The Jeremiah E. Burke boys’ basketball team has become accustomed to learning on the fly.
Playing their third consecutive game without the benefit of practicing on the weekends at their home facility, the host Bulldogs looked disjointed early as they struggled with Salem’s tight “box-and-one” defense on star junior LeVar Williams.
But Burke coach Sean Ryanhelped his team figure out a winning strategy as the Bulldogs put together a 17-0 second-quarter run to take control of an 82-70 victory over Salem in a nonleague affair Monday night in Dorchester.
“A box-and-one is a defense you want to prepare for, but it’s tough without practice,” Ryan said. “To score, we needed to get back to who we are, defensively. We got a couple stops and it juiced up our defense and our bench got really into it.”
As he has all season, Williams lit it up from the perimeter, hitting 8 of 16 shots overalll, including 7 of 14 from 3-point range, to lead the Bulldogs (14-1) with a game-high 26 points.
Senior forward McCarthy Akinkouye complemented Williams’ effort with 20 points and 11 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive glass. He credited Williams for drawing out the defense to open things up for the rest of the Bulldogs.
“We have to get open and find the gaps in the defenses [when Williams gets overplayed],” Akinkouye said. “When he starts hitting those threes, we get a lot of confidence off that and it gets us going.”
The Witches (7-6), which lost their fourth in a row, mounted a furious rally midway through the third quarter to cut Burke’s lead to 49-48, but the Bulldogs responded with an 11-0 run, which Williams sparked with consecutive pull-up 3-pointers.
“My teammates came through for me,” Williams said of his hot shooting stretch. “They set down screens, flares, and got me open shots.”
Pope John 72, Maimonides 32 — Angel Price-Espada carried the Tigers (13-1) with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Norton 52, Holliston 48 — Senior Abby Phelan tied the program’s single-game scoring record with 31 points for the Lancers (6-8).
St. Mary’s 62, Tewksbury 51 — Pamela Gonzalez (26 points, 11 rebounds), Olivia Nazaire (15 points, 14 rebounds), and Gabby Torres (12 points) spearheaded a 19-3 fourth-quarter run for the Spartans.
Duxbury 7, Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake 1 — The No.4 Dragons (12-1-1, 6-0) were lifted by two goals apiece from Jackie Hayden and Molly Duvall.
Metheun/Tewksbury 6, Winchester 2 — Senior Kelly Golini paced the No. 3 Red Rangers (13-1, 4-1) with a hat trick and sophomore goaltender Kaia Hollingsworth made 24 saves.
Central Catholic 3, Malden Catholic 1 — Junior Noah Jankowski netted the go-ahead goal in the second period, his ninth of the season, and senior Evan Digiovanni scored an empty-netter in the third period as the top-ranked Raiders (15-0) rallied for the win over the Lancers (4-7-2) at the ICenter in Salem, N.H.
Matthew Pasquale made 22 saves.
Hingham 3, Reading 0 — Senior captain Marshall Terres netted the hat trick to power the sixth-ranked Harbormen (7-3-4) over the No. 20 Rockets (7-5-1).
Super 8 — The state hockey coaches association released its first “Watch List” for the Super 8 tournament that will commence at the end of February.
Defending champion Arlington (8-3-1) made the cut, along with, in alphabetical order: Andover (6-3-2), Austin Prep (10-4-1), BC High (9-3-1), Burlington (12-2-0), Catholic Memorial (5-7-2), Central Catholic (14-0-0), Franklin (10-1-3), Hingham (6-3-4), Malden Catholic (4-6-2), Natick (9-3-2), Newburyport (8-1-5), Pope Francis (11-1-2), St. John’s Shrewsbury (8-3-3), St. John’s Prep (7-3-2), St. Mary’s (8-3-3), Waltham (10-2-2), Wellesley (10-1-3), and Xaverian (6-6-3).
The selection committee will meet on Saturday, Feb. 24, in Franklin, to pick the 12-team field (including the final four for the play-in games).