Against an explosive team like Acton-Boxboro, Duxbury coach Friend Weiler knew defense would be the key to victory.“We knew we had to keep them outside and force them at the blue line to stagnate their speed,” said Weiler after the Green Dragons earned a 3-0 victory over Acton-Boxboro in the Division 1 semifinals on Sunday at the Stoneham Arena.Duxbury goalie Rachel Myette stopped 19 shots against a Colonials (21-3-0) squad littered with offensive talent. In the postseason, the Dragons (16-1-6) have collected three shutouts and outscored opponents, 9-0.After a tussle at the front of the net, junior forward Jane Dudley powered one home for a 1-0 lead 9:53 into the first period. Senior forward Zoe Griffin and sophomore forward Julia Nolan were credited with assists.
At one point this season, Braintree was 5-4-1. Now, the Wamps will be playing for the Division 1 championship.Top-seeded Braintree edged No. 6-seed Barnstable, 5-4, in the Division 1 South final Sunday at Gallo Arena in Bourne.“I never would have thought I would be playing here in January when we were 5-4-1,” said forward Kyle Leslie, who scored two goals and assisted on one. “But we knew that we had the talent to overcome what we were doing.“We had a couple of days off. We re-grouped and went on a winning streak.”One reason why the Wamps (16-5-3) revived their season was the improved play of the Leslie-Nick Ward-Brian Gallagher line.
The Division 2 Central Mass boys’ championship at WPI Saturday was defined by two runs by Concord-Carlisle.The Patriots trailed early in the first quarter, 6-2, and promptly went on a 13-0 run, led by senior guard Jamir Henderson’s 7 first-quarter points that allowed them to take a 17-11 lead into the second quarter. Then the Patriots finished the half on a 14-2 run, led by sophomore center Eric Sellew’s 7 second-quarter points. Excellent team defense and rebounding enabled Concord-Carlisle to finish off Hopkinton for a 66-55 victory.
Three clutch free throws in overtime by junior Malik Malcolm gave Milton a 71-69 victory over Sharon in the Division 2 South boys’ basketball final Saturday at UMass-Boston.Sharon senior guard Brian Mukasa had made a 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime.With 30 seconds left in OT and his team trailing, 69-68, Malcolm stepped to the stripe and crouched down. The 6-foot-3-inch forward took a moment to collect himself before nailing both shots to put Milton on top.“I had to knock those down, my team needed me,” Malcolm said.Malcolm drew another foul with just 6.7 seconds left in OT and hit another free throw to make it 71-69.
LOWELL — A size advantage was the difference for the third-seeded Arlington Catholic girls’ basketball team, as it held off top-ranked Watertown, 42-35, to capture the Division 2 North title Saturday at the Tsongas Center.“I do think our size helped us out today, absolutely,” said Cougars coach Dave Brady. “There’s a lot of size in our league, too. So the opportunity to play those kinds of teams really helped us out today.”
New Mission’s 61-50 victory over Danvers in Saturday’s Division 2 North final at the Tsongas Center helped punch its ticket to TD Garden for the EMass final against Milton Tuesday night.It also marked the end of the line for the Falcons, who won the last two Division 3 state titles and had their 14-game tournament win streak stopped.Milton 71, Sharon 69 — Three clutch free throws in overtime by junior Malik Malcolm gave Milton a victory over Sharon in the Division 2 South final at UMass-Boston.Sharon senior guard Brian Mukasa had made a 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left to send the game to overtime.With 30 seconds left in OT and Milton trailing, 69-68, Malcolm stepped to the stripe and crouched down. The 6-foot-3-inch forward took a moment to collect himself before nailing both shots.
Watertown’s methodology is clear-cut: get the ball in point guard Cesar Fulcar’s hands.“That’s how we play — we’re going to live and die with that, with Cesar making decisions for us,” Watertown coach Steve Harrington said. “He’s our floor general, as he has been all year.”It’s been a prescription for success, as Fulcar’s confidence and basketball IQ give the Red Raiders time and chances. And it helped Watertown roar past Middlesex League foe Stoneham, 48-34, in the Division 3 North final at the Tsongas Center Saturday.Cardinal Spellman 45, Westport 34— Sensing the moment, Cardinal Spellman outscored Westport, 13-5, in the third quarter of a grind-it-out game to win the Division 3 South title at UMass-Boston.
Lucas Bastarache felt the pressure. The junior forward from Wayland knew that after his team’s leading scorer, Nick Morgan, went down in the opening minutes Saturday afternoon that he would have to step up.And that’s what he did. Bastarache scored two goals, including the winner at 14:02 of the second period, to lift the Warriors over Newton South, 3-2, in the Division 3 North final at Stoneham Arena. Wayland moves on to play the winner of Bishop Stang and Hanover in the D3 state semifinals Thursday at Gallo Arena.“I knew that Nick got hurt. I knew that we all had to step up,” said Bastarache, who also had an assist. “I think we all felt the pressure and we did pretty well with it.”
LOWELL — New Mission’s 61-50 victory over Danvers in Saturday’s Division 2 North final at the Tsongas Center helped punch its ticket to TD Garden for the EMass semifinals against Milton Tuesday night.It also marked the end of the line for the Falcons, who won the last two Division 3 state titles and had their 14-game tournament win streak stopped.The New Mission boys will join their female counterparts at the Garden, with the girls besting Fenway Friday, 43-36, for the Division 4 North championship. They play Greater New Bedford Monday. The many talents of Fred Rivers were on display for the New Mission boys Saturday, with Rivers doing whatever it took to win.
After knocking off defending MIAA South Division 3 champion Martha’s Vineyard in the semifinals in overtime Wednesday, Cardinal Spellman outscored Westport, 13-5, in the third quarter of a grind-it-out title game for a 45-34 victory at UMass-Boston Saturday.Cardinal Spellman heads to TD Garden Tuesday for a matchup against North winner Watertown in the EMass final.
The top-ranked Braintree girls’ basketball team refused to talk about the possibility of playing on the parquet floor at TD Garden this season.In fact, the Wamps weren’t allowed to mention it — until Saturday, when, improbably, Braintree rallied from a 22-point first-half deficit against Bay State League foe Newton North for a stunning 58-45 victory in the Division 1 South championship game.Coach Kristen McDonnell told her players to cut their 14-point halftime deficit to at least 6 points by the end of the third quarter.And that is exactly what the Wamps did, draining back-to-back 3-pointers at the end of the quarter.
LOWELL – The Watertown High boys’ basketball team’s game methodology is clear-cut: get the ball in point guard Cesar Fulcar’s hands.“That’s how we play — we’re going to live and die with that, with Cesar making decisions for us,” Watertown coach Steve Harrington said. “He’s our floor general, as he has been all year.”It’s been a prescription for success, as Fulcar’s confidence and basketball IQ give the Red Raiders time and chances. And it helped Watertown roar past Middlesex League foe Stoneham, 48-34, in the Division 3 North final at the Tsongas Center Saturday.
LOWELL — A half-court prayer went up as the final buzzer went off, but the shot missed, sending St. Mary’s to TD Garden for the first time since 2011 after a 47-45 victory in the Division 3 North girls’ final.Valiant efforts from Vikings senior captain Ashelyne Babb and 6-foot sophomore Nina Bartlette kept Winthrop alive, but St. Mary’s hung on, although it came inches away from letting the game slip away.
A year after coming up just short, the Duxbury High girls’ basketball team is headed to the Division 2 EMass finals. The Dragons earned the South title with a 41-26 victory over Sharon at UMass-Boston Saturday.Duxbury (24-0) relied on the defense that got it to the sectional final, holding the Eagles to 4 points in the first quarter and a season-low 26 points.Sharon struggled to get shots off against Duxbury’s forwards: 5-foot-11-inch senior Haley McLaughlin, 6-0 junior Catherine Harrison, and 6-4 junior Molly Quilty. No Eagle is taller than 5-10.
Phil Perry selects his Players of the Week and Top 10 boys’ and girls’ basketball teams from high school programs west of Boston.
Jacob Feldman selects his Players of the Week and Top 10 boys’ and girls’ basketball teams from high school programs south of Boston.
The School Committee last week approved the addition of club lacrosse programs for boys and girls at the East Bridgewater Junior-Senior High School this spring. The total cost would be $24,000 — $12,000 for each team — with the money coming from the East Bridgewater Youth Lacrosse League Inc. The arrangement is similar to one used when the high school began an ice hockey program, said Principal Paul Vieira and Athletic Director Thomas Kenney. In that case, parents of the players shouldered the costs for years. Superintendent John Moretti said Kenney would monitor the program and decide when it might be moved up to a junior varsity, and ultimately varsity, level. Moretti told members of the youth lacrosse program that they might have to fund the program for several years until “the School Committee feels it viably could be put in the school budget.”
Hayley Wardwell, Jenny Worden, and Joie Grassi first played Amateur Athletic Union ball together in the fourth grade. Meghan Raab joined their Bay State Magic squad two years later. The four have grown close while playing more than 500 games together and developing into one of the best AAU programs in the state. The girls have all enjoyed all of the success, but their favorite AAU memories have often come off the court: in hotel rooms, malls, and amusement parks up and down the East Coast. “We all have the same goals, we all want to become better basketball players and we’ve made each other better,” said Wardwell, who along with Worden and Grassi stands 5-feet-10, while Raab is 6-2. But now, they are also rivals after making impressive debuts on the court as high school freshmen.
In a 2011 Sports Illustrated article, author Pablo Torres, drawing from Centers for Disease Control data, surmised that “no more than 70 American men are between the ages of 20 and 40 are at least 7 feet tall. From this, he further deduced that “while the probability of, say, an American between 6-6 and 6-8 being an NBA player today stands at a mere 0.07 percent, it is a staggering 17 percent for someone 7 feet or taller.” But the central takeaway from Torres’s hypothesis is that basketball expectations are inherently greater for 7-footers.
Josh Sharma suspected he would be tall — his father, Jayant, is 6-foot-4, his mother, Henrietta, measures 5-foot-11, and his 20-year-old twin brothers, Matthew, a junior at Swarthmore who played basketball his first two years, and Benjamin, a junior at Wheaton College, are each 6-foot-6 — reaching the 84-inch plateau surpassed what even he was led to believe. The 7-footer from Lexington spent much of his childhood playing baseball, and not the sport that has yielded him 11 Division 1 college scholarship offers, including from Boston College, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland, Oklahoma State, and Wisconsin. In his two seasons at the Northfield Mount Hermon School, and suiting up for Mass Rivals in Amateur Athletic Union ball, his has game evolved. He also started turning heads. “His athleticism is way beyond the typical seven-foot athlete,” said NMH coach John Carroll.
WELLESLEY — Patrick Benzan wasn’t about to let his kid sister Katie beat him, and she wasn’t about to back down. Years later, their one-on-one matchups have continued, and the siblings, who consider themselves best friends, have helped each other become two of the best high school players in the state. Patrick is a 5-foot-11 point guard who has committed to Holy Cross. He recently finished his senior season at Roxbury Latin as the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,886 points) and assist man (501 assists). Katie, a 5-5 sophomore at Nobles, has played on her school’s varsity team since the eighth grade as well. In her three years, she has established herself as one of the key cogs on the top preparatory girls’ program in New England.
The feeling did not hit James Foye and his Phillips Exeter teammates until they finally caught their breathe and embraced one another in the postgame locker room. Last Sunday, the Phillips Exeter boys’ basketball team captured its second consecutive New England Prep Class A title with a thrilling 49-46 victory over Hotchkiss last Sunday, when Jeb Helmers knocked down the title-clinching 3-pointer with under three seconds on the clock. “It was pure ecstasy when that buzzer sounded,” recalled Foye, who played his first two seasons at Hamilton-Wenham before transferring to Exeter. “The jubilation you feel after all that hard work is amazing.” The 6-foot-3 sophomore guard played crucial minutes down the stretch for Jay Tilton’s Big Red (17-9), as he has all season.
Joseph Saade selects his Players of the Week and Top 10 boys’ and girls’ basketball teams from high school programs north of Boston.
In a thrilling Division 4 North final Friday night at Emmanuel College, top-seeded St. Clement came out with a 62-57 victory over third-seeded St. Mary’s, setting up a state semifinals meeting with South champion Bishop Connolly on Monday at the TD Garden. Junior center Eamonn Joyce took over in the fourth quarter, scoring the first 6 points of the frame and pushing the Anchormen (22-1) to a 50-46 lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way. Asserting his 6-foot-8-inch presence in the paint, Joyce finished with a game-high 25 points and 14 rebounds.“We felt that he could score on the baseline,” St. Clement coach Leo Boucher said of his center. “That’s where he got a lot of his looks. That’s his game . . . he played his role.”
Tied at 48 with almost three minutes to play, St. John’s of Shrewsbury and Franklin must have realized what was on the line in Friday’s Division 1 Central Mass final. Turnovers, airballs, and missed free throws showed that nerves were winning out and with less than 20 seconds to play nothing had changed on the scoreboard at WPI.But with 12.3 seconds left, St. John’s TJ Kelley scored inside to take a 2-point lead. A Franklin turnover led to a technical foul and after the free throws and a last second basket St. John’s (S) escaped with a 55-48 win.
TAUNTON — No. 1 seed Bishop Connolly outscored No. 6 seed Bristol-Plymouth, 23-8, in the third quarter to lead by as many as 30 points and surge past the Craftsmen to defend their Division 4 South title Friday, 74-52. The Cougars (20-0) entered the tournament a heavy favorite to be the last team standing and ran through their Division 4 schedule undefeated.“I told them, ‘we better come out on fire in the first four minutes of the third quarter,’” Cougars coach Matt Coute said. “I told them they better not make me take the first timeout of the third quarter. We didn’t want to give that team motivation.”Junior guard Dylan Holland scored 13 of his game-high 27 points in the first eight minutes of the second half.