Behind a game-high 25 points from sophomore forward Fru'nwi Che, the Somerville boys' basketball team defeated East Boston, 54-45, Tuesday night to advance to the quarterfinal round of the Division 1 North tournament.
“Fru’s the coach's dream,” Highlanders coach Mark Antonelli said. “You can yell at him, you can praise him, and his expression never changes."
Somerville kicked off the scoring but Jets junior guard Dion Knight answered with two straight layups to give East Boston and early 4-2 advantage.
After a low-scoring first quarter, Somerville led, 12-8.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” Antonelli said. “It was a sloppy game offensively for us but I felt like they really stuck together and made the key defensive plays.”
The second quarter was another poor offensive showing for both teams. With just seconds left on the clock, the Highlanders held a 23-19 lead. But as the buzzer sounded, Knight drilled a 3-pointer to cut Somerville's lead to just 1.
“At halftime in the locker room the last thing I said to them was ‘do you want to go home or do you want to keep on playing?’” Antonelli said.
Somerville jumped out to a 29-23 lead early in the third quarter, but Jets junior forward Kevin Sinatra and Knight nailed back-to-back treys to tie the game.
Despite the brief burst of sharp shooting, the Highlanders defense refused to let East Boston find an offensive rhythm. Knight nailed another 3-pointer but Somerville senior guard Rayoni Matos answered with a 3 of his own, stifling the Jets’ surge.
Somerville led, 37-36, after three quarters.
“Honestly we needed to step up, we were making too many mistakes on offense, too many turnovers,” Che said. “Transition defense was kinda shaky.”
Knight opened the final quarter with a nifty move to the rim, scoring and drawing a foul. He hit the free throw to complete the 3-point play and give East Boston the lead.
A layup from senior guard Marcus Shaw extended the Jets' lead to four, but Che answered to pull Somerville within 2.
Two free throws by Somerville junior guard Salim Warsame knotted the game at 41 with four minutes to play.
A Che layup gave the Highlanders the lead. The Jets struggled to score as time ran off the clock, thanks to relentless defense from senior guard Kervinson Exilus and a strong rebounding effort by the entire Somerville squad.
Che said he knew the Highlanders could wrap up the win in the final two minutes.
“We hit our free throws,” Che said. “We got the ball over half and just broke their press.”
Eight points from Che and 3 from Exilus closed out the victory.
Knight finished with 23 points for the Jets. Warsame and junior forward Jonathan Santana Arias each finished with 10 points for Somerville.
The Highlanders will take on Greater Boston League rival Everett in the quarterfinal round.
“It’s gonna be a typical GBL battle,” Antonelli said. “Both teams know each other, both coaches know each other. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
Everett won both matchups with Somerville in the regular season, but the score was close in both games. In the season opener, Everett won by 6 points. In the most recent contest Feb. 7, the Crimson Tide won by 8.
“They’re a good team. They’re a really good team,” Che said of Everett. “Last time we faced them it was close. We just gotta fix some mistakes and get back to practice tomorrow and hope for a win.”
Despite losing in the Division 1 state final on penalties, the Somerville boys' were the best boys' soccer team in the state throughout the entire season.
The Highlanders defeated then-undefeated Needham and Silver Lake to capture the Division 1 Eastern Mass. crown. Along with having far more opportunities to put away the state title game in regulation, the Highlanders’ top scorer – senior Thayrone Miranda – played through the entire season with a knee injury. If Miranda had been healthy, it is very likely that Somerville would have taken the state crown.
Masconomet has the edge over Needham in the final Top 20 – both teams lost just once, to Somerville, but Masconomet won 23 of its 25 games en route to the Division 2 state title. The Rockets, on the other hand, tied six times.
Madison Park finish the season at No. 12 after losing in double-overtime to St. John’s Prep in the Division 1 North semifinal. Prep finishes ahead of rival BC High with the Catholic Conference title, but was dismantled by Somerville in the Division 1 North title game. Walpole enters the Top 20, despite a 13-8-2 record. The Rebels won four straight games in the tournament and played a tough regular season schedule in the Bay State conference.
The Northeastern Conference voted 6-5 against expansion Friday, ending for the moment the attempts by four Greater Boston League schools and Masconomet to join the 11-team conference.
The motion was to add Medford, Malden, Somerville, and Everett, along with Masconomet, currently a member of the Cape Ann League. Needing eight votes to expand, principals and athletic directors met for two hours before voting.
"It was a healthy discussion," said Northeastern Conference spokesman and former Amesbury principal Les Murray. "In the end they just didn't see the need to expand."
Masconomet is in talks with the Merrimack Valley Conference about joining that 11-team conference. Cambridge is leaving the GBL to join the Dual County League, leaving the GBL as a four-team league.
It took four different attempts Thursday but the Greater Boston athletic directors finally agreed to release Cambridge from the GBL. By a 3-2 vote, Cambridge is one step closer to joining the Dual County League.
The next step according to Medford athletic director Bob Maloney, is a vote by the Greater Boston League principals. Maloney said he anticipates the principals agreeing with the athletic directors.
The first three votes all went against Cambridge as the athletic directors from Cambridge, Medford, Malden, Somerville, and Everett searched for a solution they could all agree on. The fourth motion, proposed by Everett athletic director John DiBiaso, was to release Cambridge at the end of this school year and it passed by one vote.
According to Maloney, the remaining GBL schools will continue discussions with the Northeastern Conference.
Somerville (4-0), New Bedford, and Needham retain the top three spots in this week’s Top 20. None of the three have lost. Needham (4-0-1) has beaten two ranked opponents (No. 11 Wellesley and No. 15) Framingham), while New Bedford (7-0) has beaten No. 12 Dartmouth. None of Somerville’s opponents have given the 4-0 Highlanders a scare.
Silver Lake jumps 12 spots from its pre-season ranking of No. 19 to No. 7. The Lakers (4-0-1) have played four away games, scoring 21 and only conceded three. Senior forward Paul Beatty is the Lakers’ main scoring threat.
St. John’s Prep (5-0-1) leaps to No. 4. The Eagles were impressive in a 3-1 win over Catholic Conference rival, BC High on Saturday. No. 9 Oliver Ames (5-0) has only allowed one goal in its last five games.
Formerly No. 4, Weymouth (0-2-3) drops out of the Top 20 without having won in its first five games. The Warriors play No. 2 Needham on Tuesday.
No. 4 Dartmouth drops to No. 12, having lost to Brockton and New Bedford. Brockton (4-2) is on the cusp of breaking into the Top 20. The Boxers’ only losses came on the road against No. 1 Somerville and No. 8 BC High.
There was no doubt that Needham would finish atop the Globe's final Top 20 of the season after capturing the Division 1 state title. They hovered in the Top 5 all season long, but never made it to the top spot until now ... when it matters the most.
The rest of the top five are the same teams as the last two polls leading up to the tourney, with a few minor adjustments. Somerville proved its worth and finished No. 2 overall, having suffered its only defeat of the season to the top-ranked Rockets in the Division 1 EMass final.
Ranked in the top spot for much of the season, Masconomet slips to the fifth spot after catching its only loss of the season in the Div. 1 North semifinals against No. 3 St. John’s Prep, who quite possibly boasted the best defense in the state.
The final Top 20 also includes five teams that were not on the poll heading into the postseason. Of course No. 6 Medway headlines the big movers after the team's spectacular run to a Division 2 EMass title.
No. 13 Dartmouth returned to the Top 20 after slipping off for one week and No. 15 Watertown, No. 16 Holliston and No. 18 Madison Park all debut at the right time.
See the final Boston Globe boys' soccer Top 20.
By Eric Russo, Globe Correspondent
The Greater Boston League football coaches and athletic directors met on Thursday morning to discuss how they would determine the league's two playoff teams under the new format that starts next season.
According to Everett coach and AD John DiBiaso, the top two teams in the league, based on record, will qualify for the postseason. Here's how things will work:
League games will be played during weeks 4 through 7.
Each team will play four league games, but only three will count toward their league record. The league's two Thanksgiving games (Malden vs. Medford and Somerville vs. Cambridge) will be discounted. Everett, who no longer plays on Thanksgiving, will have one of their games during weeks 4-7 discounted. This will be done on a rotating, alphabetical basis. In 2013, Everett's game vs. Cambridge will not count toward Everett's league record, but will count for the Falcons. In 2014, their game vs. Malden will be discounted, in 2015, Medford, in 2016, Somerville.
If there is a tie for the second playoff spot, head-to-head record will be used.
Eleven minutes into their Division 1 North first round match against Billerica, the second-ranked Somerville boys' soccer team found themselves somewhere they hadn't been all season long -- trailing 1-0.
Despite leading scorer Thayrone Miranda and starting keeper Luis Guerra serving first half suspensions for disciplinary reasons, the Highlanders (17-0-2) rode three straight goals from Felix De Bona to a 6-2 win at Dilboy Stadium on Sunday.
"Felix took it upon himself to carry us in that first half," said Somerville coach George Scarpelli. "The first game is always the toughest."
Starting defenseman Augusto DeOliveira stepped between the pipes for the first time in his career and did an admirable job as he stopped four shots to send Somerville to halftime with a 2-1 lead before Guerra returned in the second.
"He's the heart of the team," said De Bona of DeOliveria. "If I was going to pick anyone to be a goalie today, it would be Augusto."
"As a captain, I felt that I should put the team on my back," said DeOlivera. "That was my first time, it wasn't really good, but I feel I helped my team."
In the second half the Indians (11-7-4) pulled within one, 3-2, when Leo Trindade scored his second goal of the game on a nice give-and-go from Peter Melo. But Billerica found themselves with their hands full when Miranda returned to the lineup to net two second half goals.
Somerville will host Westford Academy in a Division 1 North quarterfinal match on Tuesday.
The MIAA has released the pairings for this year’s boys’ soccer tournament and once again we are in for a thrilling couple of weeks of top-notch action on the pitch, crowning three new Eastern Mass champions on the way to the state championships. Below is a glimpse into how things may shake out in each of the six sectionals. Please keep in mind that last year we didn’t even have Division 1 EMass champion Masconomet in our Top 20 poll heading into the tourney, so take it all with a grain of salt and feel free to post your own predictions.
DIVISION 1 NORTH:
This sectional boasts defending EMass champion and current No. 1 Masconomet, and is very top heavy with the likes of No. 2 Somerville, No. 3 St. John’s Prep and No. 6 Acton-Boxborough standing out as favorites here.
Best first round matchup: Framingham at St. John’s Prep - Framingham heads to Danvers on Saturday to face off against No. 3 St. John’s Prep. The Eagles stumbled slightly down the stretch, catching two draws over their last three games. The Flyers are always battle-tested come tourney time thanks to their brutal Bay State schedule and have tied No. 5 Needham, 2-2, early in the season and beat No. 11 Wellesley last week.
Finals prediction: Masconomet and Somerville – The two favorites should make it through for a heavyweight collision into the finals.
Sleeper: Chelsea – They are quick, skilled and underrated and despite not losing all season long they have garnered little-to-no fanfare.
DIVISION 1 SOUTH
This sectional is as loaded as it gets. With 25 teams in the mix, it will be a free-for-all, so expect some big teams to get knocked off early. Fourth-ranked Needham and fifth-ranked Weymouth have been top-five teams all season long, but No. 7 New Bedford, No. 12 BC High and No. 16 Nauset are all on the verge. Then there are the Oliver Ames's of the world who bring with them one of the best goalies around as David MacKinnon brings in an EMass best 0.17 goalies against average.
Best first-round matchup: Wellesley at Nauset – If the Raiders can get by preliminary opponent King Phillip, it would set up a solid first round bout with Nauset and Cody Savonen, a scoring machine looking to make a mark in his final season.
Finals prediction: Needham and Weymouth – The Rockets took the season series 1-0-1, but of course things were only decided by one goal. These Bay State behemoths would provide a must-see class in this final.
Sleeper: Silver Lake – The Patriot League Keenan division champions had an impressive closing stretch against ranked teams where they tied St. John’s Prep and Dartmouth and defeated Hingham.
DIVISION 2 NORTH
Concord-Carlisle will be looking for a stunning fourth straight D2 North crown and they hope it will lead to their third state title in four years. It won’t be easy and of course it never is. Teams primed to knock the Patriots off of their perch include No. 18 Pentucket and No. 8 North Andover.
Best first-round matchup: Salem at Lynn Classic - Although Lynn Classical just took down Salem, 4-1, last Thursday, you can always expect the best when two teams from the same league make it a one-and-done deal. These two Northeastern League Large foes will get Manning Field ready for what is always a very busy postseason.
Finals prediction: Concord-Carlisle and Winchester – A rematch of last year’s D2 North semifinal that saw the Patriots escape with a 2-1 win.
Sleeper: Wilmington – Just like his Division 2 state champion hockey team, coach Steve Scanlon will have his Wildcats ready to execute their game plan.
DIVISION 2 SOUTH
It’s the anti-Division 1 North with regards to the team powers that you we may be used to. But don’t for a second take this division and section lightly. There are plenty of teams in this one who may not have had the regular season success that they are used to, but tougher schedules make these contenders strong. See Canton, Milton, Hingham, Holliston, Norton, and Duxbury.
Best first-round matchup: Medfield at Westwood – The Lis brothers (Olek and Seb) will look to defend home turf for the Warriors, but Tri-Valley rival Medfield tied Westwood, 0-0, early in the season and defeated them, 1-0, on October 23rd.
Finals prediction: Hingham and Holliston – The H’s have it in Division 2 South.
Sleeper: Martha’s Vineyard – Opponents should not dismiss the Vineyarders because of their commute. It gives them more time to hammer out their game plan!
DIVISION 3 NORTH
This sectional is maybe the most up-for-grabs in the North. Matignon is poised to push things past their quarterfinals appearance last year, while St. Mary’s wants to catch at least one more win than a year ago to put themselves in position for a D3 North title. Of course you can never count out the ports, as Newburyport and Rockport are always forces to watch in this region.
Best first-round matchup: Georgetown at Watertown – The defending EMass champion Royals have to make the long trek to Watertown to try to defend their title, which won’t come easy with a scrappy Red Raiders team first on the docket.
Finals prediction: Rockport and Matignon – Two years ago the Warriors didn’t even make the postseason, but over the last two seasons coach Michael Haynes has gotten the best of his bunch and now they are serious contenders. The Vikings boast Cape Ann goal scoring leader Conor Douglass (24) who alongside Shaun Aspesi (18 goals) make a lethal scoring combo.
Sleeper: Bishop Fenwick – They have tied (0-0) and beat (1-0) preliminary round opponent Austin Prep and if they get by them it will set up a first round matchup with St. Mary’s, whom the Crusaders defeated, 2-1, in mid-October.
DIVISION 3 SOUTH
This sectional is filled with all sorts of gems that have yet to be admired. From Seekonk to Bourne to Coyle & Cassidy. This region could find some new blood to represent them in the EMass final. Of course, last year’s sectional finalists Cardinal Spellman and Dover Sherborn lurk in the depths of the low seeds, waiting to strike.
Best first-round matchup: Cardinal Spellman at Mashpee – The Cardinals must first take out Holbrook in the prelims, but if they do, they will post a massive threat for Mashpee in round one.
Finals prediction: Nantucket and Mashpee – The Cape and Island teams are a lot stronger this year than in year’s past and these two teams will prove it.
Sleeper: Bourne – The leadership of 30-goal scorer Jack Canterbury can be enough to carry the Canalmen at times.
Best of luck to all the teams who have made it this far. The road to the hardware will be a tough one, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.
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.
The teams in the top half of the boys' soccer Top 20 poll remain the same for the most part with St. John's Prep taking a leap over a few teams after a three-win week moves them up from seventh to fourth.
Acton-Boxboro, the only new team on the Top 10, leaps North Andover after another quality week that included a tie against No. 7 Concord-Carlisle.
Some former unbeatens took big hits and slipped down the rankings with Danvers having the biggest drop from No. 9 to No. 19 after an 0-2-1 week.
Oliver Ames also lost twice, moving them from No. 12 to No. 18 and Nauset caught a tough loss against rival Sandwich, sinking them to No. 15.
No new teams breached the Top 20 poll this week, but that could all change with one shot as we hit the all-important stretch run of the season.
After only one week out of the top spot, Masconomet returns to regain their position atop the pole following another two-win week. The Chieftains have hit their stride, outscoring their last six opponents by a whopping 29-1 margin.
Last week’s No. 1 team Concord-Carlisle slips down to the sixth spot after suffering a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the unranked Bedford.
Somerville leapfrogs into the second spot in our poll thanks to the return of Felix DeBona coupled with another Weymouth tie that keeps the Wildcats in check at No. 3.
For the most part, the rest of the field stays in-tact with Hanoverthe only team making their debut on the poll at No. 19 after Archbishop Williams fell off the charts following their first loss of the season.
Some teams that are on the radar and could make a push into the poll, should any teams falter, include Marshfield (7-2-1), Braintree (7-3-2), East Boston (9-1-1), Rockport (8-1), Milford (7-1-4) and Reading (7-3-1).
Check out the latest Globe Top 20 here.
It’s our first crack at shuffling the deck with our boys soccer Top 20 poll, so of course we have taken the liberty of making some moves since our initial poll at the beginning of the season.
A lot has gone down on the pitch, teams are starting to separate themselves from the pack and this week’s poll will show that as thirteen teams check in with zero losses on their fixtures.
The top two teams switch spots as Concord-Carlisle (7-0) takes over the No. 1 ranking in our latest poll, having allowed only one goal over their first seven games.
Masconomet (5-0-2) slides down only spot due to a couple of early ties, but they have gotten back off track and have rattled off 21 goals over their last four games, all wins.
Weymouth (8-0-2) makes a big leap up from the seventh spot to No. 3 and Oliver Ames (7-0-2) is this week’s big mover, jumping up seven spots from No. 19 all the way to No. 12.
Having racked up some big wins to go along with no losses, Pentucket (6-0-1), Dartmouth (8-0-2), Winchester (5-0-2) and Archbishop Williams (8-0) all make their debut on the poll.
Medford (2-1-2), Lexington (3-2-1), Lincoln-Sudbury (3-3-1) and Georgetown (3-2-2) all bow out after slow starts to their seasons, but all are capable of landing back on the Top 20 with a quick turnaround.
See the Globe boys soccer Top 20 here.
Just days after learning he would be replaced as Somerville’s girls’ basketball coach, Brian Harris wants an apology from the school he coached at for 18 years.
Saying he hoped to ‘‘assist somewhere,’’ this winter, Harris, 55, also was clear something had to happen first. ‘‘Not until Somerville apologizes to me for calling me a bully.’’
Somerville named former Wheelock and Simmons coach Shannon Clark as new girls’ varsity basketball coach Monday. Harris was told his style of coaching was confrontational and hostile and now he feels Somerville is standing in the way of his getting another job. He feels that when asked about his coaching career and why he was removed from his position, Somerville officials will say no comment.
‘‘That’s haunting me,’’ said Harris, who won 260 games at Somerville including a 14-7 mark last winter. ‘‘They’re almost blackballing me for any jobs that come out.’’
Harris has spoken with attorneys but no one representing him has contacted Somerville officials yet.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.