O'Shea Joy scored 22 points to lead No. 7 Madison Park over No. 15 Brighton, 67-64, in the first game of the Boston City League playoffs last night in Roxbury. East Boston took home the nightcap, 62-43, over New Mission.
Both winners advance to todays's final scheduled for 6:30 pm at Madison Park High School.
The Cardinals (16-2) defense held the Bengals (16-4) without a point in the final 1:31 to hang on for the 3 point win.
The Bengals jumped out to an early lead, sparked by the hot shooting of Davion Edwards, who finished with 20 points, including six threes.
Brighton point guard Malik James (12 points, eight assists) shredded the Cardinal defense in the first half, despite playing on a sprained ankle.
The Bengals took a 34-28 lead into the half.
To start the third the Cardinals went box-and-one on James in an effort take the point guard out of the game.
The tactic worked, as Madison Park took a 46-45 lead late in the third on a Dakim Murray (8 points, nine rebounds) lay-in.
"James is a special player," said Madison Park coach Dennis Wilson. "He's the kind of player who can dominate a game. He kept getting into our paint and scoring and dishing. So I took him out of the game with the box-and-one."
Brighton reclaimed the lead with 1:01 remaining in the period, when Jarard Mayers finished an alley-oop from Theo Oribhabor (16 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists).
The Bengals lead wouldn't last, as Madison Park's size and defense proved too much in the final frame, holding Brighton to 10 points.
The Cardinals out rebounded the Bengals 41-24 for the game.
Despite the rebounding margin, Brighton had a chance, trailing 67-64 with just under five seconds remaining, but a three by Oribhabor clanked off the back rim.
"It's about getting stops," said Wilson. "I wasn't sure if I should foul and give up the two or not, but I decided to make them take a guarded desperation three and oh it was close (laughing), but I'll take it."
No. 6 East Boston dominated No 10 New Mission from the opening tip in the second game of the night.
The Jets (15-4) defense, led by Patrick Santos (10 steals), set the tone early, holding the Titans (12-5) to just 6 points in the first quarter.
"We started off very good on the defensive end," said East Boston coach Malcolm Smith. "Then once again, it's a turbulent ride in the Jet and we let them sneak back in the game, but I thought in the second half we were much more solid and played excellent defense."
East Boston was led in scoring by Kyle Fox (17 points), but spread the wealth around, with five different players scoring 7 points or more.
The Jets pulled away in the third, stretching a 5 point lead at the half to 12 by the end of the third.
Kenny Ramos (8 points, 10 rebounds) and Will March (10 points, nine rebounds) dominated the paint, as Eastie finished a plus-5 on the glass.
The Cardinals are 0-2 in two matchups with Eastie this season, but that didn't dampen coach Wilson's excitement for today's championship game.
"It's funny," said the Madison Park coach. "In 2007 we beat them twice during the regular season and then they beat us for the championship. I told my guys that we can beat them in something more meaningful than either of those two regular season games this season -- it's called the City 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ZuriBerry for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Alex Hall | @AlexKHall | Baseball
- Colleen Casey | @ColleenCasey226 | Softball
- Mike Giesta | Boys lacrosse
- Catherine Calsolaro | @catrenee13 | Girls lacrosse
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Boys volleyball
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