BOSTON -- It was only fitting that Thursday night’s first round tournament game between West Roxbury and Brockton would end in overtime. Neither team could mount any type of substantial run until Brockton executed on both ends of the floor in overtime and pulled away with the 76-72 victory.
“There were times when they looked like they were going to put us away and there were times when we looked like we were going to put them away,” Brockton head coach Bob Boen said. “Neither team gave in.”
Both teams struggled to find any offensive rhythm out of the gate. The game would go back and forth, with each team causing chaos in the full court leading to numerous turnovers, layups and fouls on the other end.
West Roxbury senior forward Jason Hall was everywhere early. Hall scored six points, grabbed four rebounds and blocked two shots in the opening quarter giving West Roxbury a, 18-15, lead.
Each time one team looked to get rolling the other team would steal back the momentum, leading to a 32-32 halftime draw.
Brockton (14-7) came out with some fire in the third as senior Shane Sims (13 points) slammed home an inbounds pass to bring the crowd to their feet. Brockton also went to an effective zone that shut down Westie’s slashing attack. Sims scored five points in the quarter and senior Carl Joseph (14 points) sank two huge three-pointers to give the Boxers a, 53-47, lead heading into the final quarter.
The Raiders (15-7) battled back in the fourth behind Hall (14 points) and freshman guard Damion Smith, who scored all nine of his points in the final quarter. Westie a 66-63, lead with under a minute remaining but Brockton junior Jamal Reuben came up with a the answer on a big hoop to cut the lead to one. With under 20 seconds remaining freshman point guard Jonathan Joseph got a steal at midcourt and passed it up ahead to Sims, who was fouled on the play. Sims would make one free throw and Brockton’s defense would hold to send the game into overtime.
In overtime Brockton’s Reuben, Sims and Alain Lenord all scored, as the Boxer defense held strong to pull out the victory.
“The seniors came through in overtime for us,” Boen said. “Shane Sims and Alain Lenord stepped up and the seniors made the difference in the game. We were here last year going to the South finals and a lot of these guys were important players for us.”
“We came into the game underdogs,” Sims said. “We wanted to prove everybody wrong that we were not the underdog team. Our seniors kept our heads and that helped us get the win today.”
Brockton will take on a familiar foe in the next round when they travel to New Bedford, on Saturday at 7 p.m., to take on the Whalers in the rubber match between the two Big 3 rivals.