Boston High School: Efthim Butka

Top MIAA hoop performances: Feb. 28

March, 1, 2014
Mar 1
Each and every night throughout the MIAA basketball playoff season, we will highlight the state's top performances. Here are my top performances from Friday night's slate of MIAA basketball state tournament play.

As a reminder, readers are encouraged to submit their top performances via email ( or tweeting at ESPN Boston High Schools editor Brendan Hall (@BHallESPN). Deadline for all submissions each night is midnight.

1. Kellan Grady, Soph. G, Catholic Memorial
Before an overflowing crowd at hallowed Ron Perry Gymnasium, connected for 32 points -- including eight 3-pointers -- as the Knights downed archrival BC High for the third time this season in a D1 South quarterfinal.

2. Nelson Zayas, Sr. G, Sabis
Hit eight 3-pointers as part of a 33-point night, shooting 11 of 15 from the field total, in a 90-51 rout of Easthampton in D3 West.

3. Tyler Nelson, Sr. G, Central Catholic
Had 27 points in the Raiders' 53-50 win over Cambridge. Fourteen of those came in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning three-pointer with 38 seconds left.

4. Frank Oftring, Sr. F, Bishop Feehan
Scored 32 points and 10 rebounds in the
Shamrocks' win over Canton.

5. Eamonn Joyce, Jr. C, St. Clement
Shored up the Anchormen with 30 points and 12 rebounds in the 71-54 win over Lowell Catholic in D4 North.

6. Jake Wisniewski, Jr. C, Quaboag
Recorded 26 points and 14 rebounds in the Cougars' 81-37 rout of Lee.

7. Anthony Green, Sr. C, North Quincy
Capped with several highlight-reel dunks, 6-foot-9 post totaled 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in the Red Raiders' 64-56 defeat of cross-town rival Quincy in D1 South quarterfinals.

8. Jazz Laracuente, Sr. G, New Mission
Totaled 26 points and nine assists in the Titans' 69-61 defeat of Whittier in D4 North.

9. Efthim Butka, Sr. G/F, North Quincy
Totaled 25 pts, including five 3-pointers, in the Red Raiders' win over Quincy.

10. Deandra Humphries, Sr. F, New Mission
Achieved a double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds in the Titans' win over Whitter.

D1 South: North Quincy 64, Quincy 56

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
QUINCY, Mass. -– All season long, Solomon Umoren has been a defensive stalwart for the North Quincy stalwart. So naturally, he turned in perhaps the biggest offensive play of the season as the top-seeded Red Raiders downed crosstown rival Quincy, 65-54, in a Division 1 South Sectional quarterfinal match-up.

As the clock fell under three minutes to play, Quincy was surging and had cut North’s lead to just five points. The Presidents were on the verge of forcing a turnover as the shot clock neared zero. Point guard Kyle Richardson hit Umoren with a pass on the wing. The junior forward caught the pass and sent the pass toward the hoop as he was falling out of bounds.

“I just threw it up. It’s been a while since I hit a 3, I usually just attack,” said Umoren. “I didn’t know it was going in.”

The shot couldn’t have been more true, and it snapped through the twine to push North Quincy’s lead up to eight. From there, the Red Raiders just needed to hit free throws down the stretch to advance to a semifinal rematch with Newton North.

“We’ve got a hand in his face, the shot clock was on one, that was just a heck of a shot,” said Quincy coach Dave Parry. “From that time on, we really had a hard time. To me, that was the play of the game.”

Added NQ senior Efthim Butka: “That shot was incredible. It was better than any shot I’ve hit in my life. He was fading away, shot clock winding down, falling into coach’s arms, and then, nothing but net. It’s like there was a boulder on our back and Solo was just like ‘I’m Superman’ and took it away."

Super sidekicks: Umoren, who scored all seven of his points in the fourth, might have hit the biggest shot on the night, but throughout the contest Butka and Anthony Green shouldered much of the offensive load for the Red Raiders.

Butka was held scoreless in the first quarter but heated up in the second, notching seven points. He caught fire in the third, pouring in another 11 on his way to a game-high 23, including five 3-pointers, in the win.

“He’s tough to keep down,” said Barrett. “You can contain him for a little while but he’s an inside-out guy so he’s going to find ways to score. He’s going to manufacture points. The ones he missed early on, he didn’t miss by much. I told him to keep shooting the basketball and they started dropping.”

Butka was especially happy with both the win and his performance after Quincy handed North it’s first and only loss of the season just a couple weeks ago.

“We were just unbelievably motivated. They took the undefeated season away from us,” said Butka. “That was stuck in my head. I played really bad in that game, and it wasn’t just shooting, it was all aspects of the game. I made it my mission to come out defensively and play as hard as I could. The offense just came as the game went on.”

Green was impressive on both ends of the floor for NQ, finishing with 19 points and 10 rebounds. He flashed solid athleticism throughout the contest, best showcased in the waning seconds of the first quarter. He caught a pass beyond the free throw line, used a couple dribbles and a spin move and exploded by his defender, finishing with a thunderous two-handed slam that ignited the already boisterous NQ crowd.

“It happened a couple of times tonight, where he alleviated some pressure by putting the ball on the deck two, three, four times,” said Barrett. “He’s capable of doing that. He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well from the perimeter tonight, but he’s been a consistent elbow jump shooter for us all year.

"He’s a skilled kid. People are fooling themselves if they think he’s just a back to the basket player. He can pass the ball, he reads the double team really well, he throws out of it really well. He’s the full package.”

Both players benefitted from the sound play of Richardson throughout the game. He finished with nine points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals in the win.

Callahan for President: On the other side, Quincy was led by Christian Callahan, a Swiss Army Knife kind of player with an impressive approval rating. He came off the bench to give the Presidents a 20 point, 12 rebound, maximum-effort kind of performance.

“Just an incredible, incredible athletic specimen,” said Parry. “He does thing a lot of guys don’t. I like the energy coming off the bench, and he can play all five positions. Whether it’s the point, forward, the off guard position, he can come in for anybody and play anywhere.”

Bouncing all over the floor, he certainly caused fits for North Quincy’s defense. His ability to get to the hoop and finish, coupled with his ability to generate second chances (he had nine offensive rebounds) allowed Quincy to keep pace all night.

“We talked about it during several timeouts and certainly at halftime,” Barrett said. “He’s just an aggressive, tenacious kid when the ball goes up. We weren’t doing a great job of locating him and boxing him out, but he makes it hard.”

Recap: No. 22 North Quincy 72, Quincy 64

December, 24, 2013
QUINCY, Mass. -- Every day over this past summer, North Quincy forward Efthim Butka rose early from his bed with this basketball season on his mind. Originally, the plan was to put on some size and some strength to benefit his low-post game.

As the summer wore on, the plan evolved into something more -- and his offseason workouts resulted in his game not being played just inside the paint anymore, but out well beyond the 3-point line.

“It’s very new,” Butka said. “I’ve been working on it all off-season. I saw how effective it was with Dan (Gould) last year.It really showed me that if you have an overall game you can be a bigger threat and that’s what I wanted to be.”

On Friday night, as the No. 22 Red Raiders downed cross-town rival Quincy, 72-64, Butka showed the Presidents what his overall game was capable of as he poured in a game-high 27 points to go with 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks.

Butka’s 3-point shooting -- he hit six times from behind the arc -- ensured the Presidents (2-1) wouldn’t complete an impressive second half comeback.

“A lot of people didn’t expect to see this, but he worked so hard in the offseason to extend his range and develop his game,” said North Quincy coach Kevin Barrett. “That’s a new piece now that he has as a weapon. It’s going to be pretty hard to defend going forward, I would say.”

“None of our scouting reports had Butka throwing up three,” said Quincy coach Dave Parry. “We concentrated on his down low stuff, because he’s very good down low. When he pops up and he’s got James (Lam) in his face, I can’t ask for any more than that.”

Friday may have served as a coming out party for Butka’s newly minted skill set, but it’s one that didn’t happen by chance, and it certainly didn’t happen overnight.

“Every day, I was shooting for about three hours straight -- threes, twos, just everything,” said Butka. “I really worked on my shot off the dribble because I can’t just be a catch and shoot shooter, people would just lock me down. The three came along with, I don’t know, maybe a 1,000 shots a day.”

For North Quincy, that improved range meant stymying an improbable comeback attempt. Just before halftime, the Red Raiders opened up what appeared to be an insurmountable 16-point lead.

After the Presidents outscored them, 22-7, in the third quarter, NQ headed for the fourth clinging to a one-point lead.

On the opening possession, Butka took a pass about five behind the arc, straight on, and let loose another arcing shot toward the hoop. His fourth 3-point of the contest snapped through the twine.

“At a certain point, it just feels like you’re throwing the ball into an ocean,” Butka said. “It just felt automatic, I didn’t hesitate for a second.”

That was just as true two other times in the fourth when Quincy slipped into the lead, briefly. His final two 3’s of the game both erased deficits for North Quincy, ensuring they’d remain unbeaten.

Teammate Matt Gerakis, who added 15 points, also connected on a lead-changing fourth quarter 3-pointer.

North Quincy also got 13 points and eight rebounds from 6-foot-9 center Anthony Green, as well as 11 points and seven assists from speedy point guard Kyle Richardson.


The Presidents knew they’d dug themselves quite a hole headed into halftime, and set to use the third quarter to work back into contention.

“I’m proud of the way the kids came back,” said Parry. “I asked them to cut the lead to eight. I just thought if we went into the fourth down only eight, we’d have a chance to win. They did better and got it down to one.”

Shifting out of a trap-based zone full court press into a man-to-man coverage one wreaked havoc on the Red Raiders offense in the third, forcing a bevy of turnovers and less than desirable shots.

“We tried to contain Kyle a little bit, we switched up our press a little bit and tried to take the ball away from and make somebody else make some plays,” said Parry. “For the most part, it worked. The man to man gave them less open looks. They worked harder for everything they got in the second half.”

Lam was perhaps the biggest key to the second half surge, acting as the President’s do everything Swiss Army knife. He poured in 13 points to go with eight rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks.

“James was the quarterback of our football team, and he sees everything out there,” said Parry. “He sees the whole court and just always knows where to be.”

J.T. Bain notched a team-high 18 points and Brendan Cunningham chipped in with 10 in the loss.