(VIDEO) Snow-Guzman Wins it for St. John’s Prep at the Buzzer
WEST ROXBURY, Mass. – For the first time in nearly four years, Catholic Memorial lost at home. And the St. John’s Prep Eagles couldn’t have ended their rivals streak in more fitting fashion.
Down 23-7 in the early going and trailing 32-21 at the half, the Eagles climbed on the back of junior Nate Hobbs, senior captain Tommy O’Neil and received the biggest contribution of all from freshman point guard Jarnel Snow-Guzman, who hit the game-winning three as time expired to earn a 66-63 victory for Prep.
“This place has been a house of horrors for us and coming in, we knew this wasn’t going to be easy,” Eagles head coach John Dullea said about ending the Knights extensive home-winning streak. “That’s is a very good team we played and we haven’t beaten [The Knights] here since I became coach. The way the game started, we had to battle and battle and just stay positive.”
Jarnel Snow-Guzman sinks the Game-Winner!
The Knights came into this contest having lost three of their last five, including a 13-point defeat at St. John’s Prep earlier this month. So they came out playing an inspired brand of their defensive scheme.
Catholic Memorial’s full court pressure forced the Eagles into six first-quarter turnovers and yielded just seven points during that frame. Then the Knights held the Eagles scoreless for a six-minute stretch leading into the second quarter, but then Nate Hobbs (27 points) began to make them pay.
The junior shooting guard got hot towards the end of the first half and carried the momentum into the third and fourth quarters, as he piled up 18 points after the break.
“We just came out flat, but Coach [Dullea] brought us back into the game,” said Hobbs. “We practice so hard and we knew we could break that press. Once we did I was able to flash to the ball and get some good looks.”
With 6-foot-8 senior Tommy O’Neil (6 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists) controlling the defensive glass, the Eagles were able to get out and run before the Knights could get their defense set.
O’Neil and fellow big man Brett McNiff (8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists) played well in high-low sets, but it was the Eagles unsung heroes in the backcourt who made the biggest impact down the stretch.
Jarnel Snow-Guzman (14 points, 4 assists) has been starting at the point for St. John’s Prep since the season began and he continues to make incredible strides as a freshman.
He closed the third quarter with a huge three to cut the deficit to 45-41 and added another triple late in the fourth to keep the Eagles close.
With Prep trailing 59-57 and just under two minutes remaining, Snow-Guzman showed that poise by swinging the ball to senior guard Brian Nju-Ghong, who promptly nailed a three to give the visitors their first lead since the opening minutes.
Catholic Memorial turned it over and Hobbs came back to finish through contact and give the Eagles a 63-59 lead. Knights sophomore Jarron Flynn (12 points) sprinted down the other end for a basket and Kani Glover (16 points) added a lay-up to tie the game with just over 20 seconds remaining.
Electing not to call a timeout, Dullea watched as his young backcourt ran the clock down until the right moment and his freshman point guard stepped away from pressure before hitting a running three-pointer as time expired.
“It was crazy,” Snow-Guzman recalled. “We were going back forth. Nate [Hobbs] was attacking, Tommy [O’Neil] was rebounding and in those last couple seconds it just happened. They swung the ball to me, my man flew by and I was hot before so I thought, ‘Why not’ It’s just one more to make, and as I let it go I saw it go in a straight line right through the net.”
Snow-Guzman (left) and Hobbs (right) of St. John's Prep
Stars Who Shined
St. John’s Prep
Nate Hobbs ‘18 G – The Eagles comeback certainly would not have been possible if not for the efforts of their prolific junior. Hobbs seemed to be everywhere during the second half, as he torched the Knights zone defense in the half court and made them pay when they extended their full court pressure.
Hobbs with two big baskets late in the game for St. John's Prep
”When [Hobbs] catches it at the wing and attacks, his athleticism is just superior,” Dullea effused. “He’s able to just rise up and finish and I don’t know how many points he had but he was just incredible for us in the second half.”
Tommy O’Neil ‘18 F – While his efforts on the glass made a world of difference for the Eagles, O’Neil did so much more for his team in this win.
The big man ran the floor and served as a tall outpost during Prep’s forays into the Knights pressure. He was able to catches the ball in the middle of the floor and throw passes on time to teammates for open lay-ups on a couple of occasions and his ability to change shots on the defensive end also made a tremendous impact.
Jarnel Snow-Guzman ‘20 G – Of course, the man of the night could be described as not more than just a boy, but he certainly played with the gumption of a seasoned veteran in this contest.
Snow-Guzman hit big shots all evening for Prep.
“I don’t know how many freshman can come into the Catholic Conference, which is the best top-to-bottom conference in my opinion and play like [Snow-Guzman] has been there his whole life,” Dullea lauded. “He’s a competitor and he wanted to take that shot and I can’t say enough about him because he’s been doing it for us all year.”
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