Behind a game-high 19 points from senior forward Asante Sandiford, the New Mission boys’ basketball team defeated Boston City League North rival East Boston, 69-61, Wednesday night on the Titans’ home court.
New Mission's seven standout senior Titans — Sandiford, guards Jared Brown, Kordell Harris, Shaquan Murray and Reylando Rise, and forwards Sochika Nzerem and Frederick Rivers — were recognized before tipoff for their contributions to the team.
“Those are good guys,” New Mission coach Cory McCarthy said. “I’ve had a lot of good kids come through this door but the most important thing is all seven of those guys have been accepted to four-year schools and will go to college. Their contribution off the court is greater to our program than what they did on the court tonight.”
In addition to Sandiford’s 19, Murray finished with 15 points and Rivers chipped in 12.
After the first quarter, East Boston held a slim 15-14 lead over the Titans. New Mission battled back in the second quarter and took a 23-18 lead behind aggressive play from Rivers and sophomore guard Tyrique Lee.
McCarthy said Lee and Harris were the “unsung heroes” Wednesday, holding East Boston’s leading scorer, junior guard Dion Knight, to just 15 points.
“The rest of our defense wasn’t great, but those guys, Kordell and Tyrique, really came to play and showed up for us,” McCarthy said.
At halftime, the Titans led, 35-31.
New Mission continued to lead throughout the third quarter, until Jets junior forward Kevin Sinatra, who finished with 14 points, nailed two 3-pointers as the frame came to a close to give East Boston a 50-47 advantage.
Sandiford kicked off the final eight minutes with a lay-in to cut into East Boston’s lead. After the two teams traded buckets, Sandiford scored under the rim and drew a foul. He sank the free throw to complete the 3-point play and tie the game at 54.
“I didn’t feel I had to lead the charge, we all lead the charge as a team,” Sandiford said. “I just made big plays at the end. I found some openings and I just hit big shots like any other of my teammates do.”
After Sandiford tied the game for New Mission, Lee sank a wide-open 3 from way behind the arc to give the Titans the lead. Despite East Boston’s valiant attempt at a comeback, New Mission’s defense held on to the lead.
Sandiford sealed the win at the stripe, hitting three free throws after taking two Jets’ intentional fouls. He then closed out the game with a lay-up.
“I think he really came out and he showed what kind of physical presence he has inside,” McCarthy said of Sandiford. “These are high school boys, and Asante is built like a man. He’s a man. He was a man in the fourth quarter and the end of the third quarter and it worked out for us because he was able to get to his left hand, get to the left side of the basket where he does his most work.”
New Mission improved to 15-2 with Wednesday’s victory. The Titans will head into next week’s City League championships as the team to beat, but McCarthy said his only focus is on the state tournament.
“I don’t really care about the cities. The cities are for the kids,” McCarthy said. “So I’ll treat it like we’re going to an amusement park. You know, like I’m taking the kids out for a walk or something. So we’ll be there, we’ll show up, but our main focus at New Mission is always the state tournament and we’re trying to get ready.”
Sandiford said he is also focused on the state tournament and is confident that New Mission will play deep into the postseason.
“We’re looking to win it all. If we stay together, we keep our composure as a team we will win it all,” Sandiford said. “We’re looking to win the city championship, the state championship. We just want to have a great year. We want to win our last game. We want to win our last game and our last game will be at the DCU center.”
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- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
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