Colleague Andrew Mahoney and I hopped down to the South Shore tonight to check out two closely fought South semifinals. A quick recap of each:
Newton North rallies into Div. 1 final
The first half of Newton North’s Division 1 South semifinal played out like the final quarter in its last visit to Brockton High’s – overwhelmed by a lightning-quick backcourt.
But once the Tigers shook off the rust, and slowed the game to a crawl, they would not be stopped. They overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to Durfee and won, 61-57, to advance to their third South final in five seasons.
Newton North improved to 20-4, while Durfee ends its season at 18-4.
“Big time players step up,” North head coach Paul Connolly said. “It’s not about me, it’s about these kids in that locker room being resilient, stepping up, backs to the wall in the beginning…we’re going to UMass-Boston. I’m so happy for these kids.”
After getting torched by Durfee’s Mike Rivera (25 points) in the first half, the Tigers broke into a 2-3 zone to shore up the perimeter. The switch forced the Hilltoppers into an unfavorable tempo, and allowed guards Geoff Woodberry (10 points) and Craig Marriro to play a consistent high-low game with 6-foot-8 junior Greg Kelley (25 points, 12 rebounds, 11-of-14 field goals).
It finally paid off in the fourth quarter, where the Tigers outscored the Hilltoppers, 17-6. Johnny Pavao nailed a three from the right wing to give Durfee its final lead of the night, 57-54, with two minutes left, only to watch Kelley respond with a trey from the left wing on the next possession.
Woodberry then went 1-for-2 at the line after drawing a blocking foul, and then stripped Rivera of the ball for layup and 60-57 lead with 30 ticks to go.
Abington boys advance
It wasn't pretty, but the Abington boys basketball team earned a trip to the Division 3 South semifinals with a 41-39 win over Pembroke.
The Green Wave led for almost the entire game and had their largest lead at 35-26 early in the fourth quarter, but managed just one field goal the rest of the way. Pembroke took its only lead of the game at 38-37 on a drive by James Gaine with 2:03 remaining, but Brian Kurowski responded for Abington with a nice post move, giving the Green Wave the lead for good.
Trailing 41-39, the Titans had the ball with 13 seconds left, but Abington's Ryan Chambers (team-high 13 points) came off his man to steal the ball with 6 seconds remaining. After Abington missed the front end of a one-and-one, Pembroke had one last gasp, but the shot hit the front end of the rim as time expired.
Abington (22-1) will face Scituate on Saturday, at noon, at UMass-Boston, for the Division 3 South championship.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.