WESTBROOK – Cheverus played its customary tough defense in gaining its second straight win to start the season Tuesday night, but its offense was a far cry from where the defending Class A state champion Stags want it to be.

Still, it was good enough to control Westbrook from midway in the first quarter to the end as the Stags won 52-35 in a boys’ SMAA basketball game at Warren Centennial Gym.

It was a grind-it-out contest between longtime rivals and a rematch of last year’s regional final. There were a lot of fouls called in the physical game, which prevented any offensive flow.

Cheverus (2-0) used a spurt to close the first quarter and another to open the second half to get some breathing room. Westbrook (1-1) had trouble handling the Stags’ press and zone defense, which caused numerous turnovers at the top of the key, in the corners and at midcourt, which resulted in several Cheverus layups.

“We have some inexperienced guards right now and we knew going in that one of the keys to the game was how we handled their pressure,” said Westbrook Coach Mark Karter. “We lost a lot of guys from last season. We’re trying some new things.

“Overall, I was pleased with the effort. There were times we could have rolled over.”

Louie DiStasio, one of two starters back for Cheverus, scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half. Peter Gwilym, the top reserve a year ago, scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half, including the opening five points of the second half.

The Stags trailed 5-2 early before scoring 10 unanswered points to close the first quarter. Leading by 10 at halftime, Cheverus scored nine straight to open the second half.

But for much of the game, the offense was erratic. A lot of Cheverus’ problems on offense were caused by Westbrook’s tough defense.

“We’re miles away from where we want to be,” said Cheverus Coach Bob Brown. “I liked our defense better than our offense. I thought we did a very good job on a kid (Sean Murphy) I consider to be one of the better shooters in the state.

“We have to score off our defense. At the end, we started to run better offense.”

Murphy, a 6-foot-6 senior who led the league in 3-pointers last season, took several from beyond the arc but failed to connect and had one point.

The Blazes’ other most experienced player, Trevor Bates, was in foul trouble throughout. He fouled out with 2:40 remaining, finishing with six points.

“Murphy and Bates never got going,” said Karter. “We’re going to need everyone for us to be successful.”

After Cheverus took a 19-point lead early in the second half, Westbrook worked the deficit back to 10 with a minute left in the third quarter on nine unanswered points. That’s the closest the Blazes got.

“We wanted to spread our offense out and attack their matchup zone,” said DiStasio. “But we got compacted at times, which hurt our offense. When we stayed spread, we moved the ball around well and got some easy baskets.

“Defensively, we wanted to pressure them as much as we could but we had to back off after we got some fouls.”

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

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