For Avery Bradley, attending a Black History Month event that brought 30 JROTC students from Boston English High to the Celtics' practice facility in Waltham Thursday afternoon was not only significant because it celebrated his heritage but also because it reminded him of his father.
The Celtics guard remembered his childhood in a military family fondly, despite the fact that he had to shine his father’s boots.
“Growing up in a military family, being the youngest, I was never allowed to do anything, anything, my dad wouldn’t let me do anything,” Bradley told the JROTC students. “People would notice how respectful I am because I grew up in a military family.
“I thought it was cool that you guys were able to come here today, that I could learn what you guys do. For me it brings back memories. It seems like yesterday my dad was in the Army. I wanted to be in the Army. My other dream came true and I got into the NBA. I’m happy you guys came today and I hope you learned a lot and had fun because you got to learn about African-American history and I feel like that’s very important.”
Sponsored by the Massachusetts Army National Guard and the Celtics, the event featured Bradley and former Celtics Keyon Dooling and Walter McCarty.
The players and members of the National Guard helped the students review significant events and time periods in African-American history before playing a Jeopardy-style trivia game.
“I meet people I never thought I’d meet before, especially Avery Bradley,” said sophomore Julin Smith-Sparks, who plays on English’s JV basketball team. “I think he’s a good player. It’s exciting to see him. It’s cool, it’s exciting, it’s an amazing moment. It means a lot to celebrate Black History Month. Nobody forgot about it. I appreciate that a lot.”
English girls’ basketball coach Justine Grace served as a chaperon.
“I was happy to be part of it when they asked me,” she said. “And it’s always good to be part of the Celtics. The program is so great for Black History Month, the kids are learning something and excited to meet the players.”
The students also got a chance to shoot around on the Celtics’ practice floor, which Grace was also excited about.
“I brought my stuff so I’m ready to go,” she said.
The students were also awarded two tickets to an upcoming Celtics game and two students, Jorge Maldanado and Miasia Kemp, won sneakers signed by Bradley.
"They won a signed pair of Avery Bradley shoes which is cool because I practice in them every day," Bradley said. "Hopefully they wear the same size as me and they can wear them out after school. Show them off a little bit.
“It’s definitely cool. I never had an opportunity to ever meet an NBA player [growing up] and for them to leave school and be able to meet an NBA player and learn about black history, I think that’s amazing.”
The Celtics and the Massachusetts Army National Guard have also been highlighting significant events in African-American history during home games this month and on Celtics.com.
The Boston Scholar Athletes program recently announced it’s Most Valuable Scholar-Athletes for the winter season. The award is given to student athletes who epitomize what it beats to be both a scholar and an athlete.
Here's the list:
Prince Unaegbu, Another Course to College; Edwin Porro, Latin Academy; Mike Parham, Boston Latin; Jesse Bland, Burke; Jotham Stepenson, CASH; Jimmy Edwards, Charlestown; Darius Patterson, Dorchester Academy; Connor Henry, East Boston; Stanley Davis, English High; Mojeed Olaogun, Fenway High; Terrell Mathews, Madison Park; Jared Butler, O’Bryant; Solomon Aboiye, South Boston; Nikolas Patsaouras, Snowden; Deven Robinson, West Roxbury.
Shantal Solomon, Boston Community Leadership Academy; Virginia McCaughey, Latin Academy; Deirbnile Martin, Latin School; Patricia Rodrigues, Brighton; Elis Perez-Castillo, Burke; Karlita Cambers-Walker, Charlestown; Cheyenne Resende, Dorchester; Annie Mora, English; Laura Escolero, Fenway; Amber Edwards, Madison Park; Raven Kelsey, O’Bryant; Joicenina Carvalho, South Boston; Stephanie Morales, Snowden; Marissa Serrette, West Roxbury.
Esther Niwah, Boston Community Leadership Academy; Malik Anderson, Latin Academy, Seth Philistin, Brighton; Omotoyosi Ojedeji, Burke; Renic Franklin, Charlestown; Jordan Carter, English; Erjon Mile, South Boston; Shawuan Richards, Snowden; Marion Duncan, TechBoston Academy; Dianca Dy, Latin Academy; Grace O’Brien, Latin School; Sheree Letford, Burke; Danielle White, English; Evelise Moreno, Madison Park; Vanessa Vibert, Snowden; Jerika Adams-Harrison, TechBoston Academy; Monique McPherson, West Roxbury.
Mark Guerard, Latin Academy; Conor Moccia, Latin School; Sean O’Hallaran, East Boston; Eliza Laden-Mauro, Latin Academy; Pam Rioles, Latin School.
Cristian Mojica, Latin Academy; Roy Perez, East Boston; Sam Kauffman, O’Bryant; Olivia McGrath, Latin Academy; Carly Cahill, O’Bryant.
Sebastian D’Amico, Latin School; Javaugh White, TechBoston Academy.
LEXINGTON — Playing its first state tournament game in a decade on Wednesday night, the Boston Latin girls’ basketball team was also playing in front of the biggest crowd it has seen all season, including a relentless student section.
“It wasn’t so much intimidating as much as I just couldn’t hear myself call plays, that was rough,” senior guard Deirbhile Martin said after the 41-27 loss to Lexington at Lexington High in the Division 1 North first round.
With fellow seniors Mary DeMoura and Ashley Guillame injured the entire season, Martin was all the Wolfpack had as far as senior leadership this season. But this year’s team has eight juniors who are keyed up for next season.
“I definitely think it’s the start of something and I think being the only senior is a good thing because coming back next year they only have one person they are losing, so they are only going to get stronger,” said Martin, whose next organized basketball game will be during intramurals as a Harvard freshman this fall.
“It hit me [that it was my last game] with two minutes left in the game when I realized we were going to lose," she said. "It’s rough.”
While Martin wasn’t so fazed by the large crowd, Latin’s 6-foot-2-inch junior center Margaret Mulligan was a little more daunted by it.
“The crowd got into our heads,” she said after scoring a team-high 11 points. “This was an emotional game, but I think we needed to stay focused and we kind of let it slip.”
And while Mulligan was intimidated by the crowd, Lexington was intimidated by Mulligan when the game started.
“People were saying ‘Oh she’s like 6-5,’” said Lexington freshman point guard Anna Kelly, who scored a game-high 22 points for the Minutemen (16-5). “Once we learned she goes left every single time, we could just double down on her and it was a lot easier and we got our defense going and it just worked out.”
Boston Latin managed to hold Kelly scoreless in the first quarter but it also struggled to feed the ball into Mulligan. Still, the Wolfpack managed to control most of an ugly and low scoring half, even if it didn’t show up on the scoreboard.
But Kelly finally got her jumpshot going with 1:26 left in the half when she nailed a 3-pointer to put her team up, 11-8. Mulligan responded with a 3-point-play to tie the game before Kelly drilled another 3-pointer with 47 seconds left in the half.
Lexington senior guard Kristyn Kajko stole the ball and scored with 10 seconds left in the half to give her team a 16-11 edge at the break.
Lexington outscored Latin, 17-7, in the third quarter to break open the game.
“That’s how we are, we are contagiously offensive team,” Lexington coach Steve Solly said. “When we score, it’s in bunches, it’s in pockets like that. We got a lot of effort from a lot of people.
“Boston Latin is a good team. I’m proud of our kids. I loved the environment. Our crowd was amazing. So hopefully we can take this and build on it in the next round.”
A handful of vocal Latin students did make the trek to Lexington on Wednesday, only to watch the Wolfpack end their season at 14-7.
“We have a nice loyal fan base,” fourth-year Latin coach Kerri Orellana said. “I’m very proud of what these girls have done. I don’t think anyone expected that of us coming into the season. But they’ve been working really hard. We’re going to take a little bit of time off and I’m going to start getting ready for next year.”
Mulligan said she will spend the offseason getting stronger physically.
“It’s awesome that we made it this far and I’m so proud of my team,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better season.”
And while Mulligan said she will miss Martin’s senior leadership, she can’t wait to have a senior-laden squad next winter.
“It’s going to be tough working out playing time but I think that it will be great,” she said. “We’ll have big strong experienced players and we’ll see how it goes.”
After 20 years coaching the Boston English High boys’ basketball team, Barry Robinson is handing over the program to his assistant, Joe Chatman.
Robinson, whose team lost to Milton in the first round of the state tournament on Tuesday, will remain the school’s athletic coordinator.
Robinson won three city championships, including back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000. The 2000 team featured three Division 1 players (Raheim Lamb, Rasheed Quadri, and Raymond Noiles) and won the Eastern Mass. title.
“I wanted to make it an even 20,” Robinson said. “I told myself I wasn’t going to give up this job until I found someone I can hand the reins over to and feel comfortable, and Joe Chatman reminded me of a young Barry Robinson.”
Without senior point guard Pat Santos in the lineup, East Boston’s boys’ basketball team couldn’t handle Everett’s pressure on Tuesday night in the first round of the Division 1 North state tournament.
After the 77-55 loss, first-year East Boston coach Shawn Brown said they learned last week that Santos was academically ineligible and would have to miss the postseason.
“Yeah absolutely he could’ve helped us, he had some issues in school,” Brown said. “It put a lot of pressure on our young guys, Dion [Knight] is only a sophomore. What a time to get thrown into the fire against a very athletic Everett team. Their pressure frustrated him early and that was the key to the game.”
Santos, who made national news by hitting a full-court buzzer-beater to down Madison Park on Dec. 18, helped the Jets defeat Everett, 49-48, three games later on Jan. 3.
“I respect Pat, he’s a good player, he came last time and destroyed us kind of,” Everett senior guard Tyree Gregory said after scoring a game-high 22 points. “But even if he was playing, I don’t think it would’ve changed it. My team, we’re too strong for that.”
East Boston senior guard Stanley Harris hit a buzzer beater of his own to put his team within 1, 14-13, at the end of one quarter. Everett pulled away again in the start of the second quarter but East Boston went on a 7-0 run starting at the 4:19 mark of the second quarter to get within 1 point again, 25-24, with 3:30 left in the half.
The run included Harris (5 points) blocking sophomore forward Gary Clark (16 points) under the basket and going coast-to-coast for a layup.
But Everett (15-6) responded with a 13-0 run to go up 38-24 with 1:28 left in the half. The run started with Gregory’s back-to-back 3-pointers and ended with his 3-point play.
Everett took a 40-28 lead into the break before opening the second half with a 19-0 run that included three transition dunks. East Boston finally got on the board when Harris split a pair of free throws with 3:26 left in the half.
“It goes back again to the turnovers, I think a lot of those points came off turnovers and transition,” Brown said of Everett’s runs. “They got a few dunks that got them going so it all was predicated off the turnovers.
Everett coach John DiBiaso acknowledged that Santos would have helped stave off some of those big runs.
“That was a big blow to them not having him,” he said. “But we’re not crying over it. We’ll take advantage of the fact that he was out.”
East Boston (12-8) was led by Knight (17 points) and sophomore forward Raekwon Cole (12 points) who were among five players who started the season on JV and finished on varsity due to injuries, academic and disciplinary issues.
“Five JV players come up and get this experience so I’m really looking forward to next year with these guys,” Brown said. “It gets me excited about next year. My seniors did a great job, they were really leaders to the younger guys.”
But Brown wasn’t satisfied with making states in his first season.
“It’s not good enough,” he said. “The tradition here is not just to make the state tournament. It’s about winning city championships and winning state banners. So again I’m not happy just making it. This is motivation. It fuels me again for next year.
The Massachusetts Army National Guard and the Celtics are teaming up for a Black History Month event at 3 p.m. Thursday at the team's practice facility in Waltham.
Avery Bradley, Keyon Dooling, and Walter McCarty will join 30 students from Boston English High in reviewing monumental events and time periods in African-American history through a trivia-format game.
The Celtics and the Massachusetts Army National Guard have been highlighting significant events in African-American history during home games this month and on Celtics.com.
Current Celtic Jared Sullinger and former Celtics Keyon Dooling and Dana Barros will host a Stay in School assembly at the Boston Teachers Union K-8 School in Jamaica Plain from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The assembly will focus on PRIDE, an acronym that stands for Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Decisions, Education. The players will urge the students to take pride in their school work.
The players also will conduct a mini-clinic for the standout students in the school's gym.
The school will also receive tickets for a Celtics game.
In addition to being Boston College’s first-year head football coach this fall, Steve Addazio will be a de facto assistant coach at Burke High without even realizing it.
After Addazio spoke to 30 Burke athletes Tuesday morning as part of the Boston Scholar Athlete’s Speaker Series — telling the student-athletes to stay away from marijuana, to respect women, and to just be a “good dude” — Burke football coach Byron Beaman said he recorded the speech so he can show it to his players anytime he feels they need to hear the message from a higher authority.
“What coach Addazio is saying is the same things we preach every day, all day,” Beaman said. “It definitely helps to have a guy that’s the head coach of a Division 1 program really echo what you’ve told your team. And it’s not like we met in the hallway prior to this, saying, 'This is what they need to hear.'
“It’s just a constant coaching message: In order to be successful, you can’t be selfish, you have to work hard, you have to make sacrifices. And he’s coached some of the best; Heisman Trophy winners, things like that. Coming from him, I’m hoping that the message resonates and these guys get it and take it to heart.”
At the same time, Addazio said during his talk that the message works best when it comes from a trusted mentor or coach.
The former University of Florida assistant coach talked about a group of high-profile former Florida players, including brothers Maurkice and Mike Pouncey, who are now the starting centers for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins, respectively.
He talked about how they used to skip over bricks in the sidewalk outside Florida’s stadium that were designated for the names of future All-Americans.
“They were pretty headstrong guys, and I told them, ‘If you keep going to that club, you’re not going to be an All-American,’ ” said Addazio, who was Temple's head coach last year and an assistant at Florida for five years before that.
The Pounceys were involved in some incidents, said Addazio, including a shooting and a stabbing.
"I said, ‘You guys have to get away from the ring of fire or it’s going to pull you down,' " said Addazio. " 'You guys have worked too hard. You guys are going to put your future in the hands of some guy in some club who is pissed off and going to get in a fight and something happens, they take out a knife and they are going stab you or shoot you. Is that what you are going to do? Get away from the ring of fire, get out of there.’
“The problem was, those guys didn’t trust me. I developed a relationship with them and I loved them and they loved me. They gave me their heart on the practice field and off the practice field. And they trusted me enough to listen to me. And I got them to get away from the ring of fire. And I got them to go to class and I got them to get their degree.”
Addazio said while those players used to talk about tattoos, gold chains, and making money, now that they are in the NFL, their priorities have shifted and they drive modest cars.
“You know what they talk about now, ‘Coach, I miss college, I miss the camaraderie, the relationships,’ ” he said. "The money doesn’t mean much to them anymore.
"It’s interesting when you talk to guys and their perspective from when they are 18 years old to when they are 23 years old.
“It’s amazing the things that used to mean something to them and now what means something to them. Now you know what they want to do? They want to buy their mother a house, they want to put money aside for their kids’ educations.”
Addazio also told a cautionary tale of a high-profile player at Florida who liked to smoke marijuana. He said the player went from being a top-three draft pick to being picked in the bottom of the first round, leaving about $20 million on the table.
“There is a big difference between $6 million and $26 million,” he said of the player's eventual signing bonus. He said, ‘I don’t have a problem,’ but I said, ‘You can’t stop.’ ”
Addazio told the students they need to surround themselves with positive role models and peers. He challenged the players to be positive leaders at school rather than disrupting class and trying to get attention.
“Get yourself around peers that are about the right thing, doing the right thing," he said. "Because, unfortunately, you are who you hang out with. And look to some older guys, gals, some role models that can help you, that you can go to that care about you and listen. That’s really important.
"I've got a little saying and I believe this: Good things happen to good people that work hard.
“It’s not luck, guys, not luck. Just be a good dude. Work hard and good things will happen.”
Burke sophomore fullback and defensive end Brandon Newton said it’s important to keep the message in mind all the time.
“Most people are going to leave it to be a ghost -- nobody knows it anymore until someone comes back and says it again,” he said. “We have to have those few people on the team that keep bringing it up repeatedly. Like when one person feels like they don’t want to go to class, it’s like, ‘You gotta go to class if you want to play football. Keep your GPA up.’ "
The players were also invited to BC’s home opener against Villanova Aug. 31, which Newton said will be another reminder of Addazio’s message.
“A really good reminder,” Newton said.
Making its first appearance in the state tournament in five years, the Latin Academy girls’ hockey team could not have made a more dramatic entrance than the one it made Monday at Murphy Memorial Rink in South Boston.
Going into the final period trailing Martha's Vineyard, 2-1, the Dragons tied the game on freshman forward Julia Pano’s goal with 7:13 left, and sophomore forward Bridget Fehily scored the go-ahead goal with 1:26 to play.
An empty-netter by freshman forward Danielle Baldassari with two seconds left put Latin Academy's 4-2 victory on ice.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, I feel like we worked really hard,” Fehily said. “We never wanted a game more than this and I think we showed that when we came out to play. We just knew we had this game if we worked hard enough and we’d get it. And we just had to believe in ourselves to be able to do it.”
Pano tied the game on a shot from about 30 feet that bounced out of the goaltender’s glove and into the net.
“I just came down, crossed the blue line, and just took a shot to try to get a goal because we needed it to tie,” said the freshman, who has been on the team since sixth grade. “We haven’t been to states in so long. I haven’t been to states and I’ve been here three years. There are some girls on the team who are seniors and they’ve only been once and they lost in the prelims.
“So it’s a lot of hope for us.”
On the go-ahead goal, Fehily knocked in a rebound after senior forward Tayla Duarte attempted a shot from behind the net that deflected off the goalie.
“I was just going to the net trying to get any puck that I could and I hit it and it went in,” Fehily said. “To score that goal, I couldn’t believe it.”
Second-year Latin Academy coach Ronald Ford said he told his players to “anticipate what is going to happen” when he addressed them before the final period.
“If you anticipate correctly and you’re ahead of the play you’ll have a better opportunity to score,” he said.
Ford said once Latin tied the game he was confident the momentum would push his team to the victory.
“It’s amazing ,” he said. “It really is, the girls truly put their heart on the ice and left it there for the game to decide what happens. They played as hard as they could and they played really well.”
Martha’s Vineyard outshot Latin Academy, 24-14. Natalie Lombardi made 22 saves for the Dragons.
“Natalie has been amazing this year, it’s her senior year,” Ford said. “The two years I’ve worked with her she’s been amazing and we’re lucky to have her.”
No. 18 Martha’s Vineyard, which made states for the first time in program history last year, finishes its season 10-8-3.
“It was a tough loss,” Martha’s Vineyard coach John Fiorito said, “obviously having the one goal lead going into the final period. You want a better result but I told the kids the program has come a long way. … We just couldn’t get out of our own way in the third period. Clearly they came out, we were on our heels. We had a couple opportunities … It was tough. They worked hard. They are in our league so we’ve seen them a couple times.
“It’s a nice little rivalry we got going even though we are on opposite ends of the world in the big scheme of things.”
Latin Academy (11-6-4), the 15th seed, advances to play second-seeded Falmouth.
“We’re happy to be advancing beyond the first round but we’re trying to go as far as possible,” Fehily said.
If basketball doesn’t work out for Tajanay Veiga-Lee, she could probably have a career as a professional poker player.
The standout senior guard who led Fenway High to the city and state championships last season can just as easily make you believe she is indifferent about missing the city tournament or waiting to land a basketball scholarship as she is adept at running a fast break or darting down the lane into a forest of taller players.
The Panthers (10-7) — who will launch their Division 4 state title defense Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Notre Dame-Lawrence at Greater Lawrence — missed a chance to defend their city title last week because they forfeited four games for playing junior varsity players too long during varsity games.
“We got kicked out, it’s definitely going to motivate us to want to do better in states, want to go far and win another state championship,” Vega-Lee said in a calm voice, showing not a hint of regret over her team’s recent forfeitures.
Vega-Lee, who is averaging 22 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists, has not received scholarship offers to play college basketball.
“Deep down inside it’s probably killing her because you see all these other girls getting signed, but she hasn’t officially signed yet,” her father, Sam Lee said. “That’s just a good poker face. She’s not letting on but I know it’s bothering her because it’s getting late into the last signing period.”
Lee said Auburn was interested but it didn't work out because their post players got hurt so they needed to replace them. He said Providence, Georgia State and Loyola University at Maryland are interested in his daughter but have yet to make an offer.
Lee said his daughter has had Division 3 offers but ''right now that’s not the direction we want to go yet,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say it's killing me,” Veiga-Lee said. “It is what it is.”
Veiga-Lee said she inherited her cool demeanor from her father.
“He’s like a quiet type of guy, he doesn’t say much,” she said. “I just learned from him.”
She will also forego her senior year of spring AAU basketball so she can play with the Fenway softball team for the first time in her high school career.
“Hopefully it will be a fun experience,” said Veiga-Lee “I played baseball when I was younger and I just want to play softball this year. Get it out of the way, it’s my last year, and have fun.”
That mentality might be the reason she didn’t get down for too long when Fenway was ruled ineligible for the city tournament. She said she put it behind her a few days after the decision was made.
“I found out about a week before,” she said. “We were all in shock, it was crazy, we’re not going to be in [the city tournament]. We were looking forward to that. It was crazy but we had to look past that. We’re still in states, that’s all that matters.
“Everybody knows who is the best,” she said. “So once we get into states we’re going to prove that to people, and when we win it again that says it all.”
In each of the past four years, no more than eight BPS teams have made the state basketball tournament. Four teams have qualified each of those years. Last year, the number of qualifying city teams decreased from eight to seven.
This year it all changed.
With 12 of the 15 city teams qualifying for the state tournament, coaches across the city are reflecting on the realignment of the league and the opportunities it’s given to various schools.
“In the past, so many of the lower divisions – Division 3, Division 2, Division 4 – had to go up against those power house teams, Division 1 teams,” said Burke assistant coach Megan Waterbury, referring to five teams in the North conference that have dominated the city league.
Waterbury was one of the main advocates for the realignment of the league.
“They got not very good records because of it, so you didn’t get to see how good they really are. So I think the realignment just allows so many teams to showcase how good teams in the city really are,” she said.
The teams in the Central and South conferences that qualified for states include Dorchester, Boston English, O’Bryant, West Roxbury, Latin Academy, Snowden, South Boston and Burke.
Waterbury described how Burke, her school, is benefiting from qualifying after being absent from the tournament for eight or nine years.
“We joke that some of our kids were in first or second grade the last time Burke was in the state tournament,” Waterbury said. “It’s literally like kids in a candy store running around the high school, excited about the state tournament. It just gives them a boost of confidence and this energy that they haven’t had before.”
New Mission coach Cory McCarthy also gave praise to the South conference schools.
"Southie is in, Burke is in, how great is that for the city," he said.
Athletic director Ken Still also shares the coaches’ feelings about the effects of the realignment.
“It’s a really good thing for us as a city, meaning wealth has been spread, meaning that if it was just the top teams as usual, you’d get the same bread going through,” he said.
But what about the North teams that have qualified for the state tournament?
Even though four teams in the top conference made the state tournament – New Mission, East Boston, Madison Park and the city champions Brighton – Charlestown couldn’t make the cut.
However, Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso still supports the realignment.
“I think it actually helped us compete every night [to] outplay good teams every night. So I thought it was [more] our inexperience and kids learning our new system,” Cardoso said.
The more competitive schedule for these teams is exactly what Waterbury wanted when she pushed for the realignment.
“They didn’t have as tough of a schedule in conference. Now a lot of teams are sneaking in [to the state tournament] with [a] .500 [record] or something like that, but they have had really battle-tested games all season long, so I think you're going to see them go even farther,” Waterbury said.
Whether the realignment has had a positive or negative effect on schools – even though most of them seem positive – the city league is definitely changing.
Still said that the fact that Madison Park, East Boston and Charlestown didn't make it to the city tournament might even create a shift in whom the top teams in the city league will be.
“The heavyweights are always on top because kids like to go there, to someone who is winning. That didn’t take place this year. We’ll see how that works itself out for next year,” Still said. “If East Boston is not there and Madison is not there, these kids make a decision of being with a winning team. They didn’t win so someone might say I’m going to go to Dorchester, I’m going to go to [another school]."
Eight teams from the Boston City League and Boston Latin qualified for the girls’ basketball state tournaments when the pairings were released Friday afternoon.
Newly crowned city champs O’Bryant (18-1) is a No. 3 seed in the Division 2 South bracket and will play Somerset Berkley in the first round at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Madison Park.
O’Bryant beat Somerset Berkley last year in the first round before losing to Fontbonne in the semifinals.
“It’s a time where the kids have to step up and decide if they want to win or do they want to go home with a city championship,” O’Bryant coach Trudy Fisher said after the pairings were released.
Fisher said her team could have been a higher seed, but she scheduled a regular season game against a charter school, the Academy of the Pacific Rim, without realizing it wasn’t an MIAA sanctioned game.
“That was my mistake,” she said.
Defending Division 4 state champs, Fenway High (10-7), who missed the city tournament because they forfeited four games for playing JV players for too long during varsity games, is a No. 10 seed in the Division 4 North bracket and will play Notre Dame-Lawrence at Greater Lawrence at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
If they advance to the finals of their bracket, they could possible play No. 6 seed New Mission (14-6), which plays Minuteman at home at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the first round.
“We’re just really humbled by this whole thing, that’s really where we all are,” Fenway Coach John Rice said, noting that his girls are eager to get out and play.
In Division 1 North, No. 11 Boston Latin (14-6) will play Lexington at Lexington at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
In Division 2 North, No. 2-seed Latin Academy (14-5) hosts the winner of No. 7 Belmont (11-9) and No. 10 Charlestown (9-8) at 7 p.m. March 1. The Belmont-Charlestown game is at 7 p.m. at Belmont on Tuesday.
In Division 3 North, No. 3 South Boston (16-2) plays No. 14 Amesbury (9-10) at location not yet determined.
In Division 1 South, No. 15 West Roxbury (9-8) plays No. 18 Quincy (10-10) at 7 p.m. Monday at West Roxbury.
In Division 3 South, No. 16 Boston English (10-8) hosts No. 17 Dedham (11-9) at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Fisher said she was pleased with the number of city league schools that qualified for states but noted that the real test of their skill will be determined by how many make it out of the first round.
“It’s who goes beyond that first round,” she said. “Count that after Wednesday and see how many of us have gone on. Hopefully we can make it past the first round.”
The MIAA state basketball brackets are in and 10 city teams will be participating in the tournament:
Division 1 first round:
East Boston (10) at Everett (7), February 26, 7 p.m.
Division 2 first round:
Chelsea (18) at Latin Academy (15), February 25, 7 p.m.
Reading (9) at New Mission (8), February 26, 7 p.m.
Burlington (12) vs. Brighton (5), February 26, 7 p.m. (location: Latin Academy).
Division 3 first round:
South Boston (10) at Minuteman (7), February 26, 7 p.m.
Division 4 first round:
Snowden (10) at Mystic Valley (7), February 26, 7 p.m.
Division 1 first round:
Newton South (17) at West Roxbury (16), February 26, 7 p.m.
Madison Park (15) at Newton North (2), February 28, 7 p.m.
Division 2 first round:
Dorchester (7) vs. Medfield (10), February 28, 7 p.m. (location TBD)
English (18) at Milton (15), February 26, 7 p.m.
Division 3 first round:
Dover-Sherborn (18) vs. O’Bryant (15), February 25, 7 p.m. (location: Madison Park).
Burke (19) at Ashland (14), February 25, 7 p.m.
All week long Kevin Facey has taken such special care to set his starting block properly during practice sessions at the Reggie Lewis Center, that the image of a starting block has even been seared into his dreams.
“I’m working on them so hard, I’m pretty much good with them,” said the Burke senior, who slipped out of the blocks during the finals of the 55-meter dash in the Division 4 state meet last Friday yet still managed to finish second.
Facey, who finished first in the preliminaries early in the day with a time of 6.65 seconds, was one-tenth of a second out of first place in the final with a time of 6.73 — which qualified him for Saturday’s All-States meet back at the Reggie Lewis Center.
The Jamaican immigrant will be the No. 13 seed in the 55-meter dash.
“It was really difficult because I didn’t know how to set the blocks,” he said. “I usually watch the Olympics and see how they set the starting blocks and just following and do the same thing but I didn’t really know how to use them because I wasn’t used to them.”
Burke doesn’t have any blocks to use during practices, which are held in the hallways of the school. Facey also spent most of the year running the 300-meter dash.
The 18-year-old said the fact that he still came in second place at the Division 4 meet despite his bad start was a huge confidence boost, especially since he was in last place out of the blocks.
“I was just like ‘it doesn’t matter if I’m last if l put my mind to,’ if I start last I know I’m not going to come in last place,” he said. “I kept my head forward, paid attention, looked right at the finish line and kept running. I could have given up and said ‘Oh that’s a bad start but I kept going.”
Now Facey hopes performances like that one earn him a name in the local track community. His dream is to run professionally so his mother doesn’t have to keep working in a nursing home.
“My mom did a lot for me and I want to show her that I can pay her back for everything she did growing up,” he said. “I want to show her I can pay her back for everything.”
Facey moved to Dorchester two years after his mother moved here so she could find a job and earn enough money to send for him.
“I was really a momma’s boy so I used to cry, my mom used to be there for me,” he said when asked how difficult it was to live apart from his mother. “I used to go everywhere with her and stuff. I used to cry when I saw kids with their mom having fun with their moms and stuff.
“When I came [here], when I saw her, I was like speechless.”
That was four years ago, during his freshman year in high school.
Before that, he ran track and played cricket in Kingston but his school also didn’t have starting blocks for the track team to practice with.
When he arrived in the United States he was interested in football, but his mother pushed him to run track.
He did well enough his first two seasons and finally qualified for states last spring. But he and his coach arrived at the meet as the race was starting and he was unable to run.
He also made strides in the classroom, improving his GPA from a 1.89 last year to a 2.58 this year with the help of the Boston Scholar Athlete program.
“He digs deep, I give him credit because even when he started his grades were not good, he was barely passing classes and this semester he made the honor roll,” said Burke's first-year track coach Bjorn Bruckshaw. “If someone shows a little care and effort in him he goes a long way.”
That’s exactly what has happened this winter. Bruckshaw is a wounded combat veteran without a background in coaching track but he wanted to give back. Despite his coaches limited experience, Facey managed to qualify for states.
And this time around he not only made it on time to the state meet, his mother also attended the meet as well.
“My mom came to watch me so I was so nervous,” he said. “I wanted to show her how I’m improving. When I came first [in the preliminary race] she was happy. That really made me smile.”
Coming out of the blocks strong on Saturday will not only put a smile on his mother’s face but it will also help Facey make his dreams come true.
“I dream about them and I practice too,” he said of the starting blocks. “Anything I want I dream about it. I dream about it and see how I did it so I can’t forget it.”
East Boston, Madison Park, and Charlestown have owned the city championship in the new millennium.
Everyone can now add Brighton to that list after the Bengals beat New Mission, 71-62, for their first city title in the school’s history.
“That’s another great honor for my teammates, for my players, for my coaches and for our school and also something new for the city,” coach Hugh Coleman said.
It was definitely a new kind of championship game for the city tournament. It’s been 13 years since neither East Boston, Charlestown or Madison Park were in the city championship game and in order for the Bengals to win, they had to defeat the only team left in the newly formed north division; New Mission.
“New Mission was a team I felt we had to be better than. East Boston, in order for us to be good, we got to be better than them. Charlestown, we got to be better than them. This year they put us in a league all together and for the first time in one league I think we proved our point,” Coleman said. “Now we’re at a point where we're on top.”
If the players didn't already have enough to play for, Brighton and New Mission have also established a rivalry throughout the past few seasons. With the win in the championship, the Bengals completed the season sweep of New Mission.
“It’s very, very, very tough to beat a team more than once, more than twice, three times; tough,” Coleman said. “If the basketball gods wanted it to be where we meet up again, then that will be a tough game as well."
Malik James, whose 20 points secured him the MVP in the Boston City League tournament, agreed the rivalry would continue for seasons to come and would be key in what seems to be a new age for the city tournament.
“I think this is because us and New Mission is like a rivalry, so we just got to go at it,” James said.
Coach Cory McCarthy also said this won’t be the last time his New Mission team is seen in the tournament.
“They are out ahead of us right now, they are the team to beat,” he said. “But I feel like the difference between us and everybody else is we’ll be here every year. Teams have come and gone and we’ll still be here.”
Even though the city tournament is over, the season hasn’t ended for either of these teams. And even as James and Coleman held up their trophies, their attention quickly shifted to the upcoming state tournament.
“This is definitely a good motivational thing for us,” James said. “We got [the state tournament] coming up so we definitely needed this to boost our confidence up.”
As confident as the new city champions are from beating New Mission, Coleman can still remember when the Titans beat Brighton in the state tournament two years ago.
“The loss in the north final a couple years ago has not erased, I have not forgotten about it,” Coleman said. “I felt like whoever won that game would’ve probably won a state championship that year and New Mission went on to win it. I’m not healed from it but this (Coleman holds up the city championship trophy) will help out a little bit.”
The senior forward scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the second half to lead O’Bryant to a dramatic 44-39 victory over New Mission Thursday at Madison Park.
This was the rubber match between these teams. New Mission got the best of O’Bryant in the first matchup, while O’Bryant won the second game, so the top teams in the Boston City South Division were familiar with one another.
After a back and forth third quarter, the Tigers trailed Brighton, 32-28, entering the final quarter. But Daley was just heating up.
The Tigers outscored New Mission, 16-7, in the fourth, and Daley had 9 of them.
“I told myself, ‘I’m the captain and my team looks up to me, so when I need to push the ball and make some points, make things happen, I have to do it no matter what,’ ” Daley said.
After Daley connected on a layup for the Tigers’ 37-36 lead, Daran Kaba stole the ball and found Laetitia Dorsinville for another basket.
O’Bryant forced a five-second violation on the Titans’ next possession, and Daley’s jumper gave the Tigers a 5-point lead, their largest of the game.
New Mission and O’Bryant struggled with the tough defensive pressure used by both teams early in the game. New Mission jumped to an 11-7 early lead, and O’Bryant battled to a 16-16 tie to end the first half.
With top scorer Deandra Humphries sitting down with foul trouble, the Titans leaned on junior point guard, Jazala Laracuente, who scored a team-high 13 points. Laracuente tried to push her team in the final seconds, but she was unsuccessful on her final 3-point attempt that would tie the game.
Last year, O’Bryant coach Trudy Fisher believed her team was not prepared or equipped to defeat Fenway. This season, she said the 57-43 loss to Fenway in last year’s title game helped her team find some motivation.
“We weren’t really ready. Fenway wanted us really bad last year and they just took it to us right away, and they beat us fair and square,” Fisher said. “This year we wanted it because we lost it last year and we were willing to do whatever it took to be successful.
“Sometimes they say you have to fail before you succeed, they came in here last year thinking that they were going to win the game without putting forth the effort that they put forth this year. And they knew what it took after they left last year and wanted to win.”
Clutching her left wrist, New Mission junior guard Deandra Humphries sat on the bench and watched the O’Bryant girls’ basketball team receive the trophy for winning the Boston City League tournament championship game on Thursday night at Madison Park.
“It’s tough because we know we could’ve won,” Humphries said after the 44-39 loss. “So it’s always hard to watch somebody raise the trophy knowing you’re the better team.”
With 2:18 left in the first half Humphries, who averages 14 points per game, suffered a left wrist injury with her team leading, 16-12. She sat out the rest of the half and the teams went into the locker rooms tied at 16.
Humphries spent most of the third quarter futzing with the tape on her wrist, which she eventually took off, and with 5:44 left in the final quarter she scored her sixth and final point to give her team a 34-33 lead.
Seven seconds later, however, she fouled out.
The foul put O’Bryant forward Kiana Daley on the line, and she hit both foul shots before scoring 3 more of her game-high 22 points down the stretch.
“She is a big part of their team but we didn’t see it as stop playing, even though she was out of the game we still had to keep playing and keep the intensity up and push forward,” Daley said. “She is one of the big players. I noticed she had four fouls so I kept going at her. She ended up fouling me and fouling out.”
While Humphries, who also fouled out of a 46-34 loss to O'Bryant Feb. 15, said her wrist didn’t throw her off her game, New Mission coach Briana Forde said the injury not only threw Humphries off her game it got to the entire team.
“I talk to the girls about if you’re that substitution you have to be able to bring that intensity or match the intensity of that person you’re substituting for,” Forde said. “Unfortunately in terms of our guards I don’t think that that happened. I feel like we did have some players later on down the stretch that did step up and do some things for us.
“It did [mess with Humphries mentally] and I think to a certain degree it took the rest of our team out of their minds as well. We’re just going to nurse [her wrist] right now to see how she does overnight. It there is some swelling unfortunately we’ll have to go to the doctors. Right now she has mobility in it which makes me not worry about it being broken but it could be a sprain. It’s never a good situation when you have one of your good players go out with an injury.”
Humphries said she is a little worried that she won’t be healthy for the state tournament but she said Thursday's loss will motivate the team.
Humphries said the city tournament is for bragging rights, but states are for all the marbles.
“States are the bigger thing,” she said.
With the final seconds of the Boston City League hockey championship game at Matthews Arena winding down on Thursday morning, East Boston senior goalie Sean O’Halloran allowed his fifth goal of the day.
Five seconds later he buried his facemask into the top of his goalie pads. Almost immediately he was surrounded by his teammates as Latin Academy celebrated its ninth straight city championship at the other end of the ice.
“It made me break down even more because I know that they are always there for me, we’re still a team win or lose,” O’Halloran said after the Jets' 5-1 loss. “It’s kind of like the last time you’ll ever be playing high school, it’s kind of disappointing.
“To go out on a loss is obviously disappointing too. And to let up the late goal kills.”
O’Halloran, who has been the starter since splitting time his freshman year, said he’s never beaten Latin Academy in four years, including a loss at Fenway Park last year.
But O’Halloran has a lot to be proud of during his tenure at East Boston, sometimes making 40-60 saves per game and creating a buzz in the stands.
O’Halloran, who made about 40 saves against Latin Academy on Thursday, made about 60 the previous night in a 9-2 loss to Nashoba Valley Tech.
“He gets so much recognition from other coaches and parents,” said O’Halloran’s mother, Valarie Murphy. “I heard one of the other parents from another team say, ‘That goalie is phenomenal.’ I said, ‘Thank you very much, that’s my son and that’s really nice to hear from someone on the other team,’ and he was like, 'All the parents are talking.’ ”
O’Halloran’s task was even harder on Thursday because East Boston only had 10 players compared with Latin Academy’s 22. Two Jets went were out with a concussion, two were academically ineligible, and one couldn’t play for disciplinary reasons.
East Boston coach Robert Anthony said O’Halloran is one of the best goaltenders he’s ever had.
“Sean is up there but we didn’t have the bodies behind him,” Anthony said. “When you are skating nine or 10 players behind him it’s kind of hard.”
Latin Academy coach Robert McCormack said O’Halloran is an excellent goalie.
“He’s been playing us strong for the past few years,” he said. “And we knew we were going to run into him. He makes a strong initial save and he’s good at covering up rebounds.”
Even though East Boston finishes with a 3-13-2 record, O’Halloran was able to look at the sunny side this season.
“My uncle always tells me look at the bright side; you get a lot of shots, you’re never really going to see that if you are on a good team,” O’Halloran said. “So if you are on a bad team you can benefit from it too, just getting a lot of shots, quality shots.”
And if nothing else, deflecting all those shots is a great workout.
“Since I was a freshman I kind of got used to it,” he said. “I wasn’t really used to it before because [in] youth hockey you don’t really get anything. It’s definitely something to get used to. It is draining at times. At the end of the day I feel drained getting that many shots but it just keeps me up and gives me the will.
“I want to win every game. No matter how big of underdogs we are I still want to go out on top. I just kind of push myself.”
O'Halloran has not gotten any scholarship offers from colleges. Murphy said her son will try to walk onto a team. She said he has applied to 15 schools and been accepted to three: Southern New Hampshire, UMass-Dartmouth and Bemidji State in Minnesota.
“That’s the one he’s wanted since he was a sophomore,” Murphy said of Bemidji State.
Murphy also said she would have liked to see her son end his high school career on a high note.
“We usually lose to them just by one point,” she said. “I thought maybe we could win by one today and just give him something to remember his high school years by but unfortunately it doesn’t look like that.”
She was speaking as the clock wound down and her son was swarmed by his teammates one final time.
“I think they know he’s kind of the one who holds this team together,” she said. “He has been for the last couple years. I’m very proud to say that he’s my son.”
What does it mean to be a champion?
I first experienced what it meant to be a champion 25 years ago by playing for Burke in the the Boston Public Schools basketball championships. A title meant your team was the best in the city. When I was younger, the girls of English High reigned supreme. Tonya Cardoza and Michelle Pelezer, along with many other great players on English, made it hard for others to win. Ernie Green was truly one of the most respected coaches in BPS girls' basketball. Most of his players went on to Division 1 or 2 college basketball. Going to college on a scholarship was the ultimate. However, walking through the neighborhood with your City Champion jacket seemed even sweeter.
I can recall in 1988 beating West Roxbury, 62-47, in the city semifinals. We came ready to win although the game started off close. Coach Lee Nieves would tell us every practice that, “we could win the city championship if we worked hard.” Although Nieves felt this way, the team needed to believe it. During the semifinals my teammates, Linda Parker (off guard) and Tarsha Baker (point guard) internalized these words. Parker, with her great defense, made a few steals during the game and helped me contribute 22 points in the win. However Baker, with her electrifying 3-point shot, hit a couple of three’s that got the crowd excited and on their feet. Not to minimize West Roxbury’s tenacious defense, but in the beginning of the 4th quarter it fell to those long practices and suicides that I hated to run.
We already knew who we would face in the finals if we won -- English High School and coach Erie Green. That game went to the wire. I got into foul trouble early and spent most of the time on the bench. I contributed 16 points and 18 rebounds but it was definitely a team effort that day. With just 12 seconds left, Marie Washington got fouled on the way to the basket. Her two free throws won the game and we beat English and made history with a 58-56 win.
Wow! We won! I couldn’t believe it. All our hard work paid off, but we learned together what it meant to be a champion and together we wore our jackets as a proud TEAM.
Brandy Cruthird can be reached by email at email@example.com.
A win against Brighton last week had many thinking that an upset would be probable for Dorchester against New Mission, but the Bears could not come out ahead under the bright lights of the city tournament.
“You could tell it was our first time here,” said junior Khail Newson after Dorchester’s 53-37 loss. “We [weren’t] really playing hard. Guys were scared. I would say so, it was like we ran away from the shine.”
If it wasn’t enough that Dorchester hadn’t made it to the city tournament in, from what coach Jonny Williams thinks, at least 30 years, the Bears were also without their traditional underdog mentality.
Many predicted Dorchester to win after their win over Brighton and multiple injuries to New Mission’s roster.
“Everyone, including me, could’ve thought ‘oh, they got us projected to win so we’re [going to] win,” Newson said. “But also we have to show, as the reporters said, that we can win this game.”
However, Williams thought that the loss was more a result of his team's inexperience, than the hype getting to their heads.
“I just think honestly my kids are unaccustomed to being on this stage,” Williams said. “That’s what happens when you get a team that hasn’t been here and they’re doing it. But I’m glad it happened now because it prepares us for states.”
One area that really exposed Dorchester’s inexperience was its free throw shooting. While senior Dakari Wurnum led the Bears with 13 points, he also went 3 of 13 from the line. New Mission coach Cory McCarty said this was the main reason for his team’s big lead.
“I would have hacked him more if I knew he was going to miss all his free throws,” said McCarthy. “I would have clobbered him.”
Despite the mistakes and the inexperience, Newson said that with Dorchester still having postseason play left, his team would have to move on.
“It’s a tough loss because obviously we wanted to win the city championship and so forth, but now we have to let this go. We can’t dwell on this and we look forward to the states.”
For all the success Cory McCarthy has had with both the boys’ and girls’ New Mission basketball teams, he hasn’t been able to replicate it at the Boston City League tournament.
After founding both New Mission’s basketball programs in 2003, McCarthy led the girls’ team to a state title in 2007 and won back-to-back boys’ state championships in 2010 and ’11. He also played a crucial role in the program getting its own gym at the former Hyde Park Education Complex this year.
But McCarthy has never won a city championship.
In fact, his combined city tournament record with the boys’ and girls’ teams only improved to 2-6 on Wednesday night after the Titan’s boys defeated Dorchester, 53-37, in the semifinals at Madison Park.
“Nobody wanted us to be here, as usual, but it’s good to get a city tournament win because I usually don’t get those,” McCarthy said.
The bald, bespectacled coach, who likes to play the role of the disrespected team with a chip on its shoulder, has a theory that the deck is stacked against him in the city tournament.
He said he has counted the fouls for and against his team in all of the city tournament games he has coached leading up to Wednesday. The result: 111 fouls called against his team and 61 fouls called against their opposition.
“Those are games coached by Cory McCarthy in [the city tournament],” he said while watching the New Mission girls beat Latin Academy in the semifinals on Tuesday night. “[The city tournament] isn’t meant for me. New Mission isn’t going to get any breaks in the city tournament.”
So what was the foul count on Wednesday night?
New Mission 22; Dorchester 14.
See what I mean, that’s an eight foul discrepancy,” McCarthy said. “Even when I win, I can’t win. We were getting mauled but it's all right.”
In the first half alone on Wednesday night, New Mission out-fouled Dorchester 12-8.
But New Mission also went into the half with a 35-14 lead after sophomore guard Juwan Gooding (game-high 21 points) scored 15 points and senior guard Percio Gomez and junior guard Shaquan Murray (9 points) hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close out the half.
Perhaps the biggest sign that New Mission’s city tournament fortune is starting to change is that it beat the upstart Bears with a depleted lineup.
In the last two weeks 6-foot-4-inch senior forward Isshiah Coleman went down with a high ankle sprain, 6-4 junior forward Fred Rivers went out for the year with a broken foot, 6-2 senior guard/forward Zachary Badohu fractured his ankle and junior forward Edward Tone is also out with a toe injury.
The biggest loss in that bunch is Coleman, who McCarthy said could only come back if they make the third round of the state tournament.
And that is exactly where Coleman’s presence will be missed the most since McCarthy has always maintained that the reason he doesn’t mind his city tournament woes are because he doesn’t get really fired up until the state tournament.
“If it isn’t the state tournament, I’m not ready to cut anybody’s throat,” he said Tuesday night. “That’s what it is, I’m trying to win the state tournament.”
First he will try to win his first city title at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday night at Madison Park against North conference rival Brighton.
Brighton beat New Mission twice this year, including making a 20-point comeback in the second meeting in a game that fans and parents were prohibited from attending because the first meeting between the two teams was so contentious.
If nothing else, Thursday night’s game should pad McCarthy’s foul tally in the city tournament.
“We’ll brawl with them tomorrow. No biggie," he said. "There will probably be 80 fouls tomorrow. I’m happy with that, that’s how I want it. The dirtier the better; the filthier the better.
"That’s how we want it. If the [referees] let a few things go tomorrow, no problem.”
After not beating a single team with a current record above .500, South Boston showed it could compete with one of the best teams in state in the semifinal round of the city basketball tournament.
Even though the Knights lost to Brighton, 63-53, South Boston showed poise and determination as they went in to the fourth quarter down by just 1 point.
“Hats off to that program,” Brighton coach Hugh Coleman said. “They made it this far. They earned themselves a spot in the city championship.”
Losing their previous game to BC High by 31 points didn’t exactly help give the South conference winners momentum going into the game. However, coach Jeremy Silva said effort was something his team would not lack in the city tournament.
“That’s all we’ve been on our kids about. Playing hard, representing our school, representing our [conference], not wanting to be embarrassed in such a big setting and that was much improved today,” Silva said.
South Boston certainly was not embarrassed. Going in to the half trailing 30-21, the Knights opened the third quarter on a 17-9 run to cut the game to trail by only 1 point.
After Brighton scored coming out of a timeout, junior Jamari Jackson hit a 3-pointer with 2:27 left in the quarter to tie the game 41-41. The guard had 7 of his 9 points in the third quarter.
“Jamari just had it in his mind he was going to do whatever he needed to do to help his team win,” Silva said. “He did what he needed to do and in the third quarter we needed offense and he stepped up.”
Shortly after Jackson tied the game, senior Phil Lodge got to the line on an aggressive drive and knocked down both of his free throws to give South Boston a 2-point lead.
The forward also had the tough task of controlling the South Boston backboard against a much bigger Brighton team. He also had to do it while playing through illness.
“I was impressed with Phil tonight. He’s definitely sick, he’s really not feeling well at all,” Silva said. “I was actually afraid to take him out of the game and have him sit because I was afraid if he sat back down he wasn’t going to get back up.”
The senior and his fellow Knights played valiantly and went in to the fourth quarter down 44-43.
The Bengals held South Boston to just 7 points in the fourth quarter and ultimately won, but for a team that lost to East Boston, Dorchester and Brighton by an average of 27.3 points in the regular season, the Knights' effort could not be dismissed.
“Their effort is tremendous. They play hard, they make plays,” Coleman said. “[Basketball] has to do with confidence and if you come out and you believe in yourself and you work hard, anything’s possible and they were close to shocking everyone.”
South Boston will resume play in the state tournament next week.
East Boston and Latin Academy are set to meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning at
Matthews Arena for the Boston City League boys’ hockey championships.
While Latin Academy (8-10-1) will move on to the state tournament, the city championship is the last game of the season for East Boston (3-12-2).
“Your ultimate goal is to get to the big dance and get into the state tournament, but if you can’t get that far because you just don’t have talent or numbers, the next goal is to play in city championship so you don’t come back with nothing,” said East Boston coach Robert Anthony.
“I don’t consider the city championships a consolation prize. The city championship is a superb game. It’s a good chance to get out on the ice and fight each other and the best man wins.”
The Dragons have won the city championships for eight consecutive seasons and this season are led by top scorers Mark Guerard, Paul O’Keefe, Pat Owens, and Daniel O’Connell.
“We hope that we can do our best to win and be successful in the tournament,” said Latin Academy defenseman Peter O’Donnell. “I think our strengths are our readiness to work with each other as a team. We have our own specific talents and use it as a team to do our best.”
Anthony took over East Boston’s program in 2001 and so far he has beaten Latin Academy in the city championships twice. When they met during the regular season, Latin Academy won the first game, 7-2, and the second game, 5-4.
Anthony is still optimistic that his team can win.
“Hopefully my goaltending will be there, and I have a couple kids who are good scorers,” Anthony said. “If we can put the puck in the net and play superb defense and keep them off the boards, we can come back with a W and that’s what I’m hoping.”
East Boston goalie Sean O’Halloran has saved 304 shots this year out 376 attempts.
“My goaltender, when he’s on his game, it’s hard to beat him,” Anthony said.
The top scorers for East Boston are Steven Considine (16 goals and 11 assists), Brennis Scales, and Donnell Dunn.
“Here’s a kid with potential to break 100 points by the time he reaches the top level and gets up to be a senior.” Anthony said about Considine. “He’s got 63 points and I can’t see him not reaching 100 points.”
Eliza Mauro is a junior at Latin Academy.
Globe Correspondent Justin A. Rice contributed to this report
Boston Youth Wrestling has two wrestlers headed to the Youth New England Championships after a busy, and successful, weekend.
Both Kelvin Santiago (160 lbs) and Danny Paulino (175 lbs) from the Frederick school will be heading to Lowell to compete in the tournament after placing sixth and fourth place respectively, in the youth state championships.
“It’s the most premier wrestling at the youth level for New England,” said Jose Valenzuela, director of Boston Youth Wrestling. “It will be a big challenge for Kelvin and Danny, but a big reward for them as well.”
Valenzuela described how this tournament had a foreign environment after his wrestlers won the South Sectional tournament in the previous weekend. Even though neither Santiago nor Paulino have wrestled for more than a year, they were getting attention from various players and coaches upon entering the state championships.
Valenzuela gave all the credit to their coaches.
“It really shows the great coaching at Frederick, the fact that they take these two kids who never wrestled and turn them into decent wrestlers,” Valenzuela said.
Santiago in particular showed a lot of potential in his match with the first place winner of the state championship, Benton Whitley. Valenzuela described how Santiago nearly pinned the springfield youth wrestler in the semifinal round.
Just a day before Sunday’s state championship, 12 other city wrestlers competed in the Big East tournament, a competition for less experienced wrestlers.
Dorchester’s Enockson Jacques (160 lbs) took home the first place honors after beating Frederick’s Josue Deleon.
“You always just tell your kids to have fun,” Valenzuela said. “Whatever happens, they’re still teammates.”
The Youth New England Championships will be held at Lowell high school on March 9.
Natalie Lombardi can remember the first time she put on her Latin Academy hockey jersey. Even though the senior goaltender described her performance as a seventh grader as “entertaining” she still smiles when reminiscing on her high school career.
That’s not her only reason to smile. Lombardi has been selected as an All-Star for the Southeastern Massachusetts Girls Hockey league for the second straight year.
And the team will play as a No. 15 seed in the Division 2 state tournament against No. 18 Martha's Vineyard at 3 p.m. on Monday at Murphy Memorial Rink in South Boston.
“It’s special. Being on this team for six years, I just always try putting my best out there and getting to go to the All Stars just means a lot because it just means my hard work paid off and people see that,” Lombardi said.
One person who has enjoyed seeing Lombardi’s work pay off is her coach, Ronald Ford. The goaltender’s effort has propelled them to a 10-6-4 record this season, clinching a spot in the state tournament nearly a month ago.
“Natalie has been a solid performer her whole time at Boston Latin Academy and this year we have the team to support her, so it’s great to have the full complement of what you need for hockey,” Ford said.
While highlighted as being consistent, Lombardi could not emphasize her improvement throughout her six years enough.
“I wasn’t that good, just because going from U-12 to varsity, it’s a big difference just shot wise and now I know a lot of the shots and I have more quickness and agility than I did when I was little,” Lombardi said.
However, starting at a young age and competing against experienced athletes proved to be one of her best decisions as a hockey player.
“It made me realize early on how tough every other team is and it showed me that high school hockey is a big competition for girls,” Lombardi said. “It showed me that there’s a lot of good players out there.”
Lombardi may be right about the surplus of good hockey players on the high school level but for her coach, no one seems to a fit as a replacement for the senior goaltender.
“It’s tough because we’ve relied on Natalie a lot the past five years or so,” Ford said. “Having to replace her is going to be a very difficult task."
While a senior season can be bittersweet, Lombardi said she would savor it all as Latin Academy prepares for the state tournament.
“The girls are amazing, I would do anything for my teammates,” Lombardi said. “It’s just one of those things where you want to take everything in and cherish all the moments.”
After going scoreless in the first quarter, junior forward Kiana Daley erupted for a game-high 24 points to lead O’Bryant to its third straight Boston City League championship game appearance, via a 54-28 victory over South Boston Tuesday at Madison Park High School.
O’Bryant will face New Mission in the title game Thursday at 5 at Madison Park. New Mission defeated Latin Academy, 43-18, in the other semifinal.
O’Bryant and South Boston entered halftime tied at 16. But Daley then went on a tear, scoring 14 of her points in the third quarter as O’Bryant outscored South Boston, 21-5, overall.
Daley went to the line at the 6:35 mark after getting fouled on a failed putback attempt and sank one of two free throws to give the Lady Tigers (17-1) their first lead of the game, and they never looked back.
“Sometimes I have to really motivate [Daley] to get going, but I was really proud of her and all of the girls today how they rebounded in that second half,” said O’Bryant coach
Trudy Fisher, who is looking for her fourth city league championship.
South Boston (16-2) controlled the game early, taking an 8-1 lead in the first quarter, led by Daitannah Smith and Elaina Wright-McCarthy, who combined for 14 of the Knights’ 16 points in the first half.
“It was crystal clear that South Boston wanted that game more than we did . . . they came out much more aggressive than we were, they fought for the ball, they kept beating us long,” Fisher said. “After that I just told my girls to settle down and we moved our press back from full court to half court, and just played a little bit better.”
While the Tigers would have loved another shot at Fenway, the team that defeated them in the championship game last year, Fisher was just happy to have another opportunity to compete for the title. Fenway was ruled ineligible to play in the city tournament.
“At this particular point, I’m in the cities and I really don’t care which team [they play],”
New Mission coach Briana Forde instructs her team to grab a lead in the first five minutes of the game to take confidence from the opposing team, and that’s what the Lady Titans did against Latin Academy.
New Mission (15-5) opened a commanding 28-7 lead after a layup by Deandra
Humphries, who led all scorers with 13 points.
Latin Academy struggled against the Titans’ press and never was allowed to gain control of the game.
“Our game plan was really to play aggressive, play team defense, help side, and just really overall be aggressive,” Forde said.
By the start of the second quarter it looked as if the first game of the city tournament was going to result in a South Boston win. The Lady Knights were up 12-7 with five minutes to go in the quarter and junior Raven Kelsey, who had scored every basket for O’Bryant up until that point, was forced to sit after picking up two fouls.
It was a time when her team needed her most and senior Kiana Daley found her offensive touch, leading O’Bryant to a 54-28 victory with a game-high 24 points.
“She played a great game,” South Boston coach Andrea Higgins said. “We tried to put everybody on our team on her and no one was able to stop her. She just got herself in position, got the ball and was just playing aggressive.”
The forward scored all of O’Bryant’s 10 points while the junior sat with foul trouble until the start of the third quarter.
“I noticed that our team had to get back up in the game. We were losing and we just had to bring up the intensity,” Daley said. “[Coach Trudy Fisher] just said bring the intensity up because we were looking dead.”
It definitely was not one of the better starts for O’Bryant. The Tigers went 1 for 4 from the line and only scored 3 points in the first quarter.
“It was crystal clear that South Boston wanted that game more than we did. They came out much more aggressive than we were,” Fisher said. “They fought for the ball, they kept beating us long with the pass on the fast break. After that I just told my girls to settle down."
Fisher had a more specific message for Daley. Once Kelsey went out of the game, she told her senior to cut down on the perimeter shots and take the ball to the basket.
“I had to give her a few choice coaching words to get her started,” Fisher said. “She’s taking these 3-pointers and she’s not driving to the basket. Go to the basket and get fouled.”
The advice worked out for the junior when South Boston could not find a way to stop the forward from penetrating.
“We weren’t as aggressive as we have been in the last couple of games and she took advantage of it and did a very good job,” Higgins said.
Besides a motivated Daley, another O’Bryant advantage was experience in the city tournament. Fisher’s team has made it to the championship game the last three years, taking home the honors once.
However, according to Fisher, none of that now matters.
“This is a different season. Both [New Mission and Latin Academy] will be a good challenge,” Fisher said.
O’Bryant will tip off against New Mission for the city championship at 5 p.m. on Thursday at Madison Park.
Sitting in the eighth row of the bleachers in the far corner of Madison Park’s gymnasium on Tuesday night, New Mission boys’ basketball coach Cory McCarthy and Brighton boys’ basketball coach Hugh Coleman watched as McCarthy’s former team defeated Coleman’s wife’s team in the semifinals of the Boston City League girls’ tournament.
For McCarthy -- who will coach New Mission’s boys’ team in the city tournament Wednesday night against South Boston -- it was good to see the Titans' girls make it back to the city championship game by defeating Latin Academy, 43-18, for the first time since they won back-to-back city titles in 2009 and 2010.
For Coleman -- who will coach Brighton's boys against Dorchester in the city semis Wednesday night -- it was good to see his wife, Emily Hunter-Coleman's team get some experience in the city tournament. (The Dragons,14-5, qualified for the city tournament after Fenway forfeited four games for playing JV players for too many minutes in varsity games.)
“You know what, my wife is a realist, my wife understands that you know Fenway made some mistakes and they ended up fortunately making it,” Coleman said. “So she understands they are going to go out and give it their all. New Mission girls are pretty good, she knows that Fenway girls are pretty good, she knows that O’Bryant girls are on the rise and they are going to come out here and play and give it their best."
New Mission (15-5) got a game-high 13 points from Deandra Humphries and 8 points from junior guard Jazala Laracuente, who nailed two 3-pointers during the opening 17-2 run.
The Titans will face O’Bryant in the championship game at 5 p.m. on Thursday. O'Bryant defeated South Boston, 54-28, in Tuesday’s first semifinal.
This is the sixth straight year that New Mission has played in the city tournament.
“It’s exciting to be able to follow in Cory’s footsteps,” said New Mission coach Briana Forde, who played for the Burke when she attended high school. “I think he’s done a lot for the New Mission High School, on the boys’ and girls’ side, so it’s exciting to be a part of this program. But I think overall my love for girls’ basketball and the sport in general it’s just great to be able to come back and give back.
“It’s definitely a pleasure and the girls are great to work with and they make me happy to come to work.”
McCarthy said this year’s girls’ team is not necessarily the most talented since the program was started in 2003 but they are the most united.
“I do a lot to encourage team bonding,” Forde said. “I talk to them a lot about being friends off the court and not so much being friends, but just respecting each other. I think it took until later on into the season for them to wrap their brains around it but I think the more they are able to gel off the court the more they are able to see it on the court.”
This is also the first season that New Mission is not only housed in the former Hyde Park Education Complex but also the first year they are combined with Boston Community Leadership Academy.
“The BCLA merger with New Mission has paid dividends because now our numbers are up,” said McCarthy, who is also the school’s athletic coordinator. “Back in the day I had six girls. Now we have a JV and a varsity and we could probably have a freshman team if we wanted to. And that’s a sign of growth and your reputation for success on this level will help.”
And that’s exactly what second-year Latin Academy coach, Hunter-Coleman, is trying to do after her team went 11-9 last year and lost in the second round of the state tournament. She said the biggest thing her squad took from playing in the city tournament was getting a feel for how aggressive they need to play to win.
“Going for those loose balls, just being able to dive, and certain fundamentals of
basketball,” she said. “They were nervous, this particular group has never experienced the [city tournament]. Due to those [Fenway] forfeits that put us in a position to have to play, I wouldn’t necessarily say we were quite ready for it. But we were ready for the opportunity. I just said ‘Play your hardest, give it your all, and wherever the chips may fall they will fall.’"
After the game, Hunter-Coleman said she was ready to turn back into a wife and the Brighton boys’ team’s No. 1 supporter as they get set to play South Boston at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Madison Park before New Mission plays Dorchester in the second semifinal at 5:30 p.m.
And just like McCarthy and Coleman, Hunter-Coleman predicted that Dorchester is going to make some waves on the guys’ side of the tournament.
“I’m hearing there’s this clash of the titans with Brighton and New Mission but they better not sleep on Dorchester,” Hunter-Coleman said. “I say that because I know that much, Dorchester is that up and coming team.”
Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.
Catherine Van Even
4 x 200
4 x 400
4 x 200
Cadejia Matthews Aust
Ceejae Agnew Carter
Dakan Hannah Wornum
In a one year span, coach Jeremy Silva’s team have gone from a 6-11 season to their current 10-8 record, making the south division winners worthy of a trip to the Boston City League tournament.
“We’re really proud to represent our league in the city tournament,” Silva said.
The Knights will have the tall task of facing Brighton at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Madison Park after the Tigers upset No. 1 Danvers in the Comcast tournament. Both teams have already crossed paths once this season, ending up in an 87-50 loss for South Boston.
Despite this, senior guard Phil Lodge and his fellow Knights are ready for a potential upset.
“We’re looking to hold off on turnovers. We can’t have turnovers,” Lodge said. “We’re going to have to slow them down and make them bring the ball to the middle and put the ball in the hoop more on offense because they like to run fast.”
In looking toward the upcoming game, the senior captain couldn’t help but reflect on the season and his team’s improvement. He said a lot of it had to do with his teammates performing off the court as well as on the court.
“We’re playing as a team and more people got the grades and [are] working hard,” Lodge said.
One of the biggest games of the season for South Boston came on Feb. 1 against Snowden which had been trailing the Knights in the standings. South Boston was able to come out of the contest with a win, clinching the the division title for the first time in Silvia’s tenure with the team.
“The kids were pretty excited but I think a little relieved as well. We knew going in to the game how difficult Snowden can be,” Silva said. “No matter what that league is, anytime you win a league that’s an accomplishment so that would be the highlight of our season thus far.”
When a team has shown improvement like that of South Boston, one usually points to the man in the coaching chair. And while the Knights are gaining more recognition from the city, the coach’s biggest fan might just be his father, Marshfield football coach Lou Silva.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am [with] what he’s done in such a short amount of time,” the senior Silva said. “He loves the game, he loves those kids, he loves teaching there. I’m just extremely proud.”
The success has also caught the attention of former South Boston coach Bill Loughnane. The current BC High coach gave credit to the realignment of the league to give more teams the opportunity to compete in the city tournament.
“I think it gives teams a chance that are down a little to build up and get kids involved in their programs,” Loughnane said. “In the city, it’s about getting the numbers and getting the kids [to have] a good feeling about their school and wanting to play for their school.”
Just like the Knights have played as if they’re representing their school and league thus far in the season, they will look to continue to play with pride in the city tournament.
“We need to show that we belong there. We need to represent our league with pride and competitive spirit and we need to show that we belong,” Silva said.
For the first time in its 31-year history, the 2013 C.R.A.S.H.-B.’s World Indoor Rowing Championships featured Boston public schools students in its adaptive events on Sunday at Boston University’s Agganis Arena.
Two Brighton High students, Ricky Mejia and Elvon Pemberton, who train at Community Rowing in Brighton, finished fifth and sixth overall respectively in the intellectual disability category.
Elvon is developmentally delayed with a seizure disorder while Mejia is on the Autism spectrum.
"I came in fifth place, I tried to go for No. 1 but I couldn't," Mejia said during a telephone interview on Monday.
Mejia's grandmother, Ann Natalie, also attended the event. She said she was impressed by athletes in wheel chairs, with crutches and who only had the use of one arm.
"It was really inspiring," she said. "We were sitting in the front row and I couldn't believe the people that participated. ... How inspiring. People think they can't do things but to see people on those machines and using their bodies like that was amazing. It was very inspiring to see that."
Ellen Minzner of Community Rowing said it is one of the few sports with an open championship.
"So Ricky and Elvon were racing in the same category with Paralympic Resource Network athletes and hopefuls," Minzner said via email. "The intellectual disability category will be included in the 2016 Paralympic games, and so these two students are the right age to be identified for future teams and competition."
The students were coached by Jason Meade, who is an adaptive physical education teacher for Boston through Community Rowing.
For more information and full results from Sunday's event visit http://www.crash-b.org/
Colby and Carly Cahill competed in the State Swim Championships at Springfield College over the weekend.
Carly, a freshman at O’Bryant, swam the 50 freestyle with a time of 27.12. Her seed time was 26.37 going into the event.
Colby, a junior at Latin Academy, swam the 100 Backstroke. She went in with a seed time of 1:07.68 and finished with a time of 1:07.16.
Colby was eight / 100ths of a second from qualifying for states when the sectional swim meets were canceled because of the snow storm.
Originally the MIAA said only the swimmers who qualified for states going into sectionals could swim at states. But then the MIAA reversed course, allowing the sectional qualifiers to swim at states as well.
The Boston Scholar Athletes Program will hold its Winter Fit program from Tuesday to Friday at the Reggie Lewis Center.
The program, open to all BPS High School students, will run from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will help the students improve their endurance, strength and conditioning.
BSA Zone members should bring Zone member ID to check in. All other BPS high school students must complete a release form.
The BSA will run another Fit program in April.
Now that the dust has cleared from a weekend of state track indoor meets, several athletes from Boston schools’ qualified for Saturday’s All-State indoor track meet at the Reggie Lewis Center.
Latin Academy freshman Ashley Lewis qualified for the 300-meter dash after finishing sixth in the Division 2 meet with a time of 42.52. She will be the No. 21-seed at All-States.
In the boys’ 55-meter dash Burke senior Kevin Facey is seeded 13th with a time of 6.73. After winning the preliminaries in the Division 4 meet with a time of 6.65, he finished second in the finals with his seed time for All-States.
In the boys’ 1,000-meter run, Boston Latin senior Mike Ward is the No. 14 seed with a seed time of 2:35.47. He finished ninth in the Division 1 meet.
After finishing fourth in the long jump with a leap of 17-feet and seventh in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.56 seconds, O’Bryant freshman Juleen Lewis earned the No. 10-seed in the long jump at All-States and the No. 21-seed in the 55-meter dash.
She can't compete, however, for religious reasons. She is a Seventh-day Adventist and therefore recognizes the Sabbath on Saturdays.
Her sister, Elizabeth Lewis, is a member of West Roxbury’s 4x200-meter relay team that finished fourth in the Division 4 meet and will be the No. 21 seed at Saturday's All-State meet with a seed time of 1:50.89.
Because the elder Lewis is 18-years-old, she was free to decide to compete on her own.
West Roxbury's 4x200-meter relay team also includes Monique, Michelle and Mackala McPherson.
All season long the O’Bryant girls’ basketball team foamed at the mouth to get another crack at Fenway High in the city tournament.
Last season, the Tigers lost to the Panthers in the title game of the Boston City League girls’ basketball championships before Fenway went on to win the Division 4 state title.
Two years ago, O’Bryant beat Fenway in the city championships final match.
This year, the cross-division rivals who didn’t meet in the regular season, won’t get a shot at a rubber match when the city championships start on Tuesday.
Fenway failed to qualify for the city tournament after school officials determined that they had to forfeit at least three games for breaking an MIAA rule that prohibits plays from participating in more than four quarters per day, not including overtime. Officials said Fenway played JV players for too long during the varsity games in question.
After the dust settled, South Boston was bumped to the No. 1-seed in the North division while Latin Academy moved up to second place in the North. The top two teams from each division qualify for cities.
O’Bryant plays South Boston in the first semifinal at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at Madison Park while New Mission and Latin Academy meet in the second semifinal at 5:30 p.m.
“They are in first place so they must be good,” O’Bryant coach Gertrude Fisher said of South Boston.”I look at it this way, 'However you got there, you got there.' It’s unfortunate because I know my kids were looking forward to competing against Fenway so I hope that they can rebound from being disappointed at not having them there. But I’m sure I’ll be able to get them up for the game.
“That kind of busted the bubble. I don’t know what the circumstances were but I know my kids we’ll be ready. We’ll rebound, we’re still in the cities, that was one of our goals. Now I guess our goal has to be win it.”
While Fisher said she doesn’t know anything about South Boston because they didn’t play them this year either, South Boston coach Andrea Higgins had a chance to scout O’Bryant’s victory against New Mission on Friday night.
“Trudy Fisher is a really good coach and they were really well prepared as I expected them to be,” Higgins said. “Their team is always ready and they certainly were. They came out aggressive and worked hard the whole game to win.
“I think we just need to play our game. I know O’Bryant’s been there before. This is the first time any of these girls have been there [for my team]. They just need to understand it’s another game we’re playing, just in another atmosphere. They have to be ready to play their game and not let anything outside affect it.”
Trying to drown out the noise about the Fenway flap could be difficult however. Fisher said whoever wins will have to deal with naysayers saying they don’t deserve the title because Fenway wasn’t in the field.
“I’m sure that’s going to be exactly what’s said regardless who wins,” Fisher said “They will say, ‘Well you won it because Fenway is out of it.’ All the girls in the city recognize Fenway as far as being the best team. I’m sure they are the best team in city. It’s unfortunate they are not in it.”
Coach Johnny Williams and his boys’ basketball team are ready for a new era of Dorchester basketball. With the city tournament this week, there could be no better time.
“It’s three years of believing,” Williams said. “First year starting out 2-18, following year missing the states by one game and this year these kids really just bought in to what we’re trying to do.”
After coming in fourth place in last years’ south division, the Bears have won the newly created central division with a 9-3 record. While Williams is happy that the realignment of the city league gives various teams a chance to compete in cities, the competitive spirit of the Dorchester coach still shines bright.
“I’m a competitor so I’d want to be in the [North] division,” Williams said. “In a couple of years they’ll go back to the table and they may make some more adjustments.”
Williams will get the challenge they want in the first round of cities when they go up against New Mission. The Titans big frontcourt has been too much for opposing defenses with coach Cory McCarthy’s team leading the North in scoring. However, Williams has been preaching a physical style of play all season.
“In practice, I don’t call fouls. I like kids coming out with their teeth cracked [and] bloody noses. We just play ball. Roll the ball out and let’s go,” Williams said.
The tough mentality doesn’t just resonate in the coach though. Even junior Khail Newson knew that unless his team kept up with the rebounding of New Mission, winning would be nearly impossible.
“Key in, defense, box out first and then rebound. Run our plays, don’t get rattled and just do what we do,” said Newson who had 22-points in Dorchester’s win over Brighton Friday night.
Newson, as well as seniors Ceejae Agnewcarter and Jeduan Langston make up the three man starting backcourt for Dorchester. Senior guard Dean Lee also has made major contributions off of the bench with his 3-point shooting.
According to Williams, that depth in the backcourt is one of Dorchester’s biggest advantages as they go further in to the season.
“We’re in New England, we’re in the East Coast. It’s guard orientated. Personally, I think I’ve got the best backcourt in the state. I’ll put them up against anyone,” Williams said.
The coach added that specifically Jeduan Langston has led the charge for the Bears. Williams highlighted that the senior hasn’t just improved on his mid range game but also simply has gotten more mature over time.
“He led the team, he listened, he was a heard-headed at one point but he understands now,” Williams said.
While some starting guards can be quick to talk about their accomplishments, Langston simply said what has been key in winning games.
“We run our plays consistently and we just take our time and make the extra passes to the 3-point shooters on our team,” Langston said. “We dish the ball down low to our big men so they can touch the ball so there’s no complaining and that’s about it.”
There are schools within the state that children grow up wanting to go to because of their rich history of basketball. Williams made it clear that this was not the case for Dorchester.
“We haven’t been respected. I coach what’s in the building. I don’t get the luxury of kids wanting to come to Dorchester. They don’t want to come to Dorchester,” Williams said.
However, this just makes the coach appreciate the players that have dedicated themselves to the program.
“It’s great that these were kids that were in the building; the kids that no one wanted. Like they said, another man’s garbage is another man’s gold and these kids are my gold. They’re platinum to me,” Williams said.
Dorchester will tip off against New Mission on Wednesday Feb. 20.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.
A two-week investigation concluded that the Fenway High girls’ basketball team has to forfeit at least three victories this season, and the team will not be allowed to defend its title at next week’s city tournament at Madison Park.
Boston schools’ athletic director Ken Still said Fenway broke an MIAA rule that prohibits players from participating in more than four quarters per day, not including overtime. Still said Fenway played JV players for too long during the varsity games in question.
The defending Division 4 state champions will forfeit two games against Latin Academy and at least one game against South Boston, which lifts South Boston into first place in the Boston City League North division, Latin Academy moves to second and Fenway drops to third.
The top two teams in each division qualify for city tournament.
Fenway coach John Rice said he was trying not to run up the score in the four games in which the JV players were used.
''It was having JV kids play in the varsity and so apparently we lost track in a couple instances and we went over the four-quarter rule,” Rice said.
Still said between getting to the bottom of forfeit issues and communication with coaches and officiating issues, this season has taken a toll on him.
“This has been, for me, a very, very rough basketball season and it’s very hard for us in that we’re in one location and all our coaches are in another, not like being an AD in a school in the suburbs where I can sit down with coach and headmaster,” he said.
“We need to teach sportsmanship, we need to teach camaraderie with each coach. Each coach, if there is any differences, we need to sit down and discuss those differences. A lot of those things have bothered me this year. Believe me, I’m going to make some changes but I need headmasters onboard to [help] reprimand because I can’t reprimand because I’m not the one who does the hiring.”
For the first time in its 31-year history, the 2013 C.R.A.S.H.-B.’s World Indoor Rowing Championships will include Boston public schools students in its adaptive events on Sunday at Boston University’s Agganis Arena.
Brighton High students, Elvon Pemberton and Ricky Mejia, who train at Community Rowing in Brighton, will compete alongside more than 2,300 competitors from around the world, including current and past Olympians, world record holders and collegiate athletes.
Competitors will race against the clock on 96 Concept2 Indoor Rowing machines, otherwise known as Ergometers, for an amount of time that simulates 2,000 meters.
“Each race amounting to about six to eight minutes of pure athletic intensity,” a press release for the event states.
This year’s event will feature nearly 100 adaptive competitors, including world record holders Fred Baker of Boston, Caroline MacDonald from the United Kingdom, Anke Molkethin of Germany, Eric McDaniel, Jr., from Austin, Texas, Syd Lea from Taneytown, Md., Paul Hurley, from Arlington, Va.
Adaptive events include functional electrical stimulation and the three Paralympic classifications: legs-trunk-arms, trunk-arms, and arms-shoulders.
This year's event will also feature 2012 US Olympians bronze medalist Megan Kalmoe (women’s quadruple scull) and gold medalist Meghan Musnicki (women’s eight) along with US Under-23 lightweight men’s double tandem competing against each other in the elite lightweight men’s division, Nick Trojan from Long Beach, Calif., and Austin Meyer, currently an undergraduate at Harvard University.
The defending champion in the Open Men’s event, Juan Carlos Cabrera Pérez of Mexico, will also compete.
For more information visit http://www.crash-b.org/
O’Bryant freshman Juleen Lewis and her older sister Elizabeth both qualified for this Saturday's All-State indoor track meet but only the elder Lewis will compete.
The Lewis', who are Seventh-day Adventists, usually don't compete on Saturday because they recognize it as the Sabbath.
But the elder Lewis, who is a member of the West Roxbury 4x200-meter relay team, said she was free to make her own decision because she is 18-years-old.
The entire West Roxbury relay team would have to bow out if she decided not to run.
"[It was hard] because I know my mom really doesn’t want me to do it," the elder Lewis said. "I know it’s the first time the team has made it to All-States as a group so I really didn’t want to let them down and my coach is really excited about it and I know she would really love for us to run.
"But it’s also my decision. I want them to experience it and it’s my senior year and I want to experience it."
She said her sister, a freshman at O'Bryant, will not compete.
"I’m sure she’s fine with it because it’s not the first time," the elder Lewis said of her sister. "I feel like it’s my last year to go. I do have outdoor but it’s the first time doing it indoor."
The younger Lewis finished fourth in the long jump at the Division 3 state meet on Thursday with a leap of 17-feet flat. She also qualified for All-States in the 55-meter-dash with a time of 7.56 seconds.
The younger Lewis is the No. 10-seed in the long jump at All-States and the No. 21-seed in the 55-meter dash.
West Roxbury's 4x200 team qualified for All-States by clocking a time of 1:50.89 to finish in third place at the Division 4 meet this weekend.
O’Braynt coach Jose Ortega said the younger Lewis was motivated to do well in the long jump at the state meet after a disappointing seventh-place finish in the 55-meter dash.
“She was a little bit nervous and she didn’t perform the way she wanted to perform,” Ortega said of the 55-meter dash. “She took it out in the long jump and she did well in the long jump. She’ still learning. She looked lost out there but she gets better and better in her drills. She gets better and her training gets better.
“She can jump an 18 footer, it’s just a matter of getting her in that mode again.”
Ortega said more meets are held on Saturday’s during the spring season.
“She’ll do great outdoors, the only problem once again is can she can’t compete on those weekend meets,” he said of Lewis. “All those weekend meets are on Saturday. She can compete at sundown but in the spring sundown is much later and all the meets are over by then.”
“You just have to get it in your kids' minds that we’re going to compete, Mitchell said. “We’re going to show up, we’re going to be prepared, we’re going to go hard, we’re going to put our nose to the grind. We’re going to do what we do and if that’s good enough, we’re going to win.”
Mitchell, who has chosen eight seniors to compete in the sectional tournament, said the leadership of the upperclassmen was essential to the program's rise.
“We have a ton of freshmen and new kids and it was good to have seniors that are not the most heralded guys but at the same time they work hard," Mitchell said. "They always work like champions. They work through injury, they work through pain and they set the proper examples."
Quincy Upper's eight seniors are brothers Corey Crowley (230 pounds) and Jake Crowley (145), Muhammid Muhammid (180), Adrian Shelton (170), Ray Zalentin (113), Joseph Gonzalez (138), Nelson Kedey (220), and Josiah Cassiani (132).
Mitchell said that while he expects all of his wrestlers to do well, he would like to see veterans Kedey and the Crowleys win their classes. Mitchell said they exemplify his squad's unity and teamwork.
“They really like one another, they get along, they work together and they support one another, which I think is really important,” Mitchell said. “Wrestling’s a tough sport. You got to have a friend that knows how to be hungry with you.”
Mitchell has seen many of his newcomers improve throughout the season, and two will be going to the sectional tournament. lSophomore Darius Hale (195 pounds) has earned one spot. Mitchell said the next two days of practice will determine who gets the last spot.
No matter what happens in Saturday’s sectionals, Mitchell is confident that the future of wrestling within the city is bright.
“There’s a youth program in Boston being run by Jose Valenzuela and we’ve been on some things and we have plans for next year to do some things together and things look really good for the city in terms of wrestling,” Mitchell said.
The tournament will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Wayland High School.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.
The third wacky and wild performance of the season involving a Madison Park basketball team occurred on Wednesday night.
The latter two of those three performances have featured Madison Park senior Amber Edwards:
First, East Boston senior Pat Santos hit a full-court buzzer-beater to down the Madison Park boys’ team on Dec. 18 at Madison Park. Then, Edwards and her twin sister, Krystal, both reached the 1,000 point mark in the same game against Cambridge on Jan. 24 at home.
And now, Amber Edwards scored every single point for the Cardinals in a 56-32 loss at Charlestown on Wednesday night.
Madison Park coach Carla Hands said she has never ever heard of one player scoring all of their team’s points.
“Never, never, because basketball is a team sport, it’s not individualized,” she said during a telephone interview on Thursday morning. “Don’t get me wrong, there were other kids playing and of course she couldn’t do it without them passing the ball, but a lot of it was was pull ups and layups.”
Edwards added 16 rebounds.
“Yes, it has [been a crazy year],” Hands said. “I have never witnessed that before, one single person scoring all the points. It’s been a very crazy year for us because this was the year we expected to be more of a powerhouse than anything.”
With a 6-10 record, it’s looking like Madison Park will miss out on the city and state tournaments this season.
“Don’t get me wrong, the twins are phenomenal, awesome but they don’t have any girls around that can help them,” Hands said. “That [goes] to show you that basketball is a team sport and you can’t get it done with one or two people, you have to get it done with everybody. This is why it’s so important for people to put in the necessary work into their game in order for them to compete.”
The MIAA state track meets begin Thursday and run through Sunday at the Reggie Lewis Center. The following is the list of Boston athletes competing at the four state meets:
Boys' 55-Meter Dash Prelims
2 146 Kevin Chen 12 Boston Latin 6.54
Boys' 300-Meter Dash
5 146 Kevin Chen 12 Boston Latin 36.23
12 147 Anthony Cheung 12 Boston Latin 36.91
Boys' 1,000 Meter Run
11 148 Mike Ward 12 Boston Latin 2:37.61
Boys' Mile Run
14 148 Mike Ward 12 Boston Latin 4:32.78
Girls' 55-Meter Dash Prelims
7 132 Kennedy Barnwell 10 Boston Latin 7.54
20 135 Andrea Hatzis 09 Boston Latin 7.81
Girls' 300-Meter Dash
10 132 Kennedy Barnwell 10 Boston Latin 42.47
Girls' 1,000-Meter Run
43 144 Ava Violich 11 Boston Latin 3:16.96
Girls' 2-Mile Run
24 137 Sarah Kiame 8 Boston Latin 12:11.68
Girls' 4 x 200-Meter Relay
16 Boston Latin 1:53.71
Girls' 4 x 800-Meter Relay
12 Boston Latin 10:18.46
Boys' 55-Meter Dash Prelims
11 223 Ewoe Amedoadzi 12 Excel High 6.77
Boys' Long Jump
34 223 Ewoe Amedoadzi 12 Excel High 19-2.75
Girls' 300-Meter Dash
16 106 Ashley Lewis 09 Latin Academy 43.24
Girls' 600-Meter Run
21 105 Britney Firmin 09 Latin Academy 1:43.44
Girls' 4 x 400-Meter Relay
15 Latin Academy 4:18.74
Girls' 55-Meter Dash Prelims
5 Juleen Lewis 09 O'Bryant 7.54
Girls' 4 x 200-Meter Relay
21 O'Bryant-Roxbury 1:56.07
1) Raenelle Teesdale 12 2) Melissa Jean 12
3) Kalsie King 09 4) Juleen Lewis 09
5) Haqikah Greaves 11
Girls' Long Jump
7 Juleen Lewis 09 O'Bryant 16-01.50
Boys' 600-Meter Run
26 Patrick Powell 12 O'Bryant 1:29.74
Boys' 55-Meter Hurdles Prelims
16 Brian Donna 10 O'Bryant 8.53
Boys' 55-Meter Hurdles Prelims
30 740 Arrik Bell 11 Dorchester B 8.94 8.94
Boys' 55-Meter Dash Prelims
6 710 Kevin Facey 12 Burke 6.83 6.83
Boys' Shot Put
9 1085 Bernardo Cruceta 09 West Roxbury 45-10.50 45-10.50
Boys' High Jump
9 740 Arrik Bell 11 Dorchester B 5-10.00 5-10.00
Boys' Long Jump
27 711 Omotoyosi Oyedeji 12 Burke 18-09.00 18-09.00
Boys' 4 x 200-Meter Relay
24 Snowden 1:41.50h 1:41.74 Conv
1) 1020 Richard Lopez 09 2) 1019 Ryan Larapena 09
3) 1022 Shaquan Richards 10 4) 1023 Demario Taylor 10
Girls' 300-Meter Dash
7 472 Monique McPerson 10 West Roxbury 42.82h 43.06 Conv
Girls' Long Jump
8 472 Monique McPherson 10 West Roxbury 15-10.00 15-10.00
Girls' 4 x 200-Meter Relay
4 West Roxbury 1:50.90h 1:51.14 Conv
1) 472 Monique McPherson 10 2) 473 Mackala McPherson 12
3) 474 Michelle McPherson 09 4) 471 Elizabeth Lewis 12
15 Snowden 1:56.60h 1:56.84 Conv
1) 395 Maria Lewis 11 2) 397 Asma Rivera 09
3) 398 Ajia Salmon 10 4) 399 Vanessa Vilbert 12
The three Lewis sisters go to different high schools in Boston, and run track.
And all three (Elizabeth, Maria, and Juleen) will compete in state track meets this week.
But if they qualify for the All-State meet on Feb. 23, the Lewis sisters probably will not be able to compete because the meet falls on a Saturday.
“We’re Seventh-day Adventists,” said Elizabeth, a senior at West Roxbury High. “Saturday, we have to recognize the Sabbath.”
Juleen, a freshman at O’Bryant, will be the No. 5 seed in the 55-meter dash, with a seed time of 7.54 seconds in the Division 3 state meet on Thursday at the Reggie Lewis Center. She is also the No. 7 seed in the long jump with a leap of 16-1.5, and she will run on O’Bryant’s 4 x 200-meter relay team, which is seeded No. 21 with a time of 1:56.07.
Elizabeth and Maria, a junior at Snowden, will compete in the 4 x 200-meter relay in the Division 4 meet on Friday. West Roxbury is seeded fourth with a time of 1:51.14, while Snowden is the No. 15 seed with a time of 1:56.84.
Maria is also the No. 11 seed in the long jump with a mark of 15-6 and the No. 46 seed in the 300-meter dash with a time of 46.04.
If the sisters qualify for the All-State meet in any or all of those events, there is a slim chance they might be able to compete if the meet begins after the Sabbath ends after sundown.
“There’s always a way we can run if it’s after 5,” Elizabeth said. “It depends.”
The sisters have missed out on plenty of other big meets that have fallen on Saturdays, including previous years' state meets.
“I’ve gone through this plenty of years,” said Maria, who qualified for the All-State meet last spring in the 200- and 400-meter dashes, but couldn’t compete because it was on a Saturday. “I can kind of cope with it. It’s not that bad because there are other races to go on to race the same people that are at All-States.
“It’s kind of upsetting, but then again it’s not really because there are always other times. You can’t really do anything about it so you just have to move on.”
On a typical Saturday, the sisters wake up at around 7:30 or 8 a.m. and get ready for services at the Waymark Seventh-day Adventists Church in Dorchester, which start at 9 a.m. When the services finish around 1:30 p.m., they usually go home for lunch or have lunch at a friend's home before returning to church at around 5 p.m.
“It’s kind of social, we don’t see [our church friends] all week,” Elizabeth said. “These are people we don’t see all week. We only see them on Saturday so it’s social, but we have to keep the aspect of God.”
Elizabeth said while they are not allowed to make any purchases on Saturday, unlike
Orthodox Jews, they drive and use electricity on the Sabbath.
“We warm up food and use the microwave,” she said. “We don’t take it to the extreme. We just make sure we focus on God. It’s God’s day.”
Maria said the biggest misconception they have to deal with is people who think their church is a cult.
“My favorite part [of the Sabbath] is hanging out with my friends, worshiping, singing, I love the singing part,” she said, “and just relaxing and having a day to just rest and not worry about anything else.”
But before they can relax on Saturday, they have to get through the state meets this Thursday and Friday.
“I think I’ll be more nervous, I’ll be extremely nervous for states,” Elizabeth said, after anchoring West Roxbury’s 4 x 200-meter relay team to victory at the Boston City League indoor championships Feb. 5 with a time of 1:51.15.
Maria, who won a silver medal in the 55-meter hurdles at the city meet, also helped Snowden’s 4 x 200 relay team finish third. Juleen was on O’Bryant’s fourth-place team in the 4 x 200 at the city meet.
“It went by age, so we thought it was really funny,” Maria said about the order their teams finished in the 4 x 200.
Even though Juleen’s team finished last in the 4 x 200, she took home the most hardware at the city meet, winning the 55-meter dash and the long jump.
Juleen’s older sisters recognize that she is fastest of the trio, and Elizabeth and Maria tried to persuade their sister to join their track teams.
“I love O’Bryant because that’s the school that’s challenging and I like it,” Juleen said. “I don’t like things too easy for me.”
The sisters look forward to running together at a church retreat in Connecticut this summer.
“I couldn’t go last year but I know this year I will definitely be there and we're going to have our relay team.” Elizabeth said.
“Yeah, we're going to win that trophy,” Maria added.
But as competitive as the sisters are, they are content with missing the opportunity to run at the All-State meet.
“Because I’ve made it to states before where it was on a Saturday and I wasn’t able to run,” Elizabeth said. “It is a little disappointing that you can’t get to run but I know what I have to do and what I’m supposed to do for my religion. And it’s fine. I’m not going to be disappointed for long, there’s always another time. I mean, all of us can run.”
After learning that she would not have one last opportunity to qualify for the state swim meet because last weekend’s sectional meet at MIT was snowed out, Latin Academy junior Colby Cahill planned to accompany her younger sister Carly to Springfield College Saturday — keeping the O’Bryant freshman calm and under control, like a stable pony escorting a racehorse from the paddock to the starting gate.
But the elder Cahill, who would have been eight-100ths of a second away from qualifying for the state meet in the 100 backstroke going into the canceled North Sectional, awoke to the news Tuesday morning that the MIAA had reversed course and is now allowing all individual sectional qualifiers to advance to this weekend’s state championships.
“My mom called me and she told me this morning when I woke up,” Cahill said during a telephone interview. “It’s very exciting. I’m very happy that I’m going to be able to swim now.”
The younger Cahill, who was seeded No. 15 in the 50 freestyle going into sectionals with a time of 26.37 seconds, was happy for her sister.
“It’s good, I can get to see her swim and she how she swims,” said the younger Cahill, who turns 15 on Feb. 20.
The elder Cahill had a seed time of 1 minute 07.68 seconds for sectionals. She needed to swim a 1:07.60 to qualify for states.
Latin Academy also had two relay teams qualify for sectionals that will not be able to move on to states. The Dragons' 200-yard medley relay (Cahill, sophomore Ashley Hickey, senior Sydney McGrath, and eighth-grader Olivia McGrath) was seeded No. 23 at sectionals with a time of 2:12.97. And the school's 200 freestyle relay, which features the same swimmers as the medley, was seeded 19th with a time of 1:58.48.
The MIAA announced last Thursday that sectionals had been canceled because of the impending storm. At the time, it said only the swimmers who had already qualified for the state championships would compete this weekend.
So the elder Cahill hasn’t been practicing because she thought her season was over, while her sister hasn’t been practicing because of the storm.
Latin Academy coach Mark Thomas said the roller coaster of emotions, combined with the lack of practice, will make it difficult for the Cahills to have peak performances this weekend.
“I guess [Colby] is getting a chance to go If indeed she wants to go, but realistically she has two days to practice,” Thomas said. “She hasn’t’ practiced since we walked out of the pool on Thursday and we all walked into my office and checked the MIAA’s website.
“And that’s kind of firmly implanted in the kid's head. We basically all gave each other big hugs and said, ‘It’s sad to have it finish that way,’ but everyone moved on from that.”
But the long weekend also gave the swimmers a chance to rest.
“I’d rather be in my regular routine, actually, but it’s good to rest,” said the elder Cahill, who slept until 11 a.m. Tuesday before her mother broke the news to her about the state meet.
Last week, the younger Cahill said she planned to practice every day after school to prepare for the state meet. She was disappointed that she didn’t have sectionals to gear up for states.
“It’s going to be a big transition,” she said, “because I don’t know what to expect and sectionals prepares you to see how everyone else is going to swim and how you have to move up your ability to theirs.”
The younger Cahill use to follow her sister to the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club to swim when she was around 5 years old and her sister was 7.
“I always want to do what do my sister is doing,” she said. “My sister has always been there. She’s always been a big help. She’s always been at the end of the pool.”
Last week, the elder Cahill said she never even considered skipping the trek to Springfield to support her sister.
“I know she’ll be very nervous and she probably won’t know what to do with herself, but once she gets in that water, I know she’ll probably kick some butt,” she said.
This weekend, she will be there again for her younger sister, even though she will be preparing for her own race as well.
“I’ll still be able to do that,” she said of calming her sister down before the race. “I’m just going to have to show her I’m pretty calm myself.”
Several boys’ and girls' city basketball games that were postponed due to the snow storm have been rescheduled.
O’Bryant and Burke will play on Wednesday. The team's junior varsity will play at 4 p.m. with the varsity teams slated for 5:30 p.m.
South Boston and Latin Academy will play on Wednesday. JV will play at 4 p.m. and varsity will go at 5:30 p.m.
East Boston and Brighton will play at 5:30 on Wednesday. JV will play at 4 p.m. and varsity will play at 5:30 p.m.
West Roxbury’s varsity will play Catholic Memorial at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Xaverian at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Brighton and English’s boys varsity and junior varsity teams will play on Thursday, with the junior varsity starting at 5 p.m. and the varsity tipping off at 7 p.m.
Madison Park will play New Mission Thursday, with the junior varsity starting at 4:30 p.m. before the varsity tips off at 6 p.m.
South Boston's varsity will play BC High at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Latin Academy and Dorchester will also play on Thursday, with the junior varsity at 3 p.m. and the varsity at 5 p.m.
East Boston and Snowden will play at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.
Charlestown will play Cathedral on Saturday. The JV will play at 1 p.m. and the varsity will play at 2:30.
Dorchester and CASH, varsity only, will play at 2 p.m. on Feb. 19.
On the girls' side, Latin Academy and South Boston's varsity will meet at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Fenway will play Snowden at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
South Boston and East Boston's varsity will play at 3 p.m. on Thursday.
Charlestown's varsity will play Cambridge Rindge & Latin at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Dorchester and Brighton will play on Thursday. JV plays at 3 p.m. and varsity plays at 4:30 p.m.
English's varsity will play Dedham at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.
Brighton and Burke, varsity only, will play at 3 p.m. on Friday.
Change the culture.
Freshman Ernie Chatman has been hearing those three words practically every morning since early September. His father, Joe, whispers the words in to his ear as they go through their morning shooting and dribbling workouts, all in an effort to improve Ernie’s game.
It’s not too bad for his father either; Joe’s been able to watch Ernie benefit from the morning workouts from the assistant coach's seat on English’s bench. The city league's leading scorer and his father have helped guide English to a state qualifying 10-7 overall record.
“I want him to do it because he wants to do it,” Joe Chatman said. “I played and I did things on my own and that’s how you get better. You get better when nobody else is watching.”
While some of English’s other key players have participated in the workouts, Ernie is there with his father everyday. It’s a morning ritual the father and son have built since Ernie was just 7-years-old.
It was at that age when his mother, being a huge Allen Iverson fan, gave the potential point guard early exposure to the sport Ernie now calls his craft. While Ernie calls the former NBA star his hero, he credits his father for everything he’s been able to do on the court.
“Everything we work on, I try and bring it to the game,” Ernie said.
The freshman added that one of his best moves, his cross over, was modeled not off of Iverson, but off of his father.
“A lot kids don’t understand that what you do with your right hand, which is most kids dominant hand, you have to be able to do with your left,” said Joe, a former UMASS Lowell and BC High point guard. “That’s what separates him from most guards.”
This is just one of the many advanced parts of Ernie’s game that has come from his father’s hard coaching style. Based off the amount of times the assistant coach confronts his son in their games, one may think Ernie has it easy.
However, Joe said this is just not the case.
“I’m so hard on him off the court that when we get on the court, he knows what I expect of him so I find myself a lot of times just telling him something once and him being able to do it,” Joe said “That just comes from years and years of being coached.”
This in no way has made Ernie invincible to his father’s intense coaching during practice.
“Do I sometimes get on him a little more than everybody else? Yes, and that’s only natural only because I expect more of him but I never single him out and he never gets special treatment,” Joe said.
It’s only Joe’s second year on the coaching staff at English, however, he’s been coaching his son for the past four years on his AAU team, the Boston Spartans. While there might have been a time Ernie wasn’t used to his father’s hard coaching, the guard has had practically his entire life to realize its positive effect.
“It used to bother me because I used to think he would pick on me but now I see he’s just trying to encourage me and get me ready for the next level,” Ernie said. “I used to think it was a bad thing, now I think it’s a good thing.”
The fact that Joe has never forced Ernie to play basketball has also helped ease the relationship. Ever since Ernie first saw some of those Allen Iverson highlights, the two both confirmed that all of the extra work between the father and son is at Ernie’s request.
“Because I coach him so hard, because I work with him so hard, other people misconstrue the fact or think that I force him. No, he does that on his own. He’s been doing that since he was 5 or 6 years old,” Joe said.
Of course, Ernie entering English this year motivated Joe to take the basketball program’s assistant coaching job. But coaching his son means much more to the man who didn’t have a father figure in his life while growing up.
“It means everything to me,” said Joe, who credits his mother for her strong single parenting. “I want him to feel like he always has a positive influence in his life, a male influence. I’m his best friend in that regard.”
While Joe has loved coaching at English so far, being a father as well as a coach can come with its challenges. One of them came two weeks ago when Joe was made aware his son had gotten in trouble in school for his behavior.
Instead of playing his son, whom he could have since Ernie still met the team’s GPA requirement, Joe and English’s head coach Barry Robinson suspended Ernie for two games. The games were against Dorchester and West Roxbury, two games that if won could have put English in contention with Dorchester for a spot in the city tournament.
“I just wanted to prove to him more so as a dad that I don’t care if I’m your head coach or not. This is the consequence of not taking the academic piece as serious as you should,” Joe said.
A lot of freshman could have regressed after that. However, during his hiatus Ernie couldn’t keep away from the game. Instead of lingering on his punishment, the freshman went to scout future competition at other city games, counting the days until his return. When that day finally came last Tuesday, the freshman propelled English to a state qualifying win over O’Bryant with 18 points.
“I just take advantage of having my father as a coach and being the best coach that he is,” Ernie said. “Not a lot of other kids can have that and I’m fortunate to have that in my life.”
As English gets closer to the postseason, the father and son duo will continue to wake up at 5 a.m. each morning and work out until Ernie’s first class. They will continue to have a positive effect on each other while trying to “change the culture” of Boston English sports in a positive way.
The two agree basketball has a bright future at English. The two agree that Ernie’s basketball potential will be key for that future. The two also agree that Ernie’s grades will take precedence over that potential.
The only thing they can’t seem to agree on is who beats who more in one-on-one's.
Dorchester at West Roxbury, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday
Even though the Bears beat Boston English handily on Jan. 29 to all but secure a slot in the city tournament, this is still the city league and anything can happen.
Dorchester needs a win against West Roxbury to put a comfortable cushion between them and the Blue & Blue in the Central division standings. As it stands, the Bears are 7-3 in the division and English is 8-4. English also beat the Bears by a point earlier in the season so if it comes down a tiebreaker, Dorchester would likely get the nod.
New Mission at English, 6 p.m. Wednesday
Even if Boston English can’t catch Dorchester for a slot in the city tournament, a win against New Mission would be a huge confidence boost going into the state tournament.
Even playing well against the North division power would be good for English this time of year.
Dorchester at Brighton, 5:30 p.m. Friday
In a potential city tournament semifinal matchup, both teams will have a lot to play for on this final Friday night tuneup of the regular season.
A loss going into the final week of the season could derail Brighton, which has been rolling on a nine-game winning streak, including a 20-point comeback against New Mission on Jan. 31 and a double-overtime victory against Madison Park last Tuesday.
Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
Latin Academy at Excel, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday
Latin Academy is in third place in the North division with a 6-3 record behind Fenway and South Boston (10-2). Even if the Dragons can’t make the city tournament by beating South Boston, they would still love to avenge a seven-point loss to the Knights in the first meeting between the two teams on Jan. 16.
Boston English at New Mission, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday
Boston English sits behind New Mission in the South division standings and probably can’t eclipse the Titans for a spot in the city tournament. But they can make some waves in this final regular season game of the year and build up some confidence going into the state tournament.
New Mission on the other hand will look for one final tuneup before battling in the city tournament. Which it will need if it wants to take out favorites O’Bryant and Fenway.
West Roxbury at Dorchester, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday
A victory in this final regular season game would end West Roxbury’s season on a respectable note, finishing 7-5 overall on the year and one-game above .500 in the league.
Dorchester, on the other hand, would love to close out the season with a solid victory over a strong team.
Madison Park football coach Roosevelt Robinson is spearheading an effort to organize the first Boston City League Senior All-Star football game this spring.
“We’re trying to make this happen, we've kind of been OK'd to do it, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” Robinson announced during Thursday’s Boston City League All-City Football Banquet at Boston College.
The game, which would be similar to the Shriners' Classic, but for the city’s best senior players, has been cleared by the MIAA, according to Robinson.
“Seniors, their eligibility ran out so football is not in the way, that’s why juniors can’t participate,” Robinson said. “You can’t play in five seasons.”
Robinson, who was named one of two Coaches of the Year at Thursday’s banquet, said the biggest hurdle to getting the game off the ground will be getting all the coaches in the City League on board to help him get players and equipment.
“Because we have a field, we can always use a turf field,” he said during an interview. “Just the commitment [from the coaches and] if the players want to play. The coaches, we have to get together and we have to make the decision that we’re going to do it.”
He said the game would likely be played in late May, before the Shriners' game, and probably be held at Madison Park or English High. He said players would be required to practice for two weeks before participating in the game.
“Not White stadium because White Stadium will be reseeded during the spring,” he said. “We have to figure out who wants to go in and whose going to make the commitment to two weeks of coming to practice, so it’s just a lot of stuff.”
Robinson also told the seniors at the banquet to hold onto the black jerseys with white embroidered numbers that they were given for making the All-City team.
“For you seniors, be ready, you got those jerseys and you might be able to wear them one more time,” he said from the lectern in the Murray Function Room. “And what I’m saying is stay ready for that because you deserve it and you’re also showing the juniors behind you what’s possible.”
Kyle Dance never thought he would be a high school quarterback, let alone be named the city’s top player.
But that was the honor bestowed on Latin Academy's junior quarterback Thursday when he was named the Boston City League’s Player of the Year during the Boston City League All-City Football Banquet.
“It’s indescribable honestly,” Dance said as the evening was wrapping up in the Murray Function Room at the Boston College Yawkey Center. “Going into high school I didn't think I was going to be a quarterback and I ended up the year as a quarterback. It’s a big compliment for me and also a big confidence builder going into next year, so I’m just proud of my team and my coaches.”
Dance was one of 28 players named to the 2012 All-City Football Team during the banquet, which was put on by the Boston Scholar Athletes Program.
Dance, who tossed 28 touchdown passes to nine receivers and ran for another nine touchdowns, was introduced by his coach, Rocco Zizza.
“And the scary part, I said the other day somewhat jokingly but seriously, is he had an off year,” Zizza said. “He’s fast, but he had two bad ankles, so he had to throw the ball this year. Congratulations Kyle, come on up.”
Madison Park coach Roosevelt Robinson and Dorchester coach Rich Moran were named Coaches of the Year. Madison Park (8-5) won the City League North Division before losing to Cathedral 22-20 in double overtime in the Division 4A Super Bowl.
“I would like to thank you personally for recognizing me for all the hard work that we all do,” Robinson said. "Because all of the coaches out here we go to battle, but we all teach our young children how to respect, especially their parents.”
Robinson, who attended Dorchester High, alluded to Madison Park’s 16-14 loss to the Bears in the final regular season game of the year that was dubbed the “Unofficial City Championship.”
“This year I had a chance to play against my alma mater and we fought hard," he said. "We had a hard fought game and I was very proud of Dorchester and my fellow recipient of the Coach of the Year and this really feels good.”
After beating Madison Park, Dorchester (10-1), the City League South Division champions, lost to Upper Cape Cod, 22-8, in the Division 5 Super Bowl.
“To be quite honest with you, Rosie touched on everything, it’s really all about you guys, I coach the same every year,” Moran said. “I don’t know why I’m Coach of the Year. I guess I was a lousy coach last year, I don’t know.”
The evening’s keynote address was given by former Boston College player Ralph Parent, who spoke to the players about not only setting goals but developing a plan to achieve those goals.
“For you young football players, you have achieved many, many things,” he said. “You have more to do. You just scratched the surface with your accomplishments.”
Last year was the first time the BSA put on the All-City Football Banquet, when East Boston lineman Leo Parnell and South Boston running back James Toles were named Players of the Year.
Burke coach Byron Beaman said the banquet is an example of what city football can be.
“Tonight’s banquet definitely sets the standard for where we’re trying to go with football in the city,” Beaman said. “ We've been down for some time but with two teams from the city making it to the Super Bowl and to have this kind of piggy back off that … It’s a great venue. Boston College, it’s always great to be on a college campus, because we always aspire for our football players and our student athletes to attain a degree, so what better place to be than a school like Boston College.”
The following are the members of the 2012 All-City team:
Latin Academy: Brendan Harriette, Alex Guerrier, Kyle Dance; Brighton: Princewill Unaegbu, Ricardo Edwards, Jean Fanfan; Burke: Demetrius Richards, Sedeeq Rheddick; Charlestown: Ibrahima Diallo; Dorchester: Jeffrey Burton-Rhodes, Darrius Patterson, Robinson Cyprien; East Boston: Marcellus Etienne, Juan Elias Bonilla; Boston English: Jordan Carter; Madison Park: Michael Alexander, Kelvin Jones, Alexis Santiago, David Stewart; New Mission: Steven Thomas, Darien Amado; O'Bryant: Joseph Farrell, Tobi Fashemi, Christian Ransom; South Boston: Sean Hunter, Pannel Davis, Kingsley O'koye; West Roxbury: Michael Obianigwe.
No swimmer in the state is more disappointed about this weekend’s North Sectional Swimming and Diving Championships being canceled than Colby Cahill.
The Latin Academy junior was eight/100ths of a second away from qualifying for the state meet in the 100 Backstroke and Sectionals was her last opportunity to do so. The meet was canceled because of the impending snowstorm and the MIAA doesn't have a backup date or facility to hold the event.
“All State qualifiers will move forward to the State Championships on the weekend of 16-17 February,” a note on the MIAA website reads. “Best of luck to all.”
Cahill had a seed time of 1 minute 07.68 seconds for sectionals. She needed to swim a 1:07.60 to qualify for states.
“It was really tough, I didn't know how to take it, but you have to have a positive mindset with it,” she said about an hour after hearing the news. “I worked hard to get to Sectionals and I’m going to work even harder my senior year to get to states.”
While MIAA wrestling and gymnastic meets were already canceled earlier, Latin Academy coach Mark Thomas said the swimming meet was still scheduled to go when they started practice on Thursday afternoon.
By the time they got out of practice around 4 p.m. it was not.
Thomas also said there was some talk Thursday morning about rescheduling it at another facility.
“And now she doesn't get a shot, she’s done,” he said. “It is disappointing that’s all, I feel bad for her. We swim a sport that competes during the winter and I know snow and inclement weather is part of it but still ... The problem with getting locked in with a facility like MIT is they don’t have backup dates.
“I know the guys on the [MIAA swimming committee] and I know they probably tried to do everything possible to get it in.”
The Dragons' 200-yard medley relay (Cahill, sophomore Ashley Hickey, senior Sydney McGrath and eighth-grader Olivia McGrath) were also seeded No. 23 at sectionals with a time of 2:12.97. And the school's 200 freestyle relay, which features the same swimmers as the medley relay, were seeded 19th with a time of 1:58.48.
“To be quite honest we were going for the exposure and to give these kids the experience of going for the two relays,” Thomas said, “but [Cahill] had a heck of a shot [at states].”
On Wednesday, Latin Academy won its 22d overall city championships handily at Madison Park High against the city's only two other swim programs, O’Bryant and East Boston.
“We told the kids this year we want to see them win city's, but our goal is to get as many kids as possible qualified for sectionals,” Thomas said. “City's are a nice event and a nice experience, but we want the kids to shoot beyond that and to have that pulled from underneath us …
“This is what they shoot for all year long to be able to go to this meet.”
The only other city athlete to qualify for Sectionals was Cahill’s sister Carly Cahill, a freshman at the O'Bryant who was seeded No. 15 in the 50 Freestyle with a time of 26.37.
The younger Cahill, however, has already qualified for the state meet.
Big sis said she’s not jealous.
“Me and my sister aren't very competitive like that,” she said. “We are supportive of each other. I’m proud she made it at a young age. it’s good for her. It motivates me to work even harder.”
Still, the elder Cahill said she will be disappointed if the snowstorm doesn't match all the hype.
“Probably Saturday morning I’ll wake up and would be like ‘Wow I could be swimming right now trying to beat all my times in competition,'” she said, “but I have to take it in and be positive.”
The bright side for Cahill is that school is canceled on Friday.
“Yeah I’m very happy about that,” Cahill said. “I’ll probably go sledding, do homework and hang out with friends and relax.”
All BPS games have been postponed as a result of Friday's impending snowstorm, according to school district officials.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced all Boston Public schools would be closed on Friday as well.
South Boston/Excel's boys basketball game against BC High has also been postponed.
New dates for the games will be available either Thursday or Friday.
No matter how loud it got at Wednesday’s Boston City League Swimming Championship at Madison Park, Latin Academy coach Mark Thomas stood calm even as his team held up the first-place trophy for the sixth straight year.
The Dragons won all three relay events, as well as the 200 and 50 freestyle. At the time of the 50 freestyle (the fourth event), the Dragons already had a 23-point cushion. The win was the 22d for Latin Academy in the last 23 years.
“We were 7-4 [this season]. We had four losses, but every single one of those losses were 10 points or less,” Thomas said. “We swam against two all-male teams, [Catholic Memorial] and Malden Catholic.”
The Dragons, a co-ed team scored 130 points to top O’Bryant (77) and East Boston (64). While proud of his swimmers, the coach of 33 years was not complacent.
“A couple of things that I thought would go our way today didn’t" he said. "I was really pleased in the 50 free for [Kevin Zhang] but I honestly thought he could turn it around and do it again in the 100. He fought a good a race and he lost to Justin Chung from O’Bryant, but it was a great race and great meet.”
The freshman Chung beat sophomore Zhang by just .44 seconds.
In Zhang’s win in the 50 free, Thomas said his sophomore’s great start and turn was the key.
“It took a lot of work to get here. I listened to coach Mark. It’s really surprising I won today,” Zhang said.
Zhang was also on the 200- and 400-freestyle realy teams. He was joined in the 200 bysophomore Matteo Grando, who also won the 100 breaststroke in 1 minute, 12.52 seconds. the others on the 200 relay were Sydney McGrath and Ashley Hickey.
The 400 relay team of Zhang, Colby Cahill, Christian Mojica, and Olivia McGrath won in 4:10.88.
“The relays really do kind of make the race because it’s more like [a] team,” Grando said. “You feel the urge to win more because of the team your with. Winning is a great feeling and I think winning with three of your teammates is even better.”
Even though O’Bryant freshman Justin Chung was competing in his first Boston City League swimming championships Wednesday afternoon, he wasn’t shocked by the fact that two of the teams in the three-team field were fighting to be the bridesmaid without much chance of being the bride.
Everyone at the Madison Park pool knew it was a given that Latin Academy (130 points) would walk away with its 22d city championship — leaving O’Bryant (77) and East Boston (64) to battle for second place, as they always do.
“Actually, my sister is a 10th grader, so she swam for BLA last year, I kind of knew about BLA and that they are really good,” said Chung, who along with another freshman, Matthew Cummings, won half of O’Bryant’s individual gold medals to help the Tigers take second place.
O’Bryant coach Juan Tapia was thrilled with the silver, especially since O’Bryant and East Boston split their season series at one win apiece this year.
“For us to beat East Boston, that’s kind of our goal at the beginning of the year, so we’re excited, and to come away with four first-place finishes is pretty amazing,” he said. “We did that a couple years ago. I had two kids graduate last year that I didn’t think I’d be able to replace and I had a group of freshmen that replaced them right away.”
Chung won the 200 individual medley with a personal-best time of 2 minutes 18.07 seconds to give his team a 20-16 lead over the Jets after three events.
"I’m not really that good, it’s not my best stroke,” Chung said of the butterfly leg of the IM. “But in backstroke and breaststroke, I’m good at it, so I went hard. So I tried to go ahead of everybody. And that succeeded. In freestyle, I just tried to hang on to first place.”
East Boston pulled within 2 points of O’Bryant, 32-30, after junior Mateo Galeano won the 100 butterfly with a personal-best 104.24. It was also his first ever gold at a city meet. And he did it with a sore shoulder.
“That was a hard race, and I have been training the whole year for this,” Galeano said. “That’s the outcome I’ve wanted the whole time.
"Happiness, that’s all I can say. Just training hard the whole year and focusing on my goals, that’s all I did.”
Two events later, Chung won his second gold, posting his best time in the 100 freestyle, 56.21. O’Bryant only maintained its 2-point lead, however, because each team scored 7 points in the event.
O’Bryant pulled away from East Boston for good after Cummings shaved 15 seconds off his No. 2-ranked seed time to win the 500 freestyle in a time of 5:53.27. The victory gave the Tigers a 48-38 lead over East Boston after seven events.
“That 500 free was awesome, I think I’ve only put him in it once or twice this year,” Tapia said. “That’s huge because I think East Boston didn’t come in until sixth and my other guy came in fifth.”
East Boston coach David Arinella said one of his captains would have been the top seed in the 500 but, because of personal reasons, he didn’t show up.
“No excuses, but we have a 500 swimmer who is not here today and it made a great difference,”Arinella said. “Without that, we got hammered there. And in a close meet like this, it could go down to the last event maybe for O’Bryant and us. You can’t be behind by that many points.”
Cummings — who also beat the top seed in the 100 backstroke to win his second gold medal with a time of 1:04.62 — said he would have liked to go up against the best in the 500. And he came to the pool Wednesday with the intention of beating Latin Academy in the team standings.
“I think you should have the proper mind-set and think like a winner and don’t think like a sore loser,” he said. “Always think positive. I mean, if they win, they win.They are working hard, we’re working hard."
Tapia said he thinks his team is actually closing the gap with Latin Academy.
“A little bit, yeah, with first-place finishes like that,” he said. “In numbers we can’t match them but if we can get another couple top swimmers, we’d be right there.”
The following are the results from Wednesday's Boston City League swimming championships:
200 Medley Relay- 1. Latin Academy, 2:01.40; 2. O’Bryant, 2:04.77; 3. East Boston, 2:2:17.81.
200 Freestyle- 1. Chistian Mojica, Latin Academy, 2:14.16; 2. Sabrina Chung, Latin Academy, 2:21.81; 3. Savina Tapia, Latin Academy, 2:29.67; 4. Jack Hartnett, East Boston, 2:31.22; 5. Robert Lawless, O’Bryant, 2:32.05; 6. Sam Kauffman, O’Bryant, 2:42.18.
200 Individual Medley- 1. Justin Chung, O’Bryant, 2:18.07; 2. Matteo Grando, Latin Academy, 2:27.24; 3. Mateo Galeano, East Boston, 2:30.90; 4. Jayson Zimitzky, Latin Academy, 2:32.44; 5. Colby Cahill, Latin Academy, 2:40.27; 6. Rip Paizante, East Boston, 2:48.87.
50 Freestyle- 1. Kevin Zhang, Latin Academy, 25.14; 2. Chazz Gverra-Ogiste, O’Bryant, NR; 3. Ben Lara, East Boston, 25. 88; 4. Jonathan Gonzales, Latin Academy, 27.24; 5. Carly Cahill, O’Bryant, 27.33; 6. Roy Perez, East Boston, 28.13.
100 Butterfly- 1. Mateo Galeano, East Boston, 1:04.24; 2. Chazz Guerra-Ogiste, O’Bryant, 1:06.37; 3. Joshua Sanchez, Latin Academy, 1:10.18; 4. Sydney McGrath, Latin Academy, 1:15.91; 5. Savina Tapia, Latin Academy, 1:21.14; 6. Rip Paizante, East Boston, 1:21.52.
100 Freestyle- 1. Justin Chung, O’Bryant, 56.21; 2. Kevin Zhang, Latin Academy, 56. 65; 3. Ben Lara, East Boston, 1:01.16; 4. Luis Santiago, East Boston, 1:01.81; 5. Olivia McGrath, Latin Academy, 1:03.57; 6. Teaghan McLaughlin, Latin Academy, 1:08.37.
500 Freestlye- 1. Matthew Cummings, O’Bryant, 5:53.27; 2. Jayson Zimitzky, 6:00.28, Latin Academy; 3. Sabrina Chung, 6:36.16, Latin Academy; 4. Ashley Hickey, Latin Academy, 6:36.54; 5. Sam Kauffman, O’Bryant, 7:24.58; 6. Jack Hartnett, East Boston, 7:55.02.
200 Freestyle Relay- 1. Latin Academy, 1:52.04; 2. East Boston, 1:59.84; 3. O’Bryant, 2:03.57; 4. Latin Academy, 2:12.97; 5. O’Bryant, 2:25.87; 6. East Boston, 2:38.65.
100 Backstroke- 1. Matthew Cummings, O’Bryant, 1:04.62; 2. Christian Mojica, Latin Academy, 1:05.41; 3. Colby Cahill, Latin Academy, 1:10.00; 4. Pamela Sepulveda, East Boston, 1:16.53; 5. Morgan Clarke, Latin Academy, 1:18.02; 6. Danny Marifiote, East Boston, 1:29.20.
100 Breaststroke- 1. Matteo Grando, Latin Academy, 1:12.52; 2. Luis Santiago, East Boston, 1:16.58; 3. Carly Cahill, O’Bryant, 1:19.58; 4. Ashley Hickey, Latin Academy, 1:19. 75; 5. Margaret Rearden, Latin Academy, 1:24.65; 6. Walter Lopez, East Boston, 1:30.46.
400 Free Relay- 1. Latin Academy, 4:10.88; 2. O’Bryant, 4:22.75; 3. East Boston, 4:34.37; 4. O’Bryant, 5:42.31; 5. East Boston, 5:45.37; 6. Latin Academy, DQ.
Team Scores- 1. Latin Academy, 130; 2. O”Bryant, 77; 3. East Boston, 64.
In a game headlined by the return of guards Ernie Chatman and Shaun Miller, an unsung hero stepped up for Boston English.
Senior forward Frantz Francois controlled the backboard all night against the much bigger O’Bryant team and his huge 10-point third quarter was crucial in English’s 63-57 win.
“I challenged him,” said assistant coach Joe Chatman, who was calling the plays throughout the game. “One thing I’ve told my guys all season is ‘you can’t be afraid to be great.’ Frantz Francois is probably the most underrated power forward.”
Chatman went on to describe how O’Bryant’s focus on Ernie and Miller, and the doubling of senior center Braxton Gulleymabry, left Francois with many wide open opportunities. The senior captain took advantage, finishing the game with 16 points.
“He works extremely hard. The man lost 20 pounds since September and that’s a tribute to that kid and how hard he works,” Chatman said.
However, Francois was quick to credit his teammates for finding him at the right spots and times throughout the contest.
“You got Ernie Chatman and [sophomore point guard] Stanley Davis. They know how to facilitate the whole game; slow it down, slow the tempo, speed it up; they get in the lanes and know how to pass,” Francois said.
While Francois’s defense was crucial in the win, Ernie Chatman once again dazzled the crowd at O’Bryant with a great offensive performance after missing English’s last two games.
The freshman finished with 18 points, 11 coming in the first half to give English a 2-point lead at halftime.
“I feel like I just fit in. It didn’t feel like I missed two games because I’m used to playing with them, so I just came back ready to play,” Ernie said.
The freshman’s ballhandling skills were key in the fourth quarter. With 5:16 left, O’Bryant went on a 12-6 run helped by junior guard Javon Martin’s defensive intensity.
“Javon Martin subbed in and literally created five turnovers in the last five minutes. Rather than sticking to the same people making the same mistakes, perhaps I should’ve put him in earlier in the first half,” O'Bryant coach Drew Brock said.
Despite the great effort by the reserve, once English put the game in the hands of its freshman point guard, O’Bryant’s press stood no chance.
“That kid Chatman, he’s unbelievable with the ball, and basically when you reach, he teaches,” Brock said.
With English qualifying for states, all Ernie could talk about was the bigger picture.
“We just want to change the culture at English. We say it at every practice; change the culture,” Ernie said. “We just want to do something new, for the first time in a long time.”
600 – 1. Patrick Powell, O’Bryant, 1:29.5; 2. Nick Ford, Dorchester, 1:31.27; 3. Christopher Ford, Dorchester, 1:32.08; 4. Terrell Rogers, South Boston, 1:32.92; 5. Eliu Olmo, Snowden, 1:34.25; 6. Tayo Stuppard, Latin Academy, 1:37.01.
1,000 – 1. Hakine Walcott, South Boston, 2:56.27; 2. Mario Duncan, Dorchester, 3:01.56; 3. Lopez Christian, Brighton, 3:04.02; 4. Alix Maldonado, O’Bryant, 3:11.54; 5. Jashua Frias, O’Bryant, 3:13.15; 6. Joseph West, Snowden, 3:13.2.
1-mile – 1. Bernard Xhullima, East Boston, 4:59.9; 2. Ariel Rodrigues, Boston English, 5:06.9; 3. Mitch Perez, West Roxbury, 5:10.8; 4. Richard Jhinpsly, Dorchester, 5:32.9; 5. Chayanne Almeida, Madison Park, 5:41.2; 6. Hector Fajardo, O’Bryant, 5:43.5.
4x200 – 1. Brighton 1:40.53; 2. Charlestown 1:40.86; 3. Snowden 1:43.26; 4. Latin Academy 1:43.37; 5. New Mission 1:44.54; 6. South Boston 1:45.54.
4x400 – 1. O’Bryant 3:49.63; 2. Dorchester 3:50.98; 3. Latin Academy 3:53.79; 4. Boston English 3:58.52; 5. Charleston 4:01.37; 6. South Boston 4:03.37.
55 Hurdles – 1. Damian Robinson, Brighton, 8.49; 2. Brian Donna, O’Bryant, 8.53; 3. Marquel Wade-Mosley, Charlestown, 8.81; 4. Arik Bell, Dorchester, 8.94; 5. Xavier Hill, Latin Academy, 8.95; 6. Jean FanFan, Brighton, 9.39.
55 Dash – 1. Malik Anderson, Latin Academy, 6.69; 2. Ewoe Amedoadzi, South Boston, 6.77; 3. Kevin Facey, Burke, 6.81; 4. Seth Philistin, Brighton, 6.88; 5. Mehki Williams, O’Bryant, 7.08; 6. Tavon Nevins, East Boston, 7.15.
300 – 1. Sekou Stuppard, Latin Academy, 38.13; 2. Craig Widler, Snowden, 40.03; 3. Richard Edwards, Brighton, 40.47; 4. Andy Gonzalez, New Mission, 40.54; 5. Dewayne Rogers, South Boston, 40.62; 6. Jin Niang, Latin Academy, 40.72.
2-mile – 1. Redouane Laalioui, East Boston, 11:08.22; 2. Andy Nguyen, O’Bryant, 12:06.39; 3. Victor Velazquez, Snowden, 12:33.52; 4. Doug Tewodrose, Latin Academy, 12:34.98; 5. Raymound Chai, O’Bryant, 12:35.49; 6. Mohammad Avais, Boston English, 13:03.95.
Shot put – 1. Bernardo Cruceta, West Roxbury, 45-10 ½; 2. Winston Salters, Madison Park, 43-6; 3. Damian Cruz, Latin Academy, 40-4 ½; 4. Darrius Drain, West Roxbury, 38-11; 5. Joyvet Agrboto, Dorchester, 37-8 ¾; 6. Duncan Malone, O’Bryant, 37-3 ½.
High jump – Marquel Wade-Mosely, Charlestown, 6-0; 2. Arik Bell, Dorchester, 5-10; 3. Miles Perry, CASH, 5-8; 4. Sekou Stuppard, Latin Academy, 5-6; 5. Malik Anderson, Latin Academy, 5-6; 6. Mehki Williams, O’Bryant, 5-0.
Long jump – 1. Ewoe Amedoadzi, South Boston, 19-2 ¾; 2. Xavier Hill, Latin Academy, 19-2 ½; 3. Omotoyos Oyedeji, Burke, 18-9 ½; 4. Malcolm Brown, Charslestown, 18-5 ¾; 5. Brian Donna, O’Bryant, 17-8; 6. Lonnie Copeland, West Roxbury, 17-4.
600 – 1. Britany Firmin, Latin Academy, 1:45.38; 2. Lil Musiol Clark, Latin, 1:51.08; 3. Kara Atkinson, Latin Academy, 1:54.96; 4. Nathaly, West Roxbury, 1:56.39; 5. Sandy St. Felix, Dorchester 1:57.39; 6. Yasmily Soto, South Boston, 2:07.84.
1,000 – 1. Melissa Jean, O’Bryant, 3:35.08; 2. Kawtar Bennani, West Roxbury, 3:53.37; 3. Lucy Donovan, Latin Academy, 3:54.72; 4. Ashley Dixin, Latin Academy, 4:00.53; 5. Paola Villatoro, Latin Academy, 4:07.83; 6. Allison Williams, O’Bryant, 4:13.14.
1-mile – 1. Catherine Van Even, Latin Academy, 6:39.77; 2. Aislinn Donovan, O’Bryant, 6:43.89; 3. Mirlande Philogene, Dorchester, 6:49.44; 4. June Yao, Latin Academy, 6:55.67; 5. Shirley Wong, O’Bryant, 7:13.05; 6. Brianna Bannister, New Mission, 7:22.47.
4x200 – 1. West Roxbury, 1:51.15; 2. Latin Academy 1:54.81; 3. Snowden 1:5510; 4. O’Bryant 1:55.83; 5. Boston English 2:02.61; 6. Dorchester 2:09.85.
4x400 – 1. Latin Academy 4:22.56; 2. West Roxbury 4:59.13; 3. O’Bryant 5:02.9; 4. Dorchester 5:06.68; 5. Snowden 5:17.73; 6. South Boston 5:18.74.
55 Hurdles – 1. Esther Nkwah, New Mission, 9.98; 2. Maria Lewis, Snowden, 10.50; 3. Saasha Pina, Latin Academy, 10.95; 4. Reyna Joint, Brighton, 11.0; 5. Elizabeth Lewis, West Roxbury, 11.12; 6. Rachel White, O’Bryant, 11.63.
55 Dash – 1. Juleen Lewish, O’Bryant, 7.54; 2. Di Andrea Galloway, Latin, 7.80; 3. MacKala McPherson, West Roxbury, 7.82; 4. Imani Pressley, Latin Academy, 7.89; 5. Michelle McPherson, West Roxbury, 8.14; 6. Lumene Montissol, Dorchester, 8.16.
300 – 1. Monique McPherson, West Roxbury, 42.82; 2. Ashley Lewis, Latin Academy, 43.29; 3. Leigha Mills, Latin Academy, 45.39; 4. Vanessa Vilbert, Snowden, 47.14; 5. Hirmine Francois, West Roxbury, 47.17; 6. Kalsie King, O’Bryant, 47.34.
2-mile – 1. Emily Prado, O’Bryant, 14:44.64; 2. Nada Abdalla, East Boston, 14:56.81; 3. Vuoung Tran, O’Bryant, 14:57.93; 4. Alicia Aispiro, East Boston, 15:21.17; 5. Shirley Peng, Snowden, 15:24.06; 6. Vee Nguyen, Latin Academy, 15:39.12.
Shot put – 1. Victoria Jackson, CASH, 31-9 ½; 2. Rachel White, O’Bryant, 27-11 ¾; 3. Stanasa Dowdye, South Boston, 27-1 ½; 4. Natalia Philip, New Mission, 26-10; 5. Rachelle Teesdale, O’Bryant, 26-2; 6. Jasmine Allen, Boston English, 25-9 ½.
High jump – 1. DiAndrea Galloway, Latin Academy, 4-6; 2. Hirmine Francois, West Roxbury, 4-4; 3. Ashlyn Melvin, Latin Academy, 4-2; 4. Aislinn Donovan, O’Braynt, 4-2; 5. Ashley Lewis, Latin Academy, 4-2; 6. Esther Kayode, West Roxbury, 4-0.
Long jump – 1. Juleen Lewis, O’Bryant, 16-1 ½; 2. Esther Nkwah, New Mission, 15-11; 3. Monique McPherson, West Roxbury, 15-10; 4. Lumene Montissol, Dorchester, 15-8; 5. Maria Lewis, Snowden, 15-6; 6. Britney Firmin, Latin Academy, 13-6.
Latin Academy coach Brian Leussler’s pre-track meet rituals include number crunching to figure out what exactly he needs from the boys' and girls' indoor track teams to grab a win.
“I don’t know if other coaches do this, I create spreadsheets with every single [result] I can predict,” he said.
Heading into Day 2 of the Boston City indoor city championships, the girls were tied with O’Bryant at 52 points apiece. Leussler’s spreadsheet calculated he could expect 60 points from the final five events.
“So I have projections and I’m telling the kids all the time, ‘I need at least a fourth place from you or better, you need to do at least your best time,’” Leussler said. “I show the kids these spreadsheets ahead of time.”
In reality, away from little boxes and guessed numbers, the girls picked up 68 points in Day 2 for a total of 120 to leave second-place O’Bryant (83) in the dust. The win – after an undefeated (6-0) league schedule – was the Dragons third consecutive meet title.
“All season long we’re looking forward to this. I tell the kids, ‘This has got to be the best race you’ve had, best time all season long,’” Leussler said. “They did great.”
The afternoon started with a showdown between the dead-locked schools in the 1-mile run, but Latin Academy eighth grader Catherine Van Evan bested the Tiger’s Aislinn Donovan (6:43.89) by four seconds to grab first place in 6:39.77.
“We have a lot of really good younger talent in the seventh, eighth, ninth grade, which is really good,” Leussler said.
In the next event – the 600-meter run – youth prevailed again as Latin Academy grabbed the top three spots for 24 points to begin to pull away, led by freshman Britney Firmin’s 1:45.38. Seventh-grader Lila Musoil Clark (1:51.08) and Kara Atkinson (1:54.96) took second and third respectively.
“I feel pretty good about my race. I wanted to have even splits,” Frimin said. “I thought we all did our best today, so it was nice that we went out there and did what we had to do today.”
The Dragons added another 12 points in the 1,000-meter run with a 3, 4, 5 finished by the trio of Lucy Donovan, Ashley Dixin, and Paola Villatoro.
In the relays, the quartet of Ashley Lewis, Atkinson, Frimin, and Liegha Mills grabbed top prize in the 4 by 400 with a 37 seconds lead to West Roxbury (4:59.13), crossing at 4:22.56. The 4 by 200 came in second to West Roxbury (1:51.15) with a time of 1:54.91.
“We graduated 10 [seniors] last year, so the girls team is really coming up and doing great,” Leussle said.
West Roxbury finished in third place in team scores with 67 points.
Latin Academy's boys' team also extended its city meet win streak to three with 58 points. Again, it was O’Bryant which challenged the Dragons for first-place by adding 27 points to their Day 1 title to grab second with 51 points.
Coming into the first event, Latin Academy had 47 points and only placed in the 600-meter run and both relays. Tayo Stuppard earned one point with a sixth place time of 1:37.01 in the 600. The relay teams combined for 10 points with third and fourth place finishes in the 4x400-meter relay and 4x200-meter relay respectfully.
Dorchester grabbed third with 48 points.
Sarah Moomaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After failing to qualify for states in the 600 meters the last three seasons, O'Bryant's Patrick Powell finally achieved his goal Tuesday afternoon at the Reggie Lewis Center. And best of all, he did so by winning gold in the Boston City League indoor track championships.
“The race was a very quick pace, the first heat that went, they were really fast, so we had to go really fast for the last heat,” he said after recording a time of 1 minute, 29.5 seconds. “I was going like a 27 [seconds] for the first 200 [meters] and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going really fast. I have to slow down a little.’ The last lap I had to give everything I had and somehow I managed to get through it.
“It felt really great. It felt like I finally accomplished what I need to accomplish to get first.”
Unfortunately for the Tigers, both their boys’ and girls’ squads finished second behind Latin Academy, which swept for the third straight year.
In the girls’ meet, Latin Academy finished with 120 points to O’Bryant’s 83 and West Roxbury’s 67.
Before Latin Academy won the last two seasons, O’Bryant had won 16 straight indoor girls’ city titles. This year, O’Bryant was tied with Latin Academy at 52 points apiece after the first day of competition.
“I knew we would do well the first day but the second day I don’t have enough girls,” O’Bryant coach Jose Ortega said. “All the females at the O’Bryant, they have so many other things to do, they just don’t have the time to compete. So that’s the reason why we can’t get those girls out.”
Freshman Juleen Lewis gave the Lady Tigers the biggest spark by winning the 55-meter dash (7.54 seconds) and the long jump (16 feet 1.5 inches). She was also on the 4x200-meter relay team that finished in a disappointing fourth place with a time of 1:55.83.
“The relay killed us,” Ortega said. “We had an opportunity to place and we dropped the baton.”
The Lady Tigers did well in the distance races as Melissa Jean won the 1,000 meters with a time of 3:35.08 and Emily Prado won the 2 mile with a time of 14:44.64.
On the boys’ side, O’Bryant (51 points) finished 7 points short of Latin Academy while Dorchester finished third with 48 points.
O’Bryant’s boys’ won the 4x400-meter relay in 3:49.63 despite being the third seed in the event behind Latin Academy and Dorchester. Dorchester (3:50.98) finished second while Latin Academy (3:53.79) finished third.
But the Tigers finished eighth in the 4x200-meter relay with a time of 1:49.23 while Brighton won the race in 1:40.53. Finishing fourth in the event, Latin Academy (1:43.37) picked up 4 points, but South Boston coach Jim de Mello said Latin Academy should have been disqualified because one of its runners fell in front of one of his runners.
"I brought it up to the officials," de Mello said after his team finished sixth in the race with a 1:45.38."They said they didn’t see the infraction so they can’t call it. So you have to just let it go at that. Things happen in sports.”
After the meet, South Boston was given a trophy for finishing the season with a 7-0 record. It was a perfect ending to de Mello’s last indoor season. He will retire after the outdoor season. He has coached 25 years at South Boston.
“It was exciting,” de Mello said. “I had a lot of exciting moments, but one of the things I enjoy is seeing the average kid or the average athlete go and produce something -- have a goal and then they reach that goal and they are really proud of it.”
And that’s exactly what Powell did by winning the 600 meters for O’Bryant. He finished sixth in the event as a freshman, second as a sophomore, and last year he skipped the 600 to run the 1,000, which he won.
But his heart was always in the 600.
“I really wanted it, I felt it was my race,” he said. “I felt like I had the most connection to it. I felt like I’m more together with it. It’s more my style of running.”
The race qualified Powell to run in states for the first time this winter.
“My goal for states is being known,” he said. “I know I’m not the fastest guy out there but I want to be known as the one kid who can keep going farther and farther, so people can look out for me.”
And of course there’s always the business of fending off Latin Academy at the outdoor city meet this spring. Last year, O’Bryant won for the first time in two years, beating the Dragons, 79.5-79.
Ortega said they will take their best shot at Latin Academy’s girls’ team this spring as well.
“BLA, we’re trying to stop them,” he said, “but if we can’t get the girls out, we can’t do anything.”
During last year’s Boston City swimming championships, Cristian Mojica sat on the side of the pool with a stopwatch in his hand.
The Latin Academy swimmer and football player couldn’t perform in the meet due to his poor grades. His father and coach, who also swam and played football for Boston English High back in the late 1980s, forced his son to serve as a time keeper during last year’s meet to teach him a lesson.
The lesson was well learned.
The junior will now compete in the swimming city championships at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Madison Park High and he was named the Boston Scholar Athletes' February Scholar-Athlete of the Month.
“At the beginning of my high school career, I never would’ve thought I would be nominated for that because my grades weren’t where they should’ve been,” Mojica said during a recent swim meet. “But now I stepped my grades up so it feels good to be nominated."
Longtime Latin Academy swimming coach Mark Thomas said Mojica had a 1.66 grade point average last winter and athletes are required to have a 1.67 GPA to participate.
“I honestly don’t think he took it that serious last year and he didn’t think it was a big deal and he’d be able to slide by. Well guess what, he didn’t,” Thomas said. “He came to me and said ‘What can you do?’ I said ‘Cristian there’s nothing I can do. If I could’ve done something I would’ve.' He needed to learn a lesson.
"I think it absolutely killed him to miss the last three or four weeks and not go to the cities. Instead of swimming he sat there and timed, which his father made him do.”
That’s when Thomas made sure that the school’s BSA Zone Facilitator Eliza Bryant was on the case. Now Mojica carries a solid 3.2 GPA.
“He had a good football season [this year], I looked at his grades all fall; they were good coming into this season,” Thomas said. “It was a great turnaround. It’s a good time to turnaround in a kid’s life. It’s what we like to do. I think as far as the [BSA] program they have for these kids, it’s a glowing example of what can be done if a kid wants to do something."
Nobody is more proud than Mojica’s father, Richard Mojica, who coaches the swim team at the Flaherty Swimming Pool in Roslindale. He has also been a volunteer coach at Latin Academy well before his son was old enough to attend the school.
“He took the time to start to pay more attention to what he was doing,” said the elder Mojica, who played football for UMass Boston. “He had a vision of what he wanted. I’ve been trying to encourage him.”
The younger Mojica has been swimming since he was 8-years-old, when his father started working at the Flaherty pool.
“I took to swimming right away because at the time I wasn’t really into sports but I picked up on swimming really quick and it helped having my dad as a coach,” he said. “[I liked] the water. I got to do whatever I wanted. I felt like a fish.”
These days the 100 backstroke is Mojica’s best event. But that wasn’t always the case.
“When I was younger I used to hate backstroke because the water used to get in my face," he said. "But once we were at a meet in New York and I had to swim the backstroke because [my dad] put everyone in the backstroke and I ended up winning the race and after that he started putting me in it more and I started liking it more.”
The 5-foot-9-inch, 210-pounder — who will likely be the No. 1 seed in the 100 backstroke in Wednesday’s city meet — does not exactly have Michael Phelps’ washboard abs.
But he said he loves swimming in big meets because people usually underestimate his ability.
“Most people when they see me they don’t think of me as a swimmer because I don’t look like your average swimmer,” he said. “They are usually like ‘he can’t swim’ and then they come to me after and say ‘oh, I didn’t know you could do that.’ ”
And when he’s playing offensive and defensive line on the football field, he has to hear teammates chide him for his affinity for the water. But Mojica says swimming makes him a better football player and football makes him a better swimmer.
“I swim in the morning every day before a football game because it gets me loose and football, it gets me strong for swimming,” he said. “They say I have anger problems. I like playing football because it helps me take out my anger.
“[Swimming] helps me calm down and relax.”
These days, Mojica is getting it done in the classroom, too.
“I realized I had to put in the work over the sports," he said. "Before, I was more sports minded.“
This past weekend was another successful one for Boston Youth Wrestling.
The city team, represented by the Frederick, Dorchester/TechBoston, Quincy and McCormack schools, won the Massachusetts Youth Wrestling Association (MYWA) South Sectional Tournament.
Twenty four city wrestlers represented the four schools with 10 qualifying for the Youth State Championships at Algonquin Regional high school on Sunday, Feb. 17. While Boston Youth Wrestling director Jose Valenzuela was proud of the success of the city team, that was not his focus in the tournament.
“The main goal for this weekend was to bring as many wrestlers from Boston as possible, to give them all an opportunity to compete at the state-wide level,” Valenzuela said. “I would have been satisfied with any outcome from our wrestlers, but winning the tournament title was just an added bonus that really exemplifies the hard work and dedication of the wrestlers and coaches at practices around the city and the willingness of our teams to work together towards one mission.”
Wrestlers from the Frederick school did well in the tournament. Clayton Rodrigues (76 lbs) and Danny Paulino (175 lbs) placed first place for their respective weight classes. Jaraiel Wiggins (130 lbs), Tyreece Jeffreys (136 lbs) and Kelvin Santiago (160 lbs) all took home second place awards. Jahi James (195 lbs), from the Quincy school, also landed second place.
The other 14 wrestlers will be competing in the Big East Tournament at Reading high school, an end-of-season competition on Sunday, Feb. 10.
While the number of participants was a great sign for wrestling in the city, Valenzuela said there is a much deeper meaning in the success of the tournament.
“We certainly have a lot of talented wrestlers that proved they’re as good, or for some better, than other kids that have grown up on youth clubs or teams,” Valenzuela said.
Juan Tapia won’t be fazed by the fact that the Latin Academy co-ed swim team will likely take its sixth straight and 22d overall Boston City swimming championship title at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon at Madison Park High.
But coming in third behind East Boston in the three-team field and allowing Latin Academy to dominate all of the events will drive the O’Bryant coach batty.
“[East Boston] won at our pool and we won at their pool so it should be good,” he said of the race for second place. “And also [our goal is] to keep Latin Academy out of 1,2,3 [place]; keep them honest. I can’t stand it when they sweep. I don’t mind when they come in 1, 2 and 4 but 1, 2 and 3 just kills me.”
Last year the Dragons (7-4) swept the top three spots in four of the 11 events to cruise to their fifth straight city title and 21st championship in the event’s 22-year history. The Dragons forfeit the 2007 meet after it was discovered that they entered an ineligible player.
“Our goal is to win the cities,” said Latin Academy coach Mark Thomas, who has been coaching the team for 33 years. “We don’t have any goals to take first, second and third in every event, that would not be realistic. We try to spread the wealth around and get as many kids involved as we can.”
East Boston coach David Arinella said his team is at a disadvantage because both Latin Academy and O’Bryant are exam schools that start in the sixth grade and therefore have students start in their swimming programs three years earlier than East Boston does.
“It’s so difficult to beat them, believe me they provide us with great competition, they really do and their coaches are great guys,” said Arinella, who has also been coaching East Boston for 33 years. “We’re not complaining because to be the best you have to beat the best and one of these years we’re going to do it and we’re getting closer every year.”
The battle for second place on Wednesday will be fierce.
Eastie (3-6) beat O’Bryant (4-6) by a score of 84-83 on Jan. 17 at O’Bryant before the Tigers struck back to beat the Jets, 53-48, on Jan. 25 at East Boston.
“Which in swimming is like a nose in horse racing,” Arinella said.
The entry seeds and times for the Boston City League co-ed swimming championships won’t be released until just before Wednesday’s 3:30 p.m. meet at Madison Park. But here are some competitive races to watch along with the likely top seeds for each race.
200 Individual Medley
Justin Chung - O'Bryant
Mattoe Grando - Latin Academy
Jayson Zimitsky - Latin Academy
Matteo Gialeano - East Boston
Ben Lana - East Boston
Kevin Zhang - Latin Academy
Chazz Guerra-Ogiste - O'Bryant
Mattew Cummings - O'Bryant
Joshua Sanchez - Latin Academy
Ben Lana - East Boston
Chazz Guerra-Ogiste - O'Bryant
Cristian Mojica - Latin Academy
Mattew Cummings - O'Bryant
Justin Chung - O'Bryant
Matteo Grando - Latin Academy
Justin Chung - O'Bryant
But the two longtime track coaches at South Boston and Madison Park, respectively, will sit in the Reggie Lewis Center bleachers together as coaches in the Boston City indoor track championships for the final time Tuesday afternoon.
The physical education and health teachers who started working in the school district in the same year (1978) are now leaving the district’s coaching ranks in the same year as well.
“It is nice,” de Mello said while sitting next to Nichols in the top row of the bleachers during the first day of the City championships Monday afternoon. “Richard and I have had a lot of fun competing over the years. I always look forward to it and we always sat next to each other at all the track meets that we ever went to.
“So it was always fun with that nice competition, knowing that Richard and I get along as friends. Knowing that we actually came into the system the same year, 1978, and we’re going out basically the same year, is nice. Richard is going out a little early because he’s a little older than I am, God bless him, but I enjoy the competition.”
While de Mello, 57, will coach one final outdoor season after 25 years of coaching track at South Boston, Nichols, 58, is calling it quit after this indoor season. Nichols, who started coaching at Madison Park in 1995 and was named the state’s coach of the year in 1999, actually retired from coaching for the the first time after the 2004 season. But he returned in 2009 because the school needed a track coach.
“I figured I’d give a hand and come back for a couple of years and help the team do something,” he said.
Between indoor and outdoor track, de Mello has won 25 conference championships, including this winter. He has won three outdoor city championships (1991, 1992, and 1996) and also won a city cross-country championship in 1991.
Nichols said he’s won six or seven conference titles, three indoor city championships and one outdoor.
“Jimmy and Rich, they work so hard with their kids and they’ve had some wonderful, wonderful competitors,” Boston City League track commissioner Mary Grant said. “I will miss them. I will definitely, definitely miss them because they know so much. They are out there for their kids.”
Latin Academy coach Brian Leussler — whose team has won the boys’ and girls’ indoor city track titles the last two years and led the standings for both genders after the first day of competition Monday — said both coaches have been a huge help to him since he started coaching 11 years ago.
“I think they are great, I think they are both really knowledgeable when it comes to their events,” Leussler said. “[Nichols] has had some of the state’s best high jumpers and hurdlers so I’ve learned a lot just watching the drills that he does with his kids. [De Mello], he’s helped a lot of the coaches over the years and there is definitely a lot of turnover.”
Working with other coaches and their athletes is exactly what both Nichols and de Mello said they will miss the most.
“It’s nice seeing everyone here,” Nichols said. “It’s nice working with all these track coaches. One thing we do is we work together. It’s unlike other sports where you feel a rivalry. If Jimmy does something better he’ll work with my kids, somebody will do high jump and they’ll work with other kids. That’s what I’ll miss. A lot of camaraderie. I do like working with kids.”
While they have both had their share of star athletes, de Mello said he also will remember the more pedestrian athletes who stuck with him and managed to do well at city competitions.
“The athletes we’ve had that have lasted three or four years, those are the ones that are memorable to us regardless of their abilities,” he said. “I have athletes that get to the point where they scored in the City's. That’s an amazing accomplishment for just an average person to do. You look around and say how many average people have scored one through six in a city championship of any kind. To get an athlete to do that it’s a great accomplishment and I see some of our average kids doing that because they stuck with it.”
Both coaches said it’s hard to get athletes to commit to a track program for four years these days but they said city track is being left in good hands, pointing to rising programs at Snowden and Dorchester.
“We’re not leaving and everything is dying out,” de Mello said. “I think it’s going to keep moving.”
And with track in his rearview mirror, Nichols said he will teach violin lessons twice a week instead of the one per week he gives now. He also said he will take on more side jobs remodeling homes.
“Maybe we can get together because I do building also,” de Mello told his friend. “I’ll be doing that a little more and I’ll also be one of those guys out there in the green uniforms officiating.
"So I’ll be back officiating the Boston public school kids.”
South Boston's Ewoe Amedoadzi thought he had let the long jump get away from him.
After coming in second in the 55-meter dash, the senior had to watch as Latin Academy’s Xavier Hill recorded a jump of 19 feet 2 1/2 inches, a distance that would secure most the first place of the indoor track city championship at the Reggie Lewis Center.
However, Amedoadzi won the event, and state tournament qualification, beating Hill’s distance by just a quarter of an inch.
“He had a 19 and I’ve never had a 19 before so I was kind of scared but my coach always told me I had it in me, I just had to push it out,” Amedoadzi said. “I mean I’m happy. I came in second in the 55 and I wanted the gold and I got one so I’m kind of happy.”
While South Boston was fourth after the first day of competition, coach James de Mello said he couldn’t be prouder of his Division 2 state qualifier.
“He really wanted that 55 meters but he goes ‘you know coach, I didn’t win the 55 but I’m going out there to win that long jump,' ” De Mello said. “That showed me he has it. No matter how much he didn’t feel good, he put himself up there again to say ‘I can do this, I can make myself feel good’ and he’s doing this for the team.”
However, the reigning champs still sit atop the standings for boys with 47 points, well ahead of O’Bryant (24) and Brighton (21).
A spark for Latin Academy was junior co-captain Malik Anderson, who beat Amedoadzi in the 55-meter dash, finishing in 6.69 seconds to qualify for the state tournament.
“It feels really good because all this season we’ve been working and it’s good to see people grow and it’s good to see that I’ve grown myself,” Anderson said. “The medal helps but it’s really the times that help. Even if I don’t get a gold medal or a silver medal, I’m mostly focused on improving my time.”
Anderson improved on his preliminary times by .07 seconds.
“The most amazing thing about Malik in the 55 is no matter what the competition, if it’s a dual meet, a league championship, a Bay State Invitational, he always throws out the best time he had that season,” coach Brian Leussler said. “He really does better under pressure.”
Latin Academy is tied for first in the girls’ standings with O’Bryant with 52 points. West Roxbury (37 points) is third.
Sophomore Monique McPherson, a runner for West Roxbury, had a big day, winning gold in the 300-meter run and setting a personal best by finishing in 42.82 seconds.
“I feel really accomplished, I love it,” McPherson said. “It felt more like I pushed myself and I’m very proud,” McPherson said.
The city championships continue Tuesday.
After six seasons with Sean Guthrie at the helm of its football program, South Boston High is going in a new direction.
The school’s administration notified Guthrie that he would not be asked back to coach the team just before Christmas vacation, and the school is currently searching for his replacement.
“We just had different philosophies on how the team should run in terms of different policies, conduct policies and things like that,” Guthrie said of the school’s headmaster, Stephanie Sibley. “It was just something we weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on; some of the policies I had in place and what she wanted and that’s what it came down to.”
Guthrie, who will continue to teach math at the school, said he enrolled in a Master’s in education program geared to urban teachers at Boston College, where he played football as an undergraduate until the 2001-02 season.
After college he played for the New York Giants for one season before moving to NFL Europe.
“I was kind of really disappointed at first,” Guthrie said of being released from his coaching position. “But I’ve been involved in playing and coaching football every season since I was 6 years old. It’s almost welcoming.”
Guthrie’s assistant, Jim de Mello, who is also the school’s athletic coordinator, said he will not return as an assistant and that the school will be interviewing not only for the head coaching position but also the assistant coach job as well.
He said anyone interested in the jobs should send a resume to the school at 95 G. St South Boston, or email him at email@example.com before Feb. 14.
Three candidates for both jobs will be interviewed at the end of February and de Mello said they hope to have a coach in place in early March.
“We’re looking for somebody with a minimal of three years of experience for the head coaching experiencing of high school coaching or a combination of high school and college coaching,” he said. “We’re looking for somebody who can show they can get the paperwork done and they can be organized in having their house in order in terms of getting paperwork done on time and making sure that they have a good system of completing all that in a timely fashion as well as their coaching attributes.
“We don’t necessarily need somebody who is the most winningest coach out there. We need somebody who is going to be able to work day in and day out, have a commitment to the students outside the season, which means offseason workouts as far as conditioning and weight room, and if he doesn’t work in the school, will be there more hours than just practice hours to work with the administration and have meetings.”
For de Mello, it’s hard to go through the process of hiring a new coach after he worked so closely with Guthrie the last six years.
“It is hard because we kind of learned a system together, we went to all the coaching clinics, we did everything we could,” he said. “We did a lot of work together and tried to rise up our program and tried to make it better than it was.
“I thought Sean had some really good things going on with our program.”
However, de Mello said Guthrie’s communication with the administration and paperwork — a common Achilles' heel among BPS coaches — left a lot to be desired.
“It was a lot to handle, doing all the administrative work and coaching and teaching,” Guthrie said.
After coaching one season as an assistant in 2006, Guthrie took over the program shortly after the death of head coach Bob Lerro in 2007. Guthrie compiled a 33-28 record at South Boston, including the Boston City League North division title in 2008.
Guthrie said he watched the Super Bowl with some members of that 2008 team and what he will miss most is developing relationships with the players.
“Just seeing guys go on and have children and get jobs and graduate from college, that’s what I’ll miss most is the relationships,” he said, “Watching them grow from kids to men and being a part of that.”
Guthrie also tried to build rapport with his players by getting them to identify with what it means to be a South Boston Knight since most of his players don’t live in South Boston.
“Definitely getting through to the kid who was getting kicked out of class and pulling him in and trying to build a new identity with the Knights and building a group, I’ll definitely miss that,” he said.
But what he’ll miss most is being on the field with his players.
“Especially teaching a subject like math, people aren’t always enthusiastic about math,” he joked. “I’ll miss that, being able to cut loose with guys and not have restrictions you do in a classroom.”
Guthrie said he’s still working out with some of the players after school.
“I’ll always be a part of the team; I’ll help as much as I can,” he said, “just for the kids who still want it, I’ll still be there.”
Even though Elizabeth Lewis is the only non-sister on West Roxbury High’s 4x200-meter relay team that will be the top seed at the Boston City indoor track Championships on Tuesday at the Reggie Lewis Center, she knows how to relate to teammates Mackala, Michelle and Monique McPherson.
Lewis’ youngest sister Juleen is a freshman on the O’Bryant track team and her other sister, Maria, runs for Snowden.
“I’m pretty sure they also compete with each other inside, so that’s the same,” said Lewis, comparing her relationship with her sisters to the McPherson sisters. “But I feel they have a good relationship like I have a good relationship with my sisters.”
And Lewis has a good relationship with the McPherson sisters as well. In fact, the team gelled from their very first race of the season this winter, running a time of 1 minute 56 seconds to qualify for the Division 4 state meet.
But Lewis is the only one on the team who has run the state meet and she was overwhelmed by her experience their last winter.
“I know how it is to be at states but it’s really scary so I don’t know if I can calm them down about the feeling,” Lewis said, “because it was really scary for me because I was the only one from the team and I didn’t have anyone running with me.”
Second-year West Roxbury coach, Erin Ripston, said her team will be ready for the state meet by the time it rolls around on Feb. 15 at the Reggie Lewis Center. She said they should be fine because they are so familiar with running at the Reggie.
“So there’s nothing new as far as coming here,” she said. “Preparation, warming up, everything is the same. So it’ will just be different teams really.”
It also doesn’t hurt that the team has improved its time every single time it has stepped onto the track this season.
“Every meet their time has gone down, every single meet, so we’ve really worked on the handoffs because that’s where the seconds come off,” Ripston said. “It’s been interesting having them run together and see their relationship. And it’s so fun. They are so sweet and they are all really good students and really athletic.”
Recently, the team ran a 1:50.9, about one second faster than the 4x200 team from Latin Academy, which won the city title last winter.
The West Roxbury relay team also recently defeated Boston Latin in a 4x200 race.
“It felt really good because for years and years we’ve always facing them but we don’t beat them, that wasn’t our goal,” Monique said. “Our goal was just to have a fast time but it felt really good like ‘Yeah we finally did something.”
Winning a city title in the 4x200 as sisters would be even better, especially since this is their one and only opportunity to do so because Mackala is a senior.
“We would feel like we accomplished something together as a team,” Monique said, “and have something to bring home.”
The sisters, who live in Hyde Park, say they are just as close on the track as they are at home, where they often talk shop after a meet and know how to give each other space when an argument arises.
“We still talk, we still hangout, have fun,” Mackala said. “The only difference is we try to help ourselves, better ourselves on the track at home it’s casual, relaxing.”
As close as the three sisters are, they also treat their anchor leg, Lewis, like a sister as well.
“I don’t really feel left out,” Lewis said, “because they include me in everything.”
And that might even mean being secretly competing with Lewis, who will also run the 55 hurdles — against her sisters.
“I’m the older sister so I have to keep my time but Juleen, who is the youngest, the freshman, she is really good,” Lewis said. “She’s better than both me and Maria combined. She has the best time in everything she runs and her long jump is really good. I’m the older sister, it’s hard for me. I’m like ‘OK’ I have to humble myself.’
“She is just really talented whereas I have to work hard. I’m like you know, not everybody gets the talent.”
O’Bryant at Boston English, 4 p.m. Tuesday
Even though O’Bryant is undefeated in city league play, Boston English came the closest to beating them this season during a 44-38 contest at O’Bryant on Jan. 8.
English’s gymnasium is also one of the most difficult to play in in the city league and one that O’Bryant has struggled playing in during previous meetings between the two squads.
English is fighting for the second place in the Boston City League South division behind O’Bryant. The Blue and Blue currently sit in third place behind New Mission, who they play on Feb. 13 on the road.
Latin Academy at West Roxbury, 4:30 p.m. Thursday
Latin Academy is down but not out of the city tournament.
Currently in third place in the North division behind Fenway and South Boston, the Dragons need to win all four of their remaining games to clinch a spot in cities, including a Feb. 12 game at South Boston.
The Knights defeated the Dragons 67-60 in the first meeting between the two teams on Jan. 16.
New Mission at O’Bryant, 5:30 p.m. Thursday
This is not only a rematch of last year’s Boston City League championship game, it’s also a battle between the only two undefeated teams in city league play.
Last February Fenway beat the Tigers 57-34 to win its first ever city championship.
And these two teams are the favorites to play again for the city title on Feb. 21.
However, there’s just more on the line in this one for Madison Park. Coach Dennis Wilson’s team is still fighting for that last northern division spot in the cities, and after a walloping win against Fenway, it may have the confidence needed to do it.
New Mission at East Boston, Wednesday, 5 p.m.:
Both teams are going to come into this one with a chip on their shoulder. They were both the victims of late rallies by teams that simply seemed like they wanted to win more last week, so you can expect they will be coming off intense practice sessions.
While a lot of the attention will be on the senior guard Pat Santos and sophomore guard Juwan Gooding matchup, if senior center Will March doesn’t perform against junior forward Fred Rivers, it’s going to be a long game for East Boston.
O’Bryant at Charlestown, Friday, 7 p.m.:
The Townies are coming off a game against East Boston in which coach Edwin Cardoso claimed his team played the best defense he has seen all year.
However, they haven’t faced O’Bryant yet and coach Drew Brock’s team is currently carrying momentum with a 3-game winning streak.
It should be interesting to see how Charlestown plays as Madison Park gets closer and closer to its cities spot.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.
The indoor track team just finished an undefeated regular season (6-0), giving them the south division title for the first time in Snowden’s history and they are now preparing for the city championships.
“It just felt like she really is trying to make you better,” sophomore relay runner Ajia Salmon said. “We worked hard all season, everyone shows up to practice and it paid off.”
This is the kind of effort Rose said has resulted in the team’s success. With the program having just 10 members two years ago, Rose could have focused on recruiting and increasing the amount of participants in the program. However, this just isn’t her philosophy.
“Numbers are not a priority. I’m interested in developing athletes,” Rose said.
She highlighted hard work and work ethic as the two best things to develop such athletes.
This required not just coaching the X and O’s of track but emphasizing the simple things like attendance.
“It requires going to practice every single day. It’s a accumulation of the work you build,” Rose said.
Actually, attendance may not be the easiest thing for Snowden. In addition to Snowden, the members of the team are made up of the Fenway School and the Quincy upper-school. All three of the schools have different dismissals, making scheduling time at the already busy Reggie Lewis Center very difficult.
Luckily, the Fenway students are dismissed early from school to go to practice, but the team is still only able to practice at the Reggie three days a week.
This does not stop the coach. For the two other days of practice, Rose will have her team either run the stairs in Snowden or practice outside.
Her philosophy is already producing results, not just in the mentality of her players but also the amount of participants on the team. The number of runners has already tripled from three years ago.
“I strongly believe it was the core group of kids that pulled over the other kids and got the kids to participate and work hard,” Rose said.
Junior Maria Lewis, Salmon’s teammate in the 4x2 relay, believed it was the family aspect of the team that has increased commitment to the team.
“When I’m at home, I miss these guys. I miss the laughing,” Lewis said. “It’s definitely like a second family.”
According to Lewis, it is that laughing and lighthearted environment that has resulted in the success in their meets.
“We’re always laughing and joking. Everyone else is serious and we’re just going crazy but we’re still using that same amount of energy we use to have fun in to hard work,” Lewis said.
The relay may require the most teamwork out of all the events in indoor track and for these girls, team unity was essential in order to win any meets, let alone their division title.
“When we won the league [division title] ... we worked as a team,” Salmon said. “Without our teammates, we wouldn’t be able to win as individuals. We achieved more things as a team.”
They certainly did. According to Rose, both runners, and the third member of their relay team, senior Vanessa Vilvert, are all considered the core members of the team. Vilvert also won the MVP award of the team last year.
However, Rose knew that her runners would achieve great things a year before, when she saw how they were displaying their work ethic.
“They are extremely hard-working and motivated. The first thing they asked me to do was put a state qualifying expectation on the website,” Rose said.
All three of the relay runners have qualified for this year’s state tournament and the entire team looks to make a mark in the Boston city indoor track championships.
Burke has shown just how much potential it has in the past few weeks. Friday afternoon was no different.
Coming off huge wins against Charlestown (68-63) and Snowden (68-49), Burke (7-6) kept the momentum going against CASH (1-13), in a 62-27 blowout.
“We’ve been coming strong the last couple of games and the last game against Snowden we really peaked and then the game before that against Charlestown, we never beaten Charlestown,” coach Sam Jordan said. “We really showed a lot of promise.”
In both of those big wins, Burke scored 60-plus points. In fact, Burke has scored 60-plus points in all of its victories this season.
After a slow start, the Bulldogs showed that great offensive ability by pushing their lead to 20 by the third quarter.
Guard Careem Kirksey, who seemed to have a first step on every defender on the court, led the offensive onslaught. The senior led the Bulldogs with 15 points.
“Just play as a team and when I’m able to score, I score,” Kirksey said. “I like to drive, but if I’m open, I’ll take the shot.
While Kirksey was happy about his team's play, the senior said he was not satisfied with the win because of the way his team closed.
“We got the win but we ended off sloppy,” he said.
Neither Kirksey nor the coaches were complacent, even when the lead got as high as 30 in the fourth.
Jordan and his assistant coach, Megan Waterbury, were running various plays until the buzzer, even when they emptied the bench to get playing time for their younger players.
“We kind of mixed and put things together with each other and we’ve run a lot of plays. A lot of plays against zone, a lot of plays against man-to-man because a lot of these kids are not used to doing a lot of different things,” Jordan said. “In case we get to better teams, you got to reach in your pocket to pull out some things.”
If Burke continues to score the way it has in the past few weeks and lock up the way it did on Friday, the Bulldogs may just get to play some of those better teams. They are currently second in the South Division, trailing South Boston.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.
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- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
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