St. John Paul II Lions Send Upper Cape Tech Rams Packing

HYANNIS – Limited turnovers and fierce rebounding spelled success for the St. John Paul II boys’ basketball team in the opening round of the MIAA Division 4 Boys’ South Sectionals last night, as the Lions eliminated Upper Cape Tech, 63-50.

St. John Paul II's Diego Meritus had eight points and dished out eight assists to go with four rebounds as he helped lead the Lions to a tourney-opening 63-50 win over the Upper Cape Tech Rams.  Sean Walsh/Capecod.com Sports

St. John Paul II’s Diego Meritus had eight points and dished out eight assists to go with four rebounds as he helped lead the Lions to a tourney-opening 63-50 win over the Upper Cape Tech Rams.
Sean Walsh/Capecod.com Sports

Junior Jonny Warden brought his A-game to the Hyannis Youth and Community Center court to pace the Lions’ well-balanced offensive attack, as the forward poured in a game-high 20 points and turned in a double-double with 11 rebounds. Upper Cape Tech’s Austin Smolinsky led the Rams with 14 points, but 10 of those points came in the fourth quarter, commendable but too little, too late.

The Lions were never really in jeopardy of falling behind in this one as the 15-6, 6th-seeded hosts stormed out to a 20-11 lead in the first frame and built it to a 35-18 halftime advantage.

After three frames, St. John Paul II led by 15 points, 50-35, and in spite of a valiant 15-13 fourth quarter effort by the Rams, closed it out ahead by 13. Upper Cape Tech finished its season at 10-11 overall.

St. John Paul will face the lowest-seeded team in Division 2 South Thursday (Feb. 26) in the South Quartrfinals, as Southeastern Regional (14) comes to Hyannis for a 6:30 pm tip-off. The game will be hosted at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center.

Senior co-capatain Kevin Marsh – who finished with 14 points on the night – helped set the tone in the first frame against the Rams when he scored six points and senior co-captain Diego Meritus played nearly flawlessly from the point guard position, pulling down four rebounds and dishing out eight assists to go along with eight points. Warden helped set that first quarter tone with seven points and went 5-6 from the charity stripe.

Senior Ryan Barabe had a rock-solid game with seven points, nine rebounds and two steals while junior Nick Cassata came off the bench for seven points, had three steals and hauled in six rebounds.

Rally Wheaton added 12 points for the Upper Cape Tech boys and was the only other Ram to score in double figures.

All totaled, St. John Paul went 21-38 from the free-throw line, a number they’d likely hope to improve upon come Thursday if the game-plan includes taking the rock to the hole. As a team, the Lions went 9-15 from the line in the fourth frame.The Lions turned the ball over just six times in the victory.

— Sean Walsh is the sports editor for www.capecod.com. His email is seanwalsh@ccb-media.com. Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm

 



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