Although the O’Bryant boys’ basketball team struggled this season, posting a 4-16 record and failing to qualify for the state tournament, senior forward Joseph Farrell and senior center Ben Lawler were still able to distinguish themselves as two of the best big men in the Boston City League.
“These two kids are by far my two best players and I’m by far the hardest on them and sometimes I get a suck of the teeth once in a while but then I get 110 percent right after,” Tigers coach Drew Brock said. “And you know as a coach that’s all I could ask for. They never, ever die on me and that’s something I appreciate.”
O’Bryant lost eight games this year by 6 points or fewer, including a 2-point loss to Burke in the season opener.
As one of the best frontcourt duos in the city, Farrell and Lawler gave the Tigers a chance to win every one of those tight contests. Lawler averaged 21 points per game and Farrell averaged 17.
“I've got to be smart as a coach, and I run 75 percent of all my plays for these two,” Brock said.
Farrell, O’Bryant’s captain, leads the team on the court and in the classroom.
“Off the court we have the Tiger Zone, which is our study hall, and Joe Farrell serves as a mentor,” Brock said. “All my freshmen, for some reason, they gravitate to him. He’s a good kid and he’s a funny guy but he knows the system and he knows how to do the right thing and I feel like he’s been a good, positive role model for these young kids.”
Farrell said he is the vocal leader on the team while Lawler leads by example.
“I talk a lot,” Farrell said. “I probably say a lot of stuff that the kids don’t like but it’s to push them. And even me and Ben go at it but that’s only because we make each other better at practice.”
Farrell also stars on the gridiron for the Tigers. He said he has only played basketball for four years but has played football for seven and hopes to continue doing so after graduation.
“My plan after high school is to play football somewhere, most likely prep school, but I’m looking at colleges such as Stonehill, Wentworth as well,” Farrell said. “But when I go to college I want to play basketball and football.”
Lawler said basketball is his “one and only love” and he, like Farrell, wants to play in college or prep school.
“I’ve been scouted by multiple schools but the ones that keep showing up to my games are Wentworth and Salem," said Lawler. "But you know, it all comes down to the GPA. I hope I play college ball but if not I play prep school and hopefully I get into a better college program, Division 2 maybe, get a scholarship. College is expensive so I hope basketball can take me there.”
Despite missing out on a postseason berth in their final season at O’Bryant, Farrell and Lawler said they still had a great year with a close group of teammates.
“Normally we have egos on the team but this year it was more family-oriented,” Farrell said. “Even though we fell short of a good season, we made a lot of close friends and we had a lot of fun.”
“Last year we were friends,” he said. “This year we’re family.”
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