DORCHESTER - Perhaps if the St. John’s Prep basketball team had played BC High a couple weeks ago when the game was originally scheduled, they probably wouldn’t have been able to come back from a seven-point, fourth-quarter deficit.
What a difference a few weeks can make though, as SJP surged back in the final minutes, tying the game with just less than minute to play, before earning a 70-66 win over their Catholic Conference rival.
“A big part about our team, the first few games we had zero mental toughness,” said senior captain Max Burt. “We’ve really been stressing that, we read some articles from Jay Bilas about mental toughness. We really just took it to heart, and we’re taking it personal when we’re covering someone. We really don’t want to let our guy score.”
Added Prep coach John Dullea: “We showed more mental toughness in this game than we have in some other games. We got down by seven in the fourth quarter and we went on an 11-4 run to tie. That was good to see. It’s a satisfying win for us.”
Burt was one of the biggest driving forces in the win, scoring eight of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. He also had six rebounds, and made life tough on BC on the offensive end in the win.
“Max is a high energy guy. He brings it every night -- he’s always out there flying around,” said Dullea. “He’s one of our captains, and we rely on him not just to cover the best player on the other team but to score too. We need him to make plays to win games like this, and he did that tonight.”
Added BC coach Bill Loughnane: “He played very well, we just lost him a couple times. We told kids he was a real good 3-point shooter, that he was a real steady player and that he could make plays. The ball got to him and he just converted.”
Max Butterbrodt (17 points, 5 rebounds) and Ben Judson (15 points) were both huge down the stretch for St. John’s too. Butterbrodt connected on six points between the fourth and overtime, while Judson registered seven over that time.
While Burt, Butterbrodt and Judson paced the offense, Jake Burt handled much of the rebounding responsibility, finishing with an impressive 14 rebounds to go with seven points.
“He’s got that football player mentality,” said Dullea. “He’s our tough guy. He’s not afraid to mix it up with anybody and he’s able to clear a lot of space when he’s moving bodies around out there. He’s just a tough, tough kid.”
Double Eagle Vision: In the losing effort, BC saw four different players score in double figures, led by Jack Loughnane, who matched Burt’s game-high 21 points.
The sophomore came alive after the half, going 4-for-5 from 3-point in the second half, with the lone miss coming on a 70-foot heave as time expired in regulation.
“We had trouble stopping him,” said Dullea. “He can stroke it. You can tell he’s a coach’s son, he’s really fundamentally sound. He’s going to be force in this league the next three years.”
Joining Loughnane in double figures were a trio of seniors. Zac Bailey had 14 points and seven rebounds, Steve Young added 13 points and Phil Leotsakos finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds, but those performances weren’t enough to overcome some missed scoring chances late in the game.
“We had our chances, we just take advantage of them,” Bill Loughnane said. “We had the lead late in the fourth and didn’t make the plays we needed to and they did.”