BOSTON -– “South Side” was the call of the day from fans and players alike at Northeastern University’s Cabot Gynamsium, after the Boston South swept the North in the Boston City League All-Star Classic. O'Bryant head coach Gertrude Fischer led the girls to a 48-26 victory, while Brighton's Hugh Coleman commanded the boys to an 83-68 win.
The boys game started with the North taking a 17-13 lead in the first quarter which ended with a long three pointer from Walter Lewis), draining it at the buzzer. The South came out on a 12-1 run in the second quarter and never looked back there. Coleman attributed the first quarter run by the North to nervousness on his team’s behalf; but as for the rest of the game, Coleman gave it up to team play.
“I tried to have a couple of practices with these guys so they would build up some chemistry together,” said Coleman.
They were able to turn it around in the second quarter with that chemistry, leading at the half by six, 34-28.
In the fourth, down by 16 at 61-45, the south went on a 15-4 run and came within five with 4:40 left in the game, but New Mission's Samir McDaniels (12 points, 10 rebounds) felt that when they were down both times that his team would open it up and bring home the victory.
“We’ve been practicing all week, getting to know each other, getting the feel of playing with each other,” said McDaniels. Although the win was good, McDaniels enjoyed the intangible feeling of taking part in a once in a life time event with a unique group of players.
In the fourth, East Boston’s Jeff Amazan had the lane open on a fast break, but he slowed down, threw the ball off the backboard and up came cross town rival Akosa Maduegbunam of Charlestown, to slam in the alley-oop. Eastie coach Malcolm Smith (viewing from the stands) was surprised to see that collaboration, but Amazan said it had been planned prior to it happening.
“It’s all about team work,” said Amazan. “There’s no point in going out there and being selfish, it’s an all-star game. Me and him had planned that. He told me to throw it off the backboard if he was behind me trailing… It was a good environment. Every came and showed out, had fun and had a good time.”
“Just the feeling of playing with these dudes..I’m never going play here with these guys again because most of us are seniors,” said McDaniels. “The feeling of playing here, that was real deep feeling."
In the preceding game pitting the North and South girls squads, there was no leading scorer for the winning South, as three players had eight points apiece -- Burke’s Fredericka Lawson, Boston English's Ashley Jean-Louis and O'Bryant eighth grader Araion Bradshaw.
“In the beginning of the game, I told them that everyone was going to play the same amount of time and I wanted them to be very aggressive, whatever time they were in there and they all bought right into it," Fisher said. "That is a testament to what great athletes they are.”
“I had to put my game face on,” said Lawson, who ran through the Winning 101 vocabulary list. “No playing around, team work, motivation, defense wins games."
The North was led in scoring by half of the New Mission delegation to the event-- Tajanay Veiga-Lee and Kayla Cox, who scored eight and seven points respectively.
More Than A Game
Last year, Dr. Joseph D. Warren, a former staff member at Northeastern University and father of Newton Mayor Setti Warren, passed away. In his time in the Boston community, Dr. Warren worked hard to open the doors of Northeastern to the entire community of Boston, including bringing the city’s all-star games to the Cabot Gym. From this day and hereon, the event has been renamed “The Dr. Joseph D. Warren Boston City League Basketball All-Star Classic”.
“To know that we’re here on the shoulders of a great man, that’s definitely a honor,” Coleman said. “We want to continue our legacy and do our part to make sure that we open up the doors and we push these young men and these young women to higher standards as well and more opportunities.”
“We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him,” said Ryan FitzGerald, Director of Recreation, Sports and Fitness at the BCYF. “The university had been here for many, many years, but he was the guys who said it was really important that people from the surrounding neighborhoods, especially at risk youth, from Roxbury, Mattapan and all the surrounding areas, have access to enjoy all it has to offer, maybe open their eyes to what they could achieve."
“I think people are taking priority with city kids now and they deserve it,” said Charlestown head coach Edson Cardoso, who coached the North team. “They go through a lot, they sacrifice, they’re asked to be grown men at a young ages and I think they deserve the best every time they go out there."