LYNN — Haverhill High learned mighty quick a lesson that St. John’s Prep absorbed in the IAABO Board 130 Classic final only days ago.
A basketball exposed to air or hardwood simply isn’t safe with Lynn English around.
The No. 5 Bulldogs swarmed all over the upset-minded Haverhill, ripping off a quick 16-0 run and hardly looking back in a 75-46 victory.
English now will face Everett in one of the two Division 1 semifinals, while the Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2 champion Hillies finish off with no regrets in coach Mike Trovato’s best season yet at 12-10.
“We knew we needed a good start, and we just didn’t have it tonight,” said Trovato. “They’re extremely quick to the basketball. We knew that, but you just can’t simulate that pressure experience in a day or two of practice.”
Haverhill, like the hosts, enjoys playing the game fast and a little bit loose.
“Nobody plays the game that fast,” admired Trovato, of Lynn Tech’s full-court swarm which made every Hillie decision a nail-biting thriller. “I mean, we got behind early, and there’s just no coming back against a team like that.”
Erick Rosario paced 17-5 English with 21 points, while Fred Hogan added a dozen and Stevie Collins 11. On the night, Anthony Dionne paced the Hillies with 13 points and the frosh, Saul Phiri, had 9.
Bye-bye to Big Four: As a class, they were the consummate role players, fitting in as leaders around a budding young nucleus of talent.
“It’s so fitting these guys go out as (conference) champions,” said Trovato of the senior quartet of Tommy Morgan, Sean Wrenn, Nick Comei and Shain Roche. “These four poured their hearts into this program. Nobody cared about winning and returning respect here to Haverhill like these guys. They should always be thought of as champions here.”