Mattar madness

James Mattar, Ethan Samuels, others shine in first home win


The Jones boys basketball team picked up their first home win this season vs. the Latin Romans on Dec. 1 by a score of 55-47. 

James Mattar ‘22 led the way with 17 points and four three-pointers, while Ethan Samuels ‘24 dropped 20 with clutch free throws to help seal the deal. Head coach Richard Kavalauskas was pleased to see the free throws fall after a rough first half at the charity stripe.

“Free throws make or break close games. You’re either going to win them or lose them based off of free throws,” said Kavalauskas. “Today was very frustrating, but it was great that despite missing early, we made them when they counted at the end.”

Mattar had his best game of the young season so far, and his teammates wanted to make sure he knew that.

“James Mattar, he really hooped today,” said Samuels. “Everyone wanted to come and play hard [tonight], we had to bounce back from yesterday.”

Kavalauskas had high praise for the senior sniper, saying he is easily one of the best shooters in their conference, the CPS White West.

“[Mattar] took a lot [of threes] today, but we want that when he’s open. He’s going to make them,” Kavalauskas said. “Once we have James going from three, we really trust him.” 

However, according to Kavalauskas and the team, the biggest reason the Eagles won was due to their rebounding. 

“Boxing out, especially for the guards, was the major factor in our win tonight. Shoutout to Keenan and Romell [for boxing out],” Jordan Boston ‘22 said. “If all the guards box out, we’re going to execute because we can set up the offense.” 

Keenan Houlihan ‘23 was crucial as well. He came in off the bench after playing significant minutes throughout the game with less than two minutes and helped force timely stops. 

“I really tried to come through on the defensive end today,” stated Houlihan. “I had zero points today, but I did what I could to contribute defensively.”

Devin Boston ‘22 also added nine points with drives to the basket and late-game free throws. Again, their rebounding helped them get into transitionto get D. Boston easy looks.

“Especially with some of the guards we have on the team like Devin, Jordan, Romell, they can all run the floor,” stated Samuels. “When we do that, we can run up the score very easily.”

Romell Franklin ‘22 was distributing the ball to everyone, getting his teammates open shots. Kavalauskas loved what he did once the ball touched his hands.

“There were a couple of highlight passes from Romell,” said Kavalauskas. “Getting that rebound and outleting it up the court helped [us score].”

Franklin was extremely excited after the game, celebrating with teammates. But, he is looking ahead, specifically toward their next home game now that this one ended. 

“Our next home game is against Legal Prep,” said Franklin. “We have to come to every game [like we did tonight].”