Boston High School: Erik Kushner

D2 South: Scituate 83, Sharon 79

March, 5, 2013

TAUNTON, Mass. –- Six-foot-five John Foster is set to play football at Cornell next fall, but his monster basketball performance on Tuesday night proved he's far from done at Scituate High School.

The senior captain poured in 28 points and grabbed 18 rebounds as the top-seeded Sailors beat Sharon 83-79.

“He’s just so strong,” Scituate head coach Matt Poireir said. “I watched what he did preparing for football. He’s worked so hard and you see the results and the strength right here. I’m extremely proud.”

It was a game of momentum swings, as Sharon took complete control in the first quarter (outscoring Scituate 26-18) only to have Scituate rally in the second quarter (outscoring Sharon 19-12). The Eagles were able to steal momentum heading into halftime as junior Jimmy Fritzson’s fall away three-pointer gave Sharon a 38–37 lead at the break.

Scituate came back out swinging in the third quarter to regain the lead 58-56 heading into the final frame. Despite only making three field goals in the fourth quarter, the Sailors shot 19-of-24 from the free throw line in just the final frame on their way to the win.

“Obviously it was a great high school basketball game,” Sharon head coach Bruce Jackman said. “We certainly couldn’t handle Foster. He was just a load inside and we tried everything we could defensively inside.”

It looked as though Sharon was going to have a chance to tie or take the lead with 31 seconds left, but Foster had other plans. Scituate’s Matt McRae missed both of his free throws, but Foster came up with a monster offensive board before being fouled himself. He was able to hit one of two to extend the lead to three. On the other end, Sharon was unable to convert a layup and lost the rebound out of bounds. A free throw from Tarran O’Toole made it 83-79.

Despite his potential game saving offensive rebound and his scoring, Foster refused to take any credit.

"It’s all because of my teammates,” Foster said. “We knew going in that they were a little undersized so they were going to feed it to me down low. I just had a lucky night and it went in for me.”

Even after battling over two Sharon players for the big rebound, he still didn’t take the credit.

“Their big man had fouled out at that point so I knew there was a size advantage but there was a lucky back rim bounce and it came to my hands,” he said.

The Sailors were able to weather an unbelievable offensive performance from Fritzson, who dropped 34 points in the loss. Classmate Brian Mukasa added 20 points.

"We had certain things we tried to do to contain because you can’t stop good players from being good players,” Poirier said. “They’re a very good team, they can shoot, they can run.”

The game was marred by fouls, especially in the fourth quarter. Both teams found themselves in the double bonus less than halfway through the quarter. There was a total of 35 free throws shot in just the fourth quarter. Scituate’s Noma Okundaye and Sharon's Ian Beach, Kevin Bartis, and Fritzson all fouled out in the game.

Scituate’s David Cox added 14 points, O’Toole had 11, with 7 of them coming off free throws in the fourth quarter, Okundaye finished with 10 and Ben McLarey notced 9 points. Beach was the only other Eagle in double figures with 15.

Scituate will now play the winner of Milton and Wellesley on Saturday at UMass-Boston in the D2 South Finals. The game is scheduled to tip off at 4:00.

Sharon will graduate eight seniors, but both Mukasa and Fritzson will return to the Eagles next year. Mukasa has been a rock for Sharon for the past two seasons, but Fritzson has had a breakout season, mostly in the second half, that has opposing teams worried.

The two combined for 54 of the Eagle’s 79 points and are both incredibly talented shooters.

“With Fritzson and Mukasa coming back, along with Erik Kushner, who’s a real good vocal leader, we have a real good nucleus,” Jackman said.

Schiff shows why he's Hock, Sharon MVP

December, 1, 2012
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Brad Schiff made his first career interception count.

The Sharon High middle linebacker stepped in front of a pass in the flat to end a Wayland drive with just under 3 minutes remaining in the Division 3 Super Bowl and capped an improbable season for the Eagles.

Schiff, who was named the Hockomock Defensive MVP by the league’s coaches, has been a mainstay in the middle for the Eagles this season and labeled an All-State caliber player by head coach Dave Morse.

“We knew that was going to be the nail in the coffin,” Morse commented amidst the pandemonium on the field after the game. “He’s made plays all year. That’s his first career interception and it came at a big time.”

With only 30 seconds left on the clock, Schiff also broke up a pass on the goal line to end Wayland’s final drive.

“I’m doing my job,” he explained. “I saw him go to the flat and I did what I’m supposed to do. That’s what happens, you come out on top. We got the ball back, ground and pound, that’s how you win a game.”

The Wayland offense put up 36 poins on Tuesday night against Westwood, but the Sharon defense was tenacious in limiting the Warriors ground game. In addition to Schiff’s big plays, junior defensive lineman Erik Kushner had two big sacks.

Sharon has come to expect this type of defensive effort.

Schiff said, “I say we have a really smart defense. We spend hours and hours watching film. We had this team studied back and front. Our pursuit was good and we wrapped up.”

Morse echoed those sentiments, “They bought into hard practices, to early morning film sessions, to film sessions before practice – they bought into it and it shows. That’s how you win Super Bowls.”

This was the first ever playoff appearance, let alone Super Bowl victory, and Schiff was at a loss to explain what it meant to him and the team to come out on top.

“It’s unreal,” he said. “It still hasn’t hit me. I’m overwhelmed by emotions. It’s hard work, it’s commitment for four years. It feels great.”

Recap: Sharon 12, Wayland 3

December, 1, 2012

WALTHAM, Mass. –- When Dave Morse took over the reins in 2011, Sharon football had only won four games since 2008.

Now, in just his second year, the 25-year old fierce head coach has taken Sharon to the promise land, leading the Eagles to a 12-3 win over Wayland Saturday in the MIAA Division 3 EMass Super Bowl.

“They bought in to hard practices,” Morse said of his team’s commitment. “They bought in to early morning film sessions. They bought into it and it shows – that’s how you win a Super Bowl.”

Senior running back Sean Asnes led the way for Sharon with 17 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown. He added another score through the air on a 4-yard touchdown reception.

“Sean [Asnes] was great,” Morse said. “He got hard yards when he needed to. He lowered his shoulder against a very stout defense that shut a lot of teams down this year. He’s learned to play running back over the last four years. He’s not just a fast kid who can touch the ball.”

After a back-and-forth scoreless first quarter, Sharon finally got on the scoreboard just before half.

With Wayland on offense facing a third down at their own 22, Sharon junior defensive end Erik Kushner sacked Wayland’s Matt Goddard. The ensuing Wayland punt came from the edge of their own goal line, which gave Sharon good field position at the Warrior 47.

The Eagles used a combination of Asnes, Toby Modebelu, Evantz Elisma, Sean O’Neill, and Adam Block rushes on the next eight plays to get to the Wayland 4. Their ninth play of the drive was a pass from O’Neill to Asnes out in the flat that saw Asnes extend out and cross the goal line. Sharon’s extra point was no good, giving Sharon a 6-0 lead at halftime.

The Eagles started the second half with a bang, as Asnes took the first snap and zig-zagged 71 yards for a touchdown to double Sharon’s lead to 12-0.

It looked as though Wayland would strike back on their first drive of the second half, marching down from their own 32 to the Sharon 9. But the stiff Eagle defense – led by Hockomock defensive MVP Brad Schiff – did their part, driving the Warriors back five yards and holding them to just a 30-yard field goal from Eric MacLean.

Neither team was able to muster up a solid drive after the opening scoring drives. It looked as though Wayland would have a chance to close the gap late in the fourth quarter, taking it from their own 27 into Sharon territory – until Kushner and senior Adam Banks came up with a huge sack forcing Wayland into a fourth and 15.

When it looked like the Warrior’s drive had been halted, Sharon’s Schiff was flagged for pass interference. Two plays later, Wayland found themselves just 30 yards out from the end zone. With Goddard out of the game, Wayland had sophomore Robert Jones under center and on 1st down, Schiff atoned for his penalty with a huge interception – his first career pick.

“We knew that was the nail in the coffin,” Morse said. “Schiff is an all-state caliber player. He’s made plays all year. That is his first career interception and it came at a big time.”

Schiff took full responsibility for the pass interference call that kept Wayland’s drive alive but made up for two plays later with his interception.

“That was my fault,” Schiff said. “You gotta move on

Sharon drained the clock some on their next play, but timeouts and stout run defense gave Wayland another shot. Jones found Roby Williams, who lateraled it to Dayleon McKenzie who tossed it to running back Robert Williams (17 carries, 98 yards). The speedster took it all the way to the Sharon 11, good for 43 yards.

However, the Eagles defense stood strong again, Jones was unable to connect on four straight throws with Schiff disrupting the fourth down toss into the end zone.

Sharon took a knee and watched as the seconds ticked away to win their first Super Bowl. For the seniors on the team, it’s a sweet feeling after where the program was when they first started at Sharon.

“This is always our goal,” Schiff said. “We strive for it year after year. I never thought we would make it this far, but that’s what happens when you put in the work and time – you get where you want to be.”

Sharon – 0 - 6 – 6- 0 --- 12
Wayland – 0 – 0 – 3 – 0 --- 3

Second quarter
S – Sean Asnes 4-yard pass from Sean O’Neill (kick failed)

Third quarter
S – Asnes 71-yard run (kick failed)
W – Eric MacLean 30-yard field goal