Central Catholic, Catholic Memorial, and Frontier are Champs
Saturday was championship day in Massachusetts, especially at Worcester’s DCU Center where 6 state champions were crowned in boys and girls basketball. There were plenty of intriguing story lines on the boy’s side including senior heroics, a bid for retribution, and two sets of brothers competing against each other.
Central Catholic Runs Away with Division I Title
Had St. John’s High School (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts) Head Coach Bob Foley been told before the game that Central Catholic’s (Lawrence, Massachusetts) leading scorer Billy Marsden and super sophomore Carson Desrosiers would have both fouled out and scored a combined seven points, he probably would have liked his chances. But what he, and few others, could have predicted was the emergence of a second dynamic duo in Central’s line-up as two seniors, Adrian Gonzalez and Wilfredo Pagan, stepped up to lead their team to the title.
Gonzalez scored 28 pointers and grabbed 14 rebounds while Pagan had 21 points while also doing some of his best work on the defensive end of the floor. For Gonzalez, it wasn’t just the number of points he scored, but also the different ways he did it. The long and athletic forward continued to be a load under the basket as his quick leaping ability allowed him to score both with his back to the basket and on the offensive glass. He also stepped to the perimeter and showed his ability to attack off the bounce and even knock down the 15 footer with good consistency.
For Pagan it was a fitting end to his season as he has been the unsung hero for this team all year long, normally content to guard the opposing team’s best player and distribute the ball. But tonight, with Marsden less than his normal self, Pagan got a chance to shine and showcase his own ability to put the ball in the basket.
St. John’s, who finishes the season at 21-7, was led by junior center Matt Labove who scored 15 points.
Central Catholic’s season ends with an overall record of 25-2 and the school’s first state championship since 1999.
Catholic Memorial Avenges Last Season’s Loss to Win Division II
Catholic Memorial (West Roxbury, Massachusetts) and Tantasqua Regional High School (Fiskdale, Massachusetts) met in the division II final for the second time in as many years on Saturday. Last season it went down to the wire with Tantasqua eventually capitalizing on Catholic’s lack of composure down the stretch.
This year there would be no doubt as Tantasqua never got closer than 14 points in the final quarter before Catholic Memorial had won decisively 74-56. CM got a big performance out of senior swingman Julian Colarusso who scored 24 points while pulling down 13 rebounds as he wiped away all memory of his crucial technical foul in the final minutes of last year’s state championship game. Branden Monteiro scored 16 in a supporting role while Brian Vayda led Tantasqua with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Believe it or not CM did a nice job of containing Vayda, especially in the first half, as he has been tearing up the competition as of late. But CM’s defense was most effective with their full court pressure as they forced Tantasqua into 15 first half turnovers.
Catholic Memorial finishes the season at 22-4 and wins their first state championship since 1969. For Tantasqua the loss is the end of a remarkable streak as they had won 49 consecutive games (dating back three seasons) before Saturday’s final.
Twins Lead Frontier to Division III Crown
Winning a state title is special. Winning it with your brother, your twin brother nonetheless, makes it even more so. Brian Clark and Dan Clark combined for 47 points and 15 rebounds as they led Frontier Regional High School (Deerfield, Massachusetts) to the title. Appropriately, those points and rebounds were split right down the middle as Dan finished with 23 and 7 rebounds while Brian finished with 24 and 8.
What the stats don’t show however, is the work they, along with some of their other teammates, did on the defensive end against Scituate’s big man Sean McCarthy who finished with only 7 points and 5 rebounds.
Scituate got a big performance from Rodney Beldo who scored 23 points. With his team struggling to put the ball in the basket, Beldo was forced to be extra aggressive looking for his own shot. So while his shooting percentage wasn’t especially high on the day, it was a solid performance for a young player who was forced to attempt to make a play on virtually every possession.
Stepping up in the Frontier backcourt was Gary Grandonico. Grandonico scored 17 points, including 14 in the game’s final 10 minutes, to go along with 4 assists as he was crucial to Frontier’s ability to close out the game.
Frontier’s (24-1) title is the school’s first since 1989. For Scituate (22-3) the run to the finals is surely a sign of things to come as Beldo should have them in contention for the next two years.