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St Anthony tops Brighton to extend win streak to 69

Posted by Justin Rice December 27, 2012 07:17 PM

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Brighton junior guard Nick Simpson leaps to block St. Anthony senior guard Halllice Cooke78-42 victory against the Bengals during the second annual Shooting Touch Holiday Shootout at Emmanuel College’s Jean Yawkey Center on Thursday.(Pavel Dzemianok / For the Boston Globe)

Brighton was unable to end national powerhouse St. Anthony's win streak at 68 games on Thursday night.

The Jersey City, N.J., team led by Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley extended its best-in-the-nation run to 69 games with a 78-42 victory against the Bengals during the second annual Shooting Touch Holiday Shootout at Emmanuel College’s Jean Yawkey Center.

“That’s crazy, I didn’t even know that,” said Brighton junior guard Nick Simpson, who scored a game-high 21 points. “I could [imagine a 69-game win streak] if you were coached by one of the best coaches to ever coach; they all work hard. That’s what they do, they all work hard. They are one team, they are together.”

The Friars (4-0), who will play Central Catholic at 7 p.m. Friday night, defeated New Mission, 68-25, in the inaugural tournament at the Kroc Center in Dorchester last year. New Mission played Christ the King of Queens, N.Y. in Thursday’s nightcap.

Hurley is on the Shooting Touch board of directors and all tournament proceeds go to the Shooting Touch Sabbatical Program, which grants graduating college seniors the opportunity to partake in a 10-month international work program using basketball to foster education and influence positive social change in third world communities.

Hurley will also conduct a free coaching clinic for coaches in Boston on Saturday at the Shelburne Community Center (2730 Washington St.) in Roxbury from 9 to 11 a.m.

Brighton (2-3) spotted St. Anthony 20 points before it finally got on the board in the first quarter. St Anthony senior forward Kody Jenkins (20 points) scored 11 points in the 20-0 run, including the first 4 of the game. He also had a 3-pointer followed by a transition dunk in quick succession.

Brighton finally scored with 47 seconds left in the first quarter when junior point guard Malik James hit a runner in the paint before the Friars took a 20-2 lead into the second quarter.

“They missed a lot of threes early,” Hurley said. “If those shots are going in, things could be a little different early. They got that little run going and hit a couple and all of a sudden they started to go, but then we banged a bunch in a row.

‘They are going to be a very difficult team. I like their athleticism; they really get off the floor. When they miss shots they are all over the offensive boards. We had problems keeping them off the offensive boards.”

Brighton opened the second quarter with a quick 3-pointer by Simpson but St. Anthony responded with a 3-pointer by senior guard Hallice Cook to go up 23-5. Simpson scored the next bucket followed by one by Brighton junior shooting guard Mark Mojica to make the score 23-9.

But St. Anthony closed out the half with an 18-3 run, including three 3-pointers, to go into the locker room with a 41-12 edge and the game pretty much in its pocket.

“I’m trying to figure out what makes our guys tick and why we didn’t have more energy to start the game,” Brighton coach Hugh Coleman said. “That’s mind boggling to me. After a while I felt like we had an opportunity to hang a little bit. We came on late, had a very slow start. Tough one, but we go to the drawing board and we take positives out of it and we build on it.”

Coleman said it was an honor to coach against Hurley.

“Coach Hurley is a hall of fame coach, I hope to emulate that and build a program on the same kind of principles and foundations he has and that’s what we’re working for,” Coleman said. “I desire to get to that position and it was an honor for us.”

During the Friar’s 69-game win streak, St. Anthony won two state championships, including Hurley’s 27th state title last spring to cap a 32-0 campaign.

After the game Hurley was a little tight-lipped about the 69-game win streak.

“This is a four-game winning streak,” Hurley said. “A lot of other guys are part of those other 65 [wins]. We’ll leave that alone. We never talk about it.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Players of the Week: Girls Basketball

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 24, 2012 06:40 PM

The girls basketball stars are already shining in just the second week of the season.

Kirina Laryea, Burke: Coach John Evans called this senior guard "the true example of a student athlete."

The captain of the Bulldogs works hard in school by attending the Zone and currently has 4.01 grade point average. Evans said she works just as hard on the court and regularly leads various drills during practice. She also supports and encourages her young, more inexperienced teammates by motivating them when their frustrated and commending them when they excel.

“She is aggressive, tough, hard working, dedicated, and most importantly coachable,” Evans said.

Trayana Mair, Boston English: This senior guard and co-captain leads with excellence on and off the court.

In the Bulldogs’ first two wins of the season she has averaged 20 points. She even cooked a team breakfast for her teammates for the Bulldogs' first home game this week.

Raven Kelsey, O’Bryant: Since her first week, Kelsey has led the Tigers in both scoring and rebounds.

Coach Gertrude Fisher commended the senior forward for her outstanding leadership that helped prepare the team for the Shelburne Christmas Tournament, which they will play at 1 p.m. on Dec. 29 and 30.

Joselyn Harris, South Boston: Coach Andrea Higgins knew she had to nominate Harris after her jaw dropping play this week.

With only two seconds left in the game against Charlestown on Monday, the freshman hit a 3-pointer that secured a 41-40 win.

Kanisha Thomas, Madison Park: While Thomas is a key player on the court, coach Carla Hands nominated her for her dedication in the classroom. Hands said that she works hard to maintain good grades and is also very supportive of her teammates.

Tina Sadberry, Brighton: The Bengals are a new team this season, and coach John Lilly said this senior guard has been a great help in leading the younger girls. She works with them during practice and supports them in games.

He added that she is also an excellent student with a 3.8 GPA.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

'Tis the season for holiday hoops tournaments

Posted by Justin Rice December 24, 2012 10:26 AM

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Hall of Fame coach Bobby Hurley Sr.'s St. Anthony's squad comes to town to play Brighton in the Shooting Touch Holiday Tournament on Thursday. Several other BPS schools will play in holiday tournaments this week too. (Stan Grossfeld / Globe file.)

'Tis the season for holiday hoops tournaments.

No holiday tournament this week is bigger than the Shooting Touch Holiday Tournament at Emmanuel College on Thursday and Friday.

Once again, Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr. has brought his famed St. Anthony’s team to the tournament. St. Anthony's will play Brighton High, which lost in the Division 2 state tournament last spring, at 5 p.m. on Thursday before New Mission plays Christ the King at 7 p.m.

St. Anthony's played New Mission last year in the tournament.

“Well, we didn’t get to play [in the tournament] last year and we got called to play in it this year, which is an honor,” Brighton coach Hugh Coleman said. “I think that we were recognized for our success last year and we are honored to be thought of.

“St. Anthony’s and coach Hurley is a well-known program and pretty famous in the basketball world. We know that we have a big game ahead of us and a lot to overcome. We already feel the pressure because they have such a well-known established program, but we are very much up to the challenge. It will be a good indicator for us to see how our kids match up against kids from other states. I think it’s a great opportunity for our kids.”

All tournament proceeds go to The Shooting Touch Sabbatical Program, which grants graduating college seniors the opportunity to partake in a 10-month international work program using basketball to foster education and influence positive social change in third world communities.

Coach Hurley will also conduct a free coaching clinic for coaches in Boston on Saturday at the Shelburne Community Center (2730 Washington St.) in Roxbury from 9 to 11 a.m. To attend the clinic, RSVP to Brad Schoonmaker at bschoonmaker@bostonscholarathletes.org

The clinic is sponsored by the Boston Scholar Athletes Program, Boston public schools and The Shooting Touch.

“It’s open to all boys and girls coaches and athletic coordinators at [Boston Public] schools,” BSA Executive Athletic Director Chris Rooks said. “There are going to be a number of folks there trying to learn from him.”

Rooks said the first half of the clinic will be about coaching at-risk youth, while the second half will be about basketball skills and strategy.

“I think it’s going to be a great event,” he said. “It’s a partnership we started with Shooting Touch this year and in the future we hope to grow this partnership for the benefit of the scholar athletes who participate in athletics in BPS and also for our coaches.”

O’Bryant girls’ basketball coach Trudy Fisher said she’s not sure if she can attend the Hurley clinic because her team, along with Brighton, Fenway, and New Mission, are playing in the Shelburne Holiday Tournament, also at the Shelburne Center.

“He’s awesome, unbelievable,” she said of Hurley. “You look at him and get power. I would love to go. That’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss because people like him don’t always come through. So I probably will be there.”

One of Fisher’s best players, Raven Kelsey, said the Shelburne tournament will be a good chance to play teams from out of the city.

“That will be great for us because when we go to states it will give us experience playing competition outside the city,” she said. “That will prepare us for states.”

Another good holiday matchup to catch will be East Boston and Everett in the BABC Classic at Chelsea High on Friday.

While other city league teams will be playing in the Malden Tournament, the Marion Holiday and the Marshfield Holiday Tournament, not every BPS hoops coach will be taking their teams to holiday tournaments this week. Some coaches see the week as an opportunity to bone up on the basics before the city league schedule picks up again after the holiday break.

Teams such as Charlestown's boys’ squad and Latin Academy’s girls’ team will be holding practice over the break but not playing any games.

“[It’s a chance to] get our stuff together,” Latin Academy's Catherine Loney said, “come back and play hard the rest of the season.”

Globe Correspondent Mary Pavlu contributed to this story.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

O'Bryant packs up Burke before holiday break

Posted by Justin Rice December 21, 2012 07:43 PM

After her final Boston City League game before the holiday break on Friday afternoon, O’Bryant junior forward Raven Kelsey was looking forward to catching up on some sleep and hopefully a pair of LeBron James or Kevin Durant sneakers under the Christmas tree.

“I got these for Christmas last year,” Kelsey said of her bright yellow Nikes after a 74-23 home victory against Burke. “Everyone knows me for my sneakers. They call them Sponge Bob sneakers or McDonald’s.”

Kelsey’s game was just as bright as she scored a game-high 19 points for O’Bryant (4-0) while senior guard Laetitia Dorsinville and senior forward Kiana Daley each had 13 points apiece. Junior guard Yonetta Harris netted 10 points.

The Tigers opened the game with a 38-1 run before they took out their starters and played them sparingly the rest of the way.

“Kudos to coach [Trudy] Fisher, people look at score and will think she ran up the score but she did not,” Burke coach John Evans said. “Our moral victory was let's try to get 20 points. That was our moral victory. I put in our B unit and they had no idea what they were doing but they worked hard.

“I have a great bunch of girls. I love them but what they need to learn is character and how to play through adversity. That’s what we need to learn.”

After the 38-1 run, Burke (1-3) put a few points on the board, going on a 10-0 run of its own. Senior guard Brenda Calderon (team-high 13 points) scored two 3-pointers in the run before Dorsinville hit a free throw to give the Tigers a 39-11 lead at the half.

“We didn’t’ want to go out and fast break,” Kelsey said. “We wanted to run our plays and make sure we play our tempo and feed the post.”

Fisher, whose team lost in the finals of the city championships last year, said the season has gone as planned so far.

“What we’ve been working on all season long is trying to get them used to actually running our offense and running our defense and doing it correctly,” she said before the game. “I’m hoping the more that they do it everybody will know where they belong and we won’t have any problems. Just making sure they know what their responsibilities are and accepting it.”

But while the Tigers did a better job of running their plays against Burke, Kelsey showed a bit of defiance by wearing her sky blue Long Johns under her shorts. She said she likes to wear them because they keep her warm but that her coach doesn’t usually let her wear them during games.

“Plus I like to be a little different,” she said. “Everyone knows me as Raven with the Long Johns.”

But if Santa (or her mom) gets her those LeBron James or Kevin Durant shoes she will no longer be “Raven with the Sponge Bob shoes” when she returns from break.

“I try to give hints [to my mom]; ‘Those sneakers look nice,’” she said.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Latin Academy holds on to beat Madison Park

Posted by Justin Rice December 21, 2012 07:38 PM

Despite missing some key free throws in the final 40 seconds of the game on Friday afternoon against Madison Park, the Latin Academy girls' basketball team managed to make some key free throws to hold on for a 43-40 victory at Madison Park.

With the game tied at 40, Latin Academy's Catherine Loney missed a pair of free throws with 36 seconds left. But Abigail Ohemeng managed to snag the rebound on Loney’s second miss and was fouled as she missed the put back.

Ohemeng split the pair to put the Dragons up 1 point before Madison Park missed its own pair of foul shots on the other end.

About 10 seconds later, Loney redeemed herself at the foul line by hitting two foul shots with 1 second left.

“Personally I think it’s all mental,” Loney said of missing her foul shots with about 36 seconds left. “I was tired, of course we were all tired, and I wanted to win and I knew I had to make those just to seal the win.

“They’ve been our rivals for a while and that’s all we wanted to do was win against them because we always lose every year. We got stronger, in the offseason we got stronger.”

Loney also scored a game-high 13 points and chipped in 11 rebounds. Sophomore Julia Rosario had 10 points and five steals for the Dragons (3-1).

“It was a hard fight that my girls deserved,” Latin Academy coach Emily Coleman said.

Madison Park (2-2) was led by Krystal Edwards (19 points, 12 rebounds) and her twin sister Amber Edwards (8 rebounds).

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr. back in town for tournament and coaches clinic

Posted by Justin Rice December 21, 2012 10:13 AM

Back in town for the Shooting Touch Holiday Tournament at Emmanuel College next Thursday and Friday, Hall of Fame high school hoops coach Bob Hurley Sr. will conduct a free coaching clinic for coaches in Boston a week from this Saturday.

The clinic will be held at the Shelburne Community Center (2730 Washington St.) in Roxbury from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Hurley's team, St. Anthony's, will play Brighton High at 5 p.m. on Thursday before New Mission plays Christ the King at 7 p.m.

On Friday, New Mission will play Mansfield at 5 p.m. while St. Anthony's takes on Central Catholic at 7 p.m.

To attend the clinic, RSVP to Brad Schoonmaker at bschoonmaker@bostonscholarathletes.org

The clinic is sponsored by the Boston Scholar Athletes Program, Boston public schools and The Shooting Touch.

All tournament proceeds go to The Shooting Touch Sabbatical Program, which grants graduating college seniors the opportunity to partake in a 10-month international work programs using basketball to foster education and influence positive social change in third world communities.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Chen wins Positive Coaching Alliance scholarship

Posted by Justin Rice December 21, 2012 10:03 AM

Snowden senior volleyball player Stephanie Chen was selected as a scholarship winner for the Positive Coaching Alliance’s Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship.

Chen was chosen after joining 19 other Boston-area finalists for an awards ceremony recently at the EMC Club at Fenway Park.

The scholarship amounts vary from $250 to $2,000. Chen, who hopes to attend the University of Hartford in the fall, said she will not learn how much she won until after the holiday break.

“It was exciting, it was a competitive,” Chen said. “They told us there were 20 finalists and only 10 would get scholarship but they got extra money so everyone got scholarships.”

She said she enjoyed her visit to Fenway because it was the first time she was there since she was a little girl.

“It was exiting going again,” she said. “Seeing the field just empty, it was exciting to be in the park.”

The awards are based on student essays about how they represent what Positive Coaching Alliance calls a “Triple Impact Competitor,” or an athlete that focuses on
“personal mastery” of their sport, makes their teammates better through their leadership skills, and makes their sport better by "honoring the game."

Positive Coaching Alliance is a national nonprofit organization.

“I’m just grateful and grateful for the award,” Chen said. “I appreciate everyone who supported me throughout the year, through volleyball and thank you Andy [Crossley] the founder of the scholarship.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Charlestown brings East Boston back to earth two days after full court buzzer-beater

Posted by Justin Rice December 20, 2012 09:40 PM

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Alijah Robinson, who scored a game-high 15 points, leaps for a rebound in the early going against East Boston. Two days after East Boston beat Madison Park on a wild full court buzzer beater, Charlestown brought the Jets back down to earth by handing them a 53-48 loss. (Photo courtesy of Ken Guittarr)

Two days after East Boston senior guard Pat Santos nailed a miraculous full court buzzer-beater to defeat Madison Park by a point on Tuesday night, the media circus came to the East Boston High’s gymnasium.

And if things weren’t hyperbolic enough after the buzzer-beater was the No. 1 highlight on SportsCenter’s Top 10 on Wednesday, the Jets just happened to be hosting their biggest rival, Charlestown, on Thursday night.

But with a local TV news crew and several print reporters on hand, it was Charlestown that came out on top, 53-48, in another wild city league finish.

East Boston (4-1) had a 14-0 run down the stretch to cut Charlestown’s lead to 49-48 with 55 seconds left but junior guard Taris Wilson drew a foul while driving baseline before splitting the pair to put Charlestown (2-2) up by two points with 37.2 seconds on the clock.

“The other team was still stuck in the past but we came out here and woke them up,” Charlestown junior forward Alijah Robinson said after scoring a game-high 15 points.
“We weren’t worried about what they did to Madison but what we did to them.”

It didn’t seem like the hype got to Santos’ head as he hit the opening 3-pointer of the game from the left wing before junior guard Dion Knight hit a 3-pointer of his own to help the Jets start the game on a 9-2 run.

But after Santos missed a buzzer-beater from the top of the key at the close of the first quarter, No. 18-ranked East Boston only led 10-8 going into the second.

The Townies opened the second quarter with a 9-0 run to go up 17-10 with 5:42 left in the half. Eastie finally got on the board midway through the quarter and went on a 6-0 run to get within a point 17-16. Charlestown responded with its own 10-3 run to take a 27-19 lead into halftime.

The Townies seemingly cracked open the game with a dunk fest in the third quarter, closing the quarter with three dunks by three different players (Wilson, Robinson and Freddy Oliveira) during a 10-2 run that gave them a 41-31 lead going into the final quarter.

“It feels good, I love this gym,” said Robinson, who transferred from East Boston. “I got my first dunk in here. It feels good to come back in here and beat them.”

Robinson also hit two huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to go up 49-35 with 4:30 left, which was amazing considering Robinson injured his shooting hand against Brighton last week.

“I was like ‘Gee you shot the ball pretty well with a fractured hand all taped up,” Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso said. “I was surprised he was even hitting threes. I taped his hand and he was like ‘I’m ready coach.’"

While those shots could have easily sunk the Jets, that’s when they went on their 14-0 run, which was capped by a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Marcus Shaw, to cut the lead to 49-48 with 52.7 seconds left.

After Wilson’s foul shot put Charlestown up 50-48, Santos was called for a backcourt after he couldn’t handle a wild pass with 16.5 remaining.

Robinson said he was nervous Santos would hit another big shot at the buzzer.

“I was,” he said. “He’s good for that but we had to stick together and trust each other as a family and a team and pull through.”

Last year Charlestown took two of three regular season games against East Boston before beating the Jets 61-58 in the Division 1 North quarterfinals at East Boston High.

Thursday, first-year East Boston coach Shawn Brown, who played for Charlestown in the early 1990s, was coaching in the rivalry as a head coach for the first time.

“I enjoyed it, I thought the atmosphere was great, you could feel the intensity,” a hoarse Brown said after he has given countless interviews about the Santos buzzer-beater in the last few days. “I thought our guys were up for it in the beginning. I thought it was good, it was exciting.”

Just like in the Madison Park game, however, East Boston’s jets cooled after they got out to a good start.

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out, that’s what we’re trying to figure out because we do get out, we are up and at it,” Brown said. “It’s my job; I have to figure it out why they are not sustaining it.”

Meanwhile, Charlestown is starting to gel after they got blown out by New Mission and BC High in the first week of the season. On Tuesday the Townies upset Brighton, 62-44, for their first victory of the season.

“When you have 13 new players and two returners it takes time to build,” Cardoso said.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction. The practices have been headed in the right direction. We have been using more mouth pieces if you know what I mean.”

Cardoso was also happy to welcome Brown to the other side of the rivalry.

“East Boston is a great team every year,” he said. “We compete with each other. No team ever blows the other team out. It’s always under five points, four points. Shawn Brown is going to do a great job with this team.

“He actually coached me when I was younger so I learned a lot from him. He’s a great role model to his guys. I’m happy he’s coaching at East Boston now.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Boston Latin secures 4-2 win over North Andover in boys hockey

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 19, 2012 09:02 PM

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Boston Latin senior forward Joe Petruzziello celebrates a goal against North Andover on Wednesday night. (Pavel Dzemianok / For the Boston Globe)

The Boston Latin boys hockey team was looking to dominate its second game of the season after a beating Haverhill in its season opener.

Boston Latin got a victory, beating North Andover 4-2 Wednesday at Matthews Arena, but coach Frank Woods wasn’t impressed.

“We expected a very difficult game and I think that’s pretty much what we got,” he said. “It was not a very pretty game. It was not a well played game on either side.”

The game was extremely physical and there were frequent penalties, and the first quarter ended tied at 0-0.

“In the first period we weren’t playing very well and our competition level was very low,” Woods said. “We weren’t doing a good job on our end getting the puck out cleanly.

Boston Latin got it together at 11:25 in the second quarter when freshman forward Jimmy O’Leary pushed the puck into the net, assisted by senior captain Ryan Dougherty.

“We had the younger kids step up with the goals; two were by freshmen and the first of their career,” Woods said. “It was something we talked about the entire game - get pucks in the net. We didn’t do enough of that tonight, but we were able to create some opportunities.”

Boston Latin struck again at 6:09 when senior forward Joe Petruzziello positioned himself in front of the net and tapped the puck off an assist from senior forward Greg Penella from behind the goal.

North Andover began to get frustrated and moved to Boston Latin’s side of the rink for the remainder of the quarter, but was stopped by the defense of senior CJ Duella and senior captain Brian Forgione.

When Penella scored just 30 seconds into the third quarter after a mad dash, as well as freshman Sean Burke at the 7-minute mark, it looked like Boston Latin was on its way to a shutout. North Andover had other plans.

Although it struggled to get the puck into the net for the entire game, North Andover scored the last two goals in the last six minutes.

“We definitely underestimated them out there and let them get back in the third period,” Forgione said. “Two goals in the third period is not good. We didn’t play the way we are capable of playing. We could have played a lot better.”

Senior forward Jake Silk had a beautiful shot that opened the scoring for North Andover and senior forward Dan Rivet finished in the last minute.

Boston Latin will face one of the top teams in the league, Lincoln-Sudbury, on Saturday at 12 p.m. at Matthews Arena. Woods hopes two days of practice will be enough to get his team ready.

“[Lincoln Sudbury] is one of the best teams in our league and we’re going to have to be a whole lot better than tonight if we want to beat them,” he said. “We just have to play a lot smarter.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

First-year East Boston coach ready to face his alma mater

Posted by Justin Rice December 19, 2012 04:42 PM

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First-year East Boston head coach Shawn Brown stalks the sideline during Tuesday night's, 43-42, buzzer-beating victory at Madison Park. (Pavel Dzemianok / For the Boston Globe)

When Shawn Brown was hired as East Boston’s new boys’ basketball coach about four months ago, he did not, he insists, circle Dec. 20 on his calendar.

“I’m not lying to you, while I came from there and graduated from there it’s different in terms of the landscape has changed,” East Boston’s first-year head coach said of playing his alma mater and the Jets’ longtime rival, Charlestown, at 6 p.m. on Thursday for the first time as a head coach.

“Again, to be honest, in terms of there being a rivalry outside of East Boston and Charlestown, I don’t know that I buy into it so much myself personally. I’m excited about the opportunity to be coaching. It’s just that rivalry is in terms of tradition for both schools [but] not because of my affiliation.”

To be fair, the 37-year-old first-time head coach who played for the Townies in the early 1990s, did serve as an East Boston assistant coach more recently. Former head basketball coach Mike Rubin, who is now East Boston's headmaster, asked Brown to be an assistant coach for David Siggers in 2004.

“To have the headmaster say ‘I want you to be part of that program’ meant a lot to me,” recalled Brown, who was an assistant for two seasons.

But during halftime of East Boston’s miraculous buzzer-beating victory against Madison Park on Tuesday night, Rubin wasn’t buying Brown’s story that he didn’t immediately set his sights on the Charlestown game.

“Everybody else does,” Rubin said when told that Brown claims not to buy into the rivalry. “I don’t know, it’s his alma mater. I’m sure he does, I’m sure when he got the schedule they looked to see when they were playing Charlestown.”

During the offseason, East Boston’s previous coach, Malcolm Smith, left the school to become the dean of students at New Mission and Rubin once again hired Brown, this time to run the program.

“The reason I hired Shawn is because of his expertise in mentoring young boys of color and he’s made an investment in our city with his Diamond Educators and they have done a wonderful job the last 10 years or so mentoring young men to be good citizens,” Rubin said of Brown’s nonprofit mentoring organization. “He demands that, and that’s what I want in a head coach, someone who will not only teach them how to play the game of basketball but also teach them the game of life.”

Brown said playing under former Charlestown coach Jack O'Brien, Bert Hammel at Merrimack College, and coaching under Siggers prepared him to be a head coach.

“When it comes to O’Brien and Hammel, it’s just hard work,” Brown said of the impression they left on him. “I talk about the three D's with my nonprofit — discipline, dedication and determination — those are the three things I learned from both of those coaches. If you abide by the principles in those three words you’ll be successful in anything you do in life.

“That applies on the court and off the court.”

But like many first-year BPS coaches, Brown said nothing could have prepared him for all the logistical work and paperwork that comes along with coaching in the city.

“I think the coaching part is easy,” he said. “For one, the support I get from the folks in the school is amazing.”

That has proven to be true thus far for Brown, whose No. 18-ranked team has started the season 4-0, including Tuesday night’s 43-42 victory against No. 15-ranked Madison Park. Pat Santos hit an 80-foot buzzer-beater to give the Jets the victory.

“He’s a good coach,” Santos said after Tuesday’s game. “It’s just a whole new system; you have to play hard for him, he’s an ‘I don’t play around’ coach.”

Brown hit his own buzzer beater as a player for Charlestown in 1994, which just happened to come against East Boston and just happened to clinch a playoff berth for the Townies.

“I just remember him hitting the shot at the buzzer,” Rubin, who coached East Boston at the time, said. “A deep shot, he hit the shot to go up one.”

After Santos’ buzzer-beater on Tuesday, Brown let on a little bit that he was starting to get up for Thursday’s Charlestown game.

“I guess so,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it, I’m excited about the rivalry, I know my guys and I know the history and tradition in the rivalry. Our guys are going to be ready. I know the coaches over there are excited and pumped as well. They will have their guys prepared and I’ll have my guys prepared.”

Brown said he’s not worried about bringing his team back down to earth after the hysterics of Tuesday’s victory.

“Believe me they are not high, this is not a high, a great shot by Pat, but again we have a lot to learn from today’s game,” he said. “We’ll look at the film tomorrow and get right back at it and start preparing for Charlestown.”

As a coach, Brown isn’t buying into the hype of trying to live up to accomplishments of the coaches he played for and coached under.

“While it’s a challenge and I love that challenge, I’m about creating a legacy for my coaching style,” Brown said. “At the same time I’m upholding everything those guys have done, but I can only be Shawn. if I fall into that trap of trying to live up to the legacy of those guys you’re talking about four and five state championships; I have be the best Shawn can be.

“At the end of the day what’s important is I helped raise young men who are going to be the next Shawn Brown, helped mold them. That’s what I want to be measured on, not how many loses or wins I have; I want to be measured on how many impacts I’ve made on a young man's life.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Madison Park moving on after buzzer-beating loss

Posted by Justin Rice December 19, 2012 01:24 PM

A day after losing to East Boston on a full court buzzer-beating shot by Pat Santos on Tuesday night that was all over social media and ESPN SportsCenter on Wednesday, Madison Park boys’ hoops coach Dennis Wilson said he will try to pick up his team and move forward.

“I’m going to accent the positive in terms of how hard they fought,” Wilson said. “They didn’t give up. They showed a lot of heart and pride.”

With one second left, Madison Park guard Johnny Bowden was fouled shooting a 3-pointer. Bowden made the first two foul shots before Wilson told him to intentionally miss the third shot.

Santos grabbed the rebound and heaved in the game winner from 80-feet away.

“My logic was he can’t get the shot off in 1 second,” Wilson said. “If I had to do it over again I’d have the kid make the foul shot.”

After the game Wilson questioned if the shot got off in time. On Wednesday Wilson said his videographer didn’t get the play on tape so he didn't have a chance to review it. MIAA rules state that plays must be protested the same day as the game.

“I haven’t thought about it,” he said of protesting the game. “I’m still in a state of shock.”

The two teams will play again on Jan. 29 at East Boston.

“I’m just proud of them, we’re going to build from this,” Wilson said. “We know we can beat them. Let’s get the win at Eastie. Let’s learn from this and move on.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Buzzer-beater featured on SportsCenter's Top 10

Posted by Justin Rice December 19, 2012 12:21 PM

East Boston's Pat Santos' full-court buzzer-beater to defeat Madison Park on Tuesday night was worthy of an ESPN SportsCenter highlight.

Wednesday it was just that, as SportsCenter made it their No. 1 play on their Top 10.

The play is also up for ESPN’s Best of the Best against an 82-yard rushing TD by Adrian Peterson.

To vote click here.

As of 1 p.m. Peterson’s play was beating Santos’ play 57 percent to 43 percent with 2,084 votes cast.

East Boston coach Shawn Brown said he didn’t know the play made SportsCenter until people started calling his cell phone.

“I didn’t know at all,” Brown said. “I was in meetings then [I found out] just hearing people saying ‘congratulations.’

Brown said other media outlets have been contacting him for interviews and that they might be on Fox 25 tomorrow morning.

Brown said he doesn’t want all the attention to get to his team’s head.

“That’s what I have to address,” he said. “I’ll control that. Again, there’s still a lot to learn from yesterday’s game.”

Here's a video of the shot.

Here's a link to a story about the game.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

East Boston's Santos downs Madison Park with full court buzzer beater

Posted by Justin Rice December 18, 2012 09:48 PM

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East Boston's Pat Santos hit a full court buzzer beater to down Madison Park, 43-42, on Tuesday night. (Pavel Dzemianok / For the Boston Globe)

If you think full court buzzer-beating shots only happen on SportsCenter, think again.

East Boston senior guard Pat Santos hit an ESPN-worthy full-court buzzer beater to defeat host No. 15 Madison Park, 43-42, Tuesday night.

“I just got it and shot it, there wasn’t even enough time to think; just get the ball and shoot that’s all,” said Santos, who finished the game with only 4 points.

The last-second heroics came after Madison Park junior guard Johnny Bowden was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with 1 second left in the game. Bowden hit the first two foul shots to go up 42-40 before he seemingly missed the final foul shot intentionally.

Santos rebounded the miss along the left baseline, where he launched his winning Hail Mary.

“You can’t get off a shot in one second,” Madison Park coach Dennis Wilson said. “You catch the ball and turn and throw a long shot; you can’t do that in one second.”

Led by senior forward David Stewart’s game-high 15 points, Madison Park (1-1) went on an 8-2 run to take a 40-39 lead with 1:24 left. East Boston sophomore forward Rasheed Bell (13 points) hit a free throw to tie the game at 40 before Bowden was fouled on the 3-point line by senior Will March in the final second.

The win was only the fourth ever for first-year head coach Shawn Brown, whose team improved to 4-0.

“I’m looking at my senior [March]; it’s tough, it’s like ‘How do you make that foul,’” Brown, 37, said of the moments before the victory. “Just the highs and lows, the emotions of the game, and this is just the start. I’m young, I think I’m built for it, so we’ll see.”

After No. 18 East Boston scored the first 10 points of the game, Madison Park didn’t score its first basket until the 1:43 mark of the first quarter. The Cardinals trailed, 19-16, at the half and didn’t take their first lead of the game until they went up 30-29 with 39 seconds left in the third quarter.

But after Madison Park took a 32-29 lead into the final quarter, East Boston scored the first 8 points of the fourth to go up 37-32 with 5:28 left in the game. With 1:24 left in the game, Madison Park junior guard Jaylen Bell scored a transition layup to put his team up 40-39 before Bell tied the game for the Jets by splitting a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left.

“We did not play a great game but we should’ve won the game,” Wilson said. “We did everything, I’m so proud of my little guys, little Johnny [Bowden[ and Jaylen Bell, they played like warriors, they played with MP pride.

“I mean an 80-foot shot, I mean come on.”

Terrell Matthews also chipped in 11 points for Madison Park.

The loss stung even worse for the Cardinals because they lost at the buzzer to East Boston in last winter’s city championships, which were also held at Madison Park.

“This place is always crazy, there’s not one time I played here it wasn’t crazy,” Santos said.

After being mobbed by fans and teammates Santos said Tuesday night was by far the craziest.

“I don’t think even playing around, [taking it] 100 times, I could hit that shot right there,” he said.

Even Brown — who as a player for Charlestown in 1994 hit a buzzer beater to beat East Boston in a playoff-clinching victory — said he’s never seen anything like it.

“You see it on ESPN but you never see anything [like that in person], that was an amazing shot,” Brown said. “I looked up and I just watched the ball. But Pat’s a gutsy kid. And if someone is going to take that shot he is going to take it. He has it in him to take the shot.

“I wasn’t surprised it was Pat.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Eastie's O'Halloran looking to turn season around

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 18, 2012 05:34 PM

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Sean O’Halloran has been the goalkeeper for East Boston's boys' hockey team since he was a freshman. The senior captain is looking to improve upon last year's season, during which the Jets only won four games. (Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe)

If anyone knows losing isn't easy, it’s senior captain Sean O’Halloran who has been goalkeeper for the East Boston Jets hockey team since he was a freshman. Last year was tough as the Jets finished their season with only four wins and 16 losses. What’s even worse, says O’Halloran, is that many of the losses were by one goal.

“I’d rather lose by ten goals than one,” O’Halloran said. “When it’s that one, you keep thinking about it, trying to figure out how you can get it back.

“It haunts you.”

Last season the Jets lost 1-0 to Nashoba Valley Tech, Trinity Catholic and Latin Academy – all in a row. They lost by one again, 3-2, to Cape Cod Tech, Mystic Valley and Fenway.

Those close losses weren’t easy for O’Halloran, who believes that he was responsible for the single goals that determined the losses.

“When we versed Fenway I had 50 saves but all I could think about is that I wish I had 51,” he said. “ I just wanted to play those teams again and prove we could beat them.”

Now that O’Halloran is a senior, he wants revenge for his last year on the ice. The Jets are 1-2, leaving plenty of time for improvement. O’Halloran believes there is no time to waste, however, and has already started making changes.

“To get more wins we need to improve on goal scoring, defense, offense, everything,” he said. “Also as a captain I make sure to keep the boys in line in school and on the ice.

He said another reason the Jets had a tough season last year was because many players weren’t doing well in school. This year, he’s making sure it doesn’t happen again.

“I make sure they’re always in class keeping their grades up and getting to practice on time.”

In addition to keeping the team in line, he’s also making sure his goaltending skills are top notch.

“I’m working hard on rebound control and just pushing myself every day to do better in practice,” O’Halloran said. “My coach isn’t too hard on me because he knows I’m hard on myself.”

In addition to longtime coach Robert Anthony, East Boston has also recruited David Hunt, manager of the Eastie rink, to ensure the Jets have their best season yet. He said both coaches help the team improve simply by going over the basics, working on systems and breakouts.

“When he’s focused. he plays like gangbusters,” Anthony said. “When he steps his game up, the other boys capitalize on that.

“The strength of the team is from goaltending on out.”

It’s especially important for O’Halloran to improve and finish his career on a good note because of the hockey culture in his hometown, Charlestown.

“Growing up in Charlestown, you’re pretty much pushed to play hockey,” said O’Halloran, who has been playing since he was seven years old. “Everyone knows each other in the hockey community and kids only two years older than me are getting drafted into the NHL.

“It pushes me to work hard to succeed every day.”

After graduation, O’Halloran hopes to attend a college where he can play in the highest division possible. He knows that a successful season this year could get him closer to his ultimate goal.

“I think one thing every game: I might never get to do this again,” he said of being a goalkeeper. “I’m going to push my team every day and make it clear that winning is our goal.

“This season, instead of losing by one, we’re going to win by one.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Four city schools make Globe's Top 20 boys' basketball poll

Posted by Justin Rice December 18, 2012 10:50 AM

The Boston Globe released its first boys' and girls' basketball Top 20 polls of the season on Tuesday and four city schools made the poll on the boys' side.

Fifth-ranked Brighton earned the top ranking in the city after making it to the Division 2 title game last spring.

New Mission, which is off to a fast 3-0 start this winter, is No. 9 in the poll while Madison Park and East Boston came in at No. 15 and No. 18 respectively.

Madison Park and East Boston's rankings, however, are likely to change quickly after East Boston defeated the Cardinals Tuesday night at Madison Park.

Central Catholic garnered the top spot in the poll ahead of North Andover and Danvers.

To follow the rankings all season long click here.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

BSA contingent to run Boston Marathon again

Posted by Justin Rice December 18, 2012 10:30 AM

For the second straight year, a contingent representing the Boston Scholar Athletes program will run the Boston Marathon to raise money for the program that supports Boston public school athletics.

Here's a story about last year's BSA team that ran the marathon.

Boston residents, Elizabeth Collins and Joseph Cappellano are running the marathon for the BSA for the second straight year on April 15 while Kimberly Norris and Shanell Mosley will be running for the BSA through an entry provided by John Hancock for the first time this year.

The runners were chosen by the BSA Boston Marathon Selection Committee.

Collins and Norris both work for Suffolk Construction, whose CEO, John Fish, founded the BSA.

Mosley is a BSA Zone facilitator at Dorchester Academy while Cappellano is a BSA senior Zone facilitator who works out of the O'Bryant school.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

'PUSH: Madison vs. Madison' hits Google Play

Posted by Justin Rice December 17, 2012 01:23 PM

The documentary film "PUSH: Madison vs. Madison" that follows the trials and tribulations of Madison Park’s 2007 basketball season can now be rented on Google Play.

Here's a link to the movie trailer.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Cruthird: Beantown Jumpers still leaping forward

Posted by Justin Rice December 17, 2012 12:23 PM

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From left to right, Juliette silva, Ella James, Lynne Travers, Jocelyn Cotto, Patricia Travers, janelle Vazquez make up the Beantown Jumpers. (Photo courtesy of Brandy Cruthird)

Who would think that double dutch, an old school jump rope game, is changing girls’ lives -- one jump at a time.

Lynn Travers is the double dutch coach for the Beantown Jumpers, a program run out of Mildred Middle School (Boston Public School) in Mattapan where Lynn is also the swimming teacher. What exactly is the Beantown Jumpers? It is a unique non-profit double dutch program that originated about five years ago. The mission of the program is to share the sport of double dutch.

Lynn Travers, referred to by her players as Coach Trav, became inspired to teach double dutch because of her mother, Patti Travers. Patti Travers, also a teacher and known as Coach T, incorporated double dutch into her physical education class at the Timilty Middle School to offer more variety in physical education class and encourage more girls to be active. When she started, Coach T didn’t know anything about teaching double dutch. She asked her daughter to help her teach the girls and had no idea what kind of impact she would have on her own daughter’s life as an adult who would go on to start the Beantown Jumpers.

At age 23, Coach Trav interviewed for what she refers to as her “dream job” at Mildred Middle School where she teaches swimming and double dutch. She was able to combine both her love of swimming with her own experience of double dutch to teach young girls discipline, determination, sportsmanship, teamwork and integrity with a jump rope.

"The Beantown Jumpers believe in the value of sports and athletics as a connection to healthy development, both physically and emotionally, for children,” Coach Trav says.

The program is giving young girls a place to play while developing their character. Coach Trav says “our girls have tremendous poise and gain self-esteem and confidence while working together as a team.”

The Red Auerbach Youth Foundation and Northeastern Sports & Society currently sponsor tournaments and provide trainings for coaches to train youngsters to jump. The Women’s Sports Foundation, Dream Big and the Champs Boston (part of the Boston Foundation) have also assisted with funding the program and their traveling expenses.
The program believes in turning their girls into role models by allowing the veterans to teach beginners the ins and outs of double dutch.

Coach Trav says “youngsters love to learn from other youngsters and it is very good for the team to develop connections with their audiences.”

The goal for the Beantown Jumpers for the past two years was to develop a team that could compete in the 39th World National Double Dutch Championship in Sumpter, S.C.

This past summer they achieved that goal. With tireless practices, teamwork and commitment, the Bomb Squad was created. The team was coached by Coach Trav and her mother Patti. The seventh grade girls who were apart of that team were Joselyn Cotto and Ella James of Mildred Ave, as well as Juliette Silva and Janelle Vazquez of the Timolity Middle School.

The Bomb Squad’s speed, dance routine and free style tricks which include cartwheels, back flips and creative moves helped them earn third place.

For Ella, this was truly one moment in time she will never forget.

“I never won anything that big and for us to win 3rd place in the world was a big accomplishment. We did it,” Ella said.

Coach Trav and her the Beantown Jumpers are definitely impacting Boston Public Middle Schools and developing young athletes that are hoping to help her grow the Beantown program to the next level. As Ella moves on to high school next year she says, “Coach Trav has taught me discipline and how to be committed to something.”

A former basketball star and scholar-athlete at Burke and James Madison, Brandy Cruthird teaches at the Dearborn Middle School and is a regular contributor to Boston.com/bps. She can be reached at brandy@bodybybrandy4kidz.com.

BSA featured on Channel 5's Chronicle

Posted by Justin Rice December 17, 2012 11:39 AM

The television program Chronicle showcased the Boston Scholar Athletes program last Thursday night on Channel 5.

Click here to view the Chronicle episode.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Three games to watch in boys' basketball this week

Posted by Justin Rice December 17, 2012 11:27 AM

East Boston at Madison Park, 6 p.m. Tuesday:

In the first true Boston City League test for first-year East Boston coach Shawn Brown, the Jets will clash with the Cardinals on the road.

The Jets (3-0) have won their first three games by an average of 25 points against Mt. Pleasant (R.I.), Swampscott and Boston English while the Cardinals (1-0) only game was a 61-52 victory against West Roxbury.

A victory would put East Boston on solid footing on the path to returning to Madison Park for the city championships in February.

But both teams pride themselves on swarming defense so don't expect to see the 64 and 61 points per game East Boston and Madison Park have been putting up respectively.

West Roxbury at O’Bryant, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday

Looking for its first win of the season, West Roxbury (0-2) already finds itself in a nearly must win situation if it wants to stay in the hunt for what is shaping up to be a hotly contested Central division title. So far this newly created division has seen the most parity with Latin Academy losing to Boston English only to rebound to beat West Roxbury.

Tech Boston will also be in the hunt in the Central so the Raiders must be feeling the pressure to get on their horse and beat O'Bryant on Wednesday.

New Mission at Brighton, 5:30 p.m. Thursday

After losing to Needham by three points in its season opener and only beating Snowden by one point last Friday, Brighton (1-1) is going to have its work cut out for it against a hot New Mission team that is getting close to finding its stride.

New Mission is coming off a convincing 87-60 victory at Charlestown on Friday night and is averaging 85 points per game.

Brighton, which is giving up 62 points per game, will have to find a way to slow down the Titans offensively.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Latin Academy dominates Brookline, 6-1, in girls' hockey

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 16, 2012 09:41 PM

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The Latin Academy girl’s hockey team defeated Brookline, 6-1, Sunday night at Matthew’s Arena, and the domination came as a surprise; fueled by tons of action in a thrilling third quarter.

Even more surprising was that star of the game, Dragons freshman forward Danielle Baldassari is new to the school.

“This is my first time even playing with girls,” Baldassari said. “I’ve played with boys my whole life in South Boston.”

Following only one score in the first period by junior forward Kathleen Torpey, Baldassari started her hat trick at 11:42 in the second quarter. Freshman defender Margaret Whalen assisted on the goal by Baldassari, who shot the puck into the low right corner.

Down by two, Brookline (0-5) worked to pick it up at the end of the second period and succeeded when senior forward Devin Crowley shot the only puck that passed Dragons senior goalkeeper Natalie Lombardi.

The game was close at the start of the third period, 2-1, until the Dragons (3-1) took control over a four-minute span.

“The girls just put everything together and couldn’t stop scoring,” Latin Academy coach Ronald Ford said. “They got four goals in four minutes – that was pretty great.”

Baldassari scored with 6:22 left in the period after a cluttered fight for the puck near the crease. She scored again for the hat trick with 3:01 left after a rink-length rush.

“My first hat trick actually feels normal, scoring goals just feels natural to me,” Baldassari said, while her team chided her for her modesty. “But I guess it is pretty awesome.”

The Warriors' defense collapsed over the remainder of the period as sophomore forward Bridget Fehily and senior forward Jordan Fleming also scored.

“We were doing all right but we just came in so strong in the third period,” Baldassari said. “We crashed every rebound and our defense stopped [Brookline] every time.

“This was our best game by far.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Players of the Week: BPS girls basketball

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 16, 2012 12:35 PM

The girls basketball stars were nothing short of exceptional in their week one debut.

Takora McCyntire, Fenway: One of coach John Rice’s top players this season is surprisingly only a freshman. The guard was unstoppable in her first week on Varsity and lead the Panthers to two victories, 74-33 against South Boston and 77-0 against East Boston where she scored a total of 30 points and 10 assists.

Joseline Posada, New Mission Although only a freshman, this guard is one of the most dedicated players on the team with a great attitude.

“She shows exceptional leadership and poise on and off the court,” New Mission coach Brianna Forde said. “Joseline may not be my most experienced player but she accepts the challenges of a new team, sport and environment.”

Sara Centeio, Charlestown: This former soccer star turns out to be an even better basketball player.

The senior guard is not only Charlestown’s leading scorer but also has the most positive attitude, according to Coach Alexandra Ventura. She has lead her team to its current 2-1 record all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Krystal Edwards, Madison Park: This senior guard has wasted no time in her first week back on the court. Her outstanding defense lead her to a 43-point game against South Boston. She also learned that she was offered a four-year academic scholarship to Union College this week.

Brenda Calderon, Burke: At only 5 feet and 4 inches, this senior guard knows how to hold her own on the court. Despite losing 57-21 in the Bulldogs’ season opener, she lead the team to most of its points. She scored 8 overall and plans to make sure her team is ready for CASH on Tuesday.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

New Mission beats Charlestown in season's first clash of the titans

Posted by Justin Rice December 14, 2012 10:36 PM

In the first clash of the titans since the Boston City League was reshuffled so the five top programs are in the North division, the actual Titans defeated the Townies at Charlestown High on Friday night.

Since New Mission used to play in the South division before the league was divided into three divisions, their 87-60 victory on Friday was the Titans' (3-0) first meeting with Charlestown (0-1) since their program started about a decade ago.

“We could've executed better but we knew this was our first time playing here, we knew they had a really good coaching staff and we knew we had to prepare,” New Mission coach Cory McCarthy said. “And we prepared and we got the results because we prepared.

“We didn’t do 11 scrimmages for nothing.”

Unlike the slow start he had in New Mission’s home opening win against Burke on Wednesday night, sophomore guard Juwan Gooding got off to a scorching start against Charlestown.

The Milton High transfer scored a game-high 23 points, including five 3-pointers. The first three of the 3-pointers came as he scored New Mission's first 11 points.

After Gooding hit a 3-pointer at the 6:43 mark of the first quarter he hit another one at 5:18 to go up 6-3. Then he drained two foul shots before hitting a third 3-pointer about 20 seconds later to go up 11-6.

“It was the crowd, the crowd got me into it,” Gooding said. “Our crowd was louder than their crowd so it just happened, you know.”

After that opening sequence, Gooding didn’t score in the second quarter as he looked to get his teammates more involved.

New Mission took a 39-28 lead into the locker room at halftime but Charlestown got back into the game as Gooding committed his fourth foul and sat out much of the third quarter.

A 6-0 run by Charlestown made the score 53-40 with about three minutes left in the third before New Mission senior Chima Ebele (10 points) stopped the bleeding with a bucket. Then Gooding scored his first basket of the quarter on a free throw to put his team up, 56-40.

With 38 seconds left in the quarter, junior guard Shaquan Murray (14 points) hit a 3-pointer just before Gooding hit his own to go up 66-44. Then, as time expired in the quarter, Murray missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key as he was fouled on his way up for the shot and then again on his way down. He appealed to the referee for a foul call, and after a brief delay had his wish granted.

“That sequence was pivotal to the game, we just wanted to extend the lead, and those threes were very pivotal,” said Murray, who hit two of three free throws to send his team into the final quarter with a 71-45 edge. “That gave us a lot of momentum. We just really wanted to win the game. We were hungry.”

Junior forward Fred Rivers also had 10 points for the Titans while Charlestown was led by junior forward Freddy Oliveira (15 points) who transferred from West Roxbury this year.

“I was anxious, I was nervous, it was more than I expected,” Oliveira said. “I didn’t expect it to be like that. I’ve never been to a Charlestown game, like the fans and all that, the intensity got to me.

“We had a scouting report on them, everybody knew what to expect, it’s just that we are a new team.”

The sixth man for the Townies last year, junior guard Taris Wilson (13 points) is the only returning contributor from last year's team that lost in overtime in the Division 1 state semifinals to Brockton.

“We’re trying to get our nucleus together, our team together,” Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso said. “I love coaching these guys, brand new team, but I love coaching them; great guys.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Brighton senior Nia Rivera excels on and off the field

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 13, 2012 05:28 PM

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For most, attending a new high school in their senior year would not be easy. Yet the BSA’s December Scholar-Athlete of the Month, Brighton senior Nia Rivera, is excelling.

Not only does Rivera have a 3.47 GPA due in part to her hard work in the tutoring center the Zone, but she is also a cheerleader, a member of the Bengals Dance team, and on the senior committee.

She first started attending the Zone to keep her grades up during cheerleading season, until she realized its lasting effects.

“The Zone has everything: books, laptops, and helpful tutors,” she said. “Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate at home, so I get everything done there.

“It gives me a sense of relief.”

Rivera usually works on AP Calculus and her college applications at the Zone, which she used to attend twice a week. Now she visits four times a week.

Rivera credits the Zone for helping her fit in at Brighton High. She started school without knowing anyone, but it helped her make friends with student-athletes and even her Zone facilitator, Caroline Correa.

“I have a great relationship with Ms. C,” Rivera said. “She has this great energy and positivity. She values education and encourages all of us to do well.

“We have a great relationship, but everyone does with her.”

Correa thinks of Rivera just as positively, and stressed her leadership skills and drive for success.

“No matter what is going on or how many projects she is involved with she never disappoints me academically,” she said. “I truly am lucky to have such a great student in my life.”

What makes Rivera so exceptional is that she can fit in socially and academically just about anywhere. While she was born in Boston, she moved to Puerto Rico in third grade and worked hard in school and started cheerleading. She has also attended Boston Arts Academy and English High.

“I fell in love with cheerleading when I was 11,” she said. “When I moved back to Boston I joined Pop Warner, cheered for English and now for Brighton.

“I have a large background with dance, and cheerleading keeps me positive.”

Rivera said she was sad when the season ended, but now she has the new Brighton Bengal dance team to look forward to.

“There’s nine of us and we’re going to dance at the boys' basketball games,” she said. “We’re going to bring great energy so everybody comes out and has a good time.”

She added that she’s especially excited now that she recruited Ms. Correa to be her coach.

“At first I only had a relationship with Nia in the Zone, but now as her coach for the school's dance team I get to see Nia as an athlete,” Correa said. “She is so committed to the dance team and I can always count on her no matter what.”

Cheerleading and dance isn’t enough for Rivera though, as she is also planning prom, pep rallies, dances, and school trips with the senior committee.

“I just really want to make sure this is my best year in high school,” she said. “I know it will be more difficult to do things in college so I want to do as much as I can before I graduate.”

Rivera hopes to continue cheerleading at Northeastern, where she would like to study nursing. Eventually she hopes to work at Boston Medical Center.

“I really got inspired this year,” she said. “I want that to continue in college.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Snowden volleyball player named finalist for Positive Coaching Alliance award

Posted by Justin Rice December 13, 2012 11:19 AM

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Snowden senior volleyball player Stephanie Chen (left) was named a finalist for the Positive Coaching Alliance Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship. She will attend an award ceremony at Fenway Park on Saturday. (Pavel Dzemianok / For the Boston Globe)

Snowden senior volleyball player Stephanie Chen was named a finalist for the Positive Coaching Alliance’s Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship.

Chen will join 19 other Boston-area finalists for an Awards ceremony on Saturday at the EMC Club at Fenway Park, during which 10 scholarships of $2,000 apiece will be awarded.

The awards are based on student essays about how they represent what Positive Coaching Alliance calls a “Triple Impact Competitor,” or an athlete that focuses on
“personal mastery” of their sport, makes their teammates better through their leadership skills, and makes their sport better by "honoring the game."

Positive Coaching Alliance is a national nonprofit organization.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

New Mission breaks in new gym with victory against Burke

Posted by Justin Rice December 12, 2012 09:10 PM

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New Mission junior guard Shaquan Murray runs a fast break during a victory against Burke on Wednesday night. The win was New Missions first game at the gym at their new school building in Hyde Park. (Photo courtesy of Patrick O'Connor)

The gym at the former Hyde Park Education complex was formally handed off to the New Mission boys’ basketball team Wednesday night.

Just before beating Burke, 84-30, in their first-ever home game since moving from Mission Hill to Hyde Park this fall, New Mission honored former Hyde Park High legend Al McClain, who played for Hyde Park in the late 1970s before becoming the University of New Hampshire’s all-time leading scorer and getting drafted by the Houston Rockets in 1984.

“First of all, I want to say good evening to this New Mission team, this is your gym right now,” McClain told the near capacity crowd before the game. “I came here in the 70s, that’s when there was busing … Being in this gym brings back some heartbreaking memories. This was probably one of the smallest gyms in the city.

“Right now my goal is to make sure some of these young guys have the same opportunities. That’s why I dedicate my time and effort to make sure you guys do the right thing. I want to thank Coach Cory [McCarthy] for giving me this award. I’m hoping some of you New Mission guys become great basketball players and have a sense of pride and become great men.”

New Mission’s players got off to a good start in their new gym, jumping out to an 18-2 lead before going into halftime with a 48-13 edge.

The crowd was into the game from the tip as the Titans (2-0) played under their state championship banners and on top of their logo painted at center court.

“The atmosphere was great, I’m excited we have a new year, starting off 2-0, it was exciting,” junior guard Shaquan Murray said. “I’m glad the fans were there and I’m glad we got the W.

“[The crowd] was definitely a big advantage because they are part of us. They are in our school and they can definitely help us to cheer us on and win games.”

McCarthy said the crowd provided the sixth man he’s been craving at New Mission home games since he started the program about a decade ago.

“It’s the atmosphere man, the atmosphere,” he said. “It’s good to have a sixth man. It’s not a neighborhood it’s our kids, it’s our kids."

Burke (0-1) did a good job of getting to the foul line in the early going but they couldn’t knock any shots down. The Bulldogs went 3 for 15 from the foul line in the first half.

“We had one scrimmage earlier but that was a tough one to open up against New Mission like that,” Burke coach Sam Jordan said. “We did it last year, too, so we got used to it. We just have to get stronger. We have a young team. You realize when you play a good team like this that you have to challenge every ball and possession. We’re not rebounding well and we’re not blocking out well but we’re working on it.”

“We’re working on it we got a lot of practice to do.”

Jordan said the pregame ceremony to honor McClain was also emotional for him.

“Tonight it was a special night because they honored a special guy so it was kind of tough and I know the guy so it was heartfelt,” he said. “But it was a good one.”

Burke was led by senior guard Jason Martinez, who had 9 points.

Senior guard/forward Zachary Badohu had a game-high 15 points for New Mission while junior forward Fred Rivers chipped in 13.

Sophomore guard Juwan Gooding, who transferred to New Mission from Milton High this year, scored 10 points in his first game in a Titans’ uniform, all of which came in the first half.

“The crowd was into it, it was an exciting game,” Gooding said. “I’m looking forward to Friday too against Charlestown.”

New Mission will play the Townies on the road at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

New Mission thumps Burke, 57-21, in season opener

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 12, 2012 07:06 PM

Both the New Mission and Burke girl’s basketball teams stepped onto the court for their first game knowing it could have been anyone’s game. New Mission had to bench several key players because of concussions while Burke featured a whole new roster. The result of the game ended in the veterans' favor, as New Mission trumped Burke 57-21.

New Mission dictated the tempo of the majority of the game and especially the first half.

Sparked by junior Jenny Mendez, New Mission to a 15-3 lead after the first quarter.

“They’re still learning the fundamentals of the game like position, footwork, passing the ball, defense and offense,” Burke coach John Evans said. “We’ve been working hard in practice but actually playing against an opponent showed us we have a lot to work on.”

Mendez went on to dominate the second quarter and buried two buckets from the right wing and garnered another two on free throws, all in a span of two minutes.

“I haven’t played basketball in a long time since I was injured and the win means a lot,” she said. “I’m happy that we won and look forward to doing it every game this season.”

The Lady Titans continued to rule the second quarter and went into intermission with a commanding 34-8 lead.

Burke senior guard Brenda Calderon finished with 8 points and senior guard Tylia Cromtrie finished with 7.

Calderon said it was clear as ever that her team needs work by looking at the scoreboard at the end of game.

“It was our first game together and we’re a brand new team so it was definitely frustrating,” she said, “We just need to learn how to work together and start communicating.

“But we’re going to stay motivated and we’re not going to give up.”

Coach Evans mirrored Calderon’s view and said it’s all about creating a bond between his girls before focusing on victories.

“My biggest issue isn’t about winning games right now, it’s about building a family,” he said. “My whole thing is to try and get the girls to work together and support each other.
“When that time comes, then we’ll work on winning games.”

Despite the big win, New Mission coach Emily Werner thinks her team has room for improvement.

“We played well and collectively as a team but it definitely exposed what we need to do better,” she said. “We had a lot of fouls and that shows that we’re being aggressive but that we need to get even better defensively.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

South Boston takes out Fenway in season opener

Posted by Justin Rice December 11, 2012 07:14 PM

With six players on his nine-man roster new to his varsity basketball team at South Boston, Jeremy Silva worried how well his team would mesh going into the season.

In Tuesday afternoon’s season opener against Fenway at the Hennigan School, however, the Knights were able to come together for eight solid minutes in the third quarter to bust open what was ultimately a lopsided 89-49 victory.

After only leading, 39-31, at the half, South Boston (1-0) outscored the Panthers 32-10 in the third quarter to take a 30-point lead into the final quarter.

“We were playing a little lazy and nobody was working hard on defense to get back,” senior Phil Lodge, who scored a game-high 30 points, said of the first half. “In the second half we had to turn it up and play a little more aggressive and press. … It was a good game, it builds up our confidence a little.

“Give us one more game and we’ll be working hard like Coach Carter.”

The Knights (1-0) also got double-digit outputs from junior Andrell Reed (13 points), junior Jamari Jackson (11 points), and senior Marcus Campbell (10 points).

“The second half was better than the first half, definitely,” Silva said. “We had a talk about halftime about just doing your job. We had a lot of kids who were kind of freelancing, trying to cover for each other when that’s now what we need to do.

“Each kid just came out and did their job in the second half and when all five guys are doing their job good things happen.”

Fenway senior guard Rickey Smith, who had a team-high 19 points, opened the second half with a pair of free throws to cut the lead 39-33.

But then it was all South Boston the rest of the third quarter.

The Knights went on a 20-2 run, including 4 straight transition points off turnovers, to go up, 57-33, with 5:26 left in the quarter.

The run only ended when senior David Stewart accidentally tipped the ball into the wrong hoop.

Stewart made up for it by scoring 6 of the Knights' final 14 points of the quarter to take a 71-41 lead into the final quarter.

Stewart, who is the half brother of the David Stewart who plays football and basketball for Madison Park, was playing in his first ever varsity basketball game for South Boston.

Stewart started off slow but finished with 9 points.

“It was alright,” Stewart said. “I’m used to playing basketball so I just took it like a regular basketball game.”

Fenway (0-1) got back into the game at the end of the first half after an 8-0 South Boston run that made the score 35-22 with about two minutes left in the half. After scoring two straight baskets, the Panthers gave up two straight baskets before junior guard Johnel Ledesma converted a 3-point play at the buzzer to put his team down, 39-31 at the half.

“In the end of the second half we just started playing defense and we had a few turnovers that we were able to force,” Fenway coach Murales Louis said. “We were able to attack them from half court. But for the most part we didn’t do a good job of breaking the press even though we practiced it. We had like 29 turnovers.”

But Louis, whose team didn’t win a game all last season, is confident that they will be able to put up a ‘W’ this season.

“It’s the first game and we have a whole bunch of new guys playing organized ball for the first time,” he said. “So more practice and more time together and they’ll gel I think."

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Madison Park beats Snowden 56-22 in first girls basketball game of season

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 11, 2012 07:03 PM

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Madison Park senior guard Amber Edwards goes up hard for a layup against Snowden on Tuesday afternoon. Edwards scored a game-high 20 points in the season opener. (Stan Litchman / For the Boston Globe)

Madison Park and Snowden’s girls' basketball teams faced off Tuesday afternoon in both teams first game. Madison Park coach Carla Hands expressed concern over her small team, while Snowden coach June Robinson was worried about practice time since her school doesn’t have a gym.

It turned out Madison Park had no need to worry, as they beat Snowden, 56-22. The win was secured with the help of 5-foot-7-inch senior guard Amber Edwards, who scored 20 points.

“I like that I got a lot of points in my first game of the season but I’m very humble,” she said. “I’m a senior and I love showing leadership.

“I’m focused on my team, that’s why I’m here.”

Madison Park came out strong in the first quarter, leading Snowden, 21-2, as Edwards and her 5’6” twin Krystal both scored 8 points.

The Cougars couldn’t keep up with the Cardinals, and trailed, 35-10, at halftime.

“For our first game they were playing pretty well,” Robinson said. “They’re not used to playing together yet and it’s a lot of the girls’ first time.

“They just need to get to know each other better.”

Amber Edwards finished with 20 points while Krystal Edwards added 16.
At an early point Coach Hands realized she didn’t have much to worry about, but she still wants her girls to work even harder for next time.

“Every one, even the younger ones stepped up and played a really big role in this game so I’m really proud of the ladies,” she said. “But we’ve got a lot to work on and as a coach I’m greedy.

“I’m happy we won, but I want more.”

Coach Robinson plans to work with her team on fundamental skills and team bonding, but still feels that Snowden’s lack of a gym puts the Cougars at a disadvantage.

“We have to take a bus to practice every day so camaraderie is different because we have to travel,” she said. “Then we have to go to another school and cant start until 4:30.

“But because of this the girls on the team are very committed - some even have to pay to ride the bus to practice every day.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Santa Speedo Run raises more than $300,000 for Play Ball! foundation

Posted by Justin Rice December 10, 2012 10:35 AM

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Santa Speedo Run runners start the race at the Lir Pub on Saturday before running down Boylston Street. The event raised more than $300,000 for the Play Ball! foundation, which runs middle school athletic leagues in Boston public schools. (Jay Connor for The Boston Globe)

Licking his wounds on Monday morning from running Saturday’s Santa Speedo Run, Mike Harney at least took comfort in the fact that the event raised more than $300,000 for Play Ball! — a foundation he started to fund and help run interscholastic middle school athletic leagues in Boston public schools.

“Still some bumps and bruises,” Harney said during a telephone interview, “but all things considered I’m hanging in there.”

Runners still have till the end of the week to reach minimum fundraising goals of $400. But after sponsorships and donations, Harney said they could gross about $350,000.

About 700 runners, including about 20 members of the Play Ball! team, braved the cold and tiny Speedos to run in the annual race down Boylston Street Saturday.

The race has benefited Play Ball! for the last three years and Harney said they raised $275,000 last year.

“So it’s a huge number for us,” Harney said. “It gets a lot of feet on the field.”

Play Ball! funds more than 1,000 students who play in four different leagues: football, baseball ,girls’ volleyball and Double Dutch.

“This money will go a long way toward funding those programs,” said Harney, noting that they are looking to expand their leagues. “It will definitely go toward improving the programs. It gives us a lot of running room to improve the programs, coaching and offer additional things around it [such as] clinics.”

The foundation ran a golf tournament to raise funds in the fall and has done a summer boat cruise gala in past years. Harney said they are still working out plans for their summer event.

In the meantime, he’ll keep licking his wounds from Saturday's run.

“I’m getting accustomed to what it entails," he said. "The run never gets shorter and the Speedo never gets bigger.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

City league ready to introduce three-division format in boys' basketball

Posted by Justin Rice December 6, 2012 07:18 PM

Anyone who follows Boston City League boys’ basketball is in for a "black and blue" treat this winter. By the same token, anyone who plays or coaches in the Boston City League North division is in for a dogfight.

Starting this season, the city league will go from two divisions to three (North, Central, and South) in an effort to bring more parity to the league and to give the lower division schools a better shot at qualifying for the state tournament.

The top teams in the city (New Mission, Madison Park, East Boston, Charlestown, and Brighton) will be crammed into the North division.

The top two teams in the North will be awarded a trip to the city championships, while only the top teams from the Central and the South will make a trip to cities.

“I think it puts us in one situation, the black and blue division,” said Madison Park coach Dennis Wilson, who was one of two coaches who voted against the proposal this summer.

Under the new format, teams essentially play teams in their division more often during the regular season with fewer games against teams in the other divisions.

Wilson argued that the state rankings of the city’s top teams will suffer under the new format, and as a result they might not get a home game in the state tournament.

O’Bryant coach Drew Hughes-Brock — whose team will play in the Central with Boston English, Dorchester, Latin Academy, and West Roxbury — has no sympathy for Wilson.

“It’s like I don’t feel bad for these guys because my whole career I had to deal with this but now it’s your turn,” said Hughes-Brock, whose team has been beat up by higher division schools over the last several years. “The new format is absolutely amazing, I think it’s long overdue. I think it levels the playing field and that is something that I haven’t seen in the city. Why let the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? Even it out, let us play.

“All it is going to do is making for better competition. A couple times last year teams won by 60. There’s no way that’s good for high school basketball.”

Most of the North division teams are in favor of the new format because it will make them battle-tested for the postseason.

“We can’t sleep, we can’t take things for granted, we can’t slack off,” Brighton coach Hugh Coleman said. “At the end of the day, if we weren’t good enough to win those games we have to accept where we were at the time.

“[The old format] did us a disservice. One, it didn’t prepare us and we didn’t look forward to the games [against lower-division teams.]”

New Mission coach Cory McCarthy said, "It helps coaches raise their level of competing. You have to scout, you have to prepare, it helps me prepare. There were some teams you did not have to prepare for. You just knew all you had to do was slap a press on and it's over. Now I have a 40-hour turnaround to prepare for one of the top teams in the state every week.

"Somebody out of that [North] group will win a state championship, mark my words."

No North team has more to lose under the new format this year than Charlestown, which has no returning starters after losing in the Division 1 semifinals to Brockton. Nevertheless, coach Edson Cardoso was in favor of the new divisions.

“We look at our first five games and we have New Mission, BC High, Brighton, Eastie, and St. John’s Prep,” Cardoso said. “We’re playing five tough teams. I like it because it will be a challenge to see where we are as a team. I’m anxious to see how we will do the first five games. I think it’s one of the toughest schedules I have coached in high school basketball.

“I think the city league is taking it to a whole new level. Now this is really going to help kids compete and different levels and give other teams a chance to make cities. I think it’s good for city basketball.”

But Wilson argues that the lower-division teams already have a leg up because of the Sullivan rule, which essentially means that games against higher-division teams don’t always count against them when it comes to qualifying for the state tournament.

“It’s great for the other leagues because they are playing against their level of talent but in any level, pro, college, you play who is in your league regardless of how strong they are," Wilson said. "That’s what makes you stronger.”

Second-year South Boston coach Jeremy Silva understands.

That’s because Silva — whose team will play in the South division with Burke, CASH, and Fenway — was always told by his father, legendary Marshfield football coach Lou Silva, that you have to “play the best to be the best.”

But Silva said he’s still looking forward to competing against his South rivals more often this season.

“I’m pretty sure there can be an argument made for both sides,” he said.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

New Mission ready to christen new gym

Posted by Justin Rice December 6, 2012 05:49 PM

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The New Mission boys' basketball team gathers around the Titans logo in their new gym during the first day of basketball tryouts late last month. For the first time in program history, the Titans have a gym to call their own. (Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe)

New Mission boys' basketball coach Cory McCarthy recently noticed a black scuff mark on the school’s gleaming new basketball floor with the Titans logo on it. But before McCarthy could wipe the smudge from the first basketball court the program has called its own in its 10-year history, a student got to it first.

“He got on the ground on his hands and knees and wiped the stuff off the ground,” McCarthy recalled. “That’s a major, major steppingstone. Now you know kids honor this place and believe what it’s about and feel fortunate about it.”

After playing in the Tobin Community Center for most of the program's history, New Mission will play in the renovated Hyde Park Education Complex starting this winter. The school moved from its Mission Hill building this fall.

The Titans' boys' team will christen the gym against Burke at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12. The girls' squad hosts CASH at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 14.

McCarthy said the new facility was a reward, so to speak, from the school district for all the school's success.

“Make no mistake about this, some of this move from Mission Hill had to do with us getting a gym,” said McCarthy, who led the girls’ team to a state title in 2007 and won back-to-back boys’ state championships in 2010 and '11. “Having this makes us proud.

“Thanks to the city for honoring us, rewarding us and helping us grow.”

Besides a new floor, rims, and lights, the gym also has a weight room attached to it.

And the Titans logo is painted everywhere.

While there are aspects of the Tobin that McCarthy says he’ll miss, including the fact that it played a big part in the Titans’ scrappy underdog identity, McCarthy will not miss having to fight for practice time with the Tobin's other programs, not to mention the fact that they never had closed practices.

“At any given moment you could walk in there and there’s kids in there,” McCarthy said. “Last year we used to practice and have the boys and girls practice at the same time. And we had three girls' teams and two boys' teams. In any given day during a two-and-a-half hour span we had five teams in there.

“It’s hard to prepare with that. This helps preparation, team morale, pride. We have the big Titans symbol at half court.”

McCarthy is expecting his team to have a huge home-court advantage.

The gym has been out of commission since the former Hyde Park High became Community Academy for Science and Health (CASH) and moved to the Cleveland School building in Dorchester in 2011.

“It’s a heck of a big deal when you have to use someone else’s gym versus your own gym,” Madison Park coach Dennis Wilson said. “You are going to be able to practice in it every day and get in it on weekends. Tobin was their gym and they were used to playing there but now they have their own gym that they can put banners up and have that home-court feel and flavor and ambiance.

“There’s nothing like having your own gym and that’s definitely going to give them an advantage.”

McCarthy wants to make his new gym feel like a college atmosphere, complete with students bouncing in the bleachers until the home team scores its first point.

McCarthy, who is also the athletic director, talks a lot about changing the culture of the school. But it’s much more than talk. The school also started a football team this fall and in the spring it will have its own baseball team for the first time.

“Your legacy will forever live here,” McCarthy said. “Although we’ve been successful in the past we started a new tradition.”

And nobody is taking care of that tradition more than students who are starting it.

McCarthy said on the day that the rims were installed a group of students grabbed brooms and started sweeping up the mess left by the work crew.

“I’m not telling kids to do this stuff,” McCarthy said. “This is kids having pride.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Boston City League girls' basketball preview

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 6, 2012 05:37 PM

Here's a preview of the the 2012-13 season:

Latin Academy

Coach – Emily Hunter-Coleman (second year)
Last year's record – 11-9

Strengths – Speed and chemistry. A lot of the girls have been playing together since eighth grade.

Concern – Inexperience.

Outlook – Hunter-Coleman believes her team has the skill level to make up for its youth.

“I’m excited, I really believe we’ll go farther than last year because we’ve done so much through the offseason,” she said. “They went to a lot of camps and trainings and I can't wait to see how that will play out.

“They didn’t have the opportunity last year so I'm excited to see how that unfolds on the court.”

Returning starters

Senior captain and forward Fiona Sugrue
Sophomore point guard Julia Rosario

O’Bryant

Coach – Gertrude Fisher (23d year)
Last year's record – 12-1

Strengths – Defense.

Concern – Whether four guards can play on the interior.

Outlook – Fisher has high expectations and thinks the Tigers will go far this season.

“They’re working hard right now and playing in the Christmas tournament,” she said. “I expect them to return to the level of skill we had last year and reach the city tournament.”

Returning starters

Senior forward Kiana Daley
Junior guard Yonetta Harris
Junior forward/guard Saran Kaba
Junior forward Raven Kelsey

Brighton

Coach – John Lilly (fifth year)
Last year's record – 12-6

Strengths – Determination and willingness to work.

Concerns – Loss of seven key players, with just one returning starter.

Outlook – “We have a young team, but a hard-working and dedicated team,” Lilly said. “They will face a ton of challenges, but my outlook is for them to improve slowly over the season.”

Returning starters -

Senior forward Amy Bernardez

Burke
Coach – John Evans (first year)
Last year's record – 0-8

Strength – Improving skill level.

Concern – Inexperience.

Outlook – Evans just wants to help the girls learn the game and play to their potential.

“I want to develop them into great players, give them experience. help them learn the game,” he said. “I just want them to know what is expected of them on the court.”

Returning starters – None.

CASH
Coach– Christopher Collotta (first year)
Last year's record – 0-2

Strength – Defense.

Concern – Inexperience.

Outlook – The team had to forfeit last season after two games because of a lack of players. That is not an issue this year. Collotta is also proud that all the girls that tried out met the BPS GPA requirement.

“I want to teach the girls the fundamentals of basketball and get them to come back next year,” Collotta said. “We didn’t have a team last year so we’re the underdog in the Boston league.”

Returning starters – None.

Charlestown
Coach – Alexandra Ventura (first year)

Last year's record – 1-7

Strengths – Speed and defense.

Concerns – Lineup changes.

Outlook – “I hope to have a blossoming season and have a good time while we learn,” Ventura said. “Hopefully we’ll build a new culture for the Charlestown girls' basketball team this year.”

Returning starters

Senior shooting guard Sara Centeio
Senior point guard Stephanie De Pina
Senior point guard Carlita Chambers Walker
Senior center Natalia Reynolds
Senior forward Shannon Simpson
Junior forward Kayla O’Brien.

Dorchester
Coach – Raul Brown (second year)
Last year's record
– 7-11

Strengths – Team unity and work ethic.

Concern – Player confidence.

Outlook – “We want to improve our record this year and our girls would love to accomplish something that has been so elusive to our school for years,” he said. “This is a chance to make it to postseason play.” Brown said he wouldn't trade this group of girls for any other in the city.  

Returning starters

Sophomore guard Kymisha Kelly
Junior guard Phylis Nyamunda,
Junior forward Brenda Nyamunda
Senior center Natalie Leary
Senior guard Karina Velez

English
Coach – Justine Grace (third year)
Last year's record – 5-5

Strengths – Guard play and senior leadership.

Concern – Inexperience.

Outlook –“As a coach and former player, I have high expectations for my team but I have to meet my players where they are,” Grace said. “ It has been a challenge for me to plan a practice where the new players are learning and building confidence, and at the same time my returning players are improving and are challenged regularly.

“I focus on one practice and one game at a time and I try to challenge them each practice to work harder. “


Returning starters
 
Senior guard Trayana Mair
Senior guard Annie Mora
Senior point guard Ashley Louis-Jean

Fenway
Coach – John Rice (second year)
Last year's record – 20-3

Strengths – Talent and chemistry.

Concern – None given.

Outlook – "My goal is to be successful on and off the court and just see them do their best," Rice said. "I want them to be very competitive every night.

"I'm looking to have a real successful season and go as far as we can."

Returning starters

Senior point guard Tajanay Viga Lee
Junior shooting guard Cadeija Matthews
Sophomore forward Jalissa Ross
Sophomore shooting guard Laura Escolero
Senior shooting guard Lorena Escolero
Senior guard forward Charlise Jones

Madison Park
Coach – Carla Hands (fifth season)
Last year's record – 6-3

Strengths – Defense and determination.

Concern – Lack of size.

Outlook – “I think we’ll have a successful season and get carried by our senior guards,” Hands said. “I have a great bunch of girls and I think we’ll have a remarkable year.”

Returning starters -

Senior guard Krystal Edwards
Senior guard Amber Edwards
Junior forward Retti Johnson
Sophomore point guard Kanisha Thomas

Snowden
Coach – June Robinson (16th year)
Last year's record – 8-8

Strength – Potential.

Concern – Lack of home practice facility.

Outlook – “I’m excited about this season and I know that a lot of other teams are starting over as well,” Robinson said. “It will be a learning season, but I’m hoping it will be a great one.”

Returning starters – None.

South Boston
Coach – Andrea Higgins (second year)
Last year's record – 8-9

Strength – Commitment.

Concern – Inexperience.

Outlook – “Our outlook on the season is improvement,” she said. “If we work hard to improve each day, we can improve our record from last season.”

Returning starters
Sophomore forward Destinee Morris
Junior forward Daitanah Smith
Junior guard Elaina Wright-McCarthy

West Roxbury
Coach – Arturo Clemente (fourth year)
Last year's record – 10-9

Strengths – Defense and “hard-nosed” players.

Concern – Lack of size.

Outlook – Clemente is confident the Raiders will have a better season than last year.

"I think we’ll finish in the top three of our division,” he said. “We always have trouble with New Mission and O’Bryant but I think we’ll take care of the rest of the league.”

Returning starters

Senior forward Marissa (Fresh) Serrette.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Boston city league girls

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 6, 2012 05:37 PM

Boston City League boys' basketball preview capsules

Posted by Justin Rice December 6, 2012 03:20 PM

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Brighton's Hugh Coleman has a huge challenge to get his team back to the state title game. (Matthew J. Lee / Globe file)

Here's a look at all the Boston Public Schools boys basketball teams heading into the 2012-13 season.

NORTH DIVISION

Brighton
Coach:Hugh Coleman (Fourth year)
Last year: 21-3

Strengths: The Bengals’ biggest strength is its experienced backcourt, which includes junior point guard Malik James and senior shooting guard Daivon Edwards. The duo played a huge role in Brighton’s run to the Division 2 championship, which they lost to Mahar by four points last season.

Concerns: While the Bengals’ might have the most solid backcourt in the city, they graduated five seniors last season, including power forward Jarard Meyes, who averaged 12 points and nine rebounds a game. That means depth will be an issue for Hugh Coleman’s squad if anyone goes down with injury or gets the academic ineligible bug. Coleman’s other concern will be keeping his team from thinking they will make it back to the state title game by just showing up.

Outlook: Making it to last year’s state championship game could either be a blessing or a drag this season. On one hand, Coleman said it provides him with a motivating factor in practice every day, but on the other hand he said it could cause his guys to get complacent.

“The critics and the people who stand on sideline and say ‘Hey you guys made it all the way to the state championship game, you’re going to win it this year, you have a lot of guys returning,’ Coleman said. “I definitely don’t think that way. I remember being on the bus thinking ‘This is unreal, we could have [easily] never have gotten here.’ You never know what's going to happen.”

On the other hand, Coleman said, “Now I can emphasize the point in practice. You know what it takes, any moment we are not working hard could be the difference of getting back or going home early.

“The experience is a measuring stick, a reminder of what it takes.”

Returning starters: Junior point guard Malik James (6-1, 170), senior shooting guard Daivon Edwards (6-1, 185), junior forward Nick Simpson (6-4, 200), senior center Prince Unaegub (6-6, 210).

FULL ENTRY

Dorchester's dream season ends in Super Bowl nightmare

Posted by Justin Rice December 1, 2012 06:20 PM

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Upper Cape Cod coach Mike Hernon console's Dorchester's Hakim Harris after Hernon's team won 22-8 in the Division 5 Super Bowl at Curry College.(Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)

MILTON — The pain from losing the 2005 Division 4 Super Bowl as Hyde Park’s head coach has long faded for Rich Moran but the relationships and memories he built with the players have long endured.

And that was exactly the message an emotional Moran — who has coached Dorchester for seven seasons — imparted to his players Saturday afternoon after they lost the Division 5 Super Bowl, 22-8, to Upper Cape Cod at Curry College.

“We all came together today to play football, you might never experience that again, that is such a beautiful thing,” Moran told his players as they huddled around him for one last time this season. “No one can take it away from you. Gentlemen, this is the second time I’ve been on this end. I’m going to wake up Monday morning and my wife is going to yell at me, she’s going to tell me to ‘Get up and go to work.’ And years go by and this will fade. But what won’t fade is what you did with each other. That will never, ever fade.

“Please remember that experience. Because when you give yourself that gift of self-discipline you carry it over it over into your family, you carry it over into your school and you carry it over into your community. You are now leaders of your community. Don’t ever, ever forget it.”

What Dorchester accomplished this season was nothing short of amazing. A year after only winning four games, the Bears (10-1) ran the table in the Boston City League to win the South division and clinch the school’s first Super Bowl berth since 1989. Dorchester also beat Boston City League North champion Madison Park Nov. 16 in a game dubbed the “unofficial city championship” since the winner of the North and South were meeting in the final regular season game before Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, the Bears ran into a team on Saturday that had an equally miraculous story: Upper Cade Cod (10-1), which won the Super Bowl in just its third season in program history and just its second season of varsity football, won two games last season.

“This is the best team we played all year,” Upper Cape coach Mike Hernon said, "the best defense, they’re fast, they get after you and we were going to try to grind them away and try to hit the big one and we were able to do so a few times there."

Nobody hit Dorchester harder than Rams’ junior running back Jonathan Dumont, who finished with a game-high 120 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns.

Dumont’s first TD, a 14-yard rush, came shortly after he fumbled the ball away to Dorchester in the first quarter. His second score was a 42-yard scamper to put his squad up, 14-0, with 4:53 left in the half.

The Rams run the same Wing-T offense as Dorchester only with bigger splits between their linemen. They finished the day with 208 yards rushing compared to the Bears' 131.

“It’s kind of weird,” Dorchester quarterback and defensive back Demetrious Leary said of going up against the same offense. “We were using our strengths and stuff and trying to hit them like Bears."

Dorchester recovered an onside kick on the opening play of the game but didn’t score until the last minute of the first half when Leary tossed his first touchdown pass of the season on a 31-yard bomb to junior receiver Arrik Bell. Trevaughn McCoy (79 yards on 18 carries) rushed for the two-point conversion to put the Bears down 14-8 going into the locker room at halftime.

“I had a good feeling that we were going to come back but stuff happens,” Leary said.

To be precise, a fumble and two interceptions happened.

First Leary fumbled the ball away to Dumont with 8:07 left in the third quarter only to get the ball back when he intercepted Rams senior quarterback Edgar Eldredge four plays later.

“My teammates were telling me to ‘Keep your head up, don’t doubt yourself’ and that gave me courage to not doubt myself and intercept it,” Leary (2 for 7 for 67 yards) said.

But five plays after that Leary threw his second interception of the game to Rams junior defensive back Rich Semple.

A late hit penalty on the next drive led to a 4-yard QB sneak by Eldredge on the first play of the final quarter to put the Rams up, 22-8.

Dorchester recovered another Dumont fumble but the Bears’ final drive of the game ended seven plays later after Leary got gang-tackled in the backfield for a 6-yard loss on third down.

“It feels terrible ending this way, but we worked hard and we played hard and we just gave it our all,” Leary said. “I got next year to do it again.”

Moran said his job in the offseason will be to make sure that his roughly 30 returning players, including a 14-player junior class, don’t think that they will return to the Super Bowl simply by stepping onto the field next year.

“They have to work hard and know that they have to work hard from the get go, with lifting and everything else,” Moran said.

Moran also told his team to cherish their Super Bowl memory.

“As years go by you will remember this journey and it will all be worth it,” Moran told his players. “It will be all worth it. Because right now, the pain you feel in your heart, you truly know what it’s like to be a Bear. Right now you know what it’s like to be a Bear. Hold on to that feeling. You hold your head up high and you walk off this field like a family.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

About Boston Public Schools Sports Blog

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.
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