NEWTON, Mass. –- Having the Brockton Boxers facing off against the Newton North Tigers on Superbowl Sunday was a bit ironic. Similar to the Super Bowl later that evening, there were two renowned programs from different leagues, going at it with bragging rights on the line. The tigers won the bragging rights in this Super Sunday tradition, a 62-48 victory over the Boxers on an unusually sunny Sunday afternoon.
Just like the Packers, the Tigers (11-4) started the game off with a bang by going on a 19-4 run in the first seven minutes of the game. Freshman Aaron Falzon -- who finished with 19 points and seven rebounds on 3-of-7 shooting from the field, along with three 3-pointers -- was the key to this run as he scored 8 quick points on various post moves and outside shots.
“When he hits shots, his confidence skyrockets. We are really good when he starts hitting shots.” Newton North point guard Mike Thorpe said.
Thorpe was also a vital contributor, as he nearly had a double-double with 9 points and 10 assists. He had no issues with Brockton’s trapping zone defense, which changed from a half court press to a full court press often.
“We stayed disciplined and didn’t get flustered by their pressure,” Newton North junior wing Luke Westman said. “I think it is huge for our momentum. Beating a quicker and more athletic team is good for our confidence.”
“They were kind of throwing a 1-3-1 on us.” Newton North head coach Paul Connolly said. “It was all about the angles and the diagonal passes for us. The kids kept asking, ‘What are we running?’ and I kept telling them, ‘We aren’t running anything! We are playing basketball.’ That’s the funny thing about coaching. You are on the sidelines, but the guys are out there making the plays and we did that. We made enough plays to win.”
At halftime, it looked like the Tigers were a lock to win at 33-16, but Brockton (9-4) did not cave in. Captain Treace Macklin, Jamal Reuben, and 6-foot-6 forward Sayvonn Houston each picked up the intensity level, starting off the half with an 8-2 run. The Boxers had to deal with one of their senior leaders Alain Lenord missing the game with a sprained knee, which allowed for Jaylen Blakely (16 points) and Shane Sims (8 points) to get more looks. Their efforts, however, were not enough for a comeback.
“I think that [the snow days] are hurting everybody but Newton hadn’t practiced either and they played pretty well,” Brockton coach Bob Boen said. “We haven’t had practice in six or seven days. My players were excited and telling me they didn’t need practice after Friday’s win but after today’s game we’ll change that attitude.”
“We are what we are this year,” Connolly said. “After a tough loss Friday against Wellesley, we had a great practice yesterday and to come back today and get a win against a powerhouse team. It feels good to get that 'W' today.”
Don’t Sleep On These Guys
-- There were two juniors who were particularly impressive: Westman (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Houston (eight points, four rebounds). Both of their coaches seem to like what they bring to the table.
“[Luke] is terrific”, Connolly said Westman. “He is really cerebral out there and he’s a three-sport athlete. He’s all-league in volleyball, all-league in basketball, and all-league in soccer. He’s a terrific volleyball player. He made all-league as a freshman and all-scholastic in the Globe as a sophomore. He’s a kid who plays basketball for three months every year. He’s just a balanced athlete and a terrific kid. He’s a kid who could go to an Ivy League school and play either soccer or volleyball.”
“Sayvonn is big and strong,” Boen said of Houston. “He’s a bigger center than our starting center. He gets a lot of nice things done inside. He needs to finish a little more inside but that’s something that hurt us too today. We weren’t finishing lay ups particularly well. We only shot about 50 percent from lay ups I would say. Sayvonn gave us a lift though. He’s coming along.”
-- After losing to Wellesley on Friday, Connolly shed some light on the Division 2 South sleepers:
“We aren’t making excuses; they were just better than us the other night. They are senior-oriented. They are a good team. I could see them winning the Herget side of our division although there are a few more games left on that side. I think they’ll make a run in the tournament. They shoot the three well. They’ve had 12 threes in one game and 13 in another. They’ve had six or seven games where they’ve had double-digit three-pointers. They can really shoot the ball.”