Boston High School: Bob Boen

Recap: No. 4 Mansfield 66, No. 14 Brockton 41

January, 27, 2013
MANSFIELD, Mass –- Last year when non-league top dogs Brockton and Mansfield met, the Boxers basically scored a KO with an 18-2 start on their way to a 69-48 win.

This year, the Hornets (13-1) avoided any such blow with great defense, pulling away in the second half to beat Brockton 66-41.

Mansfield saw how dangerous the Boxers (8-4) could be on the offensive glass after they pulled down 21 of them Thursday against Wachusett. They practiced on it in the last couple of days, and it paid off.

“We knew we had to rebound the basketball, and I thought we did that fantastic tonight,” Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan said. “I thought we did a good job of maintaining the boards which gave us the ability to kind of grind away the first half. In the third quarter, we were able to come out and make a couple of adjustments and create a little separation.”

Sophomore Brendan Hill scored a game-high 23 points a grabbed 9 boards in the win. Senior Greg Romanko and sophomore Ryan Boulter both added 12 for the Hornets.

Brockton jumped out to a first quarter lead, but unlike last year, Mansfield kept pace. With two seconds left in the first, sophomore Michael Boen found Boulter in the corner for a three that gave Mansfield a 13-12 lead. The Hornets never surrendered that lead.

Mansfield stretched their lead to seven at half behind Hill’s six second-quarter points. Not only was Hill able to get to the basket, he added two dimes when the defense focused too much on him.

“He’s special,” Vaughan said. “The fact that he’s a sophomore and that he’ll be wearing a Hornet uniform for the next couple of years brings a smile to a lot of our faces. He has a lot of growing to do still, which is the best part.”

Mansfield sealed the game when they went on a 12-3 run to open the second half, thanks to baskets from Hill, Romanko, Boen, and junior Kevin Conner.

“They ran some very nice offensive sets,” Brockton coach Bob Boen said. “They beat us on a lot of back door cuts. They rebounded the ball well and got some rebound baskets on us. They did everything right in the second half.”

The Hornets outscored Brockton in the third 19-11 to give Mansfield a 45-32 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Hill’s nine points in the pivotal third were a big reason that Mansfield pulled away.

“Brendan is a very good player,” Boen said. “He can do everything. He can pass it, he can rebound it, he can shoot it. They run a lot of plays through him. They have a nice team, they’ve got seven or eight real good players there.”

Mansfield used balance scoring in the final frame, with six different players helping to extend the margin to 25. During the quarter, both Hill and Connor wowed the crowd with two-handed jams.

Junior Nisre Zouzoua led Brockton offensively with 10 points while seniors Israel Thorpe and Jaylen Blakely each had 9.

Mansfield will look to continue their winning ways when they host King Philip on Tuesday while Brockton will look to bounce back against Big Three rival Durfee on Friday.

For Brockton coach Bob Boen, this just wasn’t his second straight year going against a top Division 1 team like Mansfield, it was his second going against his nephew, Michael Boen, a sophomore guard for the Hornets.

“It was very hard coaching,” Boen said. “It was hard to set up and tell my guys to shut him down and not let him get the ball.”

Michael played against his uncle last year when the teams met, but played limited minutes with a small role.

This year, Boen has been a vital part to Mansfield’s success, and helped Sunday with six points and eight boards. Bob Boen didn’t feel Michael had one of his better games.

“It was kind of funny because I don’t think Michael had a very good game,” Coach Boen said. “He might have been nervous playing against me.

“I didn’t have a good game coaching and he didn’t have a good game playing, probably because of the family conflict,” he said.

Mansfield sits atop the Hockomock with a 13-1 record and has made statement wins against Amityville (N.Y.) and Brockton, and their lone loss was a six-point loss to New Mission.

Now, they might be getting even better.

Vaughan said that they are targeting Friday as a return date for junior guard Michael Hershman. Hershman has been out the entire season with an injury he sustained early in the football season.

Now Hershman, who led the team in scoring last year alongside his older brother Brian (who graduated), could be returning to an already-potent Mansfield line up.

“He had a good work out yesterday and had another good one today,” Vaughan said. “It’s been a great motivational factor the last couple of practices. I try and keep reminding the kids, ‘what are you going to do when someone who’s going to average 20 plus minutes comes back.’ It’s interesting how quickly practices turn back to be a positive.

“We're excited to have him back and I know he’s been itching to get back.”

Recap: No. 19 Brockton 59, No. 10 St. John's (S) 51

January, 4, 2013
BROCKTON, Mass. –- Some kind of rebuilding period would’ve been fair to expect for the No. 19 Brockton High boys basketball team this season, after they graduated four of five starters and all but three varsity players from last season’s Div. 1 state finalist squad.

Even with Jahleel Moise, Jamal Rueben and 2012 ESPN Boston Super Teamer Sayvonn Houston –- all stars for the Boxers last season -– currently playing significant minutes as freshmen in college programs, Brockton has proven early on that this won’t be a year to rebuild, but instead reload.

That trend continued Friday night when they bested defending Div. 1 Central Mass. champ St. John’s of Shrewsbury, 59-51, behind a suffocating defensive attack that limited the Pioneers (4-2) to just six first quarter points.

“This was a very good win –- we’re very pleased with the way we’re playing defense right now,” said Brockton coach Bob Boen. “It was a very nice win. St. John’s is always good and they came in 4-1. They almost always play for the state championship, so to beat them is a very good win here. And it was the defense again. We’re playing very good defense.”

The Boxers (4-2) closed out the first on an 8-0 run and held a 13-6 lead. They’d never trail again.

“We were missing our captain (Ken Harrington) and only senior because he got hurt,” said Pioneers coach Bob Foley. “It took us a while to get adjusted. Usually Harrington score seven or eight points early in a game and sets the tone. Without him out there we didn’t score early.

“From then on, we played them pretty even -– and probably even outscored them a little bit.”

Brockton used a balanced scoring attack in which nine different players scored in the win. Only Ridge Francisque reached double figures, and he didn’t score his 10th and final point until he knocked down a pair of free throws with just eight seconds left in the game.

Boen’s team continued a trend of attacking from the perimeter, lofting 3-pointers any time they got an open look. They knocked down seven of them in all.

Nisre Zouzoua, back after missing a couple games with injury, was second on the team in scoring with nine points, including a pair of long 3-pointers in the win.

Jaylen Blakely chipped in eight points, four assists and three rebounds, Ian Wade added seven points, Marcus Curry notched six points, Shakeen Smith finished with five points, five rebounds, two blocks and two steal and Avalon McLaren connected on a pair of 3-pointers and had three steals in the win.

Despite only hitting two field goals in the fourth quarter, the Boxers sealed the win by connecting on 11 of 14 free throws down the stretch. For the game, they shot 21-for-27 from the stripe -– a trend Boen is happy to see.

“We made some three’s tonight -– some key three’s,” Boen said. “I’ve been saying all year we’re a very good shooting team and that’s finally starting to come around.

“We do have better shooters this year. At the end of the game, we’ve three fantastic free throw shooters in Wade, Zouzoua and Blakely. They’re all great. Curry is a pretty good foul shooter and Francisque is a pretty decent foul shooter also. At the end of the game, it’s nice to have five guys out there who you expect to knock down two out of two shots.”

With Harrington sidelined, junior Charlie Murray stepped forward to keep things close for St. John’s. With the offense struggling to get going early on, Murray poured in eight points in the second quarter alone. He finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and a pair of assists in the defeat.

“Charlie does his job,” Foley said. “Charlie is not the greatest athlete –- he’s not a jumper and he’s not the greatest athlete but he finds a way in the pivot to wiggle his way free and get his shot up there. He’s always looking for the basketball and he did this for us last year too.”

Sophomore center Stephen Palecki fueled a fourth quarter comeback, as St. John’s narrowed the gap to just five points with under four minutes to go. Palecki notched eight of his 13 points in the final frame. He also pulled in eight rebounds in the loss. Brockton had several chances late to put the game out of reach, but a stretch of poor shot selection too early into the shot clock gave the Pioneers a chance to climb back into it.

“That was a little frustrating tonight and it was a little frustrating against Providence Classical the other night," Boen said. "We still don’t quite understand what’s supposed to be done at the end of the game. We still think any decent shot we can get up is one we want to take at that point. I’ve been trying to tell them that if you’re ahead 10 points with three minutes to go, you start to think about the clock a little bit.”

Recap: No. 3 BC High 65, No. 18 Brockton 51

December, 19, 2012
BROCKTON, Mass. -– On Tuesday night, the No. 3 BC High boys basketball team demonstrated that stopping their guard play is going to be a tall task for any defense to handle this season.

They rolled past host No. 18 Brockton, 65-51, behind 43 points from a trio of guards -- including a game-high 20 from senior Jameilen Jones.

Jones, who netted 33 in the Eagles’ (2-0) season-opening win over Charlestown last week, recognized how important the sharp-shooting of senior guard Mike McAuley was in the win.

“My shot wasn’t really falling for me –- thankfully I have some abilities where I can catch one off the glass or run down the court and get some open lay-ups, but it’s not going to be perfect every day,” Jones said. “Mike stepped up today. I really liked what I saw today.”

Added BC coach Bill Loughnane: “Mike’s a senior whose been around and he knows how to step up. He’s played well for us before.

"Last year he had a couple real good games for us, but in the third quarter tonight he executed our plays correctly and ended up with some wide open shots. He’s a real good player, so he’s going to make them for us."

While the Eagles won with relative ease, they needed a strong second half to fuel the runaway victory. Brockton jumped out early and led 14-12 after one. BC High didn’t take its first lead of the contest until there was 4:40 remaining in the second quarter.

A defensive adjustment there made life tougher on the Boxers’ (1-2) shooters.

“I think coach Loughnane had his guys attack us a little bit more,” said Brockton coach Bob Boen. “He got his guys a little more aggressive and out front and into passing lanes. We were having trouble getting any attack to the basket. They made a good switch there.”

Jones provided a spark that kept Brockton’s offense at bay, coming away with four steals and pulling down seven of his 10 rebounds on the defensive end.

“He’s Mr. Everything for us and he has to be,” said Loughnane. “I thought they did a pretty good job on him defensively. He willed himself to a lot of those points and he didn’t let the little frustration early affect him. He rebounded, he played defense -– he did what good players do -– help in anyway.”

In addition to the 20 points from Jones and 14 from McAuley, the Eagles did a good job spreading the ball around as six players netted at least six points. Charles Collins and Pete Timmins each chipped in nine points, Phil Leotsakos added seven and Steve Young scored six in the win.

Brockton was led by 11 points from Nisre Zouzoua. They also got 10 points from Ridge Francisque, eight from Ian Wade, and seven a piece from Jaylen Blakely and Shakeen Smith.

The Boxers hindered their own comeback chances with a poor showing at the free throw line, going just 7-for-19 from the stripe.

“It seemed like every time we needed a big foul shot, we couldn’t get it,” Boen said. “There were a couple times they had five point leads and we got to the line and we missed. They had a seven point and my guy got to the line for three shots and only made one there.

"Not only did we a lot, we missed foul shots at keys time tonight.”

A silver lining: After graduating four of their starters, as well as nearly every player besides Blakely who saw significant time during the Boxers’ run to an EMass. crown last season, some growing pains were expected this year.

“Our theme right now is that we’re a brand new team,” said Boen. “We have exactly one player who played serious varsity minutes last year. (Marcus) Curry and Wade were on the varsity but they never played a lot of minutes in the big time games.

“We’re a brand team and that’s the idea we’re sticking with. They’re really angry right now because they’re 1-2 and we’re not usually 1-2. This year, I came in with the mindset that we’re going to be building all year and to be ready in February was our goal.”

From a talent perspective, at least, the Boxers should be just fine this season.

“I take form tonight, that physically, we can probably play with everybody,” Boen said. “Our mental game really has to tighten up. We made some serious mistakes tonight -– just awful mistakes. Leaving their best shooters open sometimes, not being awake on some out of bounds plays. Things like that.

"I am pleased with how were able to physically play with BC High, and run up and down the court with them. We covered their big scorer pretty well.”

The Boxers might even get better from a physical stand point, as they’re still feeling out roles for everyone, especially senior forward Shakeen Smith, who played high school basketball last season in Georgia.

“He’s new and he’s only been with us a little bit,” said Boen. “He actually got sick and missed the first week after tryouts, so we really don’t try to run any plays for him yet. We don’t try and get him the ball at all because it’s just been such a short amount of practice time.”

In addition to his seven points, Smith was a force under the basket, pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds while blocking three shots.

“He’s a really hard-worker,” said Boen. “He might not be as a big a force as Sayvonn (Houston) but he has a chance to be that type of guy. He will become much more of our offense as the year goes on.”

Div. 1 Boys: Brockton 67, Charlestown 64 (OT)

March, 13, 2012
BOSTON -- A lesser team might have evaporated in the heat.

Brockton trailed Charlestown by seven points at the TD Garden with a tick more than four minutes left in Monday’s Division 1 state semifinals. Charlestown’s Tyrese Hoxter had already netted nine straight points in the fourth quarter, and the smooth lefty was threatening to shove Brockton tumbling into its grave.

The Boxers shoved back.

They rattled off the next seven points, eventually forcing overtime, and William Baker drilled two free throws with 3.6 seconds left in the extra session to ice Brockton’s 67-64 win and send the Boxers to Saturday’s state finals.

“Just stay calm,” explained Brockton star Sayvonn Houston, who scored a team-high 22 points to go with 13 rebounds. “If you panic, you lose.”

The Boxers didn’t panic. They made adjustments. Hoxter had been torching them with dribble penetration, so coach Bob Boen called for a 1-3-1 trap.

Outside shots weren’t falling, so Brockton attacked the glass. Houston had a putback hoop to cut the deficit to 55-50 with four minutes left. Jaylen Blakely (15 points) was fouled in transition after receiving a great outlet pass from Houston and hit one of two free throws.

Jamal Reuben, who started slowly, snatched a missed Blakely three and followed with his first field goal of the game. His second didn’t take so long to arrive. Reuben stole a cross-court pass on the very next possession and finished a lay-in on the break, tying the score at 55-all with two minutes left.

The teams played the rest of regulation to a draw, with Charlestown’s Tyrik Jackson swatting Baker’s baseline drive at the buzzer to keep the score 57-57.

Reuben started the overtime period with a bucket just five seconds in and followed with a strong baseline take a minute and a half later, giving his team a 61-57 advantage.

The talented small forward finished with 10 points after scoring just two during the first 28 minutes.

“Even when I’m struggling, coach and my teammates just want me to keep doing what I do, because they know it’s going to come eventually,” he explained.

Charlestown responded strongly, pulling within one at 63-62 with 16.9 seconds left. But Omar Orriols missed the second of two free throws and Houston sank two charity shots at the other end to push Brockton’s lead to 65-62. When Baker rebounded a Fernandez miss on the ensuring possession and was fouled with 3.6 seconds left, he needed just one make.

He got two, making the tally 67-62 before Iser Barnes (12 points) added a meaningful bucket as the clock ran out.

It didn’t take long for Houston to realize he was headed to Worcester’s DCU Center on Saturday to play for the state championship.

“Oh, that sunk in. That sunk in as soon as the buzzer went off,” he said.

But some of Houston’s teammates wanted to wait before moving on from Monday’s triumph. After changing in the locker room, Blakely and junior guard Tyler Kim took turns laying on the Celtics logo at midcourt, almost as if doing snow angels in the very circle where Kevin Garnett jumps center.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Kim said. “So why not?”

Designated Shooter: Drew Fiske missed his first two three-point attempts, but Brockton’s designated sharp-shooter isn’t one to become gun-shy. His mentality –- which goes something like, “If you’re hot, keep shooting, and if you’re not hot, shoot until you are” –- resulted in two crucial makes.

The backup guard sank back-to-back three-pointers to even the score at 44-all to end the third quarter, unleashing a primal scream after drilling a three in front of Brockton’s bench to beat the quarter buzzer.

The first three came from behind the NBA arc.

“It was deep. Coach usually yells at me for shooting so deep, but I can hit them,” said Fiske.

“That’s the new game in high school. Shoot that ball deeper, deeper, deeper. I tell them, ‘We can get it to you at the line, you don’t have to be way out there,’” Boen said. “But he’s a tremendous shooter. He does that in practice all the time –- bang, bang, bang. And it’s great, because it teaches us to cover three-point shooters like Charlestown has. We say in practice, ‘You can’t let him have that shot.’”

Hoxter’s Hot Hand: After Fiske knotted the score to end the third quarter, Hoxter pieced together a personal 9-2 flurry to give Charlestown a 53-46 lead with 5:35 left.

Elusive in the half-court offense and explosive in the open court, the point guard continuously paraded into the paint.

“He was doing a nice job clearing out. They have two three-point shooters who you can’t leave, so we were having trouble giving help on [Hoxter],” said Boen. “He was killing us. He was going here, there and everywhere. Those right-handed shots he made were fantastic, because he’s a lefty. Every one he made was all net. I kept thinking, ‘That’s not a good shot,’ and swish, swish, swish.”

Brockton switched to a 1-3-1 trap a couple possessions later and the Boxers’ comeback ensued. Hoxter managed just four points the rest of the way.

“It got to the point our offense wasn’t doing anything, and we really had to change the tempo of the game,” Boen explained. “It worked. I’ll assume [Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso’s] players are such good players that if they hadn’t been surprised by it, they would have torn it apart. Because you usually can’t do that when the other team has a couple great shooters like he has.”

Once the game tightened, Brockton switched from the trap because Boen feared Charlestown would adjust. But the coach still had a trick up his sleeve to slow Hoxter: guard Will Baker.

“He was dribbling the ball and hurting us,” Boen said of Hoxter, “and Baker’s probably our best on-dribble defender. And he did steal that one from him, which was a great steal.”

The steal Boen referred to came with the score knotted at 57-all and less than a minute remaining in regulation. Hoxter dribbled out front as Charlestown had a chance to seize the lead, but Baker hounded him, drew a steal, and even drew a foul on Hoxter during the scramble for the ball.

Baker missed both the resulting free throws, but redeemed himself by sinking the finishers in overtime.

D1 South Boys: Brockton 57, Madison Park 48

March, 10, 2012
BOSTON, Mass. — Brockton will make its much-anticipated return to the Garden floor as the top-seeded Boxers displaced No. 2 seed Madison Park (19-3) with a 57-48 victory last night in the Div. 1 South finals at the Clark Athletic Center on the campus of UMass Boston.

The Boxers (22-2) held the Cardinals to 15 field goals at a 27.8 percent clip for the game, and clamped down hard in the final minute to set up a date with Charlestown, which knocked off Lexington in tonight's Div. 1 North final in Lowell, on Monday night.

“We’ve been waiting for a team like this to play defense against,” said Boxers head coach Bob Boen. “My big guys are getting tired of covering those 3-point players. They were very happy that they could stay in that lane and help out in what I call ‘normal’ defense with ‘normal’ help positions, instead of chasing guys out on the 3-point line.”

Sayvonn Houston had 13 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks while holding Cardinals’ big man Dakim Murray to eight points — seven of those coming in the first half.

“I just had to keep my hands up,” said the 6-foot-6 Houston. “They have a lot of size and rebounders, so I knew I had to get in position, box out and rebound.”

Will Baker, Jaylen Blakely and Jamal Reuben took care of the perimeter defense as they got in the passing lane on sever plays in the final two-plus minutes of regulation.

“We just wanted to get to every ball,” said Baker. “Coach told us to work hard and we just wanted to play aggressively. That’s what coach told us right before the game and that was the game plan.”

Stewart in Foul Trouble: David Stewart has meant so much to Madison Park on the defensive and offensive ends of the court this season, and in the biggest game of the season he could only sit and watch for the majority of the game with foul trouble.

He picked up two fouls in the first half and picked up two more in the third quarter a good 80 feet from his own basket to slow down any kind of flow he had with his game.

“Foul trouble and a couple of chippy fouls," said Cardinals head coach Dennis Wilson. "I wasn’t happy about that.”

Boen was planning on taking on both Murray and Stewart for the majority of the game, especially after seeing the success the two had against Franklin in the first half of the previous round.

“They needed both of their big guys,” said Boen. “Both big guys together were giving us a lot of trouble. When one or the other was out we relaxed a little, and we relaxed a little bit too much I think.”

When Stewart was able to stay in the game he made all the difference for Madison Park to keep things close. Stewart had 10 of the Cardinals 11 points in the third quarter and he finished with 16 in the second half after only having a single free throw in the first half.

Baker Steps Up: Baker might be the second point guard that comes into the game for the Boxers, but the ball was left in his hands in the second half as his team was trying to stave off the Cardinals.

“He got the game moving. We got off to a good start, we slowed down and then William came in and got us rolling again.”

Added Baker: “That’s what my role is. My role is to get opportunity for teammates when they are open.”

Baker -- who also added seven assists and four steals — picked off a pass on the opening possession of the second quarter and put it off the glass on the other end. Baker also set up Drew Fiske for a 3-pointer off a good dribble penetration and found Houston a couple times in the second half as he was able to create off the dribble.

Div. 1 Boys: Brockton 76, Catholic Memorial 63

March, 3, 2012

BROCKTON, Mass. -- Brockton head coach Bob Boen saw the MIAA Division 1 South boys basketball tournament bracket and felt a touch of anger. After defeating Central Memorial at the buzzer earlier this season, Boen considered a playoff rematch inevitable.

But so soon?

“When we played each other at your place, I said we’d meet at UMass-Boston,” he told Catholic Memorial coach Denis Tobin Saturday when the two skippers opposed each other in the district quarterfinals, referring to the site of the finals and semifinals. “I don’t want to meet you here tonight.”

Although the matchup arrived earlier than he hoped, Boen’s troops were prepared and rose to meet the challenge Saturday evening at Brockton High School. Sayvonn Houston dominated inside with 22 points and 12 rebounds, Jamal Reuben pitched in 20 points, and Brockton led throughout a 76-63 victory.

“To me, those were the best two teams in the bracket playing tonight. We lost a few games we shouldn’t have lost, so we got matched up with them,” Catholic Memorial star Matt Droney said after pouring in a game-high 23 points. “We would have had to beat them at some point anyway, though, and we didn’t. I’ll be very surprised if anyone does.”

Despite landing in a big hole early, Catholic Memorial managed to rattle Brockton’s nerves during the fourth quarter. Droney consistently scored throughout the full 32 minutes, and fellow senior Dan Powers (nine points) surged to life in the second half.

Using a 2-3 zone defense to limit Brockton’s transition opportunities, Catholic Memorial (17-5) clawed back from a 15-point deficit to pull within 53-49 with six minutes remaining.

“I was worried a little bit,” said Houston.

But Brockton (20-2) plugged the holes quickly and the leaking stopped. Over the next four and a half minutes, the Boxers ran off 14 unanswered points to build a 67-49 lead and effectively end the game.

“We heard all the ‘you got lucky’ talk, that we were supposed to lose. We wanted to prove a point that we’re the better team, and we did,” said Houston.

The two teams previously met in an instant classic during mid-February. Despite leading by a comfortable margin for most of the game, Catholic Memorial watched as Will Baker drilled a buzzer-beating three-pointer from well beyond the three-point arc to give Brockton an 88-87 win.

“Honestly, I heard that we were lucky from a lot of people," Reuben said. "But we knew we were the better team coming in. We knew we just had to play hard, play our game...They said CM was going to beat us. We’ve seen a lot of stuff that indicated that people thought CM was going to win. We just used that to our advantage, used it to work harder."

Brockton wasted no time capitalizing on that motivation Saturday evening. After the Boxers seized a 22-15 lead by the end of the first quarter, Tobin told his Catholic Memorial team in the huddle that the start was expected.

“We knew they would come out like gangbusters,” he told the Catholic Memorial players, knowing that the excitement of playing a home postseason game can act like a gallon of 5-Hour Energy.

But Tobin did not foresee the barrage of three-pointers – Brockton hit four in the first quarter and two more in the second – that eventually propelled Brockton in front, 43-28, just before halftime.

“They had guys hit shots who we didn’t think were good shooters. All their guys stepped up tonight, kudos to them,” Tobin said.

“That was probably the opposite of the game plan,” explained Boen. “The game plan was more to try to attack the basket and go to the big guy down low.”

Long-distance shooting would come in handy again later for Brockton. Chris Siggers went on a personal 5-0 run in the final 10 seconds before halftime to make the score 43-33 at intermission, and the Knights scored the first seven points of the third quarter, holding Brockton scoreless for four consecutive minutes to draw within 43-40.

The Boxers were on their heels due to Catholic Memorial’s zone defense, failing to attack the hoop like they had in the first half.

But just when Brockton’s offense looked it’s most stagnant, Reuben drilled back-to-back threes from the right wing.

“We were a little hesitant. We wanted to be aggressive, we knew we needed to be aggressive. Coming out on the court, coach drew up a play to get me open. And I just hit it,” said Reuben. “Coach doesn’t want us just standing around the three-point line, but we have a lot of shooters, and coach knows it.”

The triples made it 49-40, but CM wouldn’t allow itself to be buried easily. The Knights again dug in defensively, cutting the deficit to 53-49 before Brockton applied its finishing kick.

“We kind of got tired. Them jumping out early caught up to us in the fourth quarter. We wore ourselves out trying to catch them,” said Tobin.

An upsetting end: Houston held his younger sister in his arms at midcourt after the game, with a smile on his face, knowing that his high school career would extend at least one more game. Brockton moves on to meet Newton North in the semifinals Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at UMass-Boston.

But for Catholic Memorial’s seniors, Saturday’s defeat marked the end.

“It’s going to be tough. I’ve been with them for six years. They’ve been such a pleasure to coach and contributed so much to the program. It’s going to be tough saying goodbye,” said Tobin of his seniors, some of whom had been involved with the school’s basketball program since seventh grade.

The coach’s sentiment was reciprocated.

“He’s been everything for me. I almost went to prep school every year, but stayed – mainly because of him, but also because I wanted to win a state championship. I wouldn’t have done it any different though,” said Droney.

Along with Powers, Droney made a strong impression on Boen during their time at Catholic Memorial.

“Those two kids, they’re the best two shooters you’ll ever see, those two kids for Catholic Memorial,” the Brockton coach said.

Blakely The Aggressor: Jaylen Blakely doesn’t always play with the speed Boen prefers. But on Saturday, the ultra-quick point guard controlled the tempo and created easy looks for his teammates.

The junior finished with eight assists to match his eight points, committing very few mistakes while carving apart Catholic Memorial’s man-to-man defense.

“We’ve been telling him – Baker does what we want – get the ball and get it upcourt. Tonight Blakely did that much better. He got the ball and got it up court as fast as he can,” said Boen.

After Brockton’s lead dwindled to four points in the fourth quarter, Blakely took control. During a one-minute span, he assisted on a Reuben fast break layup, set up Houston in perfect position underneath the basket (Houston got fouled and made both free throws) and hit a runner in the lane, spurring Brockton’s game-sealing 14-0 run.

Recap: No. 4 Brockton 88, No. 1 CM 87

February, 11, 2012
WEST ROXBURY, Mass. -- There would be one last chance. Six seconds to cement it as an instant classic.

Both coaching staffs knew it. They each had words with the referees: one to get more time put back on the clock, the other making sure it stayed the same.

And in the end, the Brockton Boxers needed every shred of those six seconds, escaping the Ron Perry Gymnasium with a thrilling 88-87 win over newly-anointed No. 1 Catholic Memorial (13-3), courtesy a buzzer-beating three from Will Baker that won't be forgotten any time soon in the City of Champions.

Moments earlier, Brockton (13-1) had the ball in the hands of its sharpshooting guard Jaylen Blakely with the team down 86-83. As the ball came over halfcourt, everyone in the gymnasium was thinking the same thing: there is no way he wasn’t taking the shot.

Sure enough, Blakely had the ball mere feet away from his own bench, trying to dribble and maneuver to get the defender to commit even slightly to one direction. His shot hit off the rim but went right to to Jamal Reuben, who put the rebound in for the score.

There was under 10 seconds left on the clock when Brockton coach Bob Boen called a timeout. Six seconds were left. His assistant coaches and the Brockton faithful yelled at the referees to put more time on the clock. Catholic Memorial coach Denis Tobin wanted to make sure the clock didn’t change, realizing every second -- or lack thereof -- was precious in a late-game scenario like that.

Meanwhile, Boen was hard at work discussing contingency plans with his team. It was obvious his team had to foul as soon as possible on the ensuing inbounding play. But what would they do after that? What if the Catholic Memorial player missed one of his shots and made the next?

What about if he made both, which would make it a three-point game again, this time with a handful of seconds on the clock? They had one timeout left, so when would they take it? Would they take it at all?

After answering those hypotheticals, the teams broke the huddle. Catholic Memorial’s Matt Droney set up to throw the inbounds pass, as his four teammates set up on the Brockton foul line, stretching the width of the floor. The referee handed him the ball, and Armani Reeves -- inserted into the starting lineup for the suspended junior point guard Chris Siggers -- took off down the left sideline.

It seemed only fitting that Reeves, an Ohio State football commit, would be the one to catch the outlet pass that appeared more appropriate for a football field than a high school gymnasium. Reeves had two steps on Brockton’s Jerrod Shelby and caught the pass in stride, and from there it was a race to the basket.

Reeves took a few power dribbles and went up for the layup. Shelby jumped to block the shot, but the referee ruled he contacted Reeves.

In visible disagreement, Shelby walked toward the Brockton bench, not waiting around for the referees to tell him it was his fifth foul of the game. Regardless, there was still only 3.7 seconds left on the clock. Reeves was headed to the free throw line with the opportunity to make it at most a 3-point game.

He missed the first. An audible jolt of optimism shot through Brockton and its fans.

What happened next was the culmination of many things.

Brockton was out-rebounding CM all game (47-23). In the huddle during the timeout moments earlier, Boen had drawn up a play for what he expected would be the final shot his team would get to win or tie. Blakely had hit three 3-pointers in the game, so his long-range game was well known.

Reeves missed the second shot. Brockton’s Sayvonn Houston came down with the rebound and passed ahead to William Baker. Crossing over halfcourt, he saw that Blakely, who the play was designed to get the ball to, was well-covered. The shot became his and only his to take.

He elevated and sent the ball in the air. The buzzer sounded with the result of the shot still unknown. It passed through the mesh, and in an instant, Baker became a hero.

“The play was to get it to Jaylen, but honestly, they were covering him,” he said. “There was a guy sort of near me, but I wasn’t trying to worry about him. I was just trying to get up in the air as much as I could. I had to double-pump a little bit in the air, gave it a little flick of the wrist, and it went down.”

“Truthfully, they probably thought it was going to be either Jaylen or Jamal (Reuben) to take the shot, but they were both covered, and I had to put something up. Hit a miracle.”

The visiting stands emptied as a mob of players and supporting students engulfed Baker, merging this real-life sports movie moment with a little bit of NCAA Tournament magic.

“The last few games we’ve had have ended like that: it’s come down to a last-minute shot,” said Boen. “I’ve been lucky enough that I think we’ve made four of the last-minute shots. Two years ago (CM) made a few last-minute shots to beat us. That was an amazing shot. It was kind of a lucky shot you gotta say.”

Days, weeks, even months from now, no one will remember, or even care that he scored four points up until that point. They won’t care that his team was playing from behind for the whole second half until that very moment.

All that will matter and be remembered is the end result.

Boxers make late push: Perhaps the biggest aspect of the game that made it so dramatic was that until the last few minutes of the game, the Knights appeared to have the game well in hand.

After Matt Droney hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give CM a 38-36 halftime lead, the Knights came out in the second half showing why they were ranked No. 1 in many of the local polls. Droney himself had a double-digit scoring effort in the third quarter, which helped CM take a 68-57 lead into the fourth. He ended the game with 24 points.

“All the sudden, I turned to my assistant coach (in the third) and said, ‘What just happened? Where did that tie game just go?” said Boen. “(CM) has great shooters, so they’re a natural team to go on runs. If you just rest for a minute on those shooters they have, there’s going to be a run because they’re going to bang down two or three 3’s in a row on you and then you’re in trouble.”

After being outscored 30-19 in the third, Brockton (13-1) came back and erased that deficit and more over the final 8 minutes. While Brockton was able to have more success scoring in the fourth, CM kept it an eight-point game until the final two minutes of the quarter.

“All week Coach told us all week in practice this was going to be a tough game,” said Baker. “With the small gym here and the runs they could make, it was going to be tough. He said, ‘Don’t lose your heads,’ and we all calmly came into the fourth quarter and did what we had to do and hit some tough shots and came out with the win.”

Controlling the glass: Lost in the shuffle of the game is the play of Houston and Reuben. Catholic Memorial struggled to control Houston’s size and power at both ends of the floor. The 6-foot-6 senior was able to set up in the post and clean up on the offensive glass. He finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

“He did his usual job,” said Boen. “He’s a good, strong rebounder. He gives us some good defensive presence in the middle. He’s been that way all year. That’s what he’s given us all year. He’s a good, strong player who gets us a lot of easy baskets.”

After being quiet for most of the first half, Reuben exploded in the second half and was one of the main reasons why Brockton was able to come back. His 28 points (including four 3-pointers) and 14 rebounds were overshadowed by what happened in the final minutes of the game.

Early struggles: It is not often a team can overcome a double-digit second-half deficit without shooting efficiently from the free throw line, but that is what Brockton was able to do. It was 11-of-25, or 44 percent. Meanwhile, CM was 11-of-16, or 69 percent from the line.

“We had a streak where we missed four or five straight when we were down 6 points (in the fourth),” said Boen. “You gotta make those and keep it close. That is what put us in trouble. If we make those in game, then it’s a much easier game for us. Not tonight though. It would have been just as hard tonight because it was close, but most nights, if you make those, it’s a much easier game.”

Recap: No. 4 Brockton 69, No. 21 Mansfield 48

February, 7, 2012

BROCKTON, Mass. -– The Brockton Boxers wasted no time sprinting out of the gates in their contest with visiting Mansfield, with an 18-2 run to start the game.

Fueled over that span by eight points from Jahleel Moise and seven from Jean Thomas, they never looked back, knocking out the Hornets, 69-48.

“We played great at the start of the game,” said Brockton head coach Bob Boen. “We came out and played tough defense, we got the very big lead, I think we maybe made Mansfield lose a little bit of confidence there. They are a very good team. After that, it was kind of a struggle, back-and-forth, pretty even game. But we never let them get back in striking range.”

Brockton (12-1) again received a solid effort from 6-foot-6 senior center Sayvonn Houston, who recorded his second straight double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. When Mansfield (10-6) pulled to within 11 in the second quarter, Houston showed off his elite talent by heaving a full-court pass to a streaking Moise, who slammed it home.

“What really worked for us was inside and playing tough defense on them,” Houston said. “We know that everyone on that team can shoot. We had to get out and harass the shooters and get back on defense.”

After Houston’s court-long pass to Moise, he recorded a block on the other end, and then he went on to score the game's next six points to extend the lead back to 19.

“Sayvonn has been big and strong all year,” said Boen. “Again tonight [he] was able to clear himself some space, rebound the ball, and put it back in even he’s being pumped, and pushed and guys are landing on him. He’s strong enough that he can take a hit and still put the ball in the basket.”

The Boxers were able to convert offensive boards into points. Their athleticism showed at the other end, totaling eight blocks, but it really shined through in their transition game. The Hornets were never able to get a break, while the Boxers consistently pushed the ball.

Moise finished with 14 points and three blocks, while Thomas added eight boards.

“Jean’s very active,” Boen added. “He was able to get to a couple balls that maybe Sayvonn got a finger on and they were loose. Jean was able to jump up and get them and lay them back in. I think he got one that he flipped up a quick shot and missed, and Jahleel got it and he missed, and Sayvonn got it and laid it in. Between the three of them, they did a very nice job on the offensive boards.”

Confidence boost: Just two days removed from a thrilling overtime victory over previously-unbeaten Newton North, the Boxers were facing another Division 1 South tournament-bound team. Not only was Brockton able to take down the defending South champions, they were able to take the game by a comfortable margin.

“Well it’s a big game to beat these tournament teams,” said who. “We’re in a stretch here were we’re playing four tournament teams in a row. Each one does something a little different. I told these guys that Mansfield has been to the Boston Garden the last two years so their sort of the top program south of Boston. You have to go and beat them and show people we can beat anybody.”

Houston echoed the sentiments of his coach.

“It’s a really big win and confidence booster,” Houston said. “We knew we had to come here ready to play, you know what I mean, don’t let up. We’re going to keep working hard.”

A Bright Spot: Mansfield was coming off one of its worst shooting performances of the season Friday night against Hockomock rival King Philip. Although the shots weren’t falling in the first quarter, the Hornets were able to keep pace throughout the rest of the game, even outscoring the Boxers in the third quarter.

Mansfield’s Greg Romanko is third on the team in scoring, averaging 9.1 points a game, and finished the game with 14 points –- tied for the team-high with freshman Brendan Hill.

Now the Hornets will return to league play with a chance of securing the Kelley-Rex season crown with wins over Attleboro and Franklin.

Recap: No. 9 Brockton 71, No. 3 North 65 (OT)

February, 6, 2012
BROCKTON, Mass. — Brockton’s lack of free throw shooting was a big reason that Newton North was able to erase a 15-point first half deficit, but when the Boxers absolutely needed a pair from the stripe they got it.

Sayvonn Houston hit two clutch free throws with 16.3 seconds left to force overtime, and the Boxers (11-1) rushed away from the Tigers in the extra session to seal a 71-65 win at Staff Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon.

“It was necessary,” said Boxers head coach Bob Boen. “I don’t know if that’s what I have to tell him, but we need him to make those shots. Yes, we had shot very poorly and you wouldn’t have want to bet that we were going to make those two the way that we had been shooting. But he made two big shots and we had to have them.”

Houston was fouled after a free throw from Michael Thorpe gave the Tigers a 61-59 lead in the waning moments of the fourth. The Boxers big man had good form on both free throws and they were no-doubters to tie the game.

“I had to calm down and knock down my free throws,” said Houston, who scored 12 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.

Houston was 2-for-6 from the line before making his final two, and the Boxers finished 50 percent from the line in the game and went 15-of-30 in the second half to let the Tigers get back into the game.

The Tigers had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but watched as a rushed 3-pointer in the corner from Tim Stanton hit off the rim with only 1.1 seconds left to get it off.

Jamal Reuben scored five points in the extra session and the Boxers held the Tigers to one field goal and two free throws in the final four minutes of play to run away with the game.

Boxers' Athletes Stand Out: It’s easy to see that the Boxers are probably the most athletically gifted team in Div. 1 South — which will be one of the deeper divisions in all of the tournament.

Houston is a force inside that many teams won’t be able to matchup with, but Jahleel Moise brings a knack for being a menace to anyone coming down the lane. The 6-foot-3 Moise is an athletic wing and he had a complete game with eight points, nine blocks and six rebounds in the victory.

“I said to someone the other day that Jahleel is the most amazing shot blocker that I’ve ever seen at Brockton High,” said Boen. “I’ve been here 29 years now as a JV coach and varsity coach. He gets about that many blocks every game. He gets off his feet so quick and really sees the ball well. He’s the best shot blocker that we’ve ever had by far.”

Tamed Tigers Wake Up: Paul Connolly wasn’t quite sure what team he was looking at in the first quarter — and most of the first half. His Tigers needed a heave at the buzzer by Luke Westman to score seven points in the first quarter and fell down by as much at 15 in the second.

But Connolly’s bunch clawed its way back into the game when it looked like it just wasn’t possible.

Thorpe scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half and freshman Tommy Mobley hit three big 3-pointers — including the one in the beginning of the fourth quarter that gave the Tigers their first lead.

“We were down 15-4 to start the game,” said Connolly. “That’s not the team that I’ve coached in the last 14 games. I was disappointed early in the game, as disappointed as I’ve been coaching. But now as I sit here I’m really proud of my guys because we battled.”

The Tigers are now 14-1 on the season.

Recap: No. 14 Brockton 52, New Bedford 45

January, 17, 2012
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. -- There was no messing around for Brockton boys' basketball in a rematch of last year's Division 1 South Sectional quarterfinals on Tuesday.

A season removed from letting a one-point lead slip to rivals New Bedford in the final minutes of their tournament run, a matured Boxers team grabbed control in the fourth quarter and never surrendered it. Led by a dominant performance from senior Sayvonn Houston, Brockton shipwrecked the Whalers, 52-45, to open the first half of its conference schedule undefeated.

“We learned that we cannot come in here and not be ready to play 100 percent like last year,” said Brockton coach Bob Boen. “Our whole game plan was to get Houston the ball. We would have given him the ball every play if we could have.”

Brockton's offensive rhythm reflected the success of Houston, who scored 22 points and brought down 11 rebounds. Playing especially strong at the two ends of the game, the 6-foot-6 center scored nine points in the first and 12 in the fourth.

The two teams traded punches throughout, but Brockton (7-1, 2-0) maintained a lead for the entire fourth quarter as Houston had a response to any New Bedford (7-3, 1-0) scoring.

“I had the size advantage and just needed to put the man on my back,” said Houston. “Since the guy is smaller than me, I have to get as low as him without falling over, then post up and put the ball high. We were looking for mismatches.”

Entering the final quarter up 34-32, Houston opened with six straight low-post points. However a backline trey from junior Josh Pontes and a top-of-the-paint jumper by senior guard Cameron Walker brought the score to 42-40.

Controlling the paint and shooting over his opponents, Houston buried an assist from Jamal Reuben then tipped in a rebound to spread the lead to 46-40. A smooth three-pointer at the top of the arc by junior Rylin Collazo with 1:30 remaining proved the Whalers' last breath, as the Boxers' center again quickly answered with a putback.

“We wanted to push (Houston) out and not let him get the ball under the basket,” said New Bedford coach Tom Tarpey. “In the second half, we let him do what he wanted and we are just to small so it becomes a layup for him.”

The Boxers jumped out early in the game with a 10-5 lead, but struggled without Houston who along with teammate senior Jahleel Moise scored Brockton's first 14 points. Walker scored eight first half points, including a fade-away alley-oop of an inbound to help send New Bedford into half up 25-22.

Walker lead his team in scoring with 12 points and nine rebounds.

“Cameron can score from all over the floor, so he is tough to stop,” said Tarpey. “We were pushing the ball in the first half. We have to make hard cuts and we were not doing that in the second.”

Brockton, who dropped the conference and a 69-65 postseason loss to New Bedford last year, now has the upper hand in the Big Three. This is the second straight conference win for Brockton, who defeated a 3-7 Durfee team 80-61 last Friday. The two teams will rematch at Brockton in exactly four weeks.

“There were no second-chance opportunities this time around,” said Houston. “This was an important confidence boost for our team after a hard week in practice.”

Recap: No. 8 BC High 56, Brockton 41

December, 13, 2011
(Video courtesy of Lucas Shapiro)

DORCHESTER, Mass. -- What do you tell your star player after he goes 2-for-9 in the opening stanza of a game where buckets were hard to come by?

Keep going.

BC High junior forward and captain Jameilen Jones started the night off sour, but finished strong, totaling 16 points and six rebounds as the No. 8 Eagles downed rival Brockton, 56-41, in its season-opener in front of its home crowd at McNeice Pavilion.

Jones, a 6-foot-3 combo guard considered one of the top pure scorers in the Catholic Conference, got off to a rocky start. Facing tight man-to-man pressure in the lane from Brockton (1-1), and met immediately by his man when he brought the ball up, Jones was forced into some poor shooting decisions to start the night off. But he adjusted to the pressure well as the game endured, finishing the night nearly perfect through the final three quarters, going 7 of 8 from the field.

"I told Jameilen, we need you to shoot the ball," Eagles head coach Bill Loughnane said. "Even if it doesn't go in, it's a good shot for us. And it'll help other people along in the long run."

Said Jones, "Coach was telling me to just be confident with the ball and take the shots. I've got to bring it so that everyone else can get their confidence, too. I was just trying to keep shooting, don't let it get me down in the first quarter."

But it wasn't just about what he did with the ball that kept the Eagles ahead on a physical night where points were tough to come by. It was about what he did off the ball as well, creating open shots for teammates with his movement around the perimeter and across the baseline.

Trailing 29-18 at the break, the Boxers opened the third quarter on a 9-2 run to cut the Eagles' lead to 31-27, capped by a rare five-point play. Brockton's Jamal Reuben was knocked into his own bench as he nailed a three-pointer from the baseline; his ensuing errant free throw was scooped up by Sayvonn Houston (12 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks), and Jean Thomas was there for the put-back when the 6-foot-6 senior missed.

But the Eagles immediately responded, closing out the quarter on a 12-4 run. Jones came back on the next possession with a 12-foot leaner in the lane, and then followed up on the next possession down with a nice dish to Jared Collins from the elbow, setting up an easy 10-footer.

Closing out the run with a big block was Standy Merizier, leading to a silky transition three from Charles Collins (nine points).

"He's gonna see a lot of that this year, people keying on him," Loughnane said of Jones. "One of the things, he's very unselfish. If he has it, we want him to go. If he doesn't, he's willing to let a teammate go. That's one of his strengths."

Football mentality on the blocks: One of the Eagles' strength is its communication in the defensive end. BC High confused the Boxers at times with its 3-2 zone, efficiently trapped ballhandlers in the corners, and played some stifling rotations in man-to-man.

Dictating that physicality down low are forwards Oderah Obukwelu and Justin Roberts, no strangers to an elbow or two after playing key roles in the Eagles' Division 1 football Super Bowl championship run. At both ends of the court, they made things difficult for Houston, Reuben and forward Jerrod Shelby; in one key first-half possession, Roberts spun in front of two Brockton defenders and cleared out a wide-open 15-foot shot on the baseline for Pete Timmons, which he sank.

"They're really rough down there, real rough," Jones smiled. "They just finished playing varsity football, so they're still in that kind of football mode. It's good, because if they're tough down low and they've got the big man worried about the [physicality], then we're going to straight going to the basket."

Boen not satisfied: Brockton head coach Bob Boen came away disappointed with his team's play, calling it "bad from every part of the game", specifically with the effort down low.

"We got ourselves in a hole early by not boxing out and rebounding well," he said. "We played pretty good defense, but they got so many second shots that we were in a big hole at halftime. Offensively, they confused us with their zone defense again."

Boen did credit Shelby, a star wide receiver on the football team, with giving the Boxers some lift off the bench.

"I think he's going to help us out a lot, with his rebounding and his work on defense," Boen said.

Central provides tune-up: Loughnane conceded that a preseason scrimmage with Central Catholic last week helped them get prepared for tonight's physical tone. Central, which begins the season at No. 1 in ESPN Boston's statewide poll, is considered one of the state's best defensive teams; the Raiders also looked exceptionally efficient in a scrimmage last Sunday with St. Peter-Marian, one of the top teams in the Central Mass. region this winter.

"Central's a real physical, tough-minded team, and I really thought that helped us for a game like this," Loughnane said.

Said Jones, "That was a tough one, but we learned from it. We weren't too down about it, because they're a top team. It helped us out."

Brockton edges Westie in OT in D1 South

March, 4, 2011
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.

No. 17 Brockton survives CM in OT

February, 11, 2011
BROCKTON, Mass. -– Catholic Memorial came within a few breaths of upsetting No. 17 Brockton, but the Boxers were able to outlast the Knights, pulling out a 96-84 overtime victory. Freshman guard Jonathan Joseph, despite catching a leg cramp during the extra minutes, scored seven of his seventeen points during the overtime.

“There’s a lot of pressure in OT, coach is depending on you,” said Joseph. “He believed in me. He put the ball in my hands and I did well with the rock.”

“Jonathan’s a scorer,” said Brockton coach Bob Boen. “He’s a very cool kid for a freshman; he was not bothered by the pace of the game.”

Brockton (11-4) won both the opening tip-off and the overtime tip-off. The first three points in overtime came from junior center Sayvonn Houston (10 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks). He made one free throw, and on the back end of a Joseph steal, he grabbed the rebound on the missed shot and put it back in.

“I knew that this was going to be a tough game, CM is a really good team,” Houston said. “Matt [Droney, 20 points], Dan [Powers, 39 points] are really great shooters and I had to get rebounds and blocks as much as possible.”

Jahleel Moise scored the next three points, dunking on a CM defender, scoring the bucket, and making the free throw on to complete the three point play, putting Brockton up 83-77 with 3:13 left in the game.

With three pointers from Jamal Reuben and Joseph thereafter, and Jonathan adding two free throws and a layup, the icing on the cake was Moise’s block and outlet pass to senior captain Shane Smith, who finished the scoring for the game.

“On this team, I’m the real defensive person,” said Moise, who had four steals and five rebounds to go along with his 12 points. “Everything is all about defense.”

The Knights (10-6) led by three at the end of the first quarter, but Brockton outscored them 29-11 in the second quarter, going up 46-13 at the half, with 16 of those points coming from seniors Tevin Leonidas and Carl Joseph.

Carl Joseph drained two three-pointers (four for the game) in the quarter and two field goals, on his way to a 20-point outing, while Carl Joseph ended the quarter with two treys of his own.

“Coach [Boen] always tells us when we’re on the bench that we always have to be ready to get in the game at anytime,” said the 6-foot-5 junior. “I focused on when I get in the game, I’m going to handle my business and do what I’ve got to do, so it’s pretty natural. Got good passes from my teammates, and I put it up, followed through and made the baskets.

At halftime, CM head coach Denis Tobin told his team that he wasn’t happy with the play, so they came out in the second half and closed the lead down to seven at the end of the third and tied it up at the end of regulation.

Draining three-pointers that may have been “four feet” behind the three point line, according to Boen, Powers scored 23 of his 39 points in the third and fourth quarter, including the one that tied the game at 77 with 1:31 left in regulation. In overtime, he was only able to produce a pair of one-and-one free throws and a layup at 1:13, with the other three points coming on free throws from Droney (20 points).

With 2.4 seconds left after a Brockton turnover, Droney took a deep three, but the ball went in and out of the rim.

“We spent all of our energy in the comeback,” Tobin said. “When that last shot didn’t fall, I don’t think we had anything left in the gas tank for the overtime.”


Being the sole freshman and shortest guy on the varsity roster at 5-foot-8, Joseph feels that there is a strong bond between all of his teammates that gives them the strength to pull up against a highly skilled team like Catholic Memorial.

“At first, we were strangers, now we’re a family,” added Joseph. “I believe in each and every one of these dudes.”

No. 21 Newton North super in win over Brockton

February, 6, 2011

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.”

No. 22 English staves off No. 11 Brockton

January, 23, 2011

LYNN, Mass. -- Can we get much higher?

Junior Keandre Stanton dominated for Lynn English this afternoon living above the rim, scoring 21 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, blocking five shots and making two steals, leading the No. 22 Bulldogs in an upset over the No. 11 Brockton Boxers, 73-68.

“I’ll tell you this,” said Lynn English captain Travonne Berry-Rogers, who buried 29 points today. “You cannot get an easy shot off against Keandre. He’ll get a finger tip, finger nail, a whole hand [on your shot]. It’s hard going against him.”

A junior center, Stanton towers at 6-foot-6, but got a nod from Barton yesterday at practice not because of his height, but his hustle and heart.

“He’s been playing so good that at Saturday’s practice we named him a captain,” said Barton. “He’s been working hard at practice and in the games. He’s a captain for the rest of the year. He’s earned it.”

The teams traded leads at the end of the first and second quarters, Lynn English (10-1) up two then Brockton (7-3) swinging to a 40-37 halftime lead on the heels of junior Shane Sims (21 points). In the third, the Bulldogs outscored the Boxers 24-13, including a 9-2 run to finish the quarter led by Stanton. The forward scored eight points and pulled down seven boards in the quarter, while Berry-Rogers drained seven of his 29 points in the third. Berry-Rogers also had seven assists and three steals.

“(I told them) just to stay focused, and not to get carried away looking at the score,” said Barton during his team’s run. “One at a time.”

In the fourth, Brockton came back to within three at 69-66 with 1:25 left in the game, outscoring the Bulldogs 13-8 in quarter to that point.

“I think we decided to start playing and stopped worrying about all of the things we had worried about,” Brockton head coach Bob Boen said.

Brockton looked like they might stage a comeback, keeping Lynn English from scoring, but unable to produce any offense, the score remained the same until 11.8 seconds remained.

“We unfortunately sent their best shooter to the line at the end of the game,” Boen said of Berry-Rogers, who sank both shots in the 1-1 scenario, pulling ahead slightly at 71-66.

Sims was fouled down the other end of the court and sank both of his free throws with 6.6 seconds left to get back within three at 71-68, but on the following possession, Berry-Rogers was fouled again, and with the game on the line he sank both free throws in the one-and-one scenario, giving his team a five point lead.

“It took confidence,” said Berry-Rogers cooly. “And, uh, I got ice in my veins. You got to have the eye of the tiger. I practice almost 100 free throws everyday at practice, because especially in my home gym, I should be able to knock those down.”

Brockton failed to score on a last ditch effort, leaving the Lynn English faithful a reason to howl together.

“It’s all about defense, hard work and dedication,” said senior Corey McMillan, who had 10 rebounds, five steals, a block and six points. “It’s all about competing. Our coach wants us to be aggressive off of the glass because defense and rebounds wins games.”

“There’s a little rivalry there,” added Barton of the two teams, hinting there could be more to come down the road. “We could definitely see them [Brockton] in the tournament.”