BROCKTON, Mass. — Brockton’s lack of free throw shooting was a big reason that Newton North was able to erase a 15-point first half deficit, but when the Boxers absolutely needed a pair from the stripe they got it.
Sayvonn Houston hit two clutch free throws with 16.3 seconds left to force overtime, and the Boxers (11-1) rushed away from the Tigers in the extra session to seal a 71-65 win at Staff Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon.
“It was necessary,” said Boxers head coach Bob Boen. “I don’t know if that’s what I have to tell him, but we need him to make those shots. Yes, we had shot very poorly and you wouldn’t have want to bet that we were going to make those two the way that we had been shooting. But he made two big shots and we had to have them.”
Houston was fouled after a free throw from Michael Thorpe gave the Tigers a 61-59 lead in the waning moments of the fourth. The Boxers big man had good form on both free throws and they were no-doubters to tie the game.
“I had to calm down and knock down my free throws,” said Houston, who scored 12 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.
Houston was 2-for-6 from the line before making his final two, and the Boxers finished 50 percent from the line in the game and went 15-of-30 in the second half to let the Tigers get back into the game.
The Tigers had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but watched as a rushed 3-pointer in the corner from Tim Stanton hit off the rim with only 1.1 seconds left to get it off.
Jamal Reuben scored five points in the extra session and the Boxers held the Tigers to one field goal and two free throws in the final four minutes of play to run away with the game.
Boxers' Athletes Stand Out: It’s easy to see that the Boxers are probably the most athletically gifted team in Div. 1 South — which will be one of the deeper divisions in all of the tournament.
Houston is a force inside that many teams won’t be able to matchup with, but Jahleel Moise brings a knack for being a menace to anyone coming down the lane. The 6-foot-3 Moise is an athletic wing and he had a complete game with eight points, nine blocks and six rebounds in the victory.
“I said to someone the other day that Jahleel is the most amazing shot blocker that I’ve ever seen at Brockton High,” said Boen. “I’ve been here 29 years now as a JV coach and varsity coach. He gets about that many blocks every game. He gets off his feet so quick and really sees the ball well. He’s the best shot blocker that we’ve ever had by far.”
Tamed Tigers Wake Up: Paul Connolly wasn’t quite sure what team he was looking at in the first quarter — and most of the first half. His Tigers needed a heave at the buzzer by Luke Westman to score seven points in the first quarter and fell down by as much at 15 in the second.
But Connolly’s bunch clawed its way back into the game when it looked like it just wasn’t possible.
Thorpe scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half and freshman Tommy Mobley hit three big 3-pointers — including the one in the beginning of the fourth quarter that gave the Tigers their first lead.
“We were down 15-4 to start the game,” said Connolly. “That’s not the team that I’ve coached in the last 14 games. I was disappointed early in the game, as disappointed as I’ve been coaching. But now as I sit here I’m really proud of my guys because we battled.”
The Tigers are now 14-1 on the season.