After winning back-to-back state titles in 2001 and 2002, it took St. Mary’s of Lynn a decade to get back to the Division 4 state championship. They weren’t going to let the bright lights of TD Garden stop them from their ultimate goal.
Senior guard Devin Thompson scored 25 points and junior Tommy Deveau had nine points off the bench as St. Mary’s of Lynn clinched the Division 4 state title with a 70-64 victory over Cathedral Monday afternoon.
“If you don’t have butterflies coming into a state championship game, you probably shouldn’t be playing basketball,” said Spartan forward Nick Gagliolo. “I was really nervous coming in, but once the ball went up, everything just settled in.”
Their opponent, Cathedral, came in with a squad full of kids who were on the roster form their 2010 state final loss to New Mission.
The Spartans and Panthers had faced off twice before during league play for the Catholic Central Large. The Spartans took the first meeting of the season, 62-52, at their home gym in Lynn. Their second meeting on Feb. 17 went to Cathedral, 74-61.
“There were no surprises,” Gagliolo said. “Obviously we played them twice. They were battles both games. It was great that we came out successful this time.”
Randolf Thurman did not play the second game for the Spartans, but made all the difference in this one, scoring 14 points while playing all 32 minutes.
“From my perspective, he’s the best guard around,” said Moran of his junior point guard. “I say that because he can do it all. He had assists, points, steals, and rebounds. He’s just the guy that makes us go.”
The Panthers got off to a quick start, taking a 10-5 lead midway through the second on a Kyle Lawyer hoop and harm play. Deveau then made a layup and hit a three on consecutive possessions to tie the game.
Lawyer, who had a game-high 26, answered with a lay up and three of his own, only to be matched by Thompson, who hit his own three-pointer and nailed a turnaround jumper to tie the game at 15 with 50 seconds left in the first. A Thurman layup with 15 seconds left in the quarter game the Spartans a 17-15 lead, one that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Including the Thompson jumper and Thurman layup, the Spartans would go on a 12-3 run through the middle of the second period. The Spartans held Cathedral to only eight points in the second quarter, and went into the locker room with a 32-23 lead.
“On that run, our focus was that we had to stop them on transition and we had to box everyone out,” Thurman said. “We also had to run through our plays and keep our composure.
“We were setting picks for each other. We got on each other saying we have to set all of our picks, have them hard, and wait for them so we don’t have an offensive foul. I think that how we freed our guys up and how we moved the ball around set us up for all the points we got.”
Cathedral’s Carlos Bermudez fouled out early in the fourth quarter, which seemed to spark the Panther offense. The Panthers went on a 12-2 run to pull within four at 62-58 with 2:18 to play, but foul trouble for Cathedral put the Spartans at the line, all but sealing the victory for the Spartans.
“Words can’t describe how I feel right now,” Gagliolo said. “They really can’t.”
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