Calvo leads Lawrence boys team to victory

Boys basketball

By: Jim Green
   The Lawrence High School boys basketball team took one step closer to qualifying for the state tournament with a solid win Saturday over Notre Dame (Pa.).
   Senior shooting guard John Calvo continued his outstanding play, pouring in a team-high 15 points on five 3-pointers. Calvo — one of the Colonial Valley Conference’s most improved players — led Lawrence in scoring for the sixth time in eight games.
   "He (Calvo) has done a great job of being patient and letting the shots come to him, and we’ve done a good job of finding him," Lawrence coach Pat Tarrant said. "It makes it tough for teams to stay in a zone defense."
   Sophomore center Brett Brackett added eight points, while senior forward Garrett Santoro chipped in with seven. Junior guard Randall Zapolski contributed six off the bench.
   Lawrence improved to 7-6 overall with three games remaining before the Feb. 7 state-tournament cutoff date.
   "We all know what we’ve got to do," Tarrant said. "We approach each game with the same level of intensity and concentration."
   The Cardinals used a balanced team effort to topple Notre Dame (Pa.). They jumped out to a 14-4 lead by the end of the first quarter and extended to a 25-10 advantage by halftime.
   "It was a good win for us," Tarrant said of the Notre Dame (Pa.) game. "We played pretty good defense throughout, and we played as a team on offense."
   Lawrence was coming off a 45-40 loss to 11-1 Steinert on Jan. 23 at LHS. Junior point guard Matt Stein netted 14 points, and Calvo added 10, but the Cardinals could not fully recover from a 29-15 halftime deficit. Lawrence dropped to 4-3 in the CVC.
   The Cardinals previously posted their most impressive win of the season, a 47-43 victory at Hopewell Valley on Jan. 20. Calvo poured in 23 points to help Lawrence gain a measure of revenge against the Bulldogs, who beat the Cardinals in overtime last season.
   "It was a great win at Hopewell," Tarrant said. "We just came out and made all the hustle plays. We got all the loose balls, got a lot of rebounds. I think we just wanted that game a little more than they did."
   Tarrant said Calvo’s emergence as an outside threat has helped the Cardinals punish opposing teams that focus on shutting down the 6-foot-6 Brackett.
   "On Saturday, Notre Dame put a guy in front of Brett (Brackett) and guy behind him and closed off the middle," Tarrant said. "We were able to get the ball to John (Calvo), and he knocked down some shots. It changed the way the team was able to defend us."
   While Brackett’s scoring has been down of late (he’s reached double figures once in the last four games), the other elements of his game continue to shine.
   "His (Brackett’s) defense and rebounding have been there for us," Tarrant said. "And he’s such a strong passer. He’s unselfish. He creates scoring opportunities for other players."
   Stein is another player who consistently looks to make his teammates better, sometimes at the cost of his own offensive glory.
   "Sometimes he (Stein) has to be encouraged to be more aggressive offensively," Tarrant said. "He’s got great court sense, he’s always making the right pass. He’s a steadying influence for our team on the court."
• NOTE: The Cards face WW-P South at 7 p.m. Tuesday.