ROXBURY, Mass. -- Capturing state titles is something that Cory McCarthy has done with the New Mission girls. And done again, twice, with the New Mission boys’ basketball program. But capturing the city’s crown had been an elusive task for he and the Titans.
In a convincing 73-54 win over East Boston, New Mission earned bragging rights in the city for the next twelve months.
“It’s mostly for the kids,” said McCarthy after the game, when asked about the significance of winning the Boston Public Schools’ annual tournament.
The game started with New Mission jumping out to an 8-1 lead in the first quarter. East Boston senior Marcus Shaw found the hoop a couple of times from behind the arc, as did Dion Knight. A second free throw from Amilcar Guevara put East Boston into double digits, but their 11 points at the end of the first quarter would only half New Mission’s 22 points.
The Jets were able to keep it close in the lower double digits, ending the third quarter down by twelve points. A 10-2 run to begin the fourth gave the Titans enough space to cruise to the victory from there.
“We just got out toughed,” said East Boston coach Shawn Brown. “Their two big boys, Asante [Sandiford] and Bam [Frederick Rivers], are two tough kids and and carried their team to victory. They got after every loose ball, offensive and defensive rebounds. They played well, but we didn’t play our best."
“This is for our Lady Titans,” said Bam Rivers holding up the trophy, referencing the New Mission girls basketball team, which was disqualified from the tournament after a bench clearing fracas last week against O’Bryant (who were also disqualified). “Before we start the game, I come in thinking that it’s going to be as physical a game as we have ever played. I expect the worst and prepare for the best.”
In the fourth, the margin was pumped up to 24 points before the junior varsity players came in and finished out the game, inciting oohs and aahs from the crowd as the usual spectators got the chance to see action on the big stage and even score some points.
Bucket List: The players felt the same way, saying that the trophy was something that they wanted to earn for McCarthy, as all but one starter, Tyrique Lee, are set to graduate this June from New Mission High School.
“We came into this season with the motto “Play together as a family,” said senior Shaquan Murray holding his personal championship trophy. “We hadn’t won the city title, and as seniors, so we wanted to win it for our family, our friends, and coach McCarthy. We came in with the mind set to win -- step on their neck defense and turn up the intensity.”
“This MVP trophy, it doesn’t go to me,” said tournament MVP Asante Sandiford, who pointing at the trophy with his championship trophy. “It goes to me and my team because they got me the ball and we always stay together.”
Fenway takes girls crown -- again: In girls action, Fenway coach John Rice was able to lead his team to another city championship in a 49-23 lopsided victory over South Boston.
“We do a lot of mental preparation with our kids,” said Rice after the win. Not letting the ladies who doubled up on the Knights off the hook, Rice is looking for improved play come MIAA tournament time. “Offensively, we weren’t sharp and crisp, our focus was off there, so we still have [a few days] to tighten some of those loose ends up.”