Massachusetts High School Season Preview
Last season was a story book tale for Boston College High School as they won their first division I state title sine 1917. While the Eagles return perhaps the state’s best 1-2 punch in Jake O’Brien and Tim McKinney, along with a very talented supporting cast, they have a lot to replace.
The two most notable departures from last season’s team are point guard Chris Hurley and big man Andrew Yanulis. Hurley’s presence might be the hardest to duplicate given his history of making big plays down the stretch of games. But Head Coach Bill Loughnane has two very capable senior replacements in point guard Brian Mahoney and big man Ryan Sharry.
Ultimately, if the team can share the basketball, defend, and develop some cohesiveness they may very well be the favorites to repeat. But there are plenty of other challengers in division I.
Cambridge Rindge & Latin: Robert Wesley led his team to an inspired post-season run last year that resulted in a trip to the division I finals where they ultimately lost to BC HS. After an off-season riddled by injuries Wesley returns for his senior season and is no doubt determined to take the final step.
Madison Park: After a disappointing conclusion to the season last year Madison Park is looking to bounce back in a big way. It all starts with big man Peterson Bernard on the interior who was dominant last season averaging 17 points and 13 rebounds per game. 6’2 swingman David Daniels leads supporting cast that will need to produce for this team to realize their potential.
Brockton: The second best team in the state according to the Boston Globe pre-season poll, Brockton appears poised for a big season under first year Head Coach Bob Boen. Junior forward Louis Montes may be the best college prospect on the team, but there is plenty of talent in the backcourt as well with Kyle Gerry and Kendall Gillens.
St. John’s Prep: Ryan O’Connell returns after leading the state in scoring last season with an average of 28 points per game, in what was otherwise a disappointing season for St. John’s. Big man Michael Hall appears poised for a big season and if he can provide his team with a solid interior presence this could be a big year for the team.
Central Catholic: Their strength is clearly in the frontcourt where Adrian Gonzalez and Carson Desrosiers form a daunting combination. Gonzalez, who averaged 16 points and 9 rebounds a game last season, is fresh off his commitment to Bentley while DeRosiers is a sophomore who appears poised for a break-out season. Wilfredo Pagan will run the point while the talented and exciting Jose Batistine provides a terrific understudy.
Charlestown: As usual Charlestown is one of the favorites in the city league. They are extremely strong on the perimeter with Shabazz Napier at the point, Ravon Dunbar at the off-guard, and David Riley filling the small forward spot. If that weren’t enough they appear to be very motivated as was evident in their first game, a 92-56 lashing of Haverhill.
East Boston HS: Richie Penna is a powerful and hard-nosed guard who is a jump shot away from being a scholarship player. Meanwhile Jarrett Calhoun will continue to be a load inside as Jeff Cannon gives them consistency on the perimeter.
Lowell: With four starters returning Lowell appears to be the favorite to win the Merrimack Valley Conference. However, they will have to make due without their star player in Matt Welch who will miss the opening part of the season with a broken hand suffered during the football season.
Lexington: They appear to once again be the team to beat in the Middlesex League. Two juniors in Lance Greene and Danny O’Keefe will lead the team.
Springfield Central: Preye Boyle has been outstanding early in the season and with Head Coach Mike Labrie at the helm you can expect a very competitive team.
Springfield Cathedral: Alex Berthiaume and Rashad Wright give Cathedral High School a terrific inside-out threat. Berthuime is the perfect man to run the team with his high skill set and understanding of the game. But the season will likely depend on Wright. If he can finally put out a consistent effort and reach his potential this could be a big year for Cathedral.
Newton North: 6’7” sophomore Greg Kelley could be ready for a breakout year but he will have help on the interior as he teams with 6’7” Tim Abbott to patrol the paint. Guard play will be crucial to their chances.
Catholic Memorial: CM is hoping to improve upper their second place finish in last year’s division II state tournament. There frenetic full court style of play was on full display in their season opener as they beat Newton South 110-73 by pressuring them on the defensive end and jacking up lots of threes offensively. Branden Monteiro, Julian Colarusso, and Jeff Tagger headline a deep and talented group.
Stoughton: With 6’8” big man Dartaye Ruffin transferring in from Winchendon, expectations suddenly became very high. The season’s success will likely depend on how well the new star adjusts to his role of being the go to guy for the first time in his career.
Woburn: Despite a loss on opening night, first year Head Coach Tommy Sullivan has a star who can create his own shot at will (Hanell Velez) and a supporting cast of extremely tough and hard-nosed kids.
Reading: No MIAA player has seen their recruiting stock rise in the last year like Evan Smotrycz. Lots of coaches will be watching to see if the budding superstar can lead his team to an improved season. 6’2” senior forward Nick O’Brien is another quality player, but they need consistency in their backcourt.
O’Bryant: Chris Flores will lead the division II contenders from the city league. Major contributions are also expected from point guard Chris Harris. Post play will be the key for O’Bryant to match up with some of the division’s bigger teams.
Arlington: Brian Emerson hopes to culminate a terrific high school career with a deep run in the state tournament. The skilled forward will need his supporting cast to step up in order for that to become a reality.
Watertown: The division III defending champions appear poised for another big season. Cory Stockmal and Kyle Stockmal will now shoulder the entire load in the backcourt with the graduation of Anthony Coppola. But the twins appear poised to do just that, and are the odds on favorites to lead Watertown to back-to-back titles.
Scituate: Another set of brothers will lead the Scituate as Andrew and Sean McCarthy form the biggest family duo (6’10” and 6’9” respectively) in the state. Guard play will be crucial as someone needs to get the big fellas the ball.
Cathedral: They proved they could turn it on when it counted last season as they won the state tournament after a somewhat disappointing regular season. Consistency will be the key if they want to three-peat as the x on their back has gotten even bigger.
Austin Prep: After a disappointing end to last year’s season, Austin Prep is looking to rebound. Matt Bouvier returns after averaging 15 points and 14 rebounds per game in his junior season
Avon: They plowed their way through the regular season with a 20-2 last year before falling in the South Division semi-finals. They return Akeem Williams, who may be the best individual player in division III.