Monroe’s Jack Dwyer, a point guard, arrived to John S. Burke Catholic this season via St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J.
And speaking of arrivals, Wednesday night was Dwyer’s big night for the Eagles. Sure, Dwyer, a junior, has been solid all year – a key member in Burke Catholic’s brigade of guards. However, this was his signature game.
Dwyer scored 17 points in Burke Catholic’s 67-58 over Poughkeepsie in the first round of the Class A state tournament at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh. The Eagles led by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter, but had to hang on for their 11th state tournament win in four years.
As good as Dwyer was, driving through the lane for baskets, sacrificing his body, he did a tremendous job breaking Poughkeepsie’s pressure.
“I was just really, really excited to come out and play in front of a big crowd,” Dwyer said. “Coming out, I think it helped my game with the pressure. I like being in fast-paced situations. I like pressure, so it helped my game a lot.”
Dwyer wasn’t the only star of the night for Burke Catholic (17-4), which plays Maine-Endwell in the quarterfinals on Saturday at Binghamton High. Stan Buczek, who helped the Eagles to the Class B state title, dominated inside. He finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds, despite spending the final 5:00 of the first half on the bench with foul trouble.
Some other observations and highlights from Burke Catholic’s big win:
– A win against Maine-Endwell would send the Eagles to the state final four in Glens Falls for the fourth year in a row. Burke Catholic were Class B state runner-ups in 2010, won the championship a year later and lost to Watervliet 48-47 in the semifinals last season.
Burke Catholic was moved from Class B to A last June after the Section 9 athletic council approved the recommendation of the non-public school reclassification committee to elevate the Eagles.
“I don’t feel much different. The expectations are the same,” Burke Catholic coach Doug Janeczko said. “These guys would be disappointed if we didn’t have those same expectations for them. I think they know that we have a job to do to win a few more games. They would be disappointed if I changed my perspective.”
– Buczek put the game away with two free throws with 47.6 seconds left in the game and a layup before time expired. Burke Catholic only led 63-58 when Poughkeepsie coach Brian Laffin was assessed a technical foul by referee Mike Siegal for arguing a call. That led to Buczek’s two free throws.
Laffin went ballistic after the ‘T’ and had to be held back, practically down, by his bench. The Poughkeepsie fans and Laffin were not happy with the call on this highly-charged night.
– Junior Mike Coffey, a transfer from Monroe-Woodbury, has been a nice addition for Burke Catholic. He’s a 3-point artist and, if he gets hot during the state playoffs, watch out. Coffey came off the bench and promptly hit a 3-pointer to put Burke Catholic up 22-13 early in the second quarter. He added another with 2:31 left in the first half to make it 29-22. The rest of the night, he was just a bit off. But Coffey, seemingly, could hit some trey’s in bunches.
– Dwyer broke the Poughkeepsie press with the help of, among others, Patrick Joyner (10 points) and Jesse Longmire (nine points). I still think Joyner is one of the most underrated players in Section 9. He serves as sort of a super role-player for Burke Catholic. Joyner could be the best defender in Section 9 and he’s athletic. Meanwhile, Longmire, a guard, has done a nice job scraping and rebounding inside.
– Let’s not forget Michael Kelly. He didn’t find his shot against Poughkeepsie, but he was hustling, playing defense. It’s those little things, the unselfishness, Janeczko’s system, that make Burke Catholic so good.