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Tale of the Tape: Dorchester vs. Eastside (N.J.)

No. 22 Dorchester hosts Paterson, N.J.'s Eastside High today at 5:30 p.m. at Emmanuel College. Helping us out once again with perspective from the Jersey side is MSG Varsity senior writer Brian Fitzsimmons.

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Brendan Hall

ESPN Boston High Schools Editor

The Boston City League's 2012-13 realignment has breathed new life into a number of squads, the most significant being the Dorchester Bears of the league's "B", or "Central", division. Two weeks ago on our podcast, former East Boston coach Malcolm Smith said that Dorchester "has the most athletes in the city", and we've certainly seen spurts of that in the first half of the season.

Going into the season the Bears were pegged as a sleeper both in the city and a wide-open Division 2 South, and they are now thoroughly on the map after they whipping City A power Madison Park last month in surprising fashion -- 70-52, in Dorchester, including one of the best stat lines of the first half from 6-foot-7 senior center Dakari Wornum (26 points, 28 rebounds). The Bears currently sit at 7-5 overall, and returned to the polls last week after wins over Latin Academy and O'Bryant.

Head coach Johnny Williams is a cousin of long-time Cambridge head coach Lance Dottin, and he brings a similar defensive-minded mentality. The player to watch is unquestiaonably Wornum, who averages roughly 19 points and 19 rebounds per game. Nicknamed "Sticks" by his peers for his slender frame, he is an unfinished product with limited offense but excels around the boards. His timing on blocks is intuitive, his wingspan is exceptional, and he gets virtually all of his points off offensive rebounds and free throws. In that Madison Park upset last month, Wornum was only fed the ball three times.

On the perimeter, the Bears are known for their shooting ability, and are among the most athletic group of guards in Boston, led by Jeduan Langston (15 points, eight rebounds, five assists), Trey Moon (12 points, 10 rebounds), Dean Lee (11 points) and Khalil Newson (nine assists, four steals).

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Brian Fitzsimmons

MSG Varsity Senior Writer/Editor

Dorchester, which surged back into the ESPN Boston boys hoops Top 20, will be put to the test when it welcomes one of the top northern New Jersey teams to Emmanuel College on Saturday afternoon.

The No. 22 Bears, following crucial wins over Latin Academy and O’Bryant, hope to keep their win streak alive against Eastside (Paterson, N.J.), which is ranked No. 12 in the MSG Varsity New Jersey Top 15.

The alma mater of New York Liberty star Essence Carson, Eastside (11-1) suffered its first loss of the campaign this past week to public-school powerhouse Teaneck, which is nestled in the fourth spot of the Garden State poll and sixth in the MSG Varsity Tri-State Top 20.

Contrary to their typical output, the Ghosts committed 17 turnovers and couldn’t find a key offensive spurt in the final quarter of that setback. A win over Dorchester, though, could reignite their confidence before beginning the highly magnified county playoffs.

Eastside, a winner of eight Passaic County titles since the tournament began in 1971, was awarded the event’s top seed after it cruised past rival DePaul Catholic. The Ghosts are slated to face Hawthorne in the first round on Feb. 2.

Dorchester could present the Ghosts with an ample warm-up for the postseason. In order to keep this contest close, though, the Bears will have to contain senior guard Jetor Brown, senior center Selwyn Rodriguez and point guard Thomas Rivera.

Rivera, who is one of the top guards in North Jersey, is averaging 12 points per game and has established himself as one of the best defenders in the region. According to sources close with the team, the University of Hartford will be coming to scout Rivera.