On the way back from scouting their next opponent – No. 4 Lynnfield – coach Paul Rogers and his Snowden players passed by the setting for what has been the team’s goal since preseason: TD Garden, site of the boys' Division 4 state final.
“Our goal was to win a state championship so we all know the stakes,” Rogers said. “We’re ready and willing to accept the challenge. We’re just happy to have the opportunity to play another day because there’s three city teams left.”
No. 10 Snowden will tip off against Lynnfield Friday night at 7:45 in the Division 4 North final at Emmanuel College. The winner advances to the state final on Tuesday.
Snowden has momentum after knocking off No. 6 St. Mary’s in a double-overtime thriller. According to Rogers, this is the furthest Snowden has gone in the state tournament.
“I love my team,” said junior Derron Stone who had 13 points against St. Mary’s. “We just have a big heart and when we’re together, nothing can stop us. There’s been times when we’ve been down a lot and we just get into the huddle and we talk. We just play like this is our last game.”
However, on Friday they’ll have to deal with a team featuring the Cape Ann League Division 2 coach of the year, Scott McKenzie, and the league's player of the year, senior point guard Patrick Kearney.
“[He’s a] tough kid, lefthander, and they have a couple forwards that are really, really skilled so they do a good job being disciplined in running their offense and they attack from the transition point of view,” Rogers said.
Snowden knows a thing about fast-break offense as well, getting a lot of transition buckets off of full-court pressure defense.
“We’re going to have to do well [with] what we do against every team and that’s have a good press,” said Stone. “At Snowden, we always have trouble getting rebounds but our press definitely actually helps us a lot. It helps us get turnovers, fast-break chances and opportunities to score.”
Snowden will have to continue to capitalize on those opportunities to reach its final goal. However, the players can start to see the bigger effect their success is having on their school.
“From the headmaster of not just Snowden but the Josiah Quincy to our athletic coordinator at Snowden and on down, it’s a tremendous thing for the team and for the school to have the opportunity,” Rogers said.
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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