Boston High School: Johnny Bowden

Recap: No. 14 Brighton 67, Madison Park 57

January, 8, 2013

BOSTON -- Daivon Edwards took one step towards the front of the three-point line, motioned a shot crisply through the net and smirked over his shoulder at the Bengals supporters. Within seconds the senior nailed another trey along the sidelines to give Brighton its first double-digit lead midway through the final quarter.

It was all too easy for the senior guard and his junior teammate Nick Simpson in the fourth quarter, as the pair totaled five 3-pointers, and 22 of the Bengals' final 24 points, at the Madidome last night.

Combining for 30 points from behind the arc, the Bengals' hot shooters led No. 14 Brighton (4-3, 2-1) to a 69-57 win over host Madison Park (1-4, 0-2) in the teams' first battle as members of the Boston City League's newly-aligned North division.

“It was all about the guards,” said Simpson. “They penetrated and kicked to me, I made shots, and we just worked the ball around as a team.”

Added Edwards, “The last two games I (have) showed up and it feels good for me."

Simpson, a 6-foot-4 forward, scored 28 points -- including six 3-pointers -- and grabbed four rebounds, while Edwards tallied 20 points (four treys) and five rebounds.

Planted on the outer corner of the endline, Simpson buried a pair of three's early in the fourth to prompt a nine-point winning run which left the reigning Division 2 North champs up 54-46 after four minutes. Despite dropping a jumper to MP junior Johnny Bowden, Edwards sandwich a Cardinals' layup with his final two trifectas for a 60-50 advantage with 2:50 left.

“We like to teach the guys (to) take what the defense gives you and it was open,” said Brighton coach Hugh Coleman of his team's deep shot. “If we can get the ball inside and get some layups, the defense will collapse which will open up the wings more.”

A three-point jumper by Cardinals' junior Terrell Matthews cut the margin to 62-54 with two minutes remaining, but Simpson pushed the MP Machine down by double-digits for good with another three just a few seconds later.

Madison Park jumped ahead early in the game by scoring the first nine points, including five from senior David Stewart (13 points, 10 rebounds). A give-and-go jumper assisted by Matthews to junior Jaylen Bell put the Cardinals ahead 9-0 at 4:38 in the first quarter.

“We came out with a lot of energy and confidence,” said MP coach Dennis Wilson. “Malik (James), who is the engine that runs their machine, made some nice passes and shots (to) get the key people involved. It became just a dog fight.”

Trailing 16-3 at 2:30 in the first quarter the Bengals speed up the pace and forced turnovers to score eight straight points and cut the margin to 16-11 a minute and a half later. Simpson scrambled to the back-corner on a counter to nail his first of two falling-over three-points, while junior Malik James followed the effort up with a jumper along the foul line for Brighton's first lead, 20-19 at 6:40 in the second quarter.

“(Madison Park) did a great job of getting the ball inside and getting layups,” said Coleman. “We got to a slow start in terms of hitting (our) shots and turning the ball over. We just tried to tell the guys to be patient.”

After being tied 30-30 at half, the teams traded leads four times and end the third quarter with MP up a slim 46-45. Free throws hurt MP, which was 11-of-24 from the foul line.

The Emperor and His Chess: Wilson threw out a wide variety of defensive fronts in hopes of keeping the Bengals from reaching a rhythm. His zone attacks included a 1-2-2, an extended 2-3, a 1-3-1, and a diamond-and-one with the focus on James (11 points) at the guard position.

“You have to change the pace, (because) it is a chess game,” said Wilson. “I got a young team (and) I lost four starters from last year. You have to close out (on jumps shots) and make them put the ball on the floor.”

MP has only three seniors from last years' Div 1 South finalist squad.

Recap: No. 12 Eastie 43, No. 19 MP 42

December, 19, 2012
ROXBURY, Mass. -- Up two points in the final second of another heated battle with East Boston, the Madison Park's boys' basketball team looked to have finally found the edge against its crosstown rival.

With the home crowd chanting its goodbyes, Cardinals junior Johnny Bowden strolled to the line to shoot his third and final free throw and try to send the MP Machine to its first victory in six matchups with division foe East Boston.

In a matter of one second, the Jets' Pat Santos grabbed the rebound of the missed foul shot and in the same motion, launched a desperation shot the full length of the court that somehow went in off the middle of the backboard and left the crowd in awe, with Eastie miraculously winning, 43-42.

(You'll be in awe too: CLICK HERE to see video of the shot from the Boston Herald.)

“Three years since I have been (at Madison Park) it has always been tough,” said Santos. “We always have to have faith even with (one second) left. You don't have time to think (just) get the ball and shoot.”

Winning on a buzzer-beater from its senior guard, No. 12 East Boston (4-0, 2-0) bested host No. 19 Madison Park (1-1, 1-1), 43-42, in battle of City League (Division A).

The Cardinals looked to have sealed the victory in the final seconds when junior Jaylen Bell bounce-passed to Bowden, who drew a three-shot foul opportunity off a blocked attempt from Eastie senior Will March along the end line. Bowden took his time to drain the first two attempts for a 42-40 lead, then lobbed the ball off the back rim.

“The kid has got the biggest heart in the gym,” MP coach Dennis Wilson said. “He made plays down the end that got us ahead. (He made) the baseline jumper, the baseline floater, (and) two shots to put us ahead.”

Madison Park scored 12 straight, including six points from senior David Stewart (13 points, eight rebounds), to grab its first lead of the game and go into the final quarter up 32-29. Sophomore Mike Benitez just beat the shot clock on a jumper to start the run down 29-20 with 4:34 left in the third, while Bowden (13 points) rolled in a layup then stole the ball in Jets' territory to set up a two-on-one score from Bell to Stewart for the 30-29 advantage.

A layup by junior Kamauree Williams finished the streak for Division 1 South runner-ups with 30 seconds left in the third.

“We played tough defense,” Wilson said. “They are not a very good shooting team so we went into a zone and made them stop penetration and shoot contested jump shots.”

A corner-of-the-arc tre from Benitez and free throw by senior Kenny Ramos finished a seven-point run by Eastie to open the fourth quarter up 37-32 at 5:28. Four points and an assist from Bowden put the Cardinals ahead for a second time up 40-39 with 1:30 left. Sophomore Rasheed Bell hit one-of-two from the line to even the game with 12 seconds remaining.

Bell lead the Jets with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Ramos finished with nine points and grabbed six rebounds, while Santos netted 10 points and wrestled four rebounds.

“Rasheed is our offensive attacker,” said first-year East Boston coach Shawn Brown. “He has untapped potential when it comes in terms of offense. He is the one person outside of Kenny that we have to go to (when it comes to offense) so I think we really feed off Rasheed.”

Eastie scored the first 10 points of the game and led for the initial 23 minutes by forcing turnovers for layups and hitting jumpers in or around the free throw lane. Ramos dipped under a blocker, dropped in a layup and yelled to the crowd as Eastie pulled ahead 10-0 with 2:40 left in the first quarter.

Early free throw misses hurt the Cardinals, who failed their first five attempts and finished two of nine in the first half, but Madison Park rebounded in the second half by making six of seven from the foul line.

“We got out on them early (and) my guys got comfortable,” said Brown. “We talk about not taking anyone lightly. I told them 'Your in a dog fight now'.”

Brown replaced former Jets coach and New Mission dean of students Malcolm Smith, who brought Eastie to a Boston City League tournament championship, an appearance in the Division 1 North quarterfinals, and a City League (North) title last year. The first-year skipper grabbed his first win in the newly formed City League (Division A).

“We always stress that (one play can make a difference), but we hope that it doesn't come down to it,” said Brown. “I am new to it, but just knowing the history and being a Boston public school graduate and player (I know that) with the teams that they put in this conference you can expect that. I think you can look forward to some great games throughout this year.”