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Thursday, February 23, 2012
City semis: Madison Park 67, Brighton 64

By Corey J. Allen




ROXBURY, Mass. -- Madison Park came from behind 54-51 to start the fourth quarter and swung the game six points to finish out the Brighton Bengals 67-64 on their home court to advance to tomorrow's Boston City Championship final against East Boston.

"These guys exemplify MP heart, MP character, MP pride, MP find-a-way-to-win," said Madison Park coach Dennis Wilson of his squad.

Wilson admitted that this bunch may not have as much raw talent as he has seen in the past, the intangible factor of resilience is strong within this cohort, and it was exemplified in the fourth quarter.

O’Shea Joy tied up the game with a three pointer to begin the fourth (22 points on the night, five 3-pointers), but Brighton was quickly back up by 3 after a score by Jerad Mayers and a free throw by Theo Oribhabor. A steal by Dane Lawladownie and a three point-play by Rayshawn Matthews would give tie it up for the Cardinals, and a free throw by Stewart at 5:39 and a bucket at 5:00 would put MP up 60-57, a lead that they would not let go of from there in.

Brighton’s Malik James scored a free throw with 4:40 left, but banging in the post, MP’s David Stewart drew a foul and made one free throw putting the Cardinals back up by three with 4:30 left. Brighton Daivon Edwards scored a two to make it a one-point game, but again, Madison’s Stewart scored a deuce to make the game 63-60 and 57 seconds later Joy hit a basket to put Madison ahead 65-60 with 2:10 left in the match.

Brighton’s Tre Dowman scored down low then Harper hit two free throws with 1:39 left to bring the Bengals within one at 65-64 and a fighting chance at retaking the lead with a turnover. Instead, Madison’s Matthews scored a crucial baseline drop with a minute left. Brighton came back down the court letting the ball rain, but shot after shot failed to fall. At :16.2, a Brighton shot went off a Madison player giving them the ball and a fresh chance to tie it up.

Instead of Oribhabor’s shot falling and Brighton taking the game to OT, Matthews grabbed another rebound down low. Failing to score on the possession, Brighton had one final chance to tie the game up, but the nearly half court shot made it close to the hop but did not kiss the net, preserving MP’s 67-64 victory and a shot at donning the Boston City League crown.

Get It Done: Located in the heart of Roxbury, Wilson is used to seeing great talent come through his doors -- some his players, some coming to Madison Park for recreational play. This year, Wilson says that there is even less talent on his roster than in previous years, but he had adapted a slogan that fits a scrappy team well.

“Get It Done”, says Wilson of his team’s motto for the season. “It ain’t about a star studded cast, it’s about dudes that step up and get it done.”

Ball So Hard: A 5-foot-10 guard playing the post and grabbing rebounds? Yes.

MP captain Rashawn Matthews may not have had a height advantage today, but taking a cue from the “Get It Done” campaign started by coach Wilson, Matthews was able to pull in seven rebounds and score 10 points on the day, including five of his team’s 16 in the fourth quarter.

“I knew in order for us to be competitive in this game, we were going to have to box out because they had a couple of big boys and they get a lot of offensive rebounds.”