Noonan, Henderson lead CM into Catholic Conference Tournament championship

Brendan Noonan picked an ideal time to have the marquis game of his career.

Noonan splashed 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting from deep as No. 1 Catholic Memorial got off to a fast start and held on late to get past rival BC High, 69-65, in the semifinals of the Catholic Conference Tournament on Friday night at the Ronald Perry Memorial Gymnasium.

Catholic Memorial (8-2) will host No. 3 Malden Catholic in the championship on Saturday at 1 p.m. Two-time Boston Herald Dream-Teamer and Knights superstar Kurtis Henderson led all scorers with 26 points.

“Brendan (Noonan) played the best game of his high school career tonight,” said Catholic Memorial coach Denis Tobin. “He shot the ball incredibly well and took a key charge for us. He really stepped up when we needed him.”

The Knights held a slim 55-50 lead going into the final stanza and the Eagles (3-5) drew closer when Mike Loughane (21 points) finished through contact for a three-point play. Henderson kept the Knights in front by converting a three-point play and later in the frame connecting on a driving layup to put CM up 65-59 with 1:41 remaining. Moments later, with Henderson fouled out of the game, the Eagles made one final run. Dan Scalaro hit a layup and Loughnane put back his own miss to pull BC High within 65-63.

The Eagles had a chance to take the lead out of a timeout as they forced a turnover off their full-court press. BC High, however, was unable to take advantage of the opportunity as a backcourt violation turned the ball back over to CM. Eoin Morrissey then came through with the key basket of the game, collecting his own miss after a pretty drive to the basket and putting it back in to put the Knights up four. Noonan sealed the game at the line with two free throws with 4 seconds remaining.

“My kids treated tonight like a typical state tournament game,” Tobin said. “They got in the gym an hour early, got their shots up, and now we get to come back in 16 hours and do it all again.”

Behind Noonan, the Knights got off to a blistering start from the floor as the senior wing buried five first-quarter 3-pointers to help put CM up 24-8 after one. A Henderson basket early in the second put CM up 18, its largest lead of the game, but the Eagles chipped away before the half.

Shea Sprague (15 points) connected on a trey, Loughnane completed a breakaway dunk through contact, and forward John Garrett scored six points to pull BC High within 36-29 going into the break.

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