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Brighton's win begins new age for city championship

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs  February 21, 2013 11:17 PM

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Brighton celebrates after beating rival New Mission in the Boston City League tournament championship game on Thursday night. (Pavel Dzemianok / For the Boston Globe)

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.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

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