Boston High School: Tyler McFarland

Recap: Worcester Academy 66, Cushing 63

February, 22, 2012
2/22/12
10:22
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WORCESTER, Mass. -- With two seconds remaining on the shot clock, eight seconds remaining in the game, and with the score tied, Worcester Academy had to pull off a miracle if they wanted to win against favored Cushing Academy.

It was their ball, and Hilltoppers head coach Jamie Sullivan burned two timeouts to draw up the perfect play to get the upset. In the end, the play didn't end up being perfect, but it most definitely worked. Worcester won the game, 66-63, after Olivier Paul-Betu knocked down a wild three-pointer off of the backboard.

“We were trying to run a back screen to get a layup but they cut it off. Olivier [Paul-Betu] did a good job of coming to the ball and getting the shot up there,” Sullivan said. “Hey, we’ve lost on a few shots like that this year, and I think today was our day.”

Worcester had been trading baskets with Cushing for the entire second half even though they were down by 12 in the first half. Despite missing their two main big men, 6-foot-9 Matt Cimino and 6-foot-8 Andrew Scocca, the Hilltoppers clawed back.

Rene Castro did a bulk of the scoring for Worcester. Castro finished with 31 points, including 14-of-23 from the field, and added five rebounds. Five of Castro's field goals turned into three-point plays, all of which he converted.

“Since my shot was not really falling and I had a couple of missed lay-ups, I just decided at one point in the first half to go stronger to the hole,” said Castro.

His teammates Ausar Madison and Tyreik McCauley also chipped in 10 points apiece.

Cushing's Andrew Chrabascz was unstoppable in the post to start the game, but had a hamstring cramp midway through the second half. The Portsmouth, R.I. native managed to tough it out and come back into the game but was not enough to push his team over the top. He helped push his team on an 8-2 run at the beginning of the game with his array of fundamental post moves, and finished with 25 points.

Worcester’s 11-4 run to start the second half ultimately shifted the momentum in their favor, and helped them get the win.

“Cushing Academy is a tremendous basketball team,” said Sullivan. “I believe this win would help us in the New England rankings. We had ten games to go, and we had our backs against the wall. We needed to assert ourselves and we got this big win. This will help us with our confidence level knowing that we can compete and contend at the AA level but it’s far from over.

"We have to play New Hampton Friday, which bodes as a big threat. I really believe in these guys though because they do such a good job of preventing other teams from doing what they want to do.”

Pressing Issues: What truly changed for Worcester in the second half was the way it attacked the Cushing Academy guards on defense.

“We just tried to run a man-to-man, 94 feet from the basket press,” Sullivan said. “I’ve been saying all year long that I think we have the best backcourt in New England to bring defensive pressure. We don’t have a great shot-blocker and we don’t have much size. To be a good defensive team, we have to pressure the basketball and try to take teams out of what they are running.”

Madison was particularly impressive. Despite only standing at 5-foot-9, he held 6-foot-2 Cushing sophomore point guard Kaleb Joseph to eight points. The Worcester guards' defense successfully prevented the ball from getting in the hands of Cushing big men.

Coach Sullivan added, “I think that we had to concentrate at what we are really good at and that’s pressuring the basketball. We were able to do that a little bit in the first half but Rene, Olivier, and Ausar really needed to pressure the ball more so that they could not get the ball in to Andrew Chrabascz and Tyler McFarland. “

No Big Deal: While Paul-Betu may have been an unexpected star in the end, there was another Worcester Academy player who came out of nowhere to fill big shoes. That was the sophomore big man McCauley, who used his god-given athleticism to grab unlikely rebounds and score inside.

“We haven’t seen that yet, but that’s why I recruited him here from Worcester’s own Holy Name," Sullivan said. "He’s a tremendous student. He has stuck with it and has been buried on the bench but I kept telling him to stick with it.”

With Cimino and Scocca out, McCauley saw his opportunity and had ten points and six rebounds. Despite sitting on the bench most of the season, McCauley waited his turn and ended up stepping up at the right time against a time that is known to score most of its points inside.

Castro’s Streak Continues: Castro’s 31 points was not anything out of the norm for him. He has been on a tear lately and just continues to put up big numbers.

“I guess last game I had 29 points so the streak ended, but I’ve had 30 or more in the past six out of our seven games,” said Castro.

Regardless of whether it is a seven game streak or a six game streak, one thing is for sure: Castro is maturing as a player at Worcester. Coach Sullivan has helped him become more of a leader on the court and it has helped them win their last seven games.

“He’s getting more and more comfortable with his teammates. Coming in, he did not have a great understanding of how to be a scoring guard and to takeover games,” said Sullivan. “Obviously I did not want him to think he was the only guy out there but I needed to get him to assert himself a little more. I also told him that if he focused more on defensive pressure, he would get a lot of easy baskets simply off of steals.”

New England Roundup: Maine

March, 25, 2011
3/25/11
5:00
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The Maine high school basketball season concluded with the McDonald’s Senior All-Star games at Husson University. Prior to the games, Mr. and Miss Maine Basketball winners were announced. Tyler McFarland of Camden Hills was named Mr. Basketball while Kayla Burchill of Deering High was named Miss Basketball.

MaineMcFarland, a 6-foot-6 forward, led the Windjammers to an unbeaten season and a state Class B title. He averaged 24.6 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. Burchill, a 6-1 forward who will play at the University of Vermont next season, averaged 22.6 points and 9.4 rebounds a game while leading Deering to a 19-2 record and top seeding in Western Maine Class A.

McFarland Q & A
Q: How do you feel about being named Mr. Maine Basketball? Were you surprised?

A: "It’s rewarding to be recognized as Mr. Basketball this season. There were many deserving players of this award throughout the state this year including the other two finalists; Graham Safford of Hampden Academy and Bowen Leary of Edward Little High. I felt that either three of us could have been named Mr. Basketball. I spent the majority of the banquet (in which the announcement was made) cracking jokes to my friends Graham Safford, Ray Bessette, and Josh Walker. I wasn’t concerned about who was going to win the award, because all of us players were enjoying a good meal, so I wasn’t necessarily surprised, but nervous about what I was going to say to the 400 people in attendance. It was gratifying to win the award, but if Graham or Bo were to be named Mr. Basketball it would have been equally as rewarding to see another great player/good kid to be presented with the award."

Q: What was the highlight of the season for you?

A: "Winning the state championship was easily the most memorable moment the year."

Q: What goals had you set for yourself and the team?

A: "Personally my focus was to lead an undefeated season this year, and we did that at 23-0. We overcame some adversity early in the year to accomplish that, which made this team stronger as well as more confident come playoff time."

Q: Who have been the greatest influences in your basketball career?

A: "Chronologically, I’ll begin with my Dad as he has pushed me to compete and play the game year round starting at a very young age. He recognized my passion for the game and provided me with opportunities to compete and play the game, whether he was coaching or driving me and my friends to AAU practice.

"Dan Gabriele is the father of the starting 2 guard on our High school team this year. Very much like my father he coached my friends from Camden and I since the age of 11. Dan piled the travel team known as “The Rock” into his black mini-van dozens of times to travel hours at a time in any direction where we could meet good competition. Jeff Hart took me under his wing in 2007 as my high school basketball coach. Coach Hart has molded me as a basketball player instilling confidence, awareness, and selflessness on the court. He has taught me that sacrifice is at times as rewarding as individual accomplishment. Looking back at myself as a freshman there are so many traits that I have attained through competing in the basketball program at Camden Hills (from then until now) that are very important to who I am as a player/person today. Carl Parker is my AAU coach of two year now and has influenced my mindset towards the game of basketball as well as life in general. Simply playing for Coach Parker has led me to become competitive to another dimension. I seek to play against the best and hope for the opportunity on any occasion which has been part of my decision to attend prep school in order to allow myself the opportunity to play at the highest level possible in the future. Coach Parker wants to see me reach my full potential with the game as much as anyone. His belief and confidence in me as a player has caused me to strive for more out of this game."

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The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Pat Connaughton of St. John's Preparatory School as its 2010-11 Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Connaughton is the first Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from St. John's Preparatory School.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound senior guard led the Eagles to a 24-1 record and a berth in the Division 1 state championship game, scheduled for March 19. Entering the state final, Connaughton is averaging 22.0 points, 16.6 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game. A member of the 2010 Boston Herald Dream Team and the Boston Globe Super Team, he is a three-time Catholic Conference All-Star and a two-time league MVP.

Connaughton has maintained a 3.53 weighted GPA in the classroom. A standout pitcher for the St. John’s Prep baseball team and an accomplished Latin scholar, he has volunteered locally as a youth basketball coach and elementary school tutor and has donated his time at a day care center.

“Pat’s a very physical player, very strong,” said Michael Crotty, Connaughton’s AAU coach with the Middlesex Magic. “He can get to the hoop, slash and finish above the rim. He’s as good a 6-foot-5 rebounder as you will see in the country. When you need a big one, he gets it.”

Connaughton has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Notre Dame this fall. He also intends to play baseball.

Connaughton joins recent Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Basketball Players of the Year Nate Lubick (2008-09 & 2009-10, St. Mark's School) and Stevie Mejia (2007-08, Lawrence Academy), among the state’s list of former award winners.

Below are the winners from the five other New England states:

CONNECTICUT: ANDRE DRUMMOND, ST. THOMAS MORE

The 6-foot-10, 240-pound senior power forward and center led the Chancellors to a 30-7 record and the National Preparatory School Championship this past season, earning postseason MVP honors in the process. Drummond averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and four blocks while shooting 64 percent from the floor. He scored 19 points in the title-clinching win over Notre Dame Prep.

Drummond has maintained a B average in the classroom at St. Thomas More. A campus tour guide and residence assistant at his school, he has volunteered locally on behalf of food and clothing drives for the homeless and as part of a fundraising campaign to benefit cancer research.

Drummond intends to complete a year of post-graduate study, beginning this fall.

Drummond joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Boys Basketball Players of the Year Brandon Sherrod (2009-10, Stratford), Greg DeSantis (2008-09, Notre Dame Catholic), and Allan Chaney (2007-08, New London), among the state’s list of former award winners.

RHODE ISLAND: MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS, ST. ANDREW'S

The 6-foot-5, 175-pound senior guard averaged 23.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals this past season, leading the Saints (25-9) to the New England Prep School Athletic Council Class B semifinals. The returning Gatorade Rhode Island Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Carter-Williams is the first Rhode Island player selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game. A two-time NEPSAC First Team All-Conference honoree, he concluded his prep basketball career with 2,260 points.

Carter-Williams has maintained a 3.06 GPA in the classroom. The lead in his school’s stage production of “Aladdin,” he has volunteered locally as a youth football and basketball coach and as a peer tutor.

Carter-Williams has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at Syracuse University this fall.

Carter-Williams joins recent Gatorade Rhode Island Boys Basketball Players of the Year Jay Jeannotte (2008-09, Narragansett) and Ashton Watkins (2007-08, Classical), among the state’s list of former award winners.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: CONNOR GREEN, BISHOP GUERTIN

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound senior forward has led the Cardinals to a 19-2 record and a berth in the Division I state final against Trinity High, scheduled for March 19. Green is averaging 20.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 77 percent from the free throw line. A 2011 New Hampshire Mr. Basketball finalist, he has recorded a double-double in 20 of Bishop Guertin’s 21 games this season.

Green has maintained a 3.30 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a peer tutor and on behalf of multiple community service initiatives in association with his church youth group.

“Connor Green has developed into a complete player,” said Bishop Guertin High Head Coach Jim Migneault. “Each game he is just as focused on grabbing rebounds as he is about scoring points. He has matured so much as a player this season.”

Green intends to complete a year of post-graduate study, beginning this fall.

Green joins recent Gatorade New Hampshire Boys Basketball Players of the Year Melvin Ejim (2009-10, Brewster), Alex Oriakhi (2008-09, Tilton), and Emmanuel Negedu (2007-08, Brewster), among the state’s list of former award winners.

MAINE: TYLER MCFARLAND, CAMDEN HILLS REGIONAL

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound senior forward led the Windjammers to a 23-0 record and the Class B state championship this past season. McFarland recorded 24 points and 11 rebounds in the 68-59, state title-clinching victory against Cape Elizabeth High, capturing All-Tournament Most Valuable Player honors in the process. The state’s Mr. Basketball award-winner and a Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star Game selection, he averaged 24.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.8 steals, 2.0 assists and 1.8 blocks per game. McFarland shot 55 percent from the field and 77 percent from the free-throw line. The three-time Class B Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Player of the Year, he also led Camden Hills to the 2009 Class B state title as a sophomore.

McFarland has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom and serves as a member of Camden Hills High’s student and captains’ councils. The recipient of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership and Maine Principals Association’s awards for outstanding citizenship, he has also donated his time as part of his school’s peer-mentoring program and as a youth basketball instructor.

“The thing that distinguishes Tyler McFarland is his intense desire to not only be the best player he can be, but how much he enjoys helping his teammates become the best players they can be,” said Camden Hills High Head Coach Jeff Hart. “He will do whatever it takes for his team to win. If we need him to score 40, then he’ll score 45. If we need 20 rebounds, he’ll go get 25. He wants to be a role model for all the young people not only in our community, but wherever he ends up going to college. Tyler is the most impressive young man who I have ever met in 29 years of coaching here at Camden Hills High.”

McFarland remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

McFarland joins recent Gatorade Maine Boys Basketball Players of the Year Stefano Mancini (2009-10, Falmouth), Thomas Knight (2008-09, Dirigo), and Ryan Martin (2007-08, Maranacook Community), among the state’s list of former award winners.

VERMONT: BEN FERRIS, ESSEX

The 6-foot-3 senior guard averaged 23.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists this past season, leading the Hornets to the Division I state tournament. A member of the All-State team as a junior, Ferris was named to the Vermont Basketball Coaches Association Dream Dozen in 2011. He is also a two-time First Team All-Metro selection.

Ferris has maintained an A average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a mentor for elementary school children.

Ferris will attend Tufts University this fall, where he will play basketball.

Ferris joins recent Gatorade Vermont Boys Basketball Players of the Year Joe O'Shea (2009-10, Burlington), Clancy Rugg (2008-09, Burlington), and Matt Joslin (2007-08, North Country Union), among the state’s list of former award winners.

New England Roundup: Maine

January, 27, 2011
1/27/11
5:01
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Scarborough High School graduate and defenseman Jake Rutt will play hockey at the University of Maine next season on full scholarship. Rutt, who played at St. Dominic his freshman and sophomore years, is currently playing for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs in Hooksett, N.H. to gain a year of experience before college. He recently consented to an interview.

Q: What have you gained from your year with the Monarchs?

MaineA: "This is my second year, and first PG year with the Monarchs, and I am very glad I did it. I've learned a lot not just about the sport but also outside the hockey rink. I have an apartment with three others on the team and learned life away from home. For next year, I feel like I will be able to jump right into Maine's lineup and be an impact player. The PG year gave me time to develop including strength, speed and my decision making on and off the ice."

Q: Did the Maine coaches think you needed another year of work? Did you?

A: "When I first committed, they told me I needed a year to develop and I understood as much as I wanted to go up to Orono and play instantly. I needed to be patient and Coach Sean Tremblay and Coach Matt Dennehy (of the Monarchs) worked on my areas of improvement to make me a more solid player."

Q: Are you taking any classes in the area, or is it strictly hockey?

A: "I will be taking a class this summer but during the season I did not. It is mostly hockey and it’s a great lifestyle. If you treat it like a job then that’s when you find you will improve the most. I also have a job near the rink at a pizza place called the Pizza Man. I am a delivery boy. So between delivering and hockey, that mostly fills up my week."

Q: What area do you think you needed to improve in the most?

A: "There's always something I can improve on because no one's game is perfect but if i had to choose one area it would probably be my decision making and this will take time. Studying other defensemen with the same attributes as me will help. The extra year with the Monarchs has helped tremendously."

Q: Why did you decide to attend Maine? Were there many other offers?

A: "I didn't hesitate when Maine offered me. Playing youth hockey in Maine, the Black Bears were always a topic of discussion around the local youth rinks and it was a dream of mine to play for my home state. At the time of my commitment, a lot of D1 schools were asking about me through Coach Tremblay, including a handful in Hockey East, but I had my mind set on Maine."

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