Sports

Bailer nets 1,000th point as St. Mary’s win Spartan Classic

If you headed out on a frigid Thursday night to see St. Mary?s senior guard Dennis Bailer score his 1,000thcareer point, to see the Spartans win the 2015 Spartan Classic or you just bundled up and went out hoping to see an excellent high school basketball game that wasn?t decided until Billerica?s Alexander Frawley missed a three-pointer with two seconds left in the game, you hit the sports fan trifecta.
The St. Mary?s Spartans beat the Billerica Indians, 56-54, Thursday night at the Tony Conigliaro Gymnasium to finish at 15-5 for the regular season, a season that included a Catholic Central League title, and a career milestone for Bailer, the senior co-captain from Malden, who swished a three with 3:58 left in the game, giving him exactly the 23 points he needed to tally 1,000 for his career.
?It took longer than I thought it would, certainly,” Bailer said after the game. “I don?t know if I was nervous or what, I just could not get a shot to go in in the first half.”
Bailer got nothing but rim on his first eight shots of the game.
?I?m so happy for him. He said he was nervous. My goodness, I was nervous. I was trying to videotape everything and I couldn?t keep my hands still. I was shaking the whole game,” Bailer?s mom Tracy McCarthy-Bailer said. Billerica coach Mike Dagle was impressed with the Spartans, and he said he knew it was going to be tough to knock off the home team with so many people pulling for Bailer and St. Mary?s.?Excellent team, really well-coached, they did a nice job against us,” Dagle said. “(Bailer), of course, great shooter, and that number 21 (sophomore Johnny Mercado from Lynn), he can really play, very quick, tough to defend. They?re a very good team. They work the ball around really well. We had a chance at the end and it didn?t fall for us.”
St. Mary?s coach Dave Brown was not concerned about the early-game jitters.
?Playing a Division 1 team like that, bound for the tournament, one that?s battle tested, this is a great win for us,” Brown said. “Everybody was nervous I guess in the first half. Nobody was shooting well. We kept at it until the shots fell. Dennis was huge.”
With selections for the state basketball tournament coming out this weekend, Luc Zikianda, St. Mary?s senior center from Lynn, who had 10 points and eight rebounds said he doesn?t care who his team gets in the draw.
?This team is ready,” Zikianda said. “We don’t care who we play or where. This team is ready.”
The Spartans trailed 26-25 early in the third quarter. Bailer sank a three-pointer, giving him 12 points for the game, and the Spartans never trailed after that. The home team went up 55-51 on a free throw by Zikianda with 32 seconds left to play. Billerica?s Jacob Bonvie made it 55-54 with 24 seconds to go. But Spartans? sophomore Mike Cerulli from Lynn sank a free throw to make it 56-54 with 11 seconds left, and the Spartans forced Billerica?s Frawley to heave up a prayer as the clock expired that was way wide to the right of the bucket.
?We know that Dennis is going to make his shots. Coach really put it on us at halftime to play better, and I think we did,” Zikianda said.
?Dennis is a baller for sure,” Brown said. “Gets us 25 points a game, 10 rebounds, great player. Our big guy played a great game. The entire team played a great game. This was a total team effort.?Everyone is talking about Hamilton-Wenham, Hamilton-Wenham,” Bailer said. “You know they?re the team to beat in the playoffs. Well, I?m telling you right now, this is the team to beat. We?re the team to beat in the playoffs and we?re ready to get going.”

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