Boston High School: Dave Campbell

MCI completes surprise AAA title run

March, 6, 2011

BEVERLY, Mass. -- It is not often that Indiana State commit Khristian Smith gets to sign autographs. After Maine Central Institute’s Cinderella-esque run in the NEPSAC Class AAA tournament, however, Smith was smothered by kids of all ages to get his signature after a near-perfect 28 point performance against New Hampton.

“It was a great day for me. It feels real good to win it all,” said the overjoyed Smith. “Indiana State won their conference championship today, too, so we both had a great day.”

Smith had every right to be glowing after only missing five shots in his team’s 73-56 victory over New Hampton. MCI took over the game after the second half, when it went on a 14-4 run in first five minutes to seal the deal, extending a 35-30 halftime lead to 49-32. big man Raphael Maia nice and1 14:16, drop-step, miss drop step, got own rebound put back for and-one, 43-34

“I wanted them to get into the flow of the game and get their rhythm,” MCI head coach Dave Campbell said. “We wanted to play our tempo and we missed some easy shots to start off with. Defensively, we knew we had to pick it up defensively and push them out offensively because they are a very good shooting team.”

It looked as though it was New Hampton’s game to win, after Nick Paulos hit three 3-pointers in the first half. After an early 11-4 run by New Hampton, coach Campbell pulled his players aside and reminded them about their plan.

“[I told them] to trail their screens better, play harder, and push them out of their comfort zone," Campbell said.

Said Smith, “We were looking to keep their big men off of the boards and really contest their three-point shooters. Basically the same thing we did against Brewster."

After Paulos got cold, and Jordan Laguerre (16 points) and Zach Auguste struggled to stay on the floor with foul trouble in the second half, Smith saw his opportunity to take over. He hit pull-up jumper after pull-up jumper, and could not be stopped.

“I visualize [shots] before the game happens," Smith said. "It is something that I’ve worked on since I was little. Now it is easier for me. I’m quicker off of my first step so hitting pull-up jump shots is easier for me. I just need to work on the rest of my game now.”

But the win was not all about Smith. MCI also had nice contributions from sweet-shooting guards Daishon Knight (eight points) and Adrian Rodgers (15), while Campbell and Smith suggest that it was more than just individual performances that won them their championship.

“The one thing that this team had was very good chemistry,” Smith said. “When you have good chemistry and you have three or four months to get that chemistry together that tells you something about that kind of kid we had. My assistant and I both live in the dorm with them. We are with them 24/7. The kids all get along. They do things together all the time. I think that lends to the fact on how good you are going to be.”

“I’m proud of my team,” Smith said. “We came together as a real team. This isn’t just my MVP. I’m bringing it for everybody. I’m just happy to bring a championship back to MCI.”

The 3-1/2 hour car ride from Pittsfield to Endicott College might just have been worth it for the Huskies.

MCI upsets top seed Brewster in AAA semi's

March, 4, 2011

BEVERLY, Mass. -- On paper, No. 5 seed Maine Central Institute shouldn’t have been able to stay with No. 1 Brewster Academy in this NEPSAC Class AAA semifinal.

The Huskies had the misfortune of dealing with a handful of Bobcats all set to attend high Div. 1 college basketball programs next season -- including Kansas, Pittsburgh, St. John’s and Villanova.

Plus, recent history wasn’t on MCI’s side, as the Bobcats claimed all three meetings between the two teams this season.

But from all those losses, the Huskies learned a few things and turned the outcome in their favor with a big 87-68 victory over Brewster in the first of two Class AAA semifinals on Friday night at the Post Center, on the campus of Endicott College.

MCI advances to the finals against New Hampton on Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Post Center.

“Both teams knew each other real well,” Huskies head coach Dave Campbell said. “It was just a matter of one team playing better than the other (tonight).”

Adrian Rogers had 20 points and eight rebounds off the bench to lead four Huskies in double figures. Campbell’s team also shot a near perfect 19-of-20 from the free throw line -- a place where the Huskies shoot greater than 70 percent from for the season.

The two teams exchanged the lead 10 times in the first moments of the first half, but the Huskies were able to take control of the pace of the game and hold the Bobcats (30-2) to seven points over the final eight minutes of the opening stanza.

Khristian Smith's loud baseline dunk gave the Huskies a 25-20 lead, and MCI would stretch that advantage to 39-27 by the break.

Jakarr Sampson scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half for the Bobcats, and his put-back got the Bobcats to an eight-point deficit.

But that’s as close as Brewster would come in the second half.

Every time the Bobcats could get a head of steam going in the transition game in the second half the Huskies would hold their opponents to long stretches without a basket and strike back to tack on to the lead.

“We executed our game plan to a T,” said Campbell. “We didn’t turn the ball over, we rebounded the ball well and we didn’t give them a lot of transition baskets.”

The Bobcats cut the lead to nine on an Elijah Carter bucket off an offensive rebound, but they would be held to four points over the next four-plus minutes of play. The Huskies went on an 11-4 run over that period, highlighted by six points from Smith and a thunderous dunk in transition by Rogers.

“We have kids going off to the highest levels and a lot of times they might think that they just have to show up and they are going to win the game,” said Bobcats’ head coach Jason Smith. “There’s that old saying that it’s hard to beat a team three times in a year. I think it’s even harder to beat a time four times in a year.”


--MCI faced a serious height disadvantage across the frontline, but were able to win the rebounding battle 31-27 with a smaller, swifter lineup.

Several times in the first half, a Husky guard would knife through the defense and come away with a loose ball in traffic to extend possessions and keep the run-and-gun ways of the Bobcats in check.

“We had to have all five people rebound the ball at times,” said Campbell. “When they didn’t box out we got rebounds and we were able to make them run the clock and make them play defense.”

“The last few times we didn’t do a good job of that,” said the 6-foot-6-inch Khristian Smith (15 points), who gave away three inches to Mitch McGary and Markus Kennedy on the inside. “Rebounding it was five against three, so I feel like we did a good against them.”

The smaller lineup also worked harder to make sure the Bobcats’ big men couldn’t get the ball in good positions in the post, which in turn led to the Bobcats’ inability to get enough space to let the shooters get off open looks.

“The ball movement kind of turns into a NBA game where we are trying to isolate people,” said Jason Smith, whose team will move on to the National Prep Championship tournament next week at Albertus Magnus College. “The ball movement needs to improve.”