Boston High School: Boston City Championships

Video: Boston City Championship recap

February, 22, 2013
ESPN Boston High Schools editor Brendan Hall and Cristo Rey head coach Malcolm Smith break down last night's Boston City Championship action, won by Brighton for the first time in the program's history. Hall and Smith also give quick thoughts on the forthcoming MIAA State Tournament, on the eve of Friday's seedings.

(Video by Derek Malloy)

Video: Brighton's James takes Boston City MVP

February, 22, 2013
BOSTON -- Brighton junior point guard Malik James took Tournament MVP honors last night at Boston City Championships, as the Bengals downed archrival New Mission for their first City title in school history.

James spoke with ESPN Boston High Schools editor Brendan Hall following the awards ceremony, to talk about winning the City title and gearing up to defend their MIAA Division 2 Eastern Mass. title:

(Video by Derek Malloy)

Boston City Boys Final: Eastie 60, MP 59 (OT)

February, 25, 2012

ROXBURY, Mass. -- East Boston did not take possession of the ball first in overtime, but the buzzer-beating shot by Kenny Ramos was all she wrote, as the Jets come from behind to beat Madison Park by one, 60-59, taking Boston City League Championship after losing in the finals to Charlestown a year ago.

“I told this team earlier this game was going to come down to the last 38 seconds,” said East Boston coach Malcolm Smith. “I didn’t know it would be 35 seconds.”

In regulation, the Jets were down 50-47 when Zack Gattereau hit a trey with 7.1 seconds left on the clock to tie the game up at 50. Madison was unable to score on the following possession so overtime was called. Madison got the ball first and quickly went up 54-50 after scores from Rashawn Matthews and David Stewart.

Senior Dakim Murray had been coming up big for the Cardinals all game (18 points, 11 rebounds), but picked up his fifth foul, a hack on Ramos, with 2:54 remaining in the overtime period. Ramos made his two free throws to put the Jets within two.

Less than a minute later, Ramos tied the game up at 54 with two minutes left. An MP timeout at 1:47 got Madison Park back on track, as Joy hit another two after the ball bounced around for a bit. Unrelentless, Ramos came back and tied the game at 56 with 1:15 to go, but Joy had the hot hand for MP and drained a tre with 1:00 to go in the game to make it 59-56, advantage Madison. This would be Madison’s last score of the game.

Eastie’s Will March scored off of a Kenny Ramos assist to put the Jets within one with 34 seconds left. Madison Park could not score on the following possession, and with the ball moving around the court, senior Kyle Fox was able to swipe the ball, giving Kenny Ramos a chance to sink a shot with the clock ticking down to send the East Boston cheering section into an uproar and capture the city title.

Everybody played their role and the East Boston players and fans embraced at the end of the court near their bench to celebrate their comeback 60-59 victory on Madison’s home court.

Fourth Quarter: Going into the fourth, Madison was up by four at 39-35. They would maintain the lead after exchanging baskets with East Boston until Eastie’s Kyle Fox hit a three-pointer to tie up the game at 45 with 2:05 left in the game. Madison’s Joy came back for a quick pull up jumper to regain the lead for MP at 47-45.

After exchanging possessions and Ramos missing two free throws, he was finally able to get a score to tie the game up again, but Madison’s David Stewart quickly got MP back ahead at 49-47 with 40 seconds left in regulation. A Rashawn Matthews trip to the free throw line netted only one shot, leaving enough space for Zack Gattereau’s three pointer to send the game into OT.

“I have the whole team run when he does that,” said Smith of Gattereau’s three point shot.

Smith likened it to Kobe Bryant taking a three when he comes down court. Usually the entire Jets team runs when this happens, so Smith was not feeling good when the shot went up.

“I was screaming no when he let it go," Smith said. "But Zack’s got a lot of confidence in what he does and that was nothing but bottom of the net.”

Although Gattereau was confident, he admits that he was not the first option. The possession was drawn up for Kyle Fox, but with his practice in the morning, the ability to sink the key bucket came to Gattereau.

“I was praying this morning, so I feel like God blessed me,” Gattereau said.

Todo Corazon: Scoring eight out of the final ten points in overtime to lead your team to victory is a feat few could physically pull off, but the psychology and mental energy exerted by Kenny Ramos in the last minutes of the game is what gave East Boston that victory.

“That was all heart,” said Ramos. “That’s East Boston basketball at it’s finest.”

The other two points in OT came from March, who has a history with Ramos.

“We’re good friends, we go back in AAU since eighth grade,” said March. “I just had to help my boy Kenny out.”

Boston City Girls Final: Fenway 57, O'Bryant 34

February, 24, 2012

ROXBURY, Mass. -– Tajanay Veiga-Lee was all too familiar with the sinking feeling of letting a game slip through her fingers. Not this time.

The junior point guard scored 23 points with six rebounds and three steals to propel Fenway to a 57-34 victory over defending Boston City League champions, O’Bryant, at Madison Park High School.

With the win, Fenway erased last season’s 50-43 loss at the hands of the same O’Bryant squad, and Veiga-Lee didn’t dispel that last year’s loss provided some needed motivation.

“I knew we had to come out and play hard. Last year we lost to them and this year we didn’t want to lose so we just kept going and going and we won,” said the junior guard, who was named the tournament's MVP. “ It just felt great to win if you ask me. Made us feel good to know that we can win.”

Veiga-Lee and the Lady Panthers now move on to the states after winning their last 13 out of 14 games.

“We come to play every night –- who ever has us is going to have a tough game (because) we come to play and we like to play good competition and we enjoy it so we look forward to it,” said Fenway first-year head coach John Rice. “We had a good group coming in and we just changed up our system and we put defense first.”

Defense was the name of the game for the first four minutes of play as Fenway jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead behind the interior defense of 6-foot-2 freshman center Jalissa Ross. Ross, who just missed on a double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds, dominated the paint limiting the Lady Tigers to a free throw in the first 3:57 of play as Fenway led 10-1 midway through the first quarter.

Vieiga-Lee was just warming up as the tournament MVP hit three-of-four three pointers in the first half alone. Viega-Lee’s second three-pointer of the first stanza started off the second quarter and after Cadieja Matthews (16 points; 6-of-7 from charity stripe) hit two free throws, Fenway led comfortably 20-6 with six minutes left to play in the first half.

“(Veiga-Lee)’s one of the best players in the state and all coaches try to push their players but you can clearly see she is going to play Division 1 basketball and she has no weaknesses in her game at all,” said Rice. “She’s unselfish, she scores when she has to, handles (the ball), she’s quick – great all-around game under the pressure.”

O’Bryant had plenty of opportunities on the glass all game. As a team, the Lady Tigers ripped down 24 offensive rebounds but still trailed at the half 27-11. The Lady Tigers didn’t roll over though and opened the second half with outstanding defense of their own as Ayana Green swiped two steals on Fenway’s first two possessions to spark an 8-0 run out of the gates to cut the Lady Panthers lead in half, 27-19, with 4:11 left in the third quarter.

“Talent has (always) been here and we expected a tough battle,” said Rice.

But Veiga-Lee’s magic was at it again as an offensive rebound put-back swung the pendulum back the Lady Panthers’ way. After Viega-Lee reached the 20-point mark with seven minutes left to play in regulation, Fenway was back out in front 41-22 early in the fourth quarter.

Veiga-Lee deferred to her team and head coach for turning last season’s loss into a victory in 2012.

“We just played as a team, my team stepped up and we did it,” said Veiga-Lee. “Oh, he’s the best coach, he really helped us out and you listen to him – you win.”

City semis: East Boston 62, New Mission 43

February, 23, 2012

ROXBURY, Mass. -- A consistent down low attack combined with its patented stingy defense played a big role in East Boston's tournament win on Thursday, while a little assistance from New Mission on the side certainly did not hurt.

In what was a tough mental day for the Titans, East Boston dominated New Mission 62-43 at Madison Park to advance to the finals of the Boston City League tournament.

The North division regular season champs will face division runner-up and rival Madison Park (16-2) on the same court at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow.

“We just played some solid man-to-man,” said Eastie coach Malcolm Smith. “We wanted to get inside points today, whether that was going to come off offensive rebounds or pounding it in. I thought we would have trouble with New Mission's height, but these guys really worked hard on boxing out.”

Lapses in judgment dug a hole for the Titans (12-5) early, while the Jets' ability to capitalize helped them grab a lead late in the first quarter and never look back. Seven travels in the first eight and a half minutes allowed Eastie (15-4) to score nine straight points and go up 15-6 early in the second quarter.

After scoring one off a quarter opening technical by New Mission for sending out six men, senior Kyle Fox managed to create a three-point play off a steal for a layup and a forced a one-and-one. Two Titan travels and a steal later, junior Pat Santos finger-rolled a breakaway score to finish the run.

“I just look to attack the basket and avoid the defender,” said Fox. “Coach said 'Be patient, slow it down and let the game come to me'.”

Fox rushed the rim all night to lead the game in scoring with 17 points, while Santos fronted the Jets on defense with 11 strips. EB junior Kenny Ramos also had 9 points and 10 rebounds.

“I do not know where Santos has been the past seven games, but today he showed up,” said Smith. “He was pestering everyone and keeping their guys in front of him like we have always preached about.”

After a fade away trey by senior Elgino Jean placed EB up 22-9, the Titans grabbed some momentum with the emergence of 6-foot-3 junior center Isshiah Coleman late in the first half.

Rotating off his first shot-block of the game, Coleman hit the open floor for a wide open dunk at 1:23. Attacking the baseline on the next drive, the junior cut under the back board, curled in a layup and forced a foul shot for three points and a 22-17 halftime margin.

“Our game plan was to break their pressure and get weak side layups,” said New Mission coach Cory McCarthy. “It was happening, but the guards stopped running the offense. We have a young team and we need guys to step up as leaders.”

Two straight put-backs by Ramos and Jean got the Jets rolling again to open the half with a 26-17 lead. Two minutes later Eastie found Fox open on the sidelines for a three-pointer to spread the margin into double-digits.

The Titans, who faced a 17 to 11 steals deficit, never mounted any second half streaks. A pair of third quarter three-pointers by junior Kordell Harris and two fourth quarter dunks by Coleman were the last signs of breath for New Mission.

Producing all 20 final-quarter points from within the paint, the Jets forced eight points of free throws and 12 from tip-ins to put New Mission away in the final quarter.

“When the 'bigs' get in foul trouble the game becomes easier,” said Fox. “Rotation was key defensively.”

Eastie, who lost 63-56 to Charlestown in last year's finals, will be looking to grab its first league title since 2008. The Jets have already defeated finals opponent MP twice this season, with scores of 61-59 and 68-42, respectively.

“It is hard to beat a team three times,” said Smith. “(We will) have to play all the way to the end. It is going to be difficult, but it is going to be a challenge we will relish.”

City semis: Madison Park 67, Brighton 64

February, 23, 2012

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.”

Charlestown takes Boston City championship

February, 26, 2011

ROXBURY, Mass. -- On February 1st, two days after knocking off the No. 1 team in the state, Charlestown was edged out by East Boston 65-61, tying the season series between the rivals. Tonight, with the city championship on the line, the Townies jumped out to an early 12-4 lead, and held tight to defeat Eastie 63-56 to return the Boston City Championship trophy to Medford Street, as the Jets made Charlestown win a dog fight to earn that privelege.

“We got punched in the mouth last game,” said Charlestown junior guard Akosa Maduegbunam (15 points, five rebounds), the tournament's MVP, referring to the February 1st loss. “And we punched them back.”

In the fourth quarter, Charlestown was outscored 17-10, which was not surprising or impressive to East Boston (16-5) coach Malcolm Smith.

“It’s natural evolution,” said Smith. “A wounded beast, what happens? He starts to attack. When the chips are down, and there is nothing to lose, your wounded, so now you’re going to attack… I could deal with the loss, but I just didn’t think that we competed for four quarters. I think we competed for a quarter and a half.”

The scoring in the fourth for the Townies was also tempered by a promise Cardoso made to his players.

“I told the guys that the next person that takes a long jump shot and doesn’t run the set play is going to sit down,” Cardoso said. “They wanted to stay on the court and play, so they settled down, played defense and ran the offensive sets and started sharing the basketball. The mission of the fourth quarter was to maintain the lead and execute.”

The Townies led 37-27 at the half, with the final five points coming from sophomore guard Omar Orriols, who he came off the bench and grabbed four of his nine rebounds in the second quarter before making a shot.

“The last couple of games, I haven’t been so productive on the offensive end, so I just wanted to something instead of scoring, which was rebounding.”

Orriols eventually scored to double his team’s lead just before halftime, and hit another three in the third quarter, but he needed the support of an elder guard to get into his scoring groove.

“Akosa [Maduegbunam] came up to me during the game and said, ‘Omar, play with confidence. Shoot the ball with confidence’," Orriols said. "[His words] helped me boost my game.”

Cardoso added that Orriols is a bellwether instrument for how his team is faring.

“Omar is our x-factor. When Omar plays well offensively and defensively, we win a lot of games.”

Sophomore guard Tyrese Hoxter came up big for the Townies as well, scoring thirteen points, by shooting from the perimeter and driving to the basket, stealing the ball three times and assisting on seven shots. Even though he didn’t score in the fourth, he felt his teammates had the game under control.

“I know my teammates can score just as well as I can,” said Hoxter. “So when they collapsed on me, I just kicked it out to them.”

“I don’t want all the awards,” Charlestown junior Rony Fernandes said. He scored eleven points, had six assists, five rebounds, two steals and a block, he was not looking to score more as he can, he played an unselfish game for a worthy cause. “I just wanted the ‘W’."


In the fourth quarter, junior center Tyrik Jackson (six points, seven rebounds) blocked an East Boston attempted shot out of bounds, drawing ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaaahs’ from the packed crowd. The Eastie player pushed his palm into Jackson’s face, but while some of the Charlestown players came to his defense, Jackson walked away and avoided the fracas.

“We’ve been talking about mental toughness all year,” said Cardoso. “He could have went and smushed the kid back, but he kept his poise, thought about the big picture in winning the game, and stayed steady.”

City championship long time coming for O'Bryant

February, 25, 2011

ROXBURY, Mass. -- The journey to the Boston City League Girls' Championship didn’t start mid-season for O'Bryant. Or, for that matter, at any point of the game.

The quest for the title, which was attained after a 50-43 victory over Fenway on Friday night at Madison Park High School, started over the summer, where the players would meet and learn how to play with each other. That work was instrumental for a team that features seven underclassmen, including an eighth grade point guard who runs the show.

“(We) worked hard ever since last season,” said senior Pierline Durand, who finished with 10 points and the tournament MVP honors. “We played over the summer together. We played in preseason on Saturdays. It’s a great feeling.”

The Lady Panthers (16-4) would need all that extra work together to hold off a late charge by the Panthers in the title game. Tajanay Veiga came to life with five of her 17 points in the final minute of play to pull the game to three points.

But O’Bryant (16-3) was able to close out the game, mostly because of the work on the glass that was showcased in the fourth quarter, in the games most crucial moments.

After Veiga converted a continuation bucket to pull the score to 46-43, the Panthers pressed the inbounders and came away with the steal. Chandlor Lyles picked off the inbounds pass and darted towards the net, but her attempt came up short. Raven Kelsey collected the rebound -- one of her 14 -- and dished it off to Durand, who was immediately fouled.

Durand made 1-of-2, but Kelsey was there again for a rebound and she dished it off to Kiana Dailey for a lay-up and the and-1 with six seconds left to go to seal it.

The tandem of Kelsey and Dailey collected 24 rebounds, including eight offensive boards in the fourth quarter to keep the Lady Tigers ahead.

“I told them to make sure they got the rebounds, because we were up and all we needed was the ball,” said head coach Trudy Fisher.


The Panthers could have been down and out in the game after they failed to convert a field goal in the games first seven minutes. The Lady Tigers could only mount a 10-1 lead in that time, and by the fourth quarter, Fenway was able to grab a 27-26 lead thanks to a lethal press that forced several turnovers.

Kayla Cox forced three straight turnovers in the third quarter, and her work with Veiga on the press made life miserable at times.

“We were trying to create our offense with our defense,” Panthers head coach Steve Drayton said. “We couldn’t hit anything. We couldn’t make anything. It was like we were drained. So I put pressure on them to try and get some offense out of it to get some easy ones.”


One of the subplots of the game was the great rivalry that is budding between two very young guards. Veiga has been a name to be reckoned with all season for Fenway, but Araion Bradshaw made a case to join those accolades with a strong tournament.

The beauty of this rivalry is that the two are friends off the court, and they are also just beginning their respective high school careers. Veiga is a sophomore, while Bradshaw is just an eighth grader.

“It’s great for the city, that’s what it is all about,” said Drayton. “It’s city kids getting an opportunity on the biggest stage to show their talents.

Added Fisher: “They respect each other. They are going to fighting each other for years to come.”

The two were constantly matched up against each other, and although they have much different games, the competitiveness to one-up the other is alive and well.

“Off the court she is my friend, but on the court she’s on the opposite team,” Bradshaw said. “I have respect for (Veiga). She’s a great player and we just go at it.”

Added Veiga, “When we get on the court we aren’t friends anymore, so we just have to go at it and go after each other."