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Thursday, January 12, 2012
Recap: No. 15 Brighton 60, No. 6 Mission 58

By Tom Layman

ROXBURY, Mass. — The last three years haven’t been too kind to Hugh Coleman and his Brighton High basketball team whenever his team goes on the court against Boston City League rival New Mission.

In their previous five attempts in that timespan, the Bengals have been on the opposite end of the scoreboard. The old saying is that the third time is a charm, well in this instance Coleman and the Bengals needed to double it.

Brighton finally snapped the streak with a 60-58 victory over New Mission (5-3) last night at the Tobin Community Center. Theo Oribhabor’s late lay-in was the game-winner and a defensive stand with 19 seconds helped the Bengals hold on to the lead and run their record to 7-1 on the season.

“We just had to gut it out,” said Coleman. “We knew we had the capabilities and we had to climb the mountain. That’s the first step. It’s only a regular season game, but for our guys moral and the fact that we know we are capable it was big.”

The players — and the entire crowd at the Tobin for that matter — were into this one from the tipoff, and for Nick Simpson, who finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds, this victory was a statement win in a condensed division inside the city limits.

“It means a lot,” said Simpson. “Last year we had a good team, but this year we had a better team and we tried to prove that to them. We came out and did what we did. We crashed rebounds. … We played stronger as a team and we came out with the win.”

The Comeback: Things weren’t looking good for the Bengals early on after a horrid first quarter offensively that saw them only score 5 points and shoot 2-of-15 from the line.

The second quarter brought better results with better shot selection and a spirited eight-point effort from Simpson. The Bengals were 0-for-9 from deep in the first quarter and Daivon Edwards’ 3-ball, the lone one of the half, brought the score to 30-25 in favor of New Mission before the break.

“We settled, and there were a lot of jitters because of the energy of the game,” said Coleman. “Once we got settled in then we started getting a couple of layups and shots like that.”

Defensive Switch: Coleman had his team come out in a 3-2 zone, with some of his bigger, more athletic wings manning the top of the zone to keep the Titans from getting good outside looks. After falling down by 15 in the second quarter, the Bengals head coach decided to make a change to a press defense to try and hurry up the Titans.

“I felt like they were getting comfortable (with the 3-2),” said Coleman. “I was telling my coaching staff that we need to pick up the pressure for our sake. We were getting too complacent and I wanted us to pick it up a little bit and it worked.”

That pressure paid off late in the game when Oribhabor picked off a pass in the Titans backcourt setting up Malik James’ tying drive to the hoop for the 58-all score. Oribhabor would post the game-winning bucked with a drive and move to his left hand with under a minute left to go in the game.