East Boston earned a 59-57 overtime victory over Dorchester in the first matchup and New Mission defeated Snowden, 66-50, in the late game Wednesday at Madison Park. The two teams will go head-to-head in the city championship Thursday.
In the first semifinal, junior guard Dion Knight carried East Boston with a game-high 35 points. He scored 9 in the first quarter and gave the Jets an early 16-7 lead.
“We gotta ride him, he’s our go-to guy. We go as Dion goes,” East Boston coach Shawn Brown said. “And in that situation it’s get the ball to Dion and we play off of Dion, it’s no secret.”
Dorchester’s defense tightened up in the second quarter. After trailing, 23-10, The Bears went on a 16-4 run behind two 3-pointers from senior guard/forward Tavon Smallpiece and trailed by just 1 at halftime.
After a low-scoring third quarter, Dorchester led, 36-35.
The teams swapped 1-point leads to start the fourth quarter. Down 42-41, Knight gave East Boston its largest lead of the frame after a layup and a 3-pointer. Layups from Dorchester junior guard Justin Clarke and Smallpiece tied the game at 46 with just over a minute to play.
Neither team could score in the final seconds and the game headed to overtime.
“It was a scary thing,” Knight said. “I thought we were gonna lose. I had to keep my head in the game.”
Brown said he told his team that overtime was just four more minutes to win the game.
“I told them at that point it’s about them,” Brown said. “They gotta want it more, it’s about who wants it more. And they came out and worked hard.”
Overtime was much like the final quarter. The teams traded buckets and the score was knotted at 55 with 1:47 to play. Knight sank two free throws to give East Boston the edge, but senior guard Khail Newson made a layup to tie the game once again.
With just 34.8 seconds left on the clock, Mitchell scored to put the Jets on top. Dorchester was unable to score on its final possession and East Boston escaped with the victory.
Dorchester senior guard Markus Neale notched his 1,000th career point and finished with 15 in the loss.
In the second game, New Mission coach Cory McCarthy earned his 200th win and senior forward Fred Rivers scored a game-high 21 points for the Titans. Senior forward Asante Sandiford added 12 points, including three huge one-handed dunks.
“Snowden, they’re a good team,” Rivers said. “They came out, they gave us their best in the first and then we felt we needed to turn it up a little notch so we came out and tried to have as much fun as we could playing.”
South Boston defeated Dorchester, 45-28, in the first game and Fenway cruised to a 56-15 victory over Brighton in the second matchup of the Boston City League championship basketball semifinals.
The first semifinal between South Boston and Dorchester was a tight defensive battle. After a low-scoring first quarter, the Knights held a 7-6 lead.
Scoring proved no easier in the second quarter, and Dorchester took a 14-13 lead into the half.
“I told them at the halftime we needed to go back to what we did the whole season to get us where we are,” said South Boston coach Andrea Higgins. “We were taking good shots, but we weren’t taking great shots. We needed to attack the basket, we needed to step up on defense. Our defense all year has created our offense.”
Dorchester took an 18-13 lead at the start of the third quarter after junior guard Verdine Casimir scored and senior guard Phylis Nyamunda followed with a steal and a layup.
South Boston sophomore guard Jocelyn Harris answered with two consecutive layups and Kadijah Young hit a free throw to tie it. After Nyamunda gave Dorchester a 20-18 lead, Harris scored on another layup and drained a 3-pointer to put the Knights back on top.
“It’s a team effort all the time,” Higgins said. “And on any given night, any one of my kids has stepped up and Jocelyn kept us right there and actually gave us the lead.”
The Knights took a 27-22 lead into the fourth quarter and never trailed again. Junior forward Destinee Morris (game-high 18 points) nailed two 3-pointers off feeds from senior guard Elaina Wright-McCarthy in the final frame to close out the victory.
Nyamunda led the Bears with 12 points. Harris chipped in 11 for South Boston.
“Heading into the championship, our goal is to win,” Higgins said. “We’ve played Fenway twice, they’re our only two losses this year. We’ve obviously seen them, we know what they have. We know what we have to do in order to win.”
Fenway’s offense fired on all cylinders in the second semifinal game. Sophomore guard Takora McIntyre finished with 18 points for the Panthers and junior forward Jalisa Ross added 17. Senior guard Walae Hayek scored 6 points for Brighton.
Although Brighton was the fourth-place team in the South Division and earned a spot in the city tournament because the top two teams in the division were barred from competing, Fenway coach John Rice did not take his opponent lightly.
“It’s the cities,” Rice said. “Anybody here is good enough to be here and that’s just the way we approached it.”
South Boston and Fenway will compete for the City League title Thursday at 5 p.m. at Madison Park.
“They’re athletic, they’re tough,” Rice said of South Boston. “We played them twice. They’re our toughest competitor in the league every year. They’re well-coached. Coach was a Division 1 ballplayer herself, she knows the game. You know, we’re both familiar with each other. I expect a good game.”
Boston City League champions will be crowned this week in girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball and boys’ hockey. Basketball will be held at Madison Park with the hockey championship at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena.
The action kicks off Tuesday with the girls’ basketball semifinals. The Boston South champion Dorchester Bears take on the runner-up from the North Division, South Boston, at 4 p.m.
South Boston earned an impressive 15-2 record this season. Dorchester, which finished at 9-8, will face an uphill battle as they try to knock off the Knights.
The second girls’ semifinal will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the champion from the North, Fenway, challenging Brighton, the South Division’s runner-up.
Fenway cruised to a perfect 12-0 City League record this season and is the favorite to win the title. Sophomore guard Takora McIntyre will look to carry her team in the tournament with her relentless defense and ability to score from all areas of the floor.
The winner of each semifinal will advance to the championship. The title game is scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m.
The boys’ semifinals begin Wednesday at 4 p.m. with Central Division champion Dorchester going head-to-head with East Boston, the runner-up in the North Division.
Dorchester posted a 16-4 record this season courtesy of a high-powered offense comprised of seniors Markus Neale, Tavon Smallpiece, and Khail Newson. But Dorchester did lose to East Boston earlier this season, and the Bears’ defense will have its hands full with East Boston’s sharpshooting junior forward Kevin Sinatra and junior guard Dion Knight. Knight has been one of the city’s top scorers this season, consistently posting over 20 points per game.
Boston North champion New Mission will take on South champion Snowden in the second semifinal at 5:30 p.m.
New Mission fell to Brighton in last year’s city championship, but this year the Titans are in position to bring home the title. Snowden posted a 7-14 record this season and struggled against teams outside of the City League South Division. The Cougars will have a tough time containing New Mission’s high-scoring seniors Shaquan Murray and Asante Sandiford.
The boys’ championship game will be Thursday at 6:30 p.m., right after the girls’ championship.
A City League championship trophy for hockey will be awarded Wednesday morning at Matthews. Six-time defending champion Latin Academy will face off with East Boston for the title at 10 a.m.
The first time these two teams met this season, Latin Academy captain Mark Guerard netted a hat trick to give the Dragons a 5-3 victory. But East Boston refused to drop the second matchup and the two teams skated to a 3-3 tie. Although Latin Academy has won six straight titles, this is anyone’s game. If the Jets score early on Latin Academy goalie Thomas Guarino, who is only in eighth grade, East Boston could come away as the new City League champion.
The Dorchester boys’ basketball team defeated Fenway High, 86-40, on the Panthers’ home court Tuesday night. Five Dorchester seniors scored in double-digits and the Bears’ strong defensive play held Fenway to just 3 points in the second quarter.
Senior guard Markus Neale tallied a game-high 24 points for the Bears, who improved to 7-2.
“I thought I did pretty good,” Neale said. “It was a team effort today and we just got the job done.”
Dorchester senior guard Khail Newson scored 14 points and seniors Dean Lee, Leon Sealy and Tavon Smallpiece each chipped in 11.
“They get after it, the seniors,” Dorchester coach Johnny Williams said. “We’re a senior- led team. We don’t hold back because we’re not playing cupcakes. Every team we play is a formidable opponent.”
Dorchester led, 22-10, aftger the opening quarter.
The Bears extended their lead in the second quarter thanks to lights-out 3-point shooting. Lee and Neale knocked down two threes each as Dorchester built a 47-13 lead heading into halftime.
“We have great shooters that we just work on within our sets,” Williams said. “All of my guys are guards. So they all have to work on ball-handling, shooting on the next level if they play collegiate basketball. They’re nothing but guards. I don’t have 6-10s, 6-11s, so they’re all guards.”
Dorchester continued to dominate in the second half. Lee and Neale each hit 3-pointers in the third quarter and the Bears carried a 69-26 lead into the final eight minutes.
Although Dorchester held a 43-point advantage at the start of the fourth quarter, the Bears played with intensity until the final buzzer.
“To get where we have to go we have to play hard consistently, can’t let up,” Newson said. “A team like Fenway – we see better competition but it’s teams like this where we got to play harder and work on stuff because when we make a run at states we know how to keep our foot on the gas.”
Led by freshman guard Masseny Kaba, the Dorchester girls’ basketball team earned its second win of the season Friday night, defeating visiting CASH, 38-21.
Kaba scored a game-high 13 points and pulled down more than 10 rebounds. She also played consistent defense, making two statement blocks. Although she is younger than many girls on the team, Kaba is without question the Bears’ leader.
“She’s only in ninth grade, so I have her for a couple more years, so I’m building around her,” said Dorchester coach Raul Brown. “Our future looks bright as long as she continues to stay at TBA [TechBoston Academy] with us.”
After the first quarter, Dorchester held a slim 7-6 advantage. But the Bears offense picked up in the second quarter as Kaba scored 7 points and freshman forward Tianna Daniels chipped in 4.
The Bears held CASH to just 2 points in the quarter and began to pull away, taking an 18-8 lead at halftime.
“I feel that I did a good job and that I was helping my team and I was a leader,” Kaba said. “It’s kind of hard being tall and trying to play point guard and do all that other stuff as a freshman. I started playing when I was in seventh grade and I didn’t know nothing at all, so I was taught. And I’m just now getting better.”
Dorchester continued to play well in the second half, backed by Kaba’s defensive presence.
“I like to play aggressive,” she said. “If I know I can block it, then I’m going to block it, but I don’t like to foul.”
The Bears carried a 28-14 lead into the final eight minutes, and closed out the victory with 3-pointers from eighth-grader Briana Irwin and senior Nyzaya Ambers.
With the win, Dorchester improved to 2-5.
“We’ve been working on a lot of passing and dribbling," said Brown. "You know our girls can’t really do much if they can’t dribble. So what I’ve been doing a lot in practice is having a lot of dribble drills, a lot of passing drills.
"And I've got a couple seniors on the team, so I told them this is their last year, they've got to show what kind of caliber team they’re going to be this year.
“Our team’s really young but I’m really excited about what we have.”
St. John’s Prep takes over the new No. 1 spot in the top 20 after defeating BC High, 6-5, last Wednesday on the road. Newton North is still undefeated at 10-0 but the the Prep’s schedule against the likes of BC High and Xaverian gave them the edge this week over the Tigers.
As for the fourth and fifth-place spots, it was a hard call between BC High and the Rebels of Walpole. Walpole has played more games (currently 9-1) than the Eagles but if strength of opponents gave the Prep the edge we had to apply that same principal to the close battle for fourth and fith place.
Danvers moved up three spots from last week after going 2-0 since last Sunday. The Falcons are 6-0 on the year, joining Newton North, Archbishop Williams and North Reading in the undefeated top 20 teams club.
As for Coyle & Cassidy, the Warriors might not be undefeated but they are leading the Eastern Athletic Conference at the moment. With an 8-1 overall record paired with an undefeated league mark, the Warriors climbed to the 11th spot this week.
Looking toward the bottom of the rankings, Xaverian stays in the top 20 despite a less-than-stellar record so far this year. Much like last year, the Hawks have struggled to start this season with a 5-4 record. They split their two games this past week, defeating Brockton last Monday but losing to Catholic Conference rival Catholic Memorial on Wednesday. It’s getting harder and harder to keep the Hawks on this list based on anything but name and their Division 1 title from a year ago.
Undefeated BC High tops the new Boston.com baseball top 20 with some impressive wins already notched. The Eagles have scored at least eight runs in all but one game this year, with the one exception being their 2-1 victory over Malden Catholic.
Conference rival St. John’s Prep takes the No. 2 spot, with its 7-1 record so far. The Prep has played more games and thus won more than BC High, but the opening game blemish against Xaverian keeps it from the No. 1 ranking.
As for Xaverian, the No. 14 Hawks have had a tough go so far. The team has losses to Wellesley, Peabody and Newton North on its resume. While all those defeats came against teams owning a position in the first 13 spots of this top 20, you have to beat top teams when you’re the defending Division 1 champion.
Looking toward the last few spots on the list, No. 18 Reading has had a surprisingly ho-hum start to the season. The Rockets crushed Wilmington and Winchester by a combined score of 22-1 in their first two games, but have dropped two straight against Melrose and Burlington. When the Rockets are at their best, they are a dominant team, but they haven’t always brought their best this year.
Here are some tidbits you should know in boys' hockey this week:
1. Nemo affecting hockey scheduling -- With the impending storm about to affect the greater Boston area, many hockey games scheduled for this Saturday have been moved to today or being rescheduled for a later date. For example, St. John’s Prep’s game against St. John’s (S) has already been postponed. If you’re planning to go to a game this Saturday, check to make sure that it hasn’t been moved or cancelled. Also, make sure it’s going to be a safe drive to get to the rink if the game you want to see is still on for Saturday.
2. BC High vs. Springfield Cathedral Showdown Today -- It’s two of the Globe’s top three teams; it’s two of the top contenders to win the Super 8 tournament. It’s BC High vs. Springfield Cathedral and it’s tonight at UMass Boston at 7 p.m.. The Eagles will be looking for revenge after falling to the Panthers 3-2 on the road back on Jan. 12. The Panthers are looking to further solidify their ranking as the Globe’s No. 1 team and the best team in the commonwealth. If the Panthers want to silence any of their remaining naysayers and further impress the Super 8 committee, they have to win this game tonight.
3. Central Catholic vs. Chelmsford a big tilt Saturday -- Pending that the game actually takes place, No. 19 Chelmsford will take on No. 5 Central Catholic this Saturday. The Lions haven’t lost since playing CC back on Jan. 12 where they lost 8-4. The Raiders are coming off an embarrassing 4-0 loss to the struggling Malden Catholic, who just go back over .500 with the win. If Chelmsford wants to make up for its earlier loss to the Raiders, it appears now is a good time to meet this team.
4. Medfield contains Medway’s Jack Kilty -- Not only did the Warriors come up with a huge win yesterday against Tri-Valley League rival Medway, they held the Mustangs’ biggest offensive threat to just one goal in the 5-2 victory. Kilty did score a shorthanded goal early in the first period, but was unable to best the Warriors’ defense for the rest of the contest. Kilty was the TVL’s No. 2 points leader on the season heading into Wednesday’s game so it was impressive to see the Medfield defense keep Kilty from becoming a major problem.
5. Barnstable Continues to Strengthen Super 8 Chances -- The Red Raiders maybe a member of the three-team Old Colony League, but they are a name that can’t be ignored by those in charge of choosing who makes the Super 8. They’ve tied the likes of Duxbury, Catholic Memorial and came within a shootout of knocking off the Cathedral Panthers in the Cape Cod Freeze Out tournament. Barnstable is currently on a five-game winning streak after defeating Bridgewater-Raynham 6-3 yesterday. If the Red Raiders can run the table or at least win their games against Marshfield and Winchester later this month, they might find their name called for the first time in Super 8 history.
Alex Hall covers boys' hockey for the the Boston Globe. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @AlexKHall.
The Super 8 committee has some difficult decisions to make come Feb. 23 when the tournament-bound teams are announced, but consider this your personal cheat sheet to what the decision-makers will be discussing.
There’s still more than two weeks of hockey left to play, but there are already several teams that are shoo-ins, with the rest still fighting to punch their ticket. Here’s an in-depth look into the definite, probable and long shot bids for the 2013 Super 8 tournament.
Springfield Cathedral Panthers
Pros: The Panthers have taken down the likes of BC High back on Jan. 12, Archbishop Williams on Dec. 22 and destroyed most of their other opponents. Cathedral is undefeated, has just two ties and has scored 79 goals through 15 games. That comes out to an average of more than five goals per game. It’s hard to beat a team when you have to score more than six goals on average to take it down.
Cons: Cathedral could use a few more big wins to solidify the No. 1 seed in the tournament, with one of its best chances to do so coming on the road against in its second meeting with BC High on Feb. 7. A season sweep of the Eagles would be huge for the Panthers and barring a loss against St. John’s Prep Feb. 16, all but ensure the tournament’s No. 1 seed.
Games remaining: Feb. 7 at BC High, Feb. 9 vs. Mt. St. Charles Academy (RI), Feb. 14 at St. John’s (S), Feb. 16 vs. St. John’s Prep, Feb. 20 vs. Needham, Feb. 21 vs. St. Mary’s or Malden Catholic (tournament game)
St. John’s Prep
Pros: St. John’s Prep is close to clinching the Catholic Conference title with a 7-1 conference record and 13-2 record overall. The Eagles have been on a roll as of late, defeating Malden Catholic, BC High, Catholic Memorial, and Xaverian twice in their past six games. Upcoming games against Arlington Catholic Feb. 16 and the Cathedral game 10 days later are the biggest hurdles in the Prep’s way for the rest of the season. Regardless though, the team will in all likelihood finish either No. 1 or No. 2 in the Catholic Conference and thus make the tournament.
Cons: The Prep’s only real problem right now is the two losses, one of which came against BC High on Jan. 9. St. John’s did avenge that loss and defeat BC High in the second meeting on Jan. 26. What could derail one of the top two seeds for the Prep in the Super 8 would be a loss to either AC or Cathedral to end the year. As long as it finishes in the top two in the Catholic Conference though, the Prep will be skating in the tournament this season.
Games remaining: Feb. 6 at Arlington Catholic, Feb. 9 at St. John’s (S), Feb. 13 at Bishop Fenwick, Feb. 16 at Springfield Cathedral, Feb. 20 vs. Wakefield
Pros: The Eagles have one of the Commonwealth’s best goalies in Peter Cronin and top playmakers in Tom Besigner. It’s not often you see Besigner end a game without an assist or goal and Cronin has only surrendered more than two goals three times this season. BC High is going to be in the Super 8 and will be one of the hardest teams to score against in the field.
Cons: The Eagles were the Globe’s top ranked team for some time earlier this season but they’ve had some tough times since losing to Cathedral on Jan. 12. Coach John Flaherty’s team lost to the Prep and face off with the Panthers Feb. 7. BC High still has an outside chance at the Catholic Conference title and a top three seed in the Super 8 but it needs to get back on track starting against Cathedral at UMass-Boston this week.
Games Remaining: Feb. 7 vs. BC High, Feb. 13 at St. Mary’s Lynn, Feb. 16 vs. Duxbury (Cape Cod Classic) Feb. 22 at St. John’s (S)
Pros: First in the Middlesex League, recently crushed second place Winchester, 5-0, and has lost just one game this whole season. The Rockets have been doing their best to show the Massachusetts hockey scene they’re for real and it’s kind of hard to say they’re not right now.
Cons: Lost to BC High Dec. 29 which was one of Reading’s most notable opponents all season. They score plenty of goals with 61 this season but some of the Rockets’ opponents this season aren’t as strong. Reading can and should finish the season undefeated in the league though, which will be a big help seeding wise in the Super 8.
Games remaining: Feb. 4 vs. Burlington, Feb. 6 vs. Belmont, Feb. 9 at Arlington, Feb. 13 vs. Woburn, Feb. 16 at Wilmington.
Pros: Rallied to tie Cathedral on Jan. 21, 8-0-1 and first in the Merrimack Valley Conference with 63 goals on the year. As long as CC wraps up the MVC, expect to see them as one of the first names announced for the Super 8.
Cons: A win against Cathedral would have been much more impressive than a tie, but the rally in the third period helps make up for that. With several tough contests left on the schedule, it’ll be interesting to see how the Raiders wind out the season, which will end up determining when and who they play in the tournament.
Games remaining: Feb. 6 at Malden Catholic, Feb. 9 at Chelmsford, Feb. 13 vs. Waltham, Feb. 16 at Andover, Feb. 18 at Catholic Memorial.
Pros: The Cougars are fresh off a Feb. 2 win over Arlington Catholic, defeated Central Catholic Jan. 9 and tied CC in the second meeting. Whoever wins the Catholic Central League will be in the tournament. Austin Prep is tied with Archbishop Williams so the selection of AP as a "definite" here could just as easily have been the Archies.
Cons: Prep doesn't have much in the ways of cons but the season may very well come down to the Feb. 13 game between the Bishops and Cougars. Unless either the aforementioned teams lose before then, that's where the Catholic Central League will be decided.
Games Remaining: Feb. 6 vs. Matignon, Feb. 9 at Andover, Feb. 13 vs. Archbishop Williams, Feb. 18 vs. Hingham (Cape Cod Classic)
Pros: The Knights started the season annihilating teams, outscoring their first three opponents 15-5 to start the year. Captains Liam Coughlin and Jack O’Hear are two of the best forwards you can ask for on offense. CM beat Malden Catholic, 7-4, on Jan. 8 and defeated three days prior to that contest.
Cons: CM has lost its mental edge of late, losing to MC, St. John’s Prep, BC High and Barnstable over its past five contests. The Barnstable loss doesn’t count against the Knights’ overall record but it doesn’t help win over any committee members either.
Games remaining: Feb. 9 vs. Xaverian, Feb. 16 at Braintree, Feb. 18 vs. Central Catholic, Feb. 20 at Fairfield College Prep (CT)
Pros: Leading the Carey Division in the Bay State Conference with a 10-2 league record and wins over Weymouth and Framingham. The 2011 Super 8 tournament saw two BSC teams taken which helps the Wamps’ chances of being invited to the dance.
Cons: Braintree lost to Framingham in the two teams' first meeting of the season on Jan. 5 along and picked up two losses to Division 2 Newburyport and Barnstable during the Cape Cod Freezeout tournament.
Games remaining: Feb. 6 at Needham, Feb. 9 vs. Weymouth, Feb. 13 vs. Walpole, Feb. 16 vs. Catholic Memorial, Feb. 19 vs. St. Peter Marian, Feb. 21 at Brockton
Pros: A history of Super 8 appearances and success in the tournament helps the Harbormen. The 11-5-1 record is good, not great, but the 2010 Super 8 champions have some notable games coming up to boost their record and public opinion.
Cons: Hingham took losses to almost every big name opponent this year, including St. John’s Prep, Malden Catholic, Catholic Memorial, Cathedral and tied with Reading.
Games remaining: Feb. 9 at Marshfield, Feb. 11 vs. Winchester, Feb. 16 vs. Austin Prep (Cape Cod Classic)
Pros: The Archies are tied with Austin Prep atop the Catholic Central Conference and are currently undefeated in league play, so feel free to consider them on the same level as AP. The Bishops crushed Arlington Catholic, 7-2, back on Jan. 26 after tying 1-1 earlier in the season. They also tied Austin Prep and beat Chelmsford in the Cape Cod Cup.
Cons: The Archies only chance to add another big win comes against Austin Prep on Feb. 13, though that could change if things go the Bishops’ way in the Cape Cod Classic.
Games remaining: Feb. 6 vs. Bishop Fenwick, Feb. 13 at Austin Prep, Feb. 16 vs. Waltham (Cape Cod Classic)
Pros: It might be a tad unfair to call the Red Raiders a long shot considering some of their big tournament wins. Barnstable beat Braintree in the Cape Cod Freezeout consolation game after losing to Cathedral in a shootout the round prior. They also defeated Catholic Memorial in the Nate Nickerson Invitational via shootout before defeating Falmouth (ME) to win the tournament.
Cons: Other than those wins and a tie against Duxbury to start the season, there’s not a whole lot of tough competition on Barnstable’s record. Figuring in the Red Raiders have never been in the Super 8 is also something to consider.
Games remaining: Feb. 6 at Bridgewater-Raynham, Feb. 13 vs. Falmouth, Feb. 18 at Marshfield, Feb. 20 vs. Winchester (Cape Cod Hockey Showdown), Feb. 21 vs. Mansfield or Westfield (Cape Cod Hockey Showdown)
Pros: Division 2 Wilmington is the No. 1 team in the Middlesex League’s Freedom division, with just one loss to a division foe all year. The defending Division 2 state champion Wildcats also pulled out a big win against Winchester Jan. 26 and lost to Malden Catholic by just one goal on Jan. 14. If a Division 2 team is to make the Super 8, it could be Wilmington. The schedule proves they can play with the big boys.
Cons: Being a Division 2 team is a concern in the committee’s eyes and maybe, just maybe, Wilmington would say "thanks, but no thanks" to a Super 8 invite. But wins over Burlington and Reading to end the season might change their minds.
Games remaining: Feb. 6 vs. Melrose, Feb. 9 vs. Wakefield, Feb. 13 at Burlington, Feb. 16 vs. Reading, Feb. 18 at Acton-Boxboro, Feb. 20 vs. Tewksbury
Pros: The Panthers have absolutely owned practically every team they’ve played this season, with a 13-0-1 record and 70 goals scored so far. The only tie came against Newburyport on the road in a 0-0 stalemate.
Cons: If D2 is bad for Wilmington, then it’s worse for the Panthers. At least in the Wildcats’ case, they’ve beat some big name teams like Winchester and they play in a Division 1 league. Beverly hasn’t played any top teams this year which gives them little leverage when trying to compare its resume to Wilmington’s. A good Division 2 team, it’s hard to see Beverly getting, or wanting, a bid.
Games remaining: Feb. 9 at Winthrop, Feb. 13 vs. Danvers, Feb. 16 vs. Gloucester, Feb. 18 at Peabody, Feb. 20 at Lynnfield, Feb. 22 vs. Marblehead
BC High retains the No. 1 ranking after taking down two Catholic Conference rivals in Catholic Memorial and Malden Catholic this past week.
Due to CM’s recent struggles against the Eagles, St. John’s Prep and Barnstable, the Knights dropped to No. 5. The Springfield Cathedral Falcons continued their winning ways this past week against St. Peter-Marian. With only one game played this week however, the Falcons couldn’t make the jump to No. 1.
The team that suffered the biggest drop was Malden Catholic, which was blown out by Marshfield and then lost to BC High Saturday. The Lancers are in desperate need of righting their ship if they don’t want to continue their skid down the Top 20.
Thanks to that aforementioned MC victory by Marshfield, the Rams made their way into the Top 20 this week. The team also knocked off Sandwich last week seven days after they blew out Dennis-Yarmouth, 7-2.
The notables who just missed out on the Top 20 this week are Xaverian, Newburyport and Braintree. The Hawks were bumped out from last week due to Marshfield’s win while the Clippers and Wamps just missed the cut this week.
Three teams dropped from the ranks of the undefeated as Weymouth, Acton-Boxboro and Winchester all got their first taste of defeat this season.
That gives us four remaining teams without a loss, so let us praise them for a second, shall we?
Top-ranked Masconomet (12-0-2) is seemingly getting stronger with each game, which was the way they did things last year en route to a Division 1 EMass title.
No. 2 Somerville (13-0-2) seems to be scoring at will since the arrival of Felix DeBona, as the field has opened up into junior Thayrone Miranda’s playground.
Underrated Hingham (10-0-3) has quietly dispatched of most everyone in its path, save from a few draws along the way, and have forced their way into the top 10, coming in at No. 9 this week.
Lastly, the Red Devils of Chelsea, our first new team in the Top 20 in three weeks, debut at No. 20 with a 11-0-1 mark on the season thanks to an offense that is averaging 4.1 goals per game.
If this were football, "The Bus" would have plenty of seats open.
Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe
Football is back in Boston.
And Monday's opening day of training camp marked major new beginnings at several city league programs.
Besides being the first day of practice for new coaches at Brighton High, Charlestown High and West Roxbury High, Monday was the first ever football practice for New Mission High.
New Mission secured a football program after it was announced last school year that the school would move from Mission Hill to the former Hyde Park Education Complex.
About 13 New Mission students participated in practice at Ross Field on Monday.
“This is surreal,” said New Mission coach Michael Pittman Forman, who used to coach at Cathedral High in the South End. ”I’ve been in Boston for a while and I’ve wanted to get into the city [league] and coach. It feels surreal and I’m happy for the turnout we have right now. It’s a little low but we should be getting more guys.”
Known for their formidable basketball teams, the Titans looked athletic as they ran through conditioning drills on Monday morning.
“Once we start running with helmets and shoulder pads we’ll see if they are football players,” Pittman Forman said. “I have a feeling it’s going to be great. Everything starts with baby steps and we’re taking baby steps right now. We’ll see how it goes from this point on.”
Over in West Roxbury, another new era of football started as Derek Wright was in place as head coach instead of Leo Sybertz. The 74-year-old retired after the 2007 season only to return for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Wright served as Sybertz' assistant for two seasons.
“It was a restless night, the anxiety, now it’s all on my shoulders to be the head guy,” Wright said.
The Raiders junior quarterback David Bertucci said it was strange without Sybertz at practice on Monday.
“But I’ve been with these coaches since I was a freshman and I love them all to death,” he said. “But you can’t really replace a coach Sy, it’s always tough. Coach Wright coached me since JV year so I’ve been under his tutelage. It’s always good working with a coach you’ve worked with before. It makes everything easier. I’m happy they made Coach Wright head coach, I wouldn’t want anyone else to be head coach.”
Bertucci also said it’s a little tough coming back to practice and conditioning because it means summer is over and school is about to start.
“But the football helps to remove that pit [in your stomach] and makes everything better,” said Buertucci, whose father played at Westie in the 1980s and is an assistant for the Raiders. “I’m just happy to be back. I’ve been waiting for this since the last game of the year last year against Brighton. We finished off strong and we have a good group of guys here and we’re hoping to go deep in the playoffs.”
At Brighton’s camp in Cleveland Circle on Monday, longtime Bengals’ assistant Randolph Abraham officially took over the reins from James “Timo” Philip, who retired last year after coaching the Bengals for 30 years.
Abraham played for Philip until 2000 and became his assistant coach after graduating from Nichole’s College in 2004.
“It feels awesome, this is a dream of mine, I’ve wanted to do since I was a student here,” he said. “It’s going to be a grind but I think we’ve got great coaching.”
Last week Abraham joked that he wouldn’t be surprised if Philip turned up at the first day of practice. While Philip was a no show on Monday, Abraham joked that Philip would "hate" how organized practice is.
“He likes to roll with it,” Abraham said of Philip. “Me, I’m the opposite. We’re very organized and precise as you can see. We’re getting a lot done today. It feels like we’ve been here for four hours but we’ve only been here for two. They’re working.”
During the first week of Brighton’s practice last year, Brighton's star tight end Prince Unaegbu suffered a dislocating wrist and played most of the season with a cast on his forearm.
“It feels good, I’ve been waiting all year for this," the 6-foot-6, 240-pounder said. "When I came in today it felt like I was getting ready for a game or something.”
The Boston Scholar Athletes program is hosting the POWERADE/AE Pre-Season Nike Sparq Football Combine on Saturday at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Dorchester (650 Dudley St.).
Running from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the combine will provide Boston public high school football players with a chance to receive a Nike SPARQ rating, which will allow them to compare themselves to other high school football players. The attendees will also participate in a series of Nike SPARQ training drills.
No more than 25 members of each BPS football team can attend the combine and all students must be academically eligible.
Each athlete will partake in four tests (40 yard dash, pro agility, vertical
jump, and kneeling power ball throw). At the completion each score will be put into
a computer system and the player will then receive a Nike SPARQ rating.
There will also be six stations (agility cones, speed hurdles, speed
ladder, parachutes, power ball, linear speed) with each station lasting between eight to
An hour of position specific teaching and fundamentals will also be conducted.
8:00am-9:00am: Registration (handled by BSA staff)
12:00pm-1:00pm: Hydration & Lunch
1:00pm-2:00pm: Nike Sparq Training
2:10pm-3:10pm: Position Specific
3:20pm-4:20pm: Half Line Drills and Skelly
4:30pm-5:00pm Wrap Up
Several teams in the Boston Neighborhood Basketball League started their seasons about a week late last week after league officials cracked down on a long-time residency rule that was never truly enforced before now.
The 43-year-old summer basketball league known as BNBL is — like all programs run by Boston Centers for Youth & Families — only for Boston residents because it’s funded by the city and its taxpayers.
But in past years, a player’s residency was only checked if it was challenged by another team during the course of the season. BCYF Director of Recreation, Sports and Fitness Ryan Fitzgerald said the policy was too hard to enforce once the season already started.
So this year BCYF officials required BNBL players to prove residency before the season started by showing a report card, birth certificate or another document that proved their address is in Boston — a process that delayed the start of the season for some teams.
“This is no different from what a lot of programs and leagues in the city require anyway,” Fitzgerald said. “We had many coaches and players and participants in the program voice concerns on the issue so we’ve taken steps to address it and minimize the infractions.”
While Fitzgerald said he hopes the missed games will be made up on off days, many teams and players a still irked.
“It’s very frustrating because I wanted to play basketball and I wanted to be with my team last week when we should’ve started,” Jaleel Bell of the Dorchester YMCA team said after his squad played its first game last Wednesday night at the Perkins Community Center in Dorchester.
“In Massachusetts you’re a Massachusetts player, if other people want to play its OK. We’re all playing basketball, it’s for the youth, we’re not doing anything dangerous, we’re not doing drugs; we’re playing basketball so it’s something positive.”
Dorchester YMCA coach, Andrew Angus agreed that the league should be open to everyone because it helps keeps kids off the streets.
“We also go down there and join their leagues too, it goes hand-in-hand, I think we’re Massachusetts it’s not anything else, we’re all one,” Angus said.
The former BNBL player, who won three MIAA state titles as a player with Charlestown High from 2000 to 2003, said competing against players from outside the city in the summer made him a better player during the school year.
“It kind of made the league a little better with people who come from all over to just play BNBL [from outside the city]," he said. “That’s just bringing different talent inside the city. You’re just playing everybody. So trying to keep it in the city you kind of take away a little bit but it’s what the city wants I guess.”
Fitzgerald, who played in the league himself as a youngster, said he sees both sides of the issue.
“I can certainly see that point of view,” he said. “As a young kid I was excited to play against all competition no matter where it came from. I get that. The only problem is this is a program run by the City of Boston with city resources so it becomes complicated about who we can provide services to.
“For every person that has [Bell and Angus’] opinion there is another one who feels that it should be City of Boston kids and that’s what the program was started for. I’m not saying either one is wrong but as it is currently constituted that’s what we have to do.”
Perkins Community Center coach Eric Bradshaw said the residency issue has been a problem since he started coaching BNBL 20 years ago. He said he doesn’t’ have a problem with cracking down on residency but said that that BCYF should start figuring out who can and can’t play earlier in the school year.
“Every year it’s always been the same thing,” he said. “I don’t know why it took so long to be honest with you but it’s been an issue for 20 years.”
Fitzgerald said they notified coaches and players of the new policy starting in May.
“We feel there was ample amount of time to get this information,” he said. “But I don’t begrudge anyone who had trouble and I certainly understand it takes more work to collect it. … We knew it might be a little bumpy this year. When things are new and different, especially when they were done the same way for such a long time, there are hiccups.
“But I think next year when people are prepared for it I anticipate it to be a lot more smooth.”
One of the league’s founders, Alfreda J. Harris, said she would’ve liked to see the policy shift happen years ago.
“It’s very simple, the program originated 43 years ago and it’s for Boston residence,” said Harris, who is a school committee member in Boston. “The money comes from city of Boston tax payers, it’s always been that way. It’s better to get it clear now than wait till the end of the season when teams lost to teams because they had illegitimate players.
“I think it was a good idea for Ryan [Fitzgerald] to clamp down and get the paperwork in at the beginning of the season.”
The 2012 Bay State games have already begun, and there are at least eight Boston public school athletes taking part.
Four athletes hail from Boston Latin, including junior left fielder Malcolm Nachmanoff for baseball, sophomore shortstop Paige Mulry (West Roxbury) in softball, and one of Boston public school’s leading pitchers, sophomore Caitlyn Berry (Roslindale) in softball. In basketball, center Maggie Mulligan (Brighton) will also take part.
Kareem Murrell (Dorchester) and Francis DePina are competing in 9th and 10th grade boys basketball. Both players represent Snowden International.
A top scorer for East Boston, Jonathan Perez (Lowell) is playing for the boys soccer team in the games.
Just one student represents New Mission, Diandra Humphries. She's playing girls basketball.
Photo courtesy of John Maconga
The eighth annual SCORES Cup corporate charity soccer tournament returns to Gillette Stadium on Saturday.
The 32-team tournament benefits America SCORES Boston, a non-profit organization that uses soccer to inspire literacy and health in Boston public schools.
The seven-on-seven coed tournament provides corporate soccer teams the chance to show off their skills on the Gillette Stadium turf before watching the New England Revolution play the Seattle Sounders FC.
Each team will play a minimum of three 30-minute games.
Participants also receive an Official SCORES Cup Adidas jerseys, their company logos in the game day program as well as post-tournament activities at Patriot Place.
Some of Boston's largest companies will participate in the event that is expected to raise close to $200,000 for SCORES.
The Boston Scholar Athlete program will conduct a free six-week fitness program for Boston public school athletes beginning next month.
The BSA Summer Fit 2012 program will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays from July 9 to Aug. 15 at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center on Dudley Street in Dorchester.
"BSA Fit is open to every male and female athlete (or prospective athlete) in our schools," according to the BSA's most recent monthly newsletter. "Come and get ready for the fall season with BSA Fit!"
The six-week program will be operated by BSA fitness and training partner, Athletic Evolution.
"Athletic Evolution’s philosophies are to help athletes train the correct way, while always keeping in mind the reason for training," according to the BSA newsletter. "While mastering the skills of a sport is one element of becoming a better athlete; mastering the training techniques for that sport along with the skills will breed ultimate success in sports."
The BSA is also looking for "smart and driven scholar-athletes" to participate in its three-day Summer Zone Program, from July 25-27.
The program, which will take participants to institutions such as Boston College, is free for qualifying BSA Zone members.
"The program offers an opportunity for scholar-athletes to interact and learn together in a healthy and fun environment with emphasis on leadership skills, team building, and reinforcing athlete self-confidence," the newsletter says. "Activities include a ropes course, team activities, mental and physical challenges, in addition to career and life skills training."
Interested Zone members can apply on the BSA website.
The Boston City League baseball all-star game will return to Fenway Park next month after a short hiatus at Harvard’s O’Donnell Field.
The annual City of Boston All-City Baseball Classic will be at 5:30 p.m. on June 10 at Fenway Park.
The game is organized by the Boston Center for Youth & Families and held in partnership with the Boston Scholar Athlete Program and sponsored by the Boston Red Sox.
The game was held at Harvard the last two years. Three years ago it was scheduled to be played at Fenway but had to be moved to Harvard due to inclement weather. It was last played at the iconic ballpark in 2008.
In the last three years the all-star game has struggled to garner full participation due to a lack of interest, lack of transportation to Harvard or conflicts with graduations and proms.
Boston schools Athletic Director Ken Still said Fenway Park should help remedy participation issues.
“Fenway Park is a lure because it’s Fenway park, you have people coming from all over the world to sit in Fenway Park,” Still said during a telephone interview on Tuesday morning. “To have a chance to play there as a youngster and baseball person, that’s overwhelming.”
Still announced that the game will be back at Fenway during the Boston City League championship baseball game on Monday morning at Boston English High.
On Tuesday morning, he said he hopes the weather cooperates this year.
“[Fenway is] very tough to get but when we’re able to I say take advantage and let’s do it,” he said. “I hope they are able to get on the field and represent."
The BSA’s new Athletic Director, Chris Rooks, said “It’s an amazing opportunity for the kids.”
Tuesday's full slate of Boston schools' baseball and softball games has been canceled due to inclement weather, wreaking havoc on the race for the city championships. The softball and baseball city championships are slated for this weekend but mother nature is making it difficult to determine who will be playing.
In softball, East Boston (9-6, 8-0) and O’Bryant (7-5, 7-3) are poised to represent the North conference in the city championships while Latin Academy (9-10, 7-0) and South Boston (9-3, 9-3) and Dorchester (8-3, 8-3) are fighting for the South conference slot.
The forecast isn’t much better for Wednesday, when Brighton and Latin Academy are slated to square off in a baseball battle that could be the key to determining who represents the North conference in the baseball city championships.
In baseball, the top two teams from the North conference qualify for the tournament so
English High is also in the running to make cities.
The top team from the Central and South also qualify for cities. East Boston is looking like the runaway leader in the Central conference while Boston International and Fenway are battling to represent the South conference.
International (8-3, 5-1), which has already had eight or nine rain outs this year, has several conference games to make up this week. They are slated to play a double header against Charlestown on Thursday and back-to-back games against Snowden and Burke on Friday.
Boston International coach Christian Irizarry said he has plenty of pitching to get his team through the nonstop schedule of games.
“I have five arms besides my regular pitcher,” he said. “So for our league we are pretty good in terms of pitching.”
Fenway (9-7, 7-3), which clinched the state tournament for the first time in eight years on Monday, feels like they deserve to be the South representatives in the city tournament, especially because they defeated Boston International, 8-4, on Saturday. International beat Fenway 6-5 earlier in the season.
First-year Fenway coach David Walsh said his team would go to cities if the tiebreak came down to runs scored.
“We would definitely do damage in the cities,” he said. “If we don’t get in at least I know we’re in states.”
If the remainder of Boston International’s league games are rained out, it’s unclear how they will be counted in the standings.
“If I don’t play anyone because of the weather why should [Fenway] be on top?” Irizarry said.
The baseball city championship semifinals will be at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday at English High. The title bout will be on Monday at 10 a.m.
The softball semifinals will be at 11 a.m. at Clemente and Cobe Fields in the Fens. The championship game will be at 10 a.m. on Monday at Cobe Field.
The following is a press release from the Boston Athletic Association:
Boston, MA. May 10, 2012. -- The Boston Chapter of Links, Incorporated (The Links) embarks on a three year commitment with the Martin Luther King Jr. K-8 school in Dorchester, MA to provide an overall health and wellness program.
In partnership with the King School leadership team, the Boston Athletic Association, the Boston Public Schools, and other sponsors and community stakeholders, The Boston Chapter of The Links, Inc.’s “Fit for the King: A Health and Wellness Project” will create and offer a menu of comprehensive fitness, nutrition, and health and wellness programming for the King School community designed to enthusiastically engage students and parents while promoting healthy living.
“The Boston Chapter of Links is excited to work with the King School as part of our signature program,” said Pamela Everhart, President of the Boston Chapter of Links, Inc., “The program is part of our mission, to provide volunteer services in arts, youth, international and national trends that work to strengthen families and communities.”
As part of the 125th anniversary of the Boston Marathon, the BAA awarded the Links a grant to support programmatic efforts at the King School.
The B.A.A.'s contribution will include funding recreation activity during recess, before and after school; equipment to be used by the school and physical education programs; as well as an in-school running club and regular appearances at the school. The B.A.A. has also invited the King school to participate in its events and programs throughout the year.
“We are happy to be partnering with the Links and Boston Public Schools on such a great program that promises to make a difference in the lives of these students and families,” said B.A.A. President Joann Flaminio. “Our objectives in this, our 125th anniversary year, include renewing our commitment to youth athletics.”
A kick-off for this project is set for May 12th at 10:00am at the King School with Boston Superintendent Carol Johnson, King School Principal Jessica Bolt, B.A.A. President Joann E. Flaminio and Boston Chapter of Links President Pamela Everhart. Here the Links will unveil their plans to support the school throughout the next three years and celebrate the new project with a celebration filled with fitness, music and arts, from face painting to drumming to double-dutch.
The Fit for the King: A health and Wellness Project will be supported by volunteer hours provided by members of the Boston Chapter of Links, Inc. as part of their commitment to community service.
Rooks will manage all athletic programs run by the nonprofit organization designed
to support Boston Public School athletics.
“What I’m really excited about is the opportunity to work with the kids, work with the constituents in Boston and grow a program that helps them use the foundation of athletics to improve themselves as individuals, academically as well as in life,” Rooks said during an interview on Tuesday morning.
Founded in 2009 by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Suffolk Construction CEO and chairman John Fish, the BSA provides support to all 19 Boston Public High Schools, 157 athletic teams, 3,900 players and 132 coaches.
The program, which was started after the Globe ran a seven-part series on the sad state of the district's athletic program called Failing our Athletes, has also established learning centers for athletes at each of Boston’s public high schools known as the BSA Zones.
“I am excited to have Chris on the BSA team,” Fish said in a statement. “The
experience and relationships he gained working for the NBA, combined with his
passion for athletics and professional development, will elevate the BSA
athletic program to a whole new level as we work to help Boston’s
scholar-athletes play to achieve.”
Rooks spent more than 11 years working for the NBA. He was most recently a senior manager
for player development who was responsible for the creation and administration
of athlete life skills programs, transitional workshops, awareness and prevention seminars and professional development resources.
“I come from a background of business development and player development,” Rooks said. “For the last six years I worked in the player development department where our role was to work with teams, players and our partners to try to benefit the personal, professional and social development of our players."
Rooks said his background in the NBA will help him build rapport with the BPS student-athletes.
“One of the things we wanted to make sure that the [NBA] understood is that the fame and the popularity of both [the players] and their sport kind of obligates them to take a position in social responsibility because of so many people who are looking up to them,” Rooks said. “It’s one of
the things we really pushed hard was that guys do more in the community so they can
be seen because of the impact they have."
At the BSA, Rooks will be responsible for building long-term local and national
relationships as well as providing leadership, strategic direction, management
and coordination for all aspects of the BSA’s athletic program. Rooks will
also be responsible for the development of relationships with the BSA’s current
and potential markets along with increasing the program’s athletic support for
players and coaches.
Rooks received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Ohio State in 1994 and he earned his master’s degree in sport administration in 2000 from OSU. Rooks replaces Evan Davis, who is currently the chief operating office at the Sports Legacy Institute.
“I’m really excited to be here working with the quality staff at BSA, the folks at BPS athletics and our athletic community here throughout all of Boston,” Rooks said.
Pavel Dzemianok/For the Globe
Less than an hour after their match against Latin Academy began last month, several members of the West Roxbury boys’ volleyball team waited outside their opponents’ Dorchester school building for rides.
“We got killed,” a Westie player said.
Inside the Latin Academy gymnasium the Dragons practiced for about another hour after beating the Raiders — a common post-match practice for a team that dominates the four other schools (Madison Park, Brighton, O’Bryant and West Roxbury) that play in the City League.
Latin Academy (9-3 overall, 7-0 Boston City League) laments the fact it must play each league team three times per season, saying it makes it difficult to prepare for the state tournament. They schedule the best opponents they can possibly find for non-league contests but are only allowed to play 20 matches a season.
Still, the exam school qualifies for post-season play practically every year but has never advanced past the sectional quarterfinals. Last spring LA went 15-5 and lost to Central Catholic in the North quarters.
“The City [League] is not really a challenge for us,” senior co-captain Vincent Tran of Dorchester said. “I’d rather have a challenge and lose to make us better players. It’s like practice. It doesn’t make us play harder.”
Tran said he can see how setting up for practice after their home matches could humiliate their opponent but he hopes it will serve as motivation for the other teams in the city to pick up their games.
“I definitely would be mad if I was that team,” he said. “I don’t’ care if they see us [practice after a match]. Maybe it might motivate them to work harder to play against us. It would definitely be more fun.
“I definitely encourage other people to try [volleyball] out.”
Boston schools Athletic Director Ken Still said the city needs to put on more clinics for young boys so that they can start playing the sport in middle school or younger.
“Some of the other schools try to put a team together to get these young men to realize, ‘Hey I can do this, I can jump and hit’ but it’s a fight,” Still said. “That’s why clinics to me are one of biggest things you can do.”
Even the best program in the city has a hard time recruiting players to a sport that many students believe is more for girls. And Latin Academy fights the added stereotype that the sport is only for Asians. Of the 20 players in the program, only three students are not Asian.
And only a few of the players are 6-feet or taller.
“I try to get a lot more height on the team. We have wonderful skill but not any height. In volleyball you need that,” said Latin Academy coach Phuong Cao, who joked that he has an easier time recruiting players from his calculus class at the school than from the Dragon’s basketball team. “We try to recruit more basketball players … The kids think it’s an Asian sport somehow, they don’t know why it is. I told them [you will see] it’s not if you watch the sport on TV. I guess they don’t see it that way.”
Senior co-captain Kevin Tse of Mission Hill said he doesn’t mind that the sport is seen as an Asian endeavor in his school.
“It’s a stereotype in our school, like ping pong,” said Tse, who also plays in an all-Asian club league. “I just take it as a joke.”
But just because Tse recruited some of his Asian friends to play on the team doesn’t mean that he isn’t expanding his network of friends by playing volleyball.
“I would never hang out with half these kids without volleyball,” Tse said. “They are all in different grades.”
Senior Courtney Atherly is one of the only black players on the team and at 6-foot-1-inches is also one of the tallest members of the team. But this is his first year playing volleyball and he said the learning curve is steep.
“The hardest thing [to learn] was serving because I didn’t have any coordination and the second hardest thing was passing because my arms were not able to go straight,” he said, before noting that he didn’t have a hard time fitting in with his new team. “Some of the players I was friends with already so once we started I was friends with everybody.”
Atherly also said his non-volleyball playing friends thought the sport was easy until they tried it themselves.
“At first people think it’s not that hard,” he said. “Then they come to the game and watch and see us tripping and falling. Once they practice it they realize it’s tough.”
Tran said the sport is more pressure-packed than people realize.
“They think it’s easy because it’s not a contact sport, not physical, but it is when you’re on the court,” he said. “There’s lot of pressure on you, your blood pressure is up. There’s a lot of pressure on you to get to the ball. You don’t want to mess it up for your team.”
Tran said he likes the teamwork aspect of the game as well.
“When someone on the team messes up you have to tell him, ‘It’s okay, you’ll get the next ball,’” he said. “We’re always encouraging each other.”
LA's boys’ volleyball program started in 1992, four years after Cao graduated from Boston Technical High School in 1988 — which was housed in Latin Academy's current building on Townsend Street in Dorchester.
Cao’s family immigrated to Boston in 1981 and he said he was too focused on academics to care about sports in high school. Cao didn’t pick up volleyball until some friends urged him to play for Boston University’s club team and he didn’t start coaching until three years ago when Latin Academy’s boys’ and girls’ coach, Robert Hui, stepped down after 11 years.
Cao also coaches the girls’ squad and the school’s JV volleyball teams.
“We do a lot of advertising and we go to the playoffs every year,” Cao said when asked if the student body is aware of the program’s success. “They know, it’s just hard to get the interest.”
And when students new to the sport do come out for the team, Cao said it takes them a few years to learn the skills they need to play properly. He said passing is the toughest concept to grasp for new players.
Tse, the senior co-captain, said he wasn't interested in volleyball his freshman year when some friends showed him YouTube videos of the male version of the sport.
“My friends told me to join and I was like ‘It’s a girls’ sport,” he said. “I thought it was a girls’ sport, then they showed me some videos of them hitting each other in the face with spikes.”
Volleyball has had the added bonus of increasing the former basketball player's vertical leap.
"When I started playing volleyball I could barely touch backboard," Tse said. "And now I can almost touch rim."
Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
Jon Bartlett announced Wednesday that he will step down as head football coach at BC High. He will remain the school's athletic director.
"As far as athletic director, head football coach, husband, and father of a young family, there's a lot going on," Bartlett said as he watched the Eagles' baseball team host Xaverian. "It comes to a point where you need to prioritize and I had to make a decision."
The Eagles defeated Needham, 21-7, at Gillette Stadium to win the Division 1 Super Bowl, the team's second under Bartlett. The four-year coach also guided the Eagles to a pair of Catholic Conference titles and a 32-12 record.
Bartlett hopes to find a replacement "as soon as possible," and plans to start looking for a successor within the program "sooner than later." He notified his players before making the announcement.
"I told the players this afternoon," Bartlett said. "I wouldn't have made the decision public until I talked to them first."
Pavel Dzemianok for the Boston Globe
Ben Groleau is hitting .500 lifetime at the boys’ Boston Athletic Association Scholastic Invitational Mile.
Running the race — which loops around Boylston and Newbury Streets before finishing on the Boston Marathon’s finish line — Sunday morning for the fourth straight year, the Framingham High senior had a winning time of 4 minutes, 27.2 seconds. The race features two athletes from each city or town along the Boston Marathon course.
“That was rough,” said Groleau, who also won the race as a sophomore. “Coming into it I knew it was going to be a hard field, I knew I was going to have to take it out early, but man I didn’t know I had [that kind of kick] in me. I’m excited. I guess experience paid off a lot.”
Groleau said he was surprised to win by such a large margin. Justin Keefe from Newton North (4:39.7) finished second and Tim Bolick of Hopkinton (4:40.4) was third.
“You can’t get caught up behind anyone right off the bat,” Groleau said when asked about what he’s learned from running the race in the past. “On a course with this many turns, you get boxed in way too much on the corners so you have to take it out. I knew that going in, so I jumped in front at the beginning of the race and I figured I’d let those guys figure it out.”
In the girls’ race, Newton North sophomore, Evelyn Heffernan, won with a time of 5:23.1. Shelby Aarden (5:24) of Hopkinton was second and Melissa Lodge (5:24.8), also of Hopkinton, third.
“It was great,” Heffernan said. “The crowd is incredible and they are really helpful. There are people all around and they just push you through the whole thing and it’s great.”
A freshman, Aarden was running the race for the first time.
“I was trying to keep up with the leaders,” Aarden said. “At the end I had some more energy so I went ahead, I passed one or two in the final 100 yards.”
The morning also featured a boys’ and girls’ middle school 1-kilometer race. Zachary O'Leary of Ashland won the boys’ race in 2:54.5, ahead of John Lara of Boston (3:00) and Thomas D’Anieri of Wellesley. Leah Metzger of Newton won the girls' race in 3:35.9, ahead of Piper Higgins of Wellesley (3:43.3) and Nicole Anselmo of Natick (3:44.5).
“I was really nervous so I just decided to go out and have fun,” Metzger said.
O’Leary said, “John Lara caught me at the end of the first lap; I had to pump through it. I couldn’t feel my legs. The first lap I had to pump it. Then I said to myself ‘I have to kick it in.’
"I can't feel my legs right now but it was worth it."
In the high school boys’ race, Newton North’s Keefe didn’t have enough kick to eclipse Groleau. Keefe was running the race for the first time.
“I was hoping for the win but what can I say, he has the most experience,” Keefe said of Groleau. “He’s a strong kid. I’ll get him later in the season.”
The six Boston Marathon runners raising money for the Boston Scholar Athlete Program have received words of encouragement from friends, family and colleagues during training.
But they never expected a pep talk from Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
“This weekend is marathon weekend, I want to congratulate the runners who are running the Boston Marathon for the Boston Scholar Athlete Program, I’ll be watching you,” Menino said during the first-ever Boston Scholar Athlete Zone Party on the floor of the TD Garden on Tuesday night.
The gala raised $1.9 million for the program which has established a dedicated, staffed learning center for athletes inside each of Boston’s 19 public high schools. The program was co-founded by Menino and Suffolk Construction CEO and Chairman, John Fish.
“That was great, I didn’t expect that at all," BSA Academic Associate Colin Campbell said. "To have him recognize us meant a lot to us. Even though it was at such a big event, where people are putting a lot more into it than we are to fund raise, and [for him to] recognize us along with everyone there to support our program overall was great.”
Besides Campbell, Nicole Reither of Swampscott, Michelle Nielsen of Falls Church, Va., Kate Hensley of Quincy, Joseph Cappellano of South Boston and Liz Collins of Boston are the other BSA or Suffolk Construction employees running.
So far they have raised about $23,000 for the BSA.
“Every one of the runners for our team has a connection to BSA which is unique,” Campbell said. “I think that’s something you don’t see in a lot of other charity teams. They don’t have that connection. So for us explaining BSA [to donors] has been great."
Each runner has a month after the marathon to raise a minimum $5,000 or the difference comes out of their pocket. And in these tough times many charity runners have had a hard time finding donors to reach their goals.
Joseph Cappellano, a senior facilitator for BSA who works with athletes at Boston Latin School, said it can be tough to raise money since they all know each other and are all raising money for the same cause. But he also said they’ve come up with creative ways to raise money such as conducting a March Madness bracket.
“Most of us have reached [$5,000] or are close but obviously our goal is not to stop at $20,000 but go beyond it,” Cappellano said.
The South Boston native said his friends and family are receptive to helping Boston Public School athletes.
“As soon as I tell them we’re trying to revamp high school sports in Boston they are kind of like ‘I wish they had that when I was there,’ ” he said. “So people are very, very receptive.”
Another challenge is the fact that while the group trains together, Hensley is the only one with marathon experience.
“It’s interesting, we were all athletes in high school and college and we all have old injuries and they start to come back to haunt you,” Cappellano said.
On Monday, the group plans to start the race together and then branch off as the race progresses. They hope to all run under four hours.
“It’s a little up in the air,” Cappellano said when asked what time he is shooting for. “Before Tuesday would be nice.”
For more information on the BSA runners, go to their fundraising website.
The Boston City League track teams were in action on Thursday’s rainy afternoon as the city schools competed in a dual meet at White Stadium in Dorchester.
Nine girls teams and nine boys teams came out to compete in the second meet of the season.
The boys’ results were highlighted by a tie between East Boston and Latin Academy at 52 points. O’Bryant picked up the most points in the meet with 72 in a win over West Roxbury, who collected 13 points. O’Bryant also defeated Brighton 61 to 39. Madison Park picked up 58 points in a win over Charlestown (nine points) and West Roxbury lost their second match-up with 12 points to Brighton’s 43. South Boston defeated New Mission 47 points to 34 points.
O’Bryant picked up wins in three events, including both relays. The Tigers won the 4x100 in 50.70, over a second ahead of second place finishers South Boston. They also took the 4x400 relay in 4:40:00, 10.1 seconds faster than Madison Park, which finished second.
The Tigers’ third win came in the 800-meter, which Patrick Powell finished in 2:17.70.
Also picking up three wins was South Boston, who controlled the field events. Carson Passes won the discus, throwing for 99 feet and 11 inches. Tony Nguyen took home the shot put with a distance of 37 feet, 5.5 inches. The Knights’ third victory came in the 400 meter, where William Arrington finished in 55.2 seconds for a full three-second victory.
Madison Park, East Boston and Brighton each picked up victories in two different events to help bolster their point totals.
Boston Latin Academy, who won the Boston City League indoor track championship this past season, finished in the top three in six of the 15 events, including a win in the 1-mile from Sonny Finch who finished in 5:25.40.
West Roxbury and Madison Park took the jumping events with the Raiders’ Jonas Ogaus taking the long jump at 18-feet 1-inch and the Cardinals’ Kevin Bevnardez winning the triple jump at 35-feet 2-inches.
In girls’ action, Brighton picked up the largest point total of the afternoon with a 67-18 win over West Roxbury. The Raiders also picked up a loss to O’Bryant, 60-18. O’Bryant’s second win came with a 52-46 takeover of Brighton. Latin Academy defeated East Boston 54-44 and New Mission/English defeated South Boston 49-19. The biggest margin of victory came in Madison Park’s 40-8 defeat over Charlestown.
O’Bryant’s Adrienne Thornton, the state record holder in the 20-pound throw and defending New England champion in the discus, won the discus throwing for 120-feet, 3-inches.
Latin Academy won six events on the girls’ side including both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Each of the four individual events won by the Dragons was claimed by a different athlete, marking the team’s depth.
Brighton took three events highlighted by Jaquasia Anderson’s narrow defeat of New Missions Akkeia Dickerson. Anderson finished in 26.3, just three tenths of a second ahead of Dickerson. Brighton’s Esther Hkwah won the long jump at 15-feet 1-inch and also won the 100 meter hurdles as the only female racing.
New Mission, Madison Park, South Boston, and East Boston each had a winner in one event.
Justin A. Rice for Boston.com
The first-ever Boston Scholar Athlete Zone Party was held on the floor of the TD Garden Tuesday night. The gala benefited the two-year-old program that has established learning centers for athletes at each of Boston’s 19 public high schools.
“The Boston Scholar athlete program believes there is a link, a proven link, between athletics and academic achievement,” said BSA founder and Suffolk Construction CEO and chairman John Fish.
Fish and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino collaborated to create the BSA after the Globe ran a seven-part series on the sad state of the district's athletic program called Failing our athletes.
“The mayor called me about two and a half years ago and said, ‘John we have some challenges with the Boston Public Schools athletic program, I think we can make a difference by putting some additional resources and putting some advice and guidance into it,’” Fish said. “That’s all our team needed to hear was [that we had] an opportunity to work with Boston Public Schools and [Superintendent] Carol Johnson.
“As a result of that phone call we are sitting here tonight and we’re impacting over 4,000 high school athletes in the city of Boston.”
The program — which also provides uniforms for more than 157 teams, skill clinics, all-star games and banquets for 13 sports — has kept 92 percent of its participants eligible to play their sports and has increased SAT scores by an average of 150 points, according to Menino.
“We know it’s working, so let’s come together to reach even more of the young people in our city,” Menino said.
Menino said while Fish defers credit he actually deserves most of it.
“I can remember the day he came to my office after it was reported [in the Globe] about the athletic programs in the Boston Public Schools, he came with the idea and he said ‘I’m going to make sure we have a program in Boston that works both scholastically and athletically for the young people in our city,’” Menino said during the event. “John worked at it, he put his resources behind it and built a great team.
“We wouldn’t be here without the foundation John set up, the Suffolk Red and Blue foundation. … enough can’t be said about this great program. This is a true public private program that is helping the Boston Public School students excel in the classroom, on the field and after graduation.”
West Roxbury High senior football and basketball player Muller Mirville said his GPA increased from a 2.0 to a 2.6 after attending the Zone.
“As of right now it’s getting higher and higher,” he said. “The Zone is a place where people that were in your footsteps help motivate you to become in a position that they are in, which is successful. The experience tonight went well; I see the people that are helping me out and are funding what’s helping me become a successful person.”
BSA Executive Director Rebekah Splaine Salwasser said some of the students in the program have increased their GPA from 1.0 to 4.0.
“And all have improved their chances of graduating from high school by 28 percent as members of our program,” she said. “Tonight we are here to honor the commitment that all these young people have made to improving their opportunities for success.
“All of us in this room contributed to that opportunity. We must continue to work together to provide structured, enriching, sustainable academic and athletic support for our youth."
She said the program is beginning to change the culture of athletics in the district.
“Together with our partners we are starting to see an increase in school and community pride and a renewed sense of confidence," she said, "particularly with our young female athletes.”
There aren’t many familiar faces on St. John’s Prep's lacrosse team after advancing to the Division 1 Eastern Massachusetts finals for the third straight season last year, but the Eagles survived a big early season test on Thursday night, beating BC High, 9-7.
Without All-American Jimmy O’Connell (playing at Trinity College) and the speedy Colin Blackwell (playing hockey at Harvard), among others, the Prep used three goals from sophomore midfielder Drew O’Connell and two from junior attack Dan Mini to improve to 2-0.
“Confidence is a big part of this game, and getting confidence early in the season is huge,” said coach John Roy.
St. John’s Prep took a 5-4 lead into halftime before scoring the first two goals in the second half. BC High eventually narrowed the lead to one, but couldn’t finish the comeback.
BC High won both regular season matchups between the two teams last year.
“It was a tough, physical game,” Roy said. “It’s not what we want to do, but if it’s called for, we can play like that.”
Though young, the Prep is considered one of the few area teams capable of stopping Duxbury – who has 12 Division 1 college bound players on its roster – in the state tournament this season. The Dragons have won eight of the last 10 state titles.
The Boston Scholar Athlete Program announced the official girls and boys basketball rosters for the second annual Dr. Joseph D. Warren Memorial Boston City League Basketball All-Star Game.
The All-Star game, which will be held Saturday, March 31 at Northeastern University's Cabot Center, will feature 61 student-athletes from Boston Public Schools split by the North and South.
The girls' game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Saturday. Here is the rosters:
Boston Latin Academy: Virginia McCaughney, Julia Rosario; Charlestown: Sara Centeio, Shannon Simpson; East Boston: Maria Delvecchio, Marta Chacon; Fenway: Tajanay Veiga Lee, Kayla Cox, Julissa Ross; Madison Park: Krystal Edwards, Khiyana Isaac, Amber Edward; Snowden: Jovanna Sandifer, Tania Ortiz; South Boston: Elaina Wright McCarthy, Daitannah Smith.
Brighton: Amy Bernardez, Shantal Solomon; Dorchester: Shyla Fitzpatrick, Kymesha Kelley; English: Trayana Mair, Timilia Lattimore; O'Bryant: Araion Bradshaw, Raven Kelsey, Kiana Daley; Burke: Briana Hooks; New Mission: Tianna Johnson, Jazala Laracuente, Tiffany Williams; West Roxbury: Marissa Sarette, Makayla Williams.
The boys' game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Saturday. Here are the rosters:
Boston Latin Academy: DeVaughn Riley; Charlestown: Tyrese Hoxter, Rony Fernandes, Omar Orriols; East Boston: Travon Moore, Kyle Jimenez Fox, Zack Gattereau; Kenny Ramos Fenway: Jonathon Roman; Madison Park: Rayshaw Matthews, David Stewart, Dakim Murray, O'Shea Joy; Snowden: Paul Maurice; South Boston: Alexander Brown.
Brighton: Jerard Mayes, Decorsie James, Tre Downman, Malik James; Dorchester: Jedaun Langston; English: Kwame Townshend, Bryanne Toney; Community Academy of Science & Health: Josh Baptista, Anthony Ware; Burke: Charles Slayden; New Mission: Leroy Hamilton, Isshiah Coleman; West Roxbury: Sterling Brown, Freddie Oliveira; O'Bryant: Wesley Ogebeveon.
Boston Public high school student-athletes were chosen by their coaches.
The event is sponsored by Boston Scholar Athletes and the Boston Center for Youth and Families.
Join us for a live chat at TD Garden as we cover the Super 8 hockey final between Malden Catholic and BC High. Chat starts at 6 p.m.
Globe correspondents Craig Forde and Ryan Mooney preview the Super 8 final betwen defending champions Malden Catholic and BC High.
NORTH ANDOVER -- BC High didn’t make it through group play in the Super 8 hockey tournament unscathed, but the Eagles soared when it mattered most.
BC High’s 3-2 win over St. John’s Prep at Lawler Arena Wednesday gave the Eagles (13-6-5) the season series with their Catholic Conference rivals, and, more importantly, their first trip to the TD Garden and the Super 8 finals since 2007.
“These kids are spoiled,” joked BC High coach John Flaherty. “They played at Fenway this year, now they get a chance to play at TD Garden ... and they earned it. We knew what the prize was, we knew the opportunity to play there, we had to get by this team, and our guys earned it. They worked hard and now they get to reap the rewards.”
St. John’s (16-6-2) didn’t look like the team that entered the crossover round undefeated in tournament play. Muddled play in their own zone led to turnovers and opportunities for BC High.
“We had a difficult time handling the puck tonight,” St. John’s coach Kristian Hanson said. “Mishandled it quite a bit ... we just weren’t as crisp and smooth as we have been throughout the entire tournament.”
Evan LeClerc pulled St. John’s even at 9:04 of the third period, only to have Chris LaLiberte put BC High back on top and provide the final margin 29 seconds later by getting his stick on a loose puck after a chaotic scrum in front of St. John’s netminder David Letarte (13 saves).
“You have to strike right back,” Flaherty said. “And when we did that I felt good about how the game was going.”
“We weren’t content with a one goal lead,” said senior captain Matt Sullivan. “They scored another goal, which we were expecting, and Chris LaLiberte did a great job, he kept at it and scored the game winner for us.”
Lucky to be scoreless after St. John’s defenseman Nick Pandelena put a rocket off the left post, Tom Besinger gave BC High the early lead with a wraparound at 7:26 of the opening period. Besinger came out of a scrum in the corner, carried the puck behind the net and popped it in to the right of Letarte.
The St. John’s power-play unit went to work for the first time with just under five minutes remaining in the first. With Ryan McDonough in the box for tripping, Pandelena went top shelf on BC High goalie Peter Cronin (18 saves) from the right circle after a brilliant setup from Sam Kurker and Brian Pinho.
BC High took its second lead of the game late in the second period. Letarte caught a Steve DeForge shot from the slot with his stick, sending it wide to the end boards. After a short battle, Tim Larocque came up with it on Letarte’s left. His wraparound bid was deflected, but ricocheted up and over the sprawling Letarte with less than two minutes remaining in the period.
Defending champion Malden Catholic advanced to the crossover round along with BC High, St. John’s Prep and Central Catholic. Here's highlights from Sunday's action at Merrimack College.
Malden Catholic, the defending champion of the Division 1A tournament, will be matched against Central Catholic (Wednesday, 8 p.m., Merrimack College) after going 3-0 in Super 8 play and outscoring opponents 13-4. Central Catholic went 2-1 in the round-robin games.
On the other end of the bracket, BC High will take on St. John's Prep (Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.) Prep also went undefeated, while BC High was 2-1.
The two games for the crossover round will be held at Merrimack College's Lawler Arena.
The victory provided the Eagles with hope of moving on to the crossover round on Wednesday, but not before the outcome of the Hingham-Malden Catholic game played out.
“We could've quit, we could've have packed it away, but we didn’t,” said BC High coach John Flaherty. “I’m proud of the resilience. We dug our heels in, fought back and I’m proud of them for that.”
The Eagles jumped to a first period lead when, 30 seconds into a power play, Sam Topham wound up from the point with a blast that Mario Pizzeri (37 saves) kicked off to his right. Matt Sullivan was camped in the left circle and pushed forward, pounced on the rebound and deposited it into the open left side of the net for a 1-0 lead at the 6:45 mark.
The Pioneers got on the board in the second, when Topham misfired as he tried to clear the puck out from behind his own net. The puck slowly drifted into the slot and Kevin Emmerling came in, popping it high over Peter Cronin’s left shoulder to tie the game at 6:18.
After a strong push in front of the Eagles net, Emmerling worked the puck behind the net and found Jay Duquette coming left-to-right into the slot where he wristed his shot glove side to beat Cronin (17 saves) high for a 2-1 lead, which would hold up heading into the third period.
A late, third period boarding call on St. John’s Andrew Smith gave the Eagles the man advantage with just 3:33 left in regulation and BC High worked its power play to perfection, cycling through the zone and firing point-blank shots on goal.
Tom Besinger launched a shot from the left side that Pizzeri saved, but the puck stopped at the base of his right pad and after whacking at it three more times, Besinger was finally able to tie the game.
Knowing they needed a two-goal win to even think about advancement, the Pioneers were forced to pull their goalie in a tie game, but could not muster enough of an attack in the final minute and the game went into overtime.
“I was telling them “see if we can get it down [in their zone] and call a timeout,”” said St. John’s coach Brian Murphy. “It was kind of strange in a 2-2 game to pull the goalie, but that’s what we had to do.”
Things got physical in the extra frame and both teams traded matching minors, leaving the penalty boxes congested with time ticking away in overtime.
Pioneers forward Chris Coveney started to take his puck out of the St. John’s zone, but was halted by Sullivan who ripped the puck from his stick, turned in the slot and fired a shot that beat Pizzeri glove-side.
“We made a quick change,” Sullivan said. “The defenseman got caught with the pucks between his skates, I shot the puck low and it went in.”FULL ENTRY
Globe Correspondent Craig Forde recaps the first day of Round 2 in the Super 8 tournament.
Globe correspondent Craig Forde recaps the first round of the Super 8 ice hockey tournament at Merrimack College Sunday.
In the latest episode of High School Weekly, Jon Meterparel and Kelly Emerson have the story on BC High goalie Peter Cronin, who Eagles coach John Flaherty calls the backbone of his team. Cronin sports a 1.940 goals against average in 17 games this season for the 10-5-5 Eagles. BC High opens play in the Super 8 tournament Sunday against Hingham.
High School Sports Weekly profiles the student-athletes from around the region who make high school athletics so compelling. Check out High School Weekly on Facebook.
The MIAA decided the final teams in this year's Super 8 boys ice hockey tournament, unanimously voting the Globe's No. 1 team and the tournament's defending champion Malden Catholic as the No. 1 seed.
Here are the seeds:
- Malden Catholic (15-1-4)
- St. Mary’s (18-0-3)
- St. John’s Prep (13-5-2)
- Hingham (16-4-2)
- BC High (10-5-5)
- Springfield Cathedral (10-6-6)
- Burlington (14-1-6)
- Needham (16-4-1)
- St. John's Shrewsbury (15-4-3)
- Central Catholic (12-3-5)
Seed Nos. 7-10 will play in play-in games on Monday at Merrimack College to determine which teams are in the final eight of the tournament. Needham will face St. John's Shrewsbury at 5:45 p.m. before Burlington faces Central Catholic at 8:15 p.m.
For more information on the Super 8 tournament, visit the Super 8 central on Boston.com.
In Week 3, we have the ISL opening up its season and lots of games to watch, despite the downpour of rain in the region. So I'm going to split from my normal "10 games to watch" and instead give you five to choose from. I'll come back with another five tomorrow morning.
1. Belmont Hill at BB&N, 4 p.m. – It’s the season opener for ISL games and we get a chance to see powerhouse BB&N go to work right away. Chris Coady, who played running back for the Knights last year, will be the team’s QB. Add in a couple of stud linemen in Eric Olson and Dan Connaughton, and they’ve got a great team to watch.
My pick: BB&N
2. Lawrence (2-0) at Lowell (1-1), 7 p.m. – Two great athletes in this matchup, with Lawrence’s Kelvin Severino and Lowell’s R.J. Noel.
My pick: Lawrence
3. BC High (1-1) at Chelmsford (2-0), 7 p.m. – BC High lost last week against New Jersey power DePaul Catholic, but that doesn’t mean they lack for power. Seniors Preston Cooper and Gordon McLeod provide the scoring punch. For Chelmsford, quarterback Colby Emanouil keeps the Lions’ offensive engine running smooth and Tim Joy anchors one of the state’s top defenses.
My pick: BC High
4. Weymouth (2-0) at Gloucester (0-2), 7 p.m. – Gloucester’s on a new streak already, having lost two games in a row after reeling of 26 straight. Weymouth features one of the top receivers in the state in Khary Bailey-Smith.
My pick: Weymouth
5. Beverly (1-1) at Lynn English (2-0), 7 p.m. – Dom Abate and Brendan Flaherty are the scoring options for Beverly while Lynn English will rely upon deep threat receiver Malcolm Brown-Simpson and running back P.J. Dorsey. Jermaine Kelley orchestrates Lynn English’s offense at QB.
My pick: Lynn English
There were tons of great games in Week 2 of the high school football season and we've got a few featured in The Huddle, including a look at Dennis-Yarmouth's close win over Barnstable and Central Catholic's overtime win over St. John's Prep. There's plenty to enjoy in the highlights.
Also: Coaches or parents who would like to contribute video for The Huddle are encouraged to contact me via email to make arrangements to supply short clips.
The Globe's No. 3 and No. 5 ranked teams met up in Week 1 of the high school football season with BC High routing Brockton 42-0. Preston Cooper rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns while teammate Gordon McLeod had a dazzling 42-yard TD reception. See the highlights above.
LOWELL –– Of the 12 round-robin games played in this year’s Super 8 tournament, nine were decided by a goal or less.
Sunday's nightcap wasn’t one of them.
Harvard-bound senior Colin Blackwell put No. 2 St. John’s Prep on the board 10 seconds in, and the Eagles soared to a 6-1 victory over No. 3 BC High.
The win makes Prep the top-seeded team to come out of Bracket Two, meaning St. John’s will skate against No. 4 Weymouth Wednesday night. Meanwhile, BC High earns the unpleasant task of taking on No. 1 Malden Catholic
Over its previous six games, BC High had allowed three goals total. St. John's Prep matched that in the first 1:37 of Sunday's showdown.
Blackwell’s (one goal, two assists) goal was the first of four in the first period for St. John’s Prep. Blackwell scored the breakaway goal by simply toasting the entire BC High defense down the left wing. The senior cut at the left dot toward the net, and backhanded one through the five-hole of Eagle goalie Peter Cronin.
Thirty seconds later, Devin Murray turned a Ryan Palmer breakout pass into another breakaway finish. Then, 57 seconds after that, St. John’s Prep played pinball with the puck as Colin Blackwell one-touched a pass to John Farrow on the doorstep, where Farrow one-timed in the third goal.
End of 2nd period, St. John's Prep 4, BC High 1 -- BC High got on the board in the second, with Terence Durkin poking in a loose puck in front. The shots are dead even at 13 apiece, but SJP has clearly been the better team so far.
End of 1st period, St. John's Prep 4, BC High 0 -- It's safe to say there was more drama below the rink than on it during the first 15 minutes of this one. On the ice, St. John's Prep scored three times in the first 1:37. Colin Blackwell started the scoring with a breakaway finish 10 seconds into the game, followed 30 seconds later by a breakaway tally from Devin Murray. Then, 1:37 in, Blackwell played keystone in a tic-tac-toe passing play that resulted in a tap-in goal for John Farrow.
Shane Eiserman added a third breakaway goal with 25 seconds to play in the frame.
While all this was going on, MIAA officials met in the tunnels with coaches from Weymouth and Central Catholic discussing the outcome of their identical 1-2 records in round-robin play. Central beat Weymouth head-to-head, and both held an identical advantage in goal differential over Hingham, also 1-2.
Officials eventually informed the teams that Weymouth would advance thanks to an advantage in goal quotient, which is goals scored divided by goals allowed.
Stay posted for updates throughout the game. You can also follow along on Twitter at @GlobeSchools or @jseiner.
Tom Besinger scored the game-winner with less than five minutes to play in the first period, and BC High clinched a spot in the Super 8 crossover round with a 1-0 win over Woburn.
Both goaltenders shined in net, with Eagle goaltender Peter Cronin earning the shutout on 18 saves. Woburn's Cam McGlashing may have been more impressive in the loss, turning away 23 BC High shots.
Tom Besinger put the Eagles up 1-0 in the first period, finishing a play started by linemate Terence Durkin. Durkin moved the puck into the zone, and spun one defender around so hard, the defender lost his stick and his footing. Durkin lost control trying to deke a second defender, and the puck slid atop to the right side of the crease, where Besinger dove and poked it in.
The goal sparked a fast-paced finish to the first period that carried over into the second. Both teams struggled in transition defense in the second period, forcing both goalies to make a handful of tremendous saves to keep the score where it was.
Woburn had a few substantial scoring chances in the frame, none better than Casey Shea's look from the left side of the crease. The righty wound to fire a one-timer at a wide-open cage, but on his downswing, his stick blade slid out of its graphite shaft, causing the junior to duff the shot wide.
The Tanners had another close call in the third, when a point shot slid behind BC High's Cronin and trickled toward the goal line. Eagle defenseman Matt Doherty bailed out his goaltender, though, by diving through the crease to clear the puck from danger with his stick.
Final, BC High 1, Woburn 0 -- For the second straight game, Woburn just refuses to go away, but in the end, BC High blocked too many shots, and BC High goalie Peter Cronin was ready for the 18 that got through. BC High and St. John's Prep have now clinched spots in the crossover round.
End of 2nd period, BC High 1, Woburn 0 -- Things opened up early in the first period and stayed that way in the second. Tons of back and forth action as both teams struggled mightily with transition defense. And yet, no goals in the second frame either way, mostly thanks to the goaltending of Peter Cronin (11 saves) and Cam McGlashing (15 saves).
End of 1st period, BC High 1, Woburn 0 -- A very cautious first eight minutes gives way to a frenetic final seven, and BC High heads to the dressing rooms up 1-0. Tom Besinger scored the goal, completing a magnificent play started by Terence Durkin. Durkin spun one defender around so quick with a deke, the player lost his stick, then moved the puck to Besinger's direction. The puck was way ahead of Besinger, but the freshman dove for it and put just enough stick on the puck to slide it into the cage.
NORTH ANDOVER –– For two and a half periods, No. 3 BC High and No. 6 Needham played scoreless hockey at Lawler Arena.
But the Eagles, who dominated time of possession and built a 26-14 shot advantage, earned the Super 8 round-robin win, 2-0, on the strength of Mike Cashman's power-play goal with 6:28 to play.
Cashman scored from point-blank range, taking in a pass just above the right-side goal line and moving toward the slot before ripping a water-bottle popping wrister over Needham goalie Connor Murray's shoulder.
Needham put just three shots on goal in the third, and Andrew White scored an empty-netter to lock up the win with 32.2 seconds to play.
Peter Cronin earned the shutout for BC High, making 14 saves.
Final: BC High 2, Needham 0-- BC High's Mike Cashman breaks the 0-0 deadlock with 6:28 to play as the Eagles dominate the possession game in the third. Needham put together a scoring push near the end, but Andrew White's empty-netter with 32.2 seconds to play clinched the win. BC High's Paul Cronin picks up the 14-save shutout.
End of 2nd period: BC High 0, Needham 0 -- BC High piles up 10 shots in the second period –– including six on an early power-play chance –– but we're still scoreless. The Eagles dominated a big chunk of that period, but Needham came on strong with a flurry of scoring chances late in the frame. After a lot of passive play, things opened up a bit in the last five minutes of the second. Should be a fun third period if that keeps up.
End of 1st period: BC High 0, Needham 0 -- Scoreless after one here at Lawler. BC High holding a 6-2 advantage in the shot department and generally playing a stronger game as of now. Both teams failed to convert on power-play chances, with BC High blocking four Needham shots on the Rockets' man-up try, while Needham actually outshot the Eagles, 1-0, when BC High went on the power play.
With nine seconds remaining in the game and his team down by one, Brighton senior Bernadin St. Vil stepped to the free throw line with a chance to give his Bengals the lead.
But there was one problem. The 6-foot-5 center isn’t exactly known for his skills at the charity stripe, coach Hugh Coleman said. And he had yet to hit any of his six free throws that day.
Shrugging off his previous failed attempts, St. Vil stepped to the line, netted both free throws, and Brighton (11-2) held on for a 60-59 win over its Boston City South rival Dorchester.
“Our seniors really stepped up tonight,” Coleman said. “All year it’s been our young guys who have led us, but tonight it was our seniors."
Senior center Mitchell Jean-Louis had 17 points and 20 rebounds for Brighton, while sophomore point guard Malik James scored the first triple-double of his career, notching 13 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists.
But picking up the team’s 11th victory didn’t look very promising before the start of the game.
Just hours before tip off, Coleman discovered he would be without three of his starters – one because of injury, the other two because of disciplinary actions within the school.
“Once we found that out, we became very uneasy with the situation because it all happened so quickly,” Coleman said. “We called up a few players from JV and asked a lot from our seniors.”
The win ties Brighton with West Roxbury for the second best record in the league behind New Mission, who beat the Bengals twice in the regular season.
Because of weather postponements, Brighton and West Roxbury have yet to play each other this season, but will settle things in a pair of games next week. On Monday (Feb. 14), the Bengals host the Raiders, and Wednesday (Feb. 16) they play at Dorchester.
Down by 11 at intermission, and down by 14 with four minutes to play, the resilient Dorchester Bears stiffened defensively in the second half and stunned Burke, 57-56, behind a 3-pointer from junior guard Darius Bass, who nailed the shot with 3.2 left to play.
The Bears (3-8) swept the season series, 2-0, over Boston City South rival Bulldogs.
Coming off a 41-point loss to West Roxbury, coach John Evans called a victory over Burke crucial to the team's playoff hopes. Evans hopes the team can build off the tough win and gather several victories because a .500 record in the Boston City will propel the Bears into the postseason.
Junior Ronnie Jackson powered the Bears with a team-high 17 points, including three 3-pointers in the final period. Junior guard Jeduan Langston sparked the defensive intensity with two steals in the final two minutes. He finished with 10 points for Dorchester.
The Bears will face off next against New Mission.
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 @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.