Boston High School: Kevin Sinatra

BABC: No. 14 East Boston 59, No. 8 Everett 44

January, 19, 2015
Jan 19
BOSTON – Both Everett and East Boston started slowly in the opening game of the BABC tournament at Reggie Lewis Center, but the Jets woke up around halftime.

East Boston wrapped a 22-5 run around the break as they ran away from Everett in a decisive 59-44 victory.

As Jets head coach Shawn Brown will tell you, his players did it with defense.

“That’s what we hang our hat on,” said Brown. “We have to be able to defend. Being small, we’ve got to stop the ball from getting into the paint. For us, it’s just creating havoc, getting turnovers, and turning that into offense.”

By extending their defensive pressure, the Jets (8-3) were able to force Everett (8-3) into 17 turnovers throughout the second half. They turned several steals into fast break points, and attacked the rim enough to get Crimson Tide starters Jordan McAfee and Gary Clark into foul trouble.

“We throw a lot of different looks out there, and try to find what works best,” Brown said about the switch to a more aggressive defensive scheme. “We thought we could get some pressure on them and try and create turnovers.”

Hustle Pays Off: East Boston didn’t just win the fight for loose balls around midcourt, the Jets actually out-rebounded a much taller Everett team 31-27 in this contest.

Their effort on the offensive glass helped the Jets overcome a relatively quiet first-half performance. Eastie shot just 3 of 16 from long range against Everett’s zone, but maintained a 26-20 lead going into the break by producing points on several second chance opportunities.

“That’s surprising to me,” Brown said when he learned about his team’s plus rebounding margin, “Because one of the weaknesses of this team is that we’re small, so we don’t rebound well. But we’re always preaching rebounding, and that seems like it was the difference in terms of our effort.

He continued, “My guys got kind of tentative because they were missing, and I told them to keep shooting because it will come. Offense is fickle, you’ve got no control over that but if you stick with it, those shots will fall.”

The Jets shot a better percentage from the perimeter in the second half, but it was the relentless effort of seniors Kevin Sinatra, Amilcar Guevera, Wilfredo Soto, and Rasheed Bell that allowed them to expand their lead.

Basketball After Breakfast: The 10 a.m. tip time clearly affected both teams, as they each turned it over four times, and combined for just 19 points in the opening quarter.

Yet Everett never found it’s rhythm after that slow start, and the high-energy play of East Boston had a lot to do with it. The Crimson Tide finished with 26 turnovers to just seven assists, and failed to score more than 10 points in any of the first three quarters.

“Playing early games is real tough, but I didn’t need to give my guys much motivation. We’re a team full of seniors, and they knew what they needed to do to beat a tough opponent,” Brown said afterwards.

Everett’s only two losses this season came during afternoon games in BABC tournaments, so there’s no reason to panic about the Crimson Tide’s chances in the Greater Boston League.

For Eastie, a win over a highly ranked team should inspire confidence, and add to the Jets momentum as they’ve now won four of their last five.

“We’ve let a couple games get away that we shouldn’t have, so my players were eager to get back out there and give a good effort,” said Brown. “Hopefully this is a momentum boost for us going forward.”

East Boston 59, Everett 44
EB 9 17 21 12 --- 59
EV 10 10 10 14 --- 44

Top Performers:
East Boston – Dion Knight (19 points, 3 steals)
East Boston –Kevin Sinatra (10 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists)
East Boston –Amilcar Guevera (10 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals)
Everett – Jonathan Casseus (15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists)
Everett – Jordan McAfee (6 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks)
Everett – Gary Clark (5 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks)

Recap: No. 12 Brighton 52, No. 15 Eastie 43

January, 15, 2013

BOSTON -- New Mission and Brighton stepped firmly into the power position for Division A's two City League tournament spots on Tuesday.

Despite the two squads falling in the semifinals to finalist Madison Park and East Boston last year, No. 12 Brighton boys' basketball (5-3, 3-1) slid itself even with division leader and former South rival No. 2 New Mission (6-3, 3-1) last night as it rolled host No. 15 East Boston (6-4, 1-3), 52-43, in the programs' first matchup as division foes.

Both squads have now defeated each of the former finalists once this season.

“We hope to make the cities (and) ultimately the state tournament so every game counts.” said Brighton coach Hugh Coleman. “It is important for us to get the league wins and to stay up there.”

Senior shooting guard Daivon Edwards lead the Bengals with 23 points (including five 3-pointers) and nine rebounds, while junior forward Nick Simpson added 16 points and five rebounds in the win.

Edwards sealed the victory for the defending Division 2 Eastern Mass champs with three treys to open the third, that helped prompt a 15-0 run. Edwards hit a top-corner three at 6:20 in the third quarter to start the tear at 33-22.

After a trey by Eastie sophomore Marcus Shaw, Edwards stole the ball and quickly nailed a shot from behind the arc to settle the Bengals at 41-27 with 4:20 left in the quarter. Edwards tallied 11 points in the third, while Simpson scored the remaining four as the Bengals lead 45-27 entering the fourth.

“(Coach) tells me all the time if I have a little bit of space just to take the shot,” said Edwards. “We do dribble penetration and kick out (to) look for me so I can get open and get reps. Sometimes I stay after practice just to work on my shot.”

Brighton, who lead all but the first 2:40, never trailed as it score nine straight points between the first and second quarters to break away from a slim 13-11 lead with 1:24 remaining in the first quarter. The Bengals scored six quick baskets in the final minute of the first quarter, including a steal by Nick Simpson turned into an open court dunk by senior Prince Unaegbu for a 19-11 advantage at the break.

Simpson lost his defender with a crossover dribble and nailed a three at the top of the arc to give Brighton a 22-11 lead seconds into the second quarter.

“This is the first game I think we have played from start to finish,” said Coleman. “It was isolation plays to get either our shooter an open shot or our swing guy a shot situation or a one-on-one.”

Senior forward Xavier Green led the Jets with 11 points, while sophomores Shaw and Dion Knight both tallied nine points.

Green put back in a pair of offensive rebounds, then pitched a defensive rebound under the Bengals' basket to force a free throw score by teammate sophomore Kevin Sinatra, to cut the deficit to 49-36 with 1:32 remaining in the game

Shaw nailed Eastie's first shot of the game on a jumper from behind the arc at 6:55 and swung around the top of the arc to hit a planted three-pointer to cut the Jets' deficit to 13-10 with two minute left in the first quarter.

“It is just about confidence,” said East Boston coach Shawn Brown. “We have not been at full strength. Once we get back to full strength, I think we will be OK.”

East Boston struggled from the foul line as it hit only four of 12 in the first half and nine of 19 total.

“We run a lot of practice because of missed free throws,” said Brown. “We spend literally hours (on free throws).”

Breaking Down the Defenses: The Bengals switched between man and zone defenses throughout the game in hopes of forcing outside shooting from the Jets.

East Boston tried to push Brighton away from the three point line with its man-to-man defense. The Bengals tallied seven three-pointers with all efforts coming from Edwards or Simpson.

“We know they struggled shooting a bit so the zone helped us out,” said Coleman. “We played good defense from start to finish.”

“We tried a zone one time and it resulted in three points so we went away from it,” added Brown.

Incomplete Eastie: East Boston has been missing key players throughout the season.

Senior Kenny Ramos played limited time on Tuesday due to an ankle injury, while former sophomore leading scoring Rasheed Bell is expected to miss the remainder of the season with an injury. Senior Pat Santos also did not dress for the game.

“Kenny is day to day,” said Brown. “He has been getting physical therapy. We gave it a shot today and he did not look good out there so we are just going to play it game by game.”

Junior Malik James, who is one of Brighton's top scorers, did not dress for personal reason, but is expected to return on Thursday.