BABC Holiday Classic - Event Recap
While a blizzard delayed the 2010 BABC Holiday Classic for a day, things got underway at Chelsea High School on Tuesday with a match-up of the MIAA's top two teams headlining the day's action.
Game of the Day - St. John’s Prep 53 New Mission 49
The last game of the night featured one of the best catholic conference teams, in St. John’s, against one of the best city league teams, in New Mission. The game started off slowly as both teams were playing excellent defense. By the end of the 1st quarter, Prep led 13-8.
Neither team established a solid lead until Pat Connaughton earned Hustle Play of the Day in the middle of the second quarter with a block at one end of the court and a subsequent crossover and dish to an open teammate on the other end. While Connaughton wasn’t his usual dominant self with New Mission throwing many different defensive looks at him, the most effective being a man to man with Samir McDaniels covering him, Prep nonetheless grew their lead to 15 in the middle of the third quarter, 43-28.
New Mission, however, would not go away easily. Going on a 19-8 run powered by Kachi Nzerem, Charles Gunter, and Darius Davis, the game was put at 51-47 with 1:32 left in the fourth quarter. Then, on a broken play with 32 seconds left, Nate Anderson made a clutch layup to make it a two point game. After struggling to foul him, New Mission sent Pat Connaughton to the line where he would make both of his free throws to ice the game.
Connaughton finished with 16 points while his teammate Steve Haladyna finished with 19.
Jacquil Taylor (Cambridge, Rindge, and Latin) - While Putnam was not a big team, Taylor had an efficient 16 points. He went 7-10 from the field and rebounded the ball extremely well. He seems to be in great shape and is learning the intricacies of the game quickly. There are few left-handed players with his combination of size, athleticism, and youth, and Taylor showed that in this game. Taylor had one particularly impressive block that sent the ball deep into the stands.
Bryan Hurley (BC High)- Hurley ran the offense beautifully, committing few turnovers and never trying to take the game into his own hands. Whenever he was open, there was not a shot that he did not like. It took him a little while to heat up, but Hurley ended the game with 5 three-pointers.
Danny Curtis and Odera Obukwelu (BC High)- BC High's two energetic forwards finished well around the rim and were beneficiaries from many of Hurley's nice passes. Curtis scored most of his points from the paint with an occasional mid-range shot here and there. Obukwelu crashed the boards and blocked shots from all over the floor. Both were key to BC High's victory since they also brought out the intimidation factor against Mount Si.
Dallas Smith (Mount Si)- The 6'3" guard/forward came out of the gate hot by hitting pull-up jump shots consistently. While he cooled down as the game progressed, Smith did finish with 16 points.
Jules Tavares (New Bedford) - As athletic as Tavares is, he did not need to use his athleticism to dominate this game. His shot was falling well from inside the three-point line. There were times when he took some questionable shots, but Tavares’ talent and 18 points fueled New Bedford to the win.
Mike Lofton (Mansfield) - Challenged New Bedford’s defense all game long as Lofton’s 6’4” athletic body was too much at times. Whether he was pulling up for jump shots or going at the rim, Mansfield’s point guard kept his team in the game with his excellent body control.
Brian Hershman (Mansfield) - The junior was knocking down shots left and right. With Mansfield lacking knock-down shooters, Hershman stepped up and put in a quiet 17 points.
Noah Vonleh (Haverill) - Vonleh battled foul trouble again and so found himself on the bench for long stretches of time but still managed to score 9 points. Vonleh showed off his versatile skill set by playing virtually every position and trying to keep his team in the game. It is scary how much stronger he has gotten from last year and if his body keeps progressing like this, watch out.
Erno Deshommes and Alain Jeanty (Everett) - Two long and athletic forwards who gave Vonleh problems. Both didn’t even bother thinking about taking outside shots but rather kept slashing to the hoop effectively, combining for 36 points, 22 for Deshommes and 14 for Jeanty. There wasn’t a rebound that either of these guys didn’t like.
Samir McDaniels (New Mission) – McDaniels best work came on the defensive end where he held Connaughton in check, but those efforts kept him from getting his own offense going as his shot wasn’t falling. His skill set was nonetheless evident whenever he touched the ball and he also showed good poise by not trying to force the issue.
Kachi Nzerem (New Mission) - Had to sit the first quarter for unknown reasons, but when Nzerem was in, he was hard to stop. He went 5-5 from the field and 5-7 from the free throw line. He has a very polished offensive game and a knack for making clutch plays. One such play was a dunk under the hoop that helped shift the momentum in New Mission’s favor.
Nate Anderson (New Mission) - Despite not making a splash on the box score, Anderson earned all six of his points at important times. He has a very hard motor but tends to be overly aggressive at times and consequently gets himself into foul trouble. If he continues to work hard, Anderson could become a very good player.
Steve Haladyna (St. John’s Prep) - Scoring most of his points off of put-backs and mid-range shots, Haladyna quietly led the way for Prep. His length helped grab many vital rebounds and since he is a versatile player, he can take the ball down the court to start the break.
Isaiah Robinson (St. John’s Prep) - Only a sophomore, similar to Nate Anderson, Robinson showed his upside tonight. At 6’5” with a mature body, Robinson made many high-energy plays that he created on his own. Robinson finished with 9 points.
Pat Connaughton (St. John’s Prep) - It wasn’t a particularly good shooting game for Connaughton, but his impact won the game for Prep. He handled the ball well and used his ridiculous court vision to buy his teammates many points. Connaughton also used his great length by grabbing many rebounds and blocking many shots.
Windsor (CT) 81 Bishop Guertin (NH) 54
Everett (MA) 61 Haverill (MA) 44
Cambridge (MA) 67 Putnam (MA) 49
New Bedford (MA) 66 Mansfield (MA) 62
St. John’s Prep (MA) 53 New Mission (MA) 49