BC High clamped down on defense, charged back from a 12-point halftime deficit, and punched its ticket to the TD Banknorth Garden with a 74-63 victory over Brockton in the Division 1 South final last night at UMass-Boston.
Senior forward Jake O'Brien led the Eagles' offense with 23 points, aided by junior Mike Albanese (18 points, 13 in the second half) and Brian Mahoney (10 points).
"To be in a gym as hot as that, and to play as hard as they did for three quarters, they just gave a real good solid effort in that fourth quarter," BC High coach Bill Loughnane said. "We just told [the players] to get closer [on defense] . . . I think our kids were mad that [Brockton] had so many open looks [in the first half] and they just took it upon themselves."
The second quarter belonged to the Boxers, who quickly leaped to a 29-17 lead on the strength of three treys in the first 2:12 of play. The advantage would jump slightly to 14 before the half ended with Brockton up, 42-30.
"Halftime was bad, halftime was bad," Boxers coach Bob Boen quipped. "No, no, [BC High] came out in the second half and they played great. They seemed to pick up their defense a little bit on us. We weren't getting many open shots in the second half and that was the big difference, I think. We had to force some shots in the second half and they didn't go in."
A 3-pointer by Albanese opened a 9-2 run that got the Eagles to within 49-45 in the third, and they overtook the Boxers in the fourth. O'Brien cleaned up a missed free throw by Mahoney and scored the go-ahead basket to give BC High a 58-56 lead with 4:51 to go. The Eagles wouldn't fall behind again.
O'Brien believes neither he nor his teammates will feel any fatigue in tomorrow's EMass final against Central Catholic.
"I think at this point we're just playing on adrenaline," he said. "It's the end of the season and we all want to win."