MALDEN — In a battle between unbeaten teams atop the Catholic Conference, No. 2 BC High took control in the second half to pull away from top-ranked Malden Catholic for an impressive 66-44 win Friday night.
For an Eagles team that went three weeks between games because of COVID-related postponements, it was a resounding statement on the road against the Lancers, who came into this contest with five wins by an average of 30 points.
“We’re supposed to take it one game at a time but we’ve been looking at this one for a couple weeks,” said Eagles senior guard Mike Loughnane, who netted a game-high 25 points.
“We knew this was going to be a big game, a tournament-type game, and we made a statement that we can compete and play with anyone in the state.”
After a back-and-forth opening frame, BC High opened a 28-18 lead in the second quarter. Tony Felder (22 points) and the Lancers (5-1, 1-1) responded by wrapping an 8-0 run around halftime to make it a 28-26 game, but when Loughnane threw down his second dunk of the game on a fast break, it seemed to spark the Eagles.
That dunk started a 15-2 run by BC High (5-0, 2-0) in which Loughnane scored 10 points with a pair of tough triples. Connor Strickland added a 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the third quarter to make it 46-31, and the Eagles never looked back.
“Good teams will make runs at you, and the question is, ‘Can you keep your composure and make a play?’” BC High coach Bill Loughnane said. “I want the guys to enjoy it tonight, but we have to remind them this is a January game. We’re trying to build toward March, and it always helps when you get a quality win against a good team to build toward that.”
BC High dominated the glass thanks mostly to the efforts of seniors Mahari Guerrier (17 points, 13 rebounds) and Will Doyle (4 points, 15 rebounds). With Doyle anchoring the paint, the Eagles were able to play an aggressive zone for much of the game, limiting the Lancers’ production outside of Felder’s six 3-pointers.
“I thought we played really well on the boards,” Loughnane said. “We had five guys going to the glass and that really helped us.
“[Doyle is] the coaches’ dream. He talks back there, he directs traffic, he contests every shot, and he goes after rebounds. He makes everyone’s job a lot easier.”