC High (4-of-7 from three in the second quarter) but really frustrated their offense and limited their offensive rebounds.

"We had to mix up a little 2-3 [zone], with guys logging a lot of minutes, to see if they could still be playing a high level at the end," Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan said. "I thought it changed up their flow a little bit. [BC High] is a pretty aggressive team so I thought by changing up the zone it kind of made them a passive team. They did get a lot of three's out of it so we kind of had to manage it so they didn't make three after three."

The Eagles went from five offensive rebounds in the first quarter to zero in the second, and just three in the second half.

"When you have a team you're playing playing five or six guys a lot of minutes, you start looking at foul trouble and match ups," Vaughan said about the zone. "I thought we rebounded better once we went zone. I thought [Michael] Boen did a fantastic job rebounding the ball on both ends of the floor."

Not only did Boen own the boards -- a game-high 14 rebounds (7 defensive, 7 offensive) -- he led the game in scoring with 19 points, including eight points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter.

"That's a quiet 19," Vaughan said. "He's gotten better since game one. He was kind of passive and didn't do a whole lot offensively. Last game, he did real well and tonight obviously too. He's steady -- he's going inside-out, he's getting in transition and hitting his foul shots so I'm very happy about that."

Beyond Boen's 19, Mansfield had three other scorers reach double figures: Rocky DeAndrade and Boulter each had 12 ,and Wisnieski added 11, which all turned out to be momentum points at the time.

"He's that type of kid," Vaughan said about Wisnieski. "He said it in the locker room when we met before the game, 'This is a good statement game.' He knows what this is all about, he knows how big this game is. He plays the best in those situations."

As for the balanced scoring, this is something that's going to be needed with Brendan Hill on the shelf for a while and Kevin Conner still working back to full health.

"Different guys will have different match ups and we'll get different guys stepping up but you're going to for the most part see those four are going to be the consistent scorers and then you hope the other guys can step in," Vaughan said.

Isaiah Bowman led BC High in scoring at 16 points, Jack Loughnane added 11 points, Tom Galanek had 9 points and Phil Leotsakos added 6 blocks.

"Offensively [Mansfield] has a lot of weapons and they do a nice job spreading the ball out," Loughnane said. "They have our number right now."

Scrimmage Slants: Central Catholic vs. BC High

December, 11, 2013
LAWRENCE, Mass. -– With many MIAA basketball teams across the state kicking off their schedules on Friday, this week is serving as a final tune-up for many of the top teams in our boys hoop poll. Tuesday afternoon at Central Catholic’s hallowed Memorial Gymnasium, the No. 3 Raiders played host to No. 17 Boston College High in a battle between two Division 1 contenders.

In four quarters of play, Central came away with a nice 71-57 victory, pulling away in the final period. A few thoughts from the day’s action:

Life without Nelson
So here’s the good news with Central’s two-time returning All-State guard, Tyler Nelson, who is recovering from a broken left wrist suffered in fall ball. The Fairfield signee had his cast removed yesterday, and while he didn’t dress for practice he was still able to take some jumpers during shootaround.

Now for the bad news. Best case scenario, Nelson is still two or three weeks away, barring another evaluation from doctors on Dec. 20. At worst, he would still be five or six weeks away from being ready.

"If everything looks good, he could be cleared to play then," Central head coach Rick Nault said. "If they’re still unsure, they think he needs more time, then it could be another two or three weeks on top of that."

In the meantime, the Raiders are learning to make do without Nelson’s exceptional long-range marksmanship. Junior Alex Santos has taken over point guard duties, a position he will likely hang onto even after Nelson’s inevitable return. A big strong lead guard with the ability to finish at the rim, he facilitated some good "inside-out" ball movement to create some open looks behind the arc.

"If he [Nelson] were to play point, I think it would wear him down," Nault said. "Teams are going to be keying on him so much. I’m sure at times late in the game, he’s going to want the ball in his hands and to be making decisions with it. But to start the season, having him come off the ball and having him come off screens and running some plays for him, I think is where we can best utilize him."

New-look offense
Both teams were running a more uptempo style, but BC High’s might be a more dramatic departure from last season, when the Eagles operated with a more conservative scheme with All-State shooting guard Jameilen Jones. With a lot of new blood in the flood, orchestrated by sophomore point guard Jack Loughnane, the Eagles run more, and are more free-flowing in the half-court.

Mobile big men such as 6-foot-6 senior Phil Leotsakos beat players off the dribble from the wing, and stepped out for three-pointers along the way as well. Players like him and Steve Young –- who sat out with injury today, but should be available soon -– are able to facilitate a fluid high-low approach, getting more players on the floor involved.

"Some of our kids have a pretty good basketball IQ, and I thought it would give them more freedom," BC High coach Bill Loughnane said. "We’ve been running the same thing for a number of years, and it’s been good to us, but our big men are very mobile and they can beat people off the dribble, so we want to give them a chance and put them in position to do good things."

Speaking about Leotsakos, he added, "That’s one of the things. Him and Steve Young, who didn’t play today, they’re really good off the dribble. They create mismatches when they have bigs on the outside. It’s our job to try to put them in a position to be successful."

Leo the Late Bloomer
Expanding further on Leotsakos, it was just one preseason scrimmage, but one has to consider the senior as a potential breakout candidate for the 2013-14 season.

One early sequence in the first quarter gave us a glimpse of how far he’s come. Posting up on defense, Leotsakos deflected then gathered a ball in the corner, then freed himself up in transition with a give-and-go pass up the sideline, and finished at the rim with a weight-shifting layup that ended up getting negated by an offensive foul. The next trip down, however, Leotsakos stepped out for a three-pointer behind the top of the key and sank it.

Later in the quarter, following an Eagles basket, Leotsakos pressed the inbounder and leaped up for an interception as the Central player tried to toss it over his head. Leotsakos then threw it to Jack Loughnane running down the lane, for an easy two points.

A year ago, Leotsakos struggled to make a dent in the Eagles’ rotation, in part due to injury. This year, he looks like a much different player, who will anchor the frontcourt in a "stretch four" type of role.

"I think he did his work in the offseason," said Bill Loughane. "He improved, he put his time in in all areas. Last year, unfortunately, he was hurt a lot for us, so he never really got in great shape that he’s in now. We’re expecting big things from him, and hopefully all that work he did pays off."

Cambio climbing
When we last saw 6-foot-5 senior forward Nick Cambio, he was sitting anxiously on the Central bench, sidelined with a hip injury shortly before the playoffs started, unable to help the Raiders as they clawed their way to the MIAA Division 1 Eastern Mass. Final at TD Garden.

Fully healthy once again on Tuesday afternoon, Cambio played noticeably more at the rim. One of the flashiest plays of the scrimmage was his one-hop, one-handed slam in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, Cambio outjumped a defender to tip in his own offensive rebound, then several minutes made a twisting drive from 18 feet out on the baseline, switching to his left hand then back to his right for a finish at the rim and foul for a three-point play.

At first glance, Cambio’s most improved trait might be his vertical leap, aided in part by some CrossFit work he did in the offseason. Of course, some of that above-the-rim style of play is by necessity, too. Having graduated brute big men Doug Gemmell and Joel Berroa, the latter ESPN Boston’s 2013 Defensive Player of the Year, Cambio is expected to man the post alongside 6-foot-6 senior Aaron Hall.

"Last year with Joel Berroa and Dougie Gemmell, he was kind of our three, slash, four guy," Nault said of Cambio. "This year, he’s gotta be our 4-5 guy. Offensively, he’s going to be around the rim all the time. He finishes well, he’s strong, he’s athletic, he’s got good bounce off the floor, so he’s gotta be a guy that dominates that area for us."

Nault said he is also looking for more aggression out of Cambio.

"I think what I want to see more of him is to want to dominate," Nault said. "I think at times he’s so unselfish, and he really relies on his teammates to make plays. With Tyler out right now, he has to understand that he needs to be a key force for us offensively. Even when Tyler does come back, those two guys have got to lead the way. I think they open up so many things for us."

Comcast: No. 7 BC High 53, No. 14 Newton North 36

February, 17, 2013
WELLESLEY, Mass. -– Often times when an opponent forces you out of your comfort zone and into a style you’re uncomfortable with you struggle. That is exactly what No. 7 BC High (15-3) did to No. 14 Newton North Sunday afternoon in the Comcast IAABO Board 27 Classic.

BC High’s up-tempo, aggressive trap defense took Newton North (18-3) out of their game in the Eagles’ 53-36 win before a capacity crowd at Babson College. It was Newton North’s first loss since Jan. 8.

“I thought defensively we did play well,” said BC High coach Bill Loughnane. “We had a lot of respect for them. I’ve seen them play and they can shoot the heck out of the ball and we just wanted to make sure we didn’t give them many open looks.”

Defense was the name of the game for BC High as their full court press and patented aggressive 2-3 zone forced 26 (unofficial) Newton North turnovers.

The Tigers had four turnovers before they recorded their first field goal of the game, but a 7-2 run to close out the opening quarter only had them trailing 10-9.

The second quarter was when BC High took over the game, outscoring the Tigers 20-11, including a 12-0 in the middle of the frame.

“Defensively we played well and were able to get some easy points,” Loughnane said of the second quarter. “The defense was good.”

In the quarter Newton North had eight turnovers, zero made free throws, and went over five minutes without a field goal as they entered the locker room trailing 30-20. It could have been worse if not for a 7-2 run to close out the half.

BC High didn’t let the Tigers get back in the game scoring the first four points of the second half, and 12-5 overall in the third quarter to take a 42-25 lead into the final stanza.

The Eagles continued to employ their full court press and trap defense into the fourth quarter, continuing to force Tiger turnovers and frustrate coach Paul Connolly. At one point in the middle of the third, Connolly substituted an entire five players after calling a time out, visibly upset with his teams’ performance.

The fourth quarter featured both teams emptying their benches and both teams scoring 11 points for a final score of 53-36.

Leading the way for BC High were their three senior captains, Pete Timmins (15 points), Charles Collins (14), and Jameilen Jones (12). The Eagles got contributions from the entire roster, as seven players recorded points, which was something Loughnane has been looking for all season.

“We wanted to try and develop a bench so that if we get in foul trouble or have to deal with injuries, guys can step up and perform well,” he said. “I thought they did a good job tonight.”

Newton North did not have anyone reach double figures. Junior Liam Bruno led the way with nine, followed by sophomore Tommy Mobley with eight.

The Tigers will face Danvers -- which suffered its first loss of the year in the nightcap, 74-66 to Brighton -- and BC High will take on Brighton in the championship. Both games will take place Monday back at Babson, with the consolation game at 4:45 p.m. and the championship at 6:30.

For Loughnane and his Eagles, he looks at this tournament as a chance to prepare for the upcoming Division 1 MIAA tournament.

“When you play against quality teams they are going to exploit your weaknesses,” he said. “We like to do that so you know what you have to work on come tournament time, so in the tournament you’re not going to see anything new to you.”

A telling stat in a basketball game is usually free throws, and it was no different in this game as BC High’s aggressive style of offense, taking the ball to the hoop and not settling for jump shots paid dividends as they got to the line 31 times, compared to the Tigers' 26.

This held true especially in the fourth quarter as BC High got to the line ten times before their first field goal of the quarter, with just under three minutes to play.

Although it wasn’t a great performance from the line, 18-for-31 (58 percent), it set the tone of the game. For Newton North it was even worse as they went 11-for-26 (42 percent).

Player Perspective: BC High's Jameilen Jones

January, 10, 2013
A sculpted 6-foot-4 senior guard with skill and gifted athleticism, Jameilen Jones has emerged as one of the MIAA’s best players after he was selected to's preseason Super Team, after making its second annual All-State Team last March. His BC High squad took a quick exit from last year’s Division 1 South tournament, falling to Franklin in the opening round, but the Eagles have come back with one of their strongest teams in recent memory.

A Dorchester native, Jones has led BC High back to statewide prominence -- just as they were two years ago when they were led by his friend Bryan Hurley, now a point guard at Bowdoin College. The Eagles sit at 5-2 overall and No. 9 in our top 25 poll, with their only losses coming to No. 7 St. John’s Prep and No. 5 Mansfield. As one of the state’s best pure scorers, it will be up to Jones to bring a Division 1 South title back to BC High, and so far, he’s looked up to the task.

We sat down with him to talk about what he learned as a sophomore playing with Hurley, his off-season workout, his gameday superstitions, and plans for next year.

[+] EnlargeJamelian Jones
Brendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comBC High's Jameilen Jones, a preseason Super Team selection, has the Eagles looking sharp in the first half of the season.
Q: After you guys lost to St. John’s Prep, what did you take away from it?
“After that game we had to adjust a little because they figured us out. They basically spread the floor on us and had shooters all over the floor. So what we’re going to do to counter that is to mix in some man instead of playing zone the whole game. But they just shot the lights out on us, honestly.

“We went more man-to-man against West Roxbury (the game following St. John’s Prep). Lately teams have been picking me up at halfcourt and pressuring me with the ball, so what coach did is now we’re going to run a few different plays, I’m going to go in the post and get the ball in the post a little more, we’ll mix in man-to-man a little more too, so that other teams don’t get comfortable with the defense we’re in. Last year we were a little big longer and taller, so this year we have to do things a little differently.”

Q: You often physically overpower opponents with your strength, what kind of workouts do you do in the summer time?
“I didn’t really touch weights this summer, I tried to do more calisthenic stuff like push-ups, things with body weight. With my AAU team, Metro Boston, we do a lot of up-fake, rip through, pull up, and mid-range shooting drills. I like to get my shot around the mid-range area, and we do a lot of drills like that. When we do our drills, they’re very physical, we have people grabbing, hacking, all that stuff. For my high school team...Coach will give us medicine balls, and we have to try to touch the backboard with the medicine balls 10 times...stuff like that.”

Q: What aspects of your game did you focus on this past offseason?
“There were two things. My left hand had to get a lot better, in terms of full court. My left is pretty good in the half court when things aren’t full speed, but I really had to work on my left the full length of the court. Because I have to help Charles [Collins, point guard] bring the ball up when teams press us. The other thing was that I wanted to get my shots more consistent, I felt like last year one game I’d be shooting well, then the next game nothing would drop. I had to get more shots up, take different kinds of shots besides just a set shot, and add some lift to it too.”

Q: You mention Charles, your backcourt mate. How does your close relationship with him help you guys on the court?
"It helps us communicate a lot better than if we weren’t so close. We know where the other one wants the ball, we know when we should take initiative, things like that. He knows when I’m out he has to step up, and when I’m out he has to step up. In a way we kind of rely on each other differently from how we rely on the other players on our team because of the close relationship we have."

Q: You’ve already played against many of the state’s best. Who would you say are some of the toughest players you’ve seen this year?
“For Charlestown, I thought Allijah [Robinson] was very good. Brockton’s guard, Jaylen Blakely was really tough. St. John’s [Prep] had that lefty who shot the ball really well, Ben Judson. Honestly though, the toughest player that we played against, that we had to help off a little more and focus on a little more was Markus Neale from West Roxbury.”

Q: What did you guys talk about at the beginning of the year, in terms of having goals and winning games? How do you as a leader keep your team motivated?
“Our coach, he gameplans for every game the same...At the end of the day, it’s all about getting a W. It’s not so much me encouraging our team, I’ll tell them we have to get our hands up or we need to play better defensively, but coach is really focused on winning every game. He believes we can win every game we play as well.”

Q: What kind of habits or routines do you have for gameday?
“The day before a game, I always try to have a lot of fluids and eat a lot of good food. The day of the game, I stretch a little extra. I also like to think I’m going to do good things, and hope it transpires on the court. I like to think positive. The mental aspect makes a big difference, when you believe and you envision it, I think I have a little bit of a superstition that it helps out.”

Q: What have you been able to learn from your teammates, and who, whether it be family or coaches, has really helped you get to where you are now?
“The first person I think of who helped me a lot is Bryan Hurley, who I played with two years ago. Brian is the best point guard I’ve played with. His leadership is really, really good. He always encouraged his teammates, and kept us in good spirits. As far as other people, my family always encourages me and tries to go to as many of my games as they can, they always want to know when I’m playing. The people around Dorchester always want to know too, so they can come see me play a game. So in terms of players, Brian Hurley really helped prepare me for where I am now, and my family and friends have helped me out a lot.”

Q: Your high school coach, Bill Loughnane, has been around a long time. What kinds of things have you learned from him?
“Definitely discipline. There has never been a player who has lashed out at him, or has done anything that was bad. He keeps us very disciplined, he listens to us, but nobody on this team acts out of line. We try to reflect what we want to produce as a school: good character, being a man for others, and things like that.“

Q: Division 2 schools have shown interest in you, but you have yet to get a scholarship offer. What are you thinking in terms of plans for next year?
“About a month ago, [Worcester Academy guard] Rene Castro told Coach [Jamie] Sullivan at Worcester Academy about me. I spoke to Coach Sullivan, and actually this Friday I’m going to finish the application to hopefully go there. Rene gave me a schedule so I can get to a game, and Coach Sullivan told me to finish the application and what not. I would really like to play at Worcester...It would be really fun. I believe I’m a scholarship player, but I know I have a lot to work on. If I was more consistent, I would have the scholarships right now. I just need to keep working, and it all will work out.”

Recap: No. 3 BC High 65, No. 18 Brockton 51

December, 19, 2012
BROCKTON, Mass. -– On Tuesday night, the No. 3 BC High boys basketball team demonstrated that stopping their guard play is going to be a tall task for any defense to handle this season.

They rolled past host No. 18 Brockton, 65-51, behind 43 points from a trio of guards -- including a game-high 20 from senior Jameilen Jones.

Jones, who netted 33 in the Eagles’ (2-0) season-opening win over Charlestown last week, recognized how important the sharp-shooting of senior guard Mike McAuley was in the win.

“My shot wasn’t really falling for me –- thankfully I have some abilities where I can catch one off the glass or run down the court and get some open lay-ups, but it’s not going to be perfect every day,” Jones said. “Mike stepped up today. I really liked what I saw today.”

Added BC coach Bill Loughnane: “Mike’s a senior whose been around and he knows how to step up. He’s played well for us before.

"Last year he had a couple real good games for us, but in the third quarter tonight he executed our plays correctly and ended up with some wide open shots. He’s a real good player, so he’s going to make them for us."

While the Eagles won with relative ease, they needed a strong second half to fuel the runaway victory. Brockton jumped out early and led 14-12 after one. BC High didn’t take its first lead of the contest until there was 4:40 remaining in the second quarter.

A defensive adjustment there made life tougher on the Boxers’ (1-2) shooters.

“I think coach Loughnane had his guys attack us a little bit more,” said Brockton coach Bob Boen. “He got his guys a little more aggressive and out front and into passing lanes. We were having trouble getting any attack to the basket. They made a good switch there.”

Jones provided a spark that kept Brockton’s offense at bay, coming away with four steals and pulling down seven of his 10 rebounds on the defensive end.

“He’s Mr. Everything for us and he has to be,” said Loughnane. “I thought they did a pretty good job on him defensively. He willed himself to a lot of those points and he didn’t let the little frustration early affect him. He rebounded, he played defense -– he did what good players do -– help in anyway.”

In addition to the 20 points from Jones and 14 from McAuley, the Eagles did a good job spreading the ball around as six players netted at least six points. Charles Collins and Pete Timmins each chipped in nine points, Phil Leotsakos added seven and Steve Young scored six in the win.

Brockton was led by 11 points from Nisre Zouzoua. They also got 10 points from Ridge Francisque, eight from Ian Wade, and seven a piece from Jaylen Blakely and Shakeen Smith.

The Boxers hindered their own comeback chances with a poor showing at the free throw line, going just 7-for-19 from the stripe.

“It seemed like every time we needed a big foul shot, we couldn’t get it,” Boen said. “There were a couple times they had five point leads and we got to the line and we missed. They had a seven point and my guy got to the line for three shots and only made one there.

"Not only did we a lot, we missed foul shots at keys time tonight.”

A silver lining: After graduating four of their starters, as well as nearly every player besides Blakely who saw significant time during the Boxers’ run to an EMass. crown last season, some growing pains were expected this year.

“Our theme right now is that we’re a brand new team,” said Boen. “We have exactly one player who played serious varsity minutes last year. (Marcus) Curry and Wade were on the varsity but they never played a lot of minutes in the big time games.

“We’re a brand team and that’s the idea we’re sticking with. They’re really angry right now because they’re 1-2 and we’re not usually 1-2. This year, I came in with the mindset that we’re going to be building all year and to be ready in February was our goal.”

From a talent perspective, at least, the Boxers should be just fine this season.

“I take form tonight, that physically, we can probably play with everybody,” Boen said. “Our mental game really has to tighten up. We made some serious mistakes tonight -– just awful mistakes. Leaving their best shooters open sometimes, not being awake on some out of bounds plays. Things like that.

"I am pleased with how were able to physically play with BC High, and run up and down the court with them. We covered their big scorer pretty well.”

The Boxers might even get better from a physical stand point, as they’re still feeling out roles for everyone, especially senior forward Shakeen Smith, who played high school basketball last season in Georgia.

“He’s new and he’s only been with us a little bit,” said Boen. “He actually got sick and missed the first week after tryouts, so we really don’t try to run any plays for him yet. We don’t try and get him the ball at all because it’s just been such a short amount of practice time.”

In addition to his seven points, Smith was a force under the basket, pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds while blocking three shots.

“He’s a really hard-worker,” said Boen. “He might not be as a big a force as Sayvonn (Houston) but he has a chance to be that type of guy. He will become much more of our offense as the year goes on.”

Comcast tourney: C'Town, Brockton advance

February, 18, 2012

READING, Mass. -- Charlestown head coach Edson Cardoso was looking for more assertion on the defensive end in the second half of the Townies' Comcast/IAABO Board 27 Basketball Classic semifinal against BC High.

His players listened -- they held BC High without a field goal in the third quarter.

Then at the end, with the Townies picking up steam, Cardoso wanted more dribble penetration from his star junior swingman Tyrese Hoxter. Cardoso again got his wishes -- but not before getting goosebumps for a few moments.

Hoxter scored eight points over a span of three offensive possessions with under three minutes to go, giving the Townies the lead for good, but not before hanging by a thread. They watched as Eagles star Jameilen Jones got two good looks with under 15 seconds remaining, then exhaled after he missed both, earning a tough 46-45 comeback victory at Reading High's Hawkes Field House.

"I think everybody in the gym thought it was going in," BC High head coach Bill Loughnane said of Jones' final shot, a 20-footer from the top of the key off a long inbounds pass. "When it left his hands, it looked good. After that second bounce, unfortunately, it took a wrong bounce."

Said Hoxter, "Coach told us not to let up, just keep fighting through it. It was a long three minutes, it felt like it was longer than that, but we knew we could pull through it."

After holding the Eagles (13-5) without a field goal in the third quarter, thanks to some stingy 2-3 zone defense, the Townies (15-4) made their push in the final five minutes, going right through the heart of Loughnane's patented 1-3-1 zone.

It started with Hoxter (28 points), who was called for a charge, but saw his fortunes reverse quickly when a BC High player was called for a technical foul for some choice words a few seconds later. Omar Orriols sank the ensuing free throws to cut BC's lead to 39-37.

With 3:10 to go, Hoxter hit his first of two back-to-back free throws, this one from the left wing to tie it at 41-41. The next trip down, Hoxter lined up at the same exact spot and went through the same motion -- a quick pass across the perimeter to senior point guard Rony Fernandez (five assists), who hesitated then threw it back his way -- to make it 44-43.

The next trip down, Hoxter gathered at the right wing, drove through traffic and switched hands mid-air for one of his trademark windmill layups to make it 46-43. That gave him an impressive eight points in three consecutive touches; but it was also the final basket of the night for Charlestown.

"I had the confidence in my shot, and they [weren't] closing out on me quick enough," Hoxter said. "So I just let it fly."

Cardoso said it's the first time Hoxter hit back-to-back three's in a Charlestown uniform, so understandably the shot selection might have unnerved him a bit.

"We'll take it, but we were really looking for him to penetrate that top guy in the zone, throw Rony on the strong side," Cardoso said. "And once Rony's man yielded to Tyrese, to kick to Rony or drive."

He continued, chuckling, "My heart was beating real fast when he was taking those three's. But, he's a scorer, I think he took it with confidence and thought he was going to make it. I wasn't mad at him for making it."

Jones (11 points) missed a runner through the middle of the paint with under 15 seconds to go, and Orriols was there for the board, picking up a foul in the process. BC's Justin Roberts was there for the rebound when Orriols missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Jones one final look at the basket that very nearly was a game-winner.

Jackson gives it a go: Contributing to the Townies' loss to Madison Park last Tuesday, which cost them the final spot in the Boston City Championship tournament this week, was injury of Tyrik Jackson, who sprained his right ankle.

The 6-foot-6 Jackson runs the floor well for a player his size, and does well catching and driving from the elbow. But a noticeable limp gave him limited mobility tonight, and thus he was relegated to the space around the basket.

Battling with Roberts and Oderah Obukwelu underneath, Jackson gave it a solid 17 minutes and played a big contribution to holding the Eagles without a field goal in the third quarter -- "When he was in there, he made a big difference for them," Loughnane noted.

Jackson finished with four rebounds, but made players entering the lane work for their buckets in what was a grueling defensive game.

"It shows some heart," Cardoso said. "I called him this morning and asked if he was alright. He said, 'Yeah Coach, I'll try and give it my best'. I said, 'If you can, yeah, great, if not rest for the state tournament'. But credit to him, he wanted to be out here with his teammates. I thought he gave us some solid minutes tonight."


Sitting deadlocked at 22-22 after one quarter of play, the Boxers (16-1) quickly kicked it into high gear, leading 44-27 at the break and 63-37 after three quarters. Jaylen Blakely led the way with 23 points in the win, aided by a 4-for-5 effort from three-point range. Jamal Reuben added 18 points, while senior center Sayvonn Houston added 12.

Senior guard Edirson Correia led the Falcons (12-7) with 13 points in the loss.