LYNN — With his team trailing Division 3 power St. Mary’s of Lynn, 42-36, after three quarters, Jarnel Snow-Guzman decided to take over.
The St. John’s Prep sophomore point guard poured in 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, scoring the winning layup in traffic as time expired, to give the visiting Eagles a 56-54 victory Monday night.
“With the talent we have on this team, I feel like we shouldn’t be losing to [St. Mary’s],” said Snow-Guzman, a resident of Lynn. “We needed someone to step it up and I felt like it was my turn as the point guard to step up in a big game.”
St. John’s Prep (14-4) jumped out to a 13-6 advantage, but St. Mary’s star junior Jalen Echevarria (21 points, 4 assists) led a 12-4 spurt to snare the lead, capping the first quarter with a floater, steal, and a foul-inducing basket in quick succession.
The Spartans (14-4) took a 34-27 lead into the second half and maintained that advantage into the fourth, but committed four consecutive turnovers to open the frame.
Prep capitalized as Snow-Guzman, who also had 2 steals and 2 assists, opened the fourth quarter with seven points and an assist to put the Eagles in front, 45-42, their first lead since the first quarter.
“No matter what the situation is, [Snow-Guzman] is a competitor,” said Prep coach John Dullea. “He didn’t have a great first half, but he put it behind him and carried us. We don’t win the game without him honestly.”
Showing no quit, St. Mary’s battled back and took a 54-52 lead on a 3-pointer from senior Stephen Fama (9 points, 5 rebounds), but Snow-Guzman immediately responded with a baseline jumper to tie the game.
After a Fama miss, Dullea called a timeout and set up a play for senior center Tommy O’Neil (16 points, 11 rebounds), but when O’Neil was covered, Snow-Guzman improvised with a drive to the basket and an incredible shot that kissed high off the glass for the game winner.
“We played tremendous basketball for 27 out of the 32 minutes of the game,” said St. Mary’s coach David Brown. “Jarnel [Snow-Guzman] hit some big shots in the fourth quarter and that was the difference.”
While St. Mary’s excluded this game from tournament standing, it provided a valuable lesson for both teams in addition to counting as a key nonconference win for Prep.
“[St Mary’s] is a very good program and they’re going to be there at the end of the D3 state tournament,” said Dullea. “They basically outplayed us for a good portion of the game but we were fortunate enough to make a few big plays and come away with a win.”