Boys Bantams Take Home Opener to Begin 60th Season

The scoreboard tells the story as the Boy's Bantams ran out to a big lead in their home opener.
The scoreboard tells the story as the Boy's Bantams ran out to a big lead in their home opener.
Total Team Effort Leads to Big Victory December 7, 2013

At the Swampscott Middle School, the St. John's Boys Bantams took on St. Pius of Lynn in the home opener of the 60th CYO basketball season for the program. Each player either scored, rebounded, or assisted in the win. 

Justin Ratner scored seven of the first eleven points of the game as St. John's took an early 11-6 lead. After St. Pius scored to cut the lead to three, John Caponigro scored on a feed from Cam O'Brien and scored again off an offensive putback. St. Pius answered back with a 4 point run to make it 15-12 before St. John's made their move. Oscar Hale found Robbie Vernava to make it 17-12 with 8:21 on the clock. After a Kaden Quirk free throw, Jason Aucone hit a jumper to push the lead to eight. The onslaught continued. Ethan Eichler hit a jumper, Ethan Weisse made two free throws, and by the time Anthony Rakauskas scored with 1:56 left in the half, St. John's had pulled ahead 31-17. Jason Aucone made sure there would be no late comeback with two more baskets as St. John's headed to halftime with a commanding 37-19 lead. 

Oscar Hale got things going in the second half as he scored off an offensive miss and then took a feed from Kyle Fitzgerald to make it 41-19. St. John's went into a lock down defense as they converted St. Pius turnovers into easy baskets. Kaden Quirk added five straight late points as St. John's pulled away with a 25-5 run to win easily 62-24. 

Defense was the difference in this game. Michael Fitzgerald and Anthony Rakauskas each grabbed 9 rebounds to prevent any second chances. John Caponigro finished in double figures with 10 points to lead a balanced attack. Justin Ratner(9 points), Kaden Quirk(8 points), Jason Aucone(6 points), and Anthony Rakauskas(6 points) helped St. John's offensively. Four other players tossed in 4 points each. Oscar Hale had 3 blocks and Robbie Vernava had 3 assists as St. John's improved to 2-1 on the season.

Early Game Jitters Does In St. John's December 7, 2013

At Matignon High School, the Girls Cadets opened their season vs. St. Rafael of Medford. St. John's showed early season jitters and were never able to mount a comeback as St. Rafael shot 82% from the floor and took an easy win. 

St. Rafael came out in a full court press and caused numerous St. John's turnovers as the raced to a 9-0 lead. Sasha Balchenkoff finally broke the ice on a feed from Maggie Barden with only 8:43 left in the half. Medford opened up a 19 point lead before Swampscott started to show signs of life. Jillian Flanders scored on a feed from Kayla Kornitsky and Katie Watts followed with a 3-pointer to bring the lead down to 23-9. But St. John's couldn't sustain any kind of momentum and the half ended with St. Rafael cruising with a 29-12 lead. 

St. John's picked up the defensive intensity early in the second half. Faye Parker(7 blocks) and Maggie Barden(6 blocks) led the way. On offense, St. John's settled in. Barden drove to the basket for two and then Mary Miles fed Faye Parker to make it 29-16. Miles(5 steals)scored off a turnover and Watts drained a 3-pointer to cap a 9-2 St. John's run to make it 31-21 with 10:56 on the clock. Things started to go south again when Faye Parker picked up her 3rd foul and was sent to the bench just 46 seconds later. From there, St. Rafael pulled away opening up a 48-24 lead. Parker tried to get St. John's back into the game with 9 late points but it was too little too late as St. Rafael took the win 56-35. 

Despite missing most of the second half, Faye Parker led St. John's with a double/double of 12 points and 16 rebounds. Katie Watts added 8 points and Maggie Barden grabbed 12 boards in the season opening loss.

Second Half Comeback Falls Short December 8, 2013

At St. Clement's High School, it was a rematch of last years State Final as the St. John's Girls Cadets took on St. Francis of Medford. Unfortunately for Swampscott, another second half rally fell just short as St. Francis hung on for a 34-30 win. 

St. John's trailed early before Faye Parker drained a turnaround jumper at the 13:10 mark to even the game. After St. Francis retook the lead, St. John's went on a run. Katie Watts fed Olivia Matela to even the game and then Faye Parker scored on the next two possesions to give St. John's a four point edge with 9:24 on the clock. Things looked good for St. John's as Kayla Kornitsky was playing shut down defense by holding St. Francis' leading scorer without a point and Faye Parker was blocking shots and grabbing defensive rebounds. But things changed quickly. St. Francis began creating defensive havoc and caused numerous turnovers. This led to a 12-0 run as St. Francis roared to a 16-8 lead. But with the half running down, Kayla Kornitsky found Mary Miles for a lay-up as the buzzer sounded to cut the lead to 16-10. 

Just 21 seconds into the second half, Katie Watts caused a turnover and took it the length of the court to cut the lead to four. Just over a minute later, Grace Carrigan found her way inside,got an offensive rebound, and found Olivia Matela for an open jumper to cut the lead to two. But St. Francis answered back with eight straight points of there own. St. John's would not fold. Olivia Matela hit a top of the key jumper followed by a Faye Parker basket on a give and go from Maggie Barden. After a Medford basket, Maggie Barden answered with a turnaround jumper to make it 26-20 with 10:29 to go. Kayla Kornitsky ended the 8-2 St. John's run by scoring on an offensive putback to cut the lead to 26-22. St. John's would claw back down the stretch. Maggie Barden made a free throw and then Katie Watts grabbed an offensive board and scored to cut the lead to three. Barden kept it a three point game by putting in a missed Watts jumper to make it 30-27 at the 2:27 mark. Down by five with 43 seconds to go, Olivia Matela hit a huge 3-pointer to make it 32-30. St. John's would then come up with a defensive stop and called a time-out with 11 seconds to go in the game. Out of the time-out, Katie Watts drove the ball to the basket looking for a hoop and foul but the shot didn't fall and St. John's was forced to foul. St. Francis made both free throws to make the final 34-30. 

Olivia Matela led St. John's offensively with 9 points. Faye Parker added 8 points to go along with 16 rebounds. Kayla Kornitsky played strong defense and grabbed 6 rebounds. St. John's plays its home opener next weekend against St. John's of Winthrop. 

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