PEABODY — The Bishop Fenwick boys basketball team cruised to a 70-38 win in a Catholic Central League matchup with Austin Prep Sunday at Bishop Fenwick High School.
Crusaders coach Kevin Moran was happy to see his team bounce back after a tough loss to Cardinal Spellman last Friday.
“We had a tough game against Spellman,” Moran said. “It’s on me, we didn’t really compete well down there. That was a real area of concern, so today was really about us coming out and giving the effort and competing. The players bought in a little bit and I think they competed real hard today.”
A huge part of the winning effort was senior guard Jaysean Stuart (16 points, five rebounds) who has been off to a good start after missing much of last season with an injury.
“I couldn’t be happier for (Stuart),” Moran said. “Last year he hurt his knee, a season-ending injury midway through the season. He came back and rehabbed all off season. I’m so happy for him, he played real well tonight.
“It has been almost a full year but he’s rehabbed well and you could see he was going to the rim today and he had a little more of that athletic bounce,” Moran added. “He makes us go to because he’s an athletic forward that is tough to cover.”
The Crusaders’ zone defense gave Austin Prep trouble all game, holding the Cougars to just 15 points in the first half.
“We went with a zone because we have a lot of length with Nate Andrews and Christian Loescher and we have speed in our guards,” Moran said. “We tried to see if we could get something out of the that. Hopefully, especially when we play bigger teams, that allows us to play better. That was the focus today.”
Behind the defense, the Crusaders jumped out to an early lead. Fenwick took a 17-7 lead into the second quarter, with Loescher (12 points, four rebounds and three blocks) playing a key role and scoring the Crusaders first eight points.
“He’s a young sophomore and then we have Nate too,” Moran said of Loescher “For us to be effective we need to utilize the big guys. There aren’t many teams that have two 6’5 kids who are athletic. We try to focus on getting them the ball and when we do that we have the shooters on the perimeter. When we can get those big guys involved it helps our offense.”
From there, Fenwick was able to easily contain the Cougars offense and built its lead behind a nine-point second quarter by Stuart. Stuart finished a layup in the final seconds of the half to put Fenwick ahead 34-15.
The Cougars made a small run at the start of the second half, but a steal and basket by freshman guard Jason Romans (10 points, three steals) sparked a 12-3 run to help put the Crusaders ahead 51-25 after the third quarter.
Things continued to click for the Crusaders in the fourth and they were able to seal their fifth win of the season.
“We are in a tough league,” Moran said. “Last year as a group we only got three wins so being able to get a couple wins early this year has been good.”
Fenwick (5-2) will be on the road this week with games at Georgetown Wednesday (6:30) and Archbishop Williams Friday (6:30).