Boston High School: Kyle Fox

Div. 1 Boys: Charlestown 61, East Boston 58

March, 3, 2012

EAST BOSTON, Mass. -– Calling this clash of the titans a nail-biter would be an understatement -- maybe even a misnomer.

The largest lead margin on this rainy afternoon was five points, that standing for less than and that was for less than a minute, but the Charlestown fans went up into the air while East Boston fans reached for their keys and sunglasses, as the Townies topped the Jets 61-58 in a Division 1 North quarterfinal -- and the rubber match between these Boston City League archrivals.

“It was a hard fought win and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” said Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso.

“I’ve got to eventually win a game at East Boston sometime down the line,” Cardoso told himself in the days leading up to the match. “The guys were very focused, played hard, played for each other and ran our sets to a 'T'."

Junior Tyrone Hoxter went 4-4 from the free throw line in the last 23 seconds of the fourth quarter and Tyrik Jackson had two rebounds and put backs, the first an and-one completion with 2:54 left in the game.

“I though Tyrik Jackson just stepped up played hungry tonight and saved us throughout the game,” Cardoso added.

Eastie’s Zack Gattereau and Charlestown’s Hoxter made and missed one free throw at the line, respectively, then at the two-minute mark, Eastie’s Kyle Fox hit two free throws to tie the game up at 53.

Cardoso asked his team at halftime, "When is someone going to shot-fake, dribble, jump-stop and maybe make a layup?"

Senior Iser Barnes listened, scoring a crucial layup with 1:15 left. The Townies' defense turned up their press defense, forcing an East Boston timeout with 1:25 left, but without a hitch, the Jets’ Kwandell Bush hit a shot later to tie the game up again at 55.

After a missed Charlestown shot, Tyrik Jackson rebounded the ball and put it through the ring with 45 seconds left in the game, nudging the Townies to a 57-55 lead.

Unable to get an easy shot with Charlestown’s in-face defense and intense rebounding efforts, East Boston lost the ball and fouled
Tyrese Hoxter with 23.5 seconds remaining. He hit both shots and gave his side a 59-55 lead. Undeterred, East Boston coach Malcolm Smith called on his gunner, the 6-foot-4 senior Gattereau, to drain a three.

A good look from Fox with 2.5 seconds left made it a one-point game and a chance for East Boston to hit a 2-pointer and win the game, but Hoxter was sent to the line with 1.4 seconds left.

The first shot banged around and eventually made it’s way down the net, but the second shot was smooth, bumping the lead up to 3. Eastie launched a shot at the buzzer, but it sailed wide left.

Slow Cooker: After the game, players and attendees noted how long the fourth quarter felt. In the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, a totals of seven points were scored. The final frame was littered with steals, rebounds, loose ball grabs and throwaways.

“I thought both teams were tired on both ends,” Cardoso said. “Loose balls, boxing out hard, guys are falling on the ground, so I
though both teams were fatigued in the fourth quarter."

In the last three minutes, though, 20 points were made between the two teams, Charlestown winning that split 12-8.

“We run a lot in practice, we did a lot of fast break drills, defensive drills, so I feel our condition helped us pull through," Cardoso said.

Practice Makes Perfect: Hoxter draining those shots at the end of game could be attributed to the work that he puts in during Cardoso’s training sessions.

“As a team, we shoot under 60 percent at the free throw line," Cardoso said. "Yesterday, at practice, we each made thirty free throws before we left the gym."

Up Next: Charlestown awaits the winner of tomorrow's D1 North quarterfinal between Lowell and No. 1 overall seed Central Catholic, with a time and date to be determined.

The Townies' last meeting with Central was a forgettable one. Charlestown had home-court advantage, but succumbed late en route to a 79-71 loss.

City semis: East Boston 62, New Mission 43

February, 23, 2012

ROXBURY, Mass. -- A consistent down low attack combined with its patented stingy defense played a big role in East Boston's tournament win on Thursday, while a little assistance from New Mission on the side certainly did not hurt.

In what was a tough mental day for the Titans, East Boston dominated New Mission 62-43 at Madison Park to advance to the finals of the Boston City League tournament.

The North division regular season champs will face division runner-up and rival Madison Park (16-2) on the same court at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow.

“We just played some solid man-to-man,” said Eastie coach Malcolm Smith. “We wanted to get inside points today, whether that was going to come off offensive rebounds or pounding it in. I thought we would have trouble with New Mission's height, but these guys really worked hard on boxing out.”

Lapses in judgment dug a hole for the Titans (12-5) early, while the Jets' ability to capitalize helped them grab a lead late in the first quarter and never look back. Seven travels in the first eight and a half minutes allowed Eastie (15-4) to score nine straight points and go up 15-6 early in the second quarter.

After scoring one off a quarter opening technical by New Mission for sending out six men, senior Kyle Fox managed to create a three-point play off a steal for a layup and a forced a one-and-one. Two Titan travels and a steal later, junior Pat Santos finger-rolled a breakaway score to finish the run.

“I just look to attack the basket and avoid the defender,” said Fox. “Coach said 'Be patient, slow it down and let the game come to me'.”

Fox rushed the rim all night to lead the game in scoring with 17 points, while Santos fronted the Jets on defense with 11 strips. EB junior Kenny Ramos also had 9 points and 10 rebounds.

“I do not know where Santos has been the past seven games, but today he showed up,” said Smith. “He was pestering everyone and keeping their guys in front of him like we have always preached about.”

After a fade away trey by senior Elgino Jean placed EB up 22-9, the Titans grabbed some momentum with the emergence of 6-foot-3 junior center Isshiah Coleman late in the first half.

Rotating off his first shot-block of the game, Coleman hit the open floor for a wide open dunk at 1:23. Attacking the baseline on the next drive, the junior cut under the back board, curled in a layup and forced a foul shot for three points and a 22-17 halftime margin.

“Our game plan was to break their pressure and get weak side layups,” said New Mission coach Cory McCarthy. “It was happening, but the guards stopped running the offense. We have a young team and we need guys to step up as leaders.”

Two straight put-backs by Ramos and Jean got the Jets rolling again to open the half with a 26-17 lead. Two minutes later Eastie found Fox open on the sidelines for a three-pointer to spread the margin into double-digits.

The Titans, who faced a 17 to 11 steals deficit, never mounted any second half streaks. A pair of third quarter three-pointers by junior Kordell Harris and two fourth quarter dunks by Coleman were the last signs of breath for New Mission.

Producing all 20 final-quarter points from within the paint, the Jets forced eight points of free throws and 12 from tip-ins to put New Mission away in the final quarter.

“When the 'bigs' get in foul trouble the game becomes easier,” said Fox. “Rotation was key defensively.”

Eastie, who lost 63-56 to Charlestown in last year's finals, will be looking to grab its first league title since 2008. The Jets have already defeated finals opponent MP twice this season, with scores of 61-59 and 68-42, respectively.

“It is hard to beat a team three times,” said Smith. “(We will) have to play all the way to the end. It is going to be difficult, but it is going to be a challenge we will relish.”

Recap: No. 20 Eastie 58, St. John's Prep 52

February, 10, 2012

DANVERS, Mass. -- If there's any doubt about East Boston head coach Malcolm Smith's ability to utilize his resources, let tonight's result against St. John's Prep stand as Exhibit A -- and close the case shut.

Dressing just nine players, and without starting forwards Kenny Ramos and Kwandell Bush due to a violation of team rules -- certainly not the first time he's disciplined a key player, nor the last -- the Jets turned in one of their most inspired defensive first halves of the regular season. They held the host Eagles to just 16 points in the first two quarters, then staved off a furious fourth-quarter rally to win, 58-52.

"With this team, it's a bunch of guys that, hey, they just want to do it," Smith said. "They want to do it for their hometown, they want to do it for where they come from. I told them going into tonight's game that, listen, we've got to play this like we're in Dorchester House in the preseason fall league.

"I said fellas, you know, we're undermanned and we've always had some adversity, whether it's dressing five there or seven there, so you've got to take that mentality there. And we always play hard, but you've got to bring it in here a little bit more structured and disciplined, and that's what they did."

The Jets (12-4) dominated the first half, forcing a slew of turnovers with dogged backcourt pressure and sideline traps to make up for their lack of scoring ability at the offensive end. They took a 24-16 lead into the break, and led as much as 41-24 with under three minutes to go in the third quarter before the Eagles (10-6) mounted an impressive rally.

Down 43-32 to start the final frame, Prep cut the lead to 47-45 when Mike Carbone came up with a strip steal at halfcourt and heaved a lob to Steve Haladyna (31 points, eight rebounds), picking up a foul in the process. He missed the free throw, but capped a perfect 5-for-5 start from the field for the quarter with the lay-in.

At the other end, Eastie broke through some intense Prep backcourt pressure to convert some key field goal attempts down the stretch, none bigger than a dunk by Will March (16 points) with under a minute to go. With the Eagles gambling big time in moving their 2-3 zone high up in the halfcourt and converging on guard Pat Santos in the backcourt, he was able to get the ball over the top to a wide open March underneath and make it 57-49.

Freshman point guard Marcos Echevarria hit a three-pointer to close it to 57-52 with 31 seconds left, and fouled Santos to send him to the line and push the lead back out to six. But on the ensuing possession Freddy Shove missed a driving layup with 14 ticks to go, and three bodies converged on the loose board for a jump ball, and Eastie possession.

Helping out: The Jets were most impressive defensively in pressuring the backcourt, and providing help on the perimeter. Anybody who has watched Eastie over the years knows an aggressive press defense is its source of pride, and for the first 16 minutes an array of guards made life difficult for whoever took the ball in, harrassing them from the baseline to over halfcourt. From there, players like Zack Gattereau, Travon Moore, Ian Jones, Andre Senior and Kyle Fox were able to lend a hand.

In the halfcourt, the Prep is traditionally a tough out for its surgery running the motion offense -- a scheme that, by nature, is difficult to gameplan for. But whenever Connolly called for a pick-and-roll, an Eastie defender was usually in proper place on the help side to take a good angle and try to pick the ball off.

Those two areas led to a number of turnovers, both forced and unforced, including 11 total team steals.

"We worked on that yesterday," Smith said of the pick-and-roll defense. "And I don't really think it settled in. But you know, in the pre-game today, [I told them] 'Fellas listen, on their pick-and-rolls we've got to play it NBA-style'. They liked that, and I just thought it was phenomenal today.

"Ain't much I had to do with it, but we worked on it yesterday and it didn't really go that well. But today they communicated exceptionally well on it, they were able to hedge on everything else."

Recap: No. 19 Eastie 61, Madison Park 59

January, 6, 2012
ROXBURY, Mass. -- Sometimes, it’s better to look at the scoreboard than the state sheet.

That is something that East Boston boys basketball coach Malcolm Smith will have to remind himself after Thursday night’s 61-59 win over Madison Park. The stats did not paint a pretty picture for the visiting Jets. They made just 2-of-25 free throws in the second half (yes, you read that right). Madison Park out-rebounded the Jets by a 45-27 margin.

However, Eastie forced Madison into 32 turnovers –- including 20 in the first half –- and the Cardinals (6-1) could not capitalize on the Jets’ inability to put the game away late.

“I’ll take any win,” said Smith, whose team improves to 5-2. “As I told everybody before, we’re just not that really good. We just play with a lot of emotion and we play very hard.”

And they play suffocating defense at times, which Eastie them build a 40-27 halftime lead. Led by Dakim Murray (18 points, 16 rebounds) and Rayshaw Matthews (19 points), Madison began to chip away in the third quarter, twice getting within four points. But baskets by Eastie's Kyle Fox and Kenny Ramos pushed the advantage up to 51-41 heading into the final stanza.

A drive into the lane and finish from Madison's David Stewart (seven points, 12 rebounds) cut the deficit to 53-48, before a put-back from Ramos and layup by Pat Santos off another Madison turnover made it 59-49 with just 2:10 to play.

The game was not close to being over, though, as the Cardinals -- led by Murray and Matthews -- went on an 8-1 run to make it 60-57 with 50 seconds left.

Eastie continued to miss free throws, and Terell Matthews of Madison made a pair with 21 seconds left to make it 61-59.

But despite the Jets missing four more freebies in the final 17 seconds, the Cardinals could not get any quality looks in the final moments and Eastie escaped with the win.

It's in the Books: The first quarter took about as long as most halves because of problems with the scoring books. First, East Boston was hit with a technical foul because Algeno Jean went to the free throw line but was apparently not in the Madison Park book. That ordeal lasted maybe 10 minutes.

Shortly after, the game was stopped again because of an inaccuracy over the score. While East Boston was up, 15-10, the Madison Park scorekeeper had it at just 12-10. The delay caused some frustration and confusion all over the gym, but was eventually sorted out.

The Eastie Swarm: The East Boston halfcourt press made life miserable for Madison Park in the first half and it proved to be one of the keys to victory. One reason why the Jets can play with such a ramped-up intensity level is their depth. While East Boston does not have a ton of size, the Jets do have a seemingly endless well of aggressive guards to bring off the bench and act as pests to opposing ballhandlers.

On Thursday night, the player who stood out the most for his effort was senior Travon Moore. Despite coming off the bench, Moore led Eastie with 12 points, and his hustle set the tone when other facets of Eastie’s game were not up to par.

Cards Control the Crease: Although Madison played inconsistent, especially against Eastie’s pressure in the first half, part of that had to do with the Cardinals missing starters O’Shea Joy (asthma) and Dane Lawladownie (ankle).

However, the Cardinals can take solace in the fact that they had a very strong effort in the paint. Murray is 6-foot-4 and burly enough to push his way into position, while Stewart is an athletic presence at 6-3 who can go up and snatch rebounds away from taller players. If the Cardinals can get healthy and take better care of the ball, they will be a tough out in the city.

“We only have ourselves to blame,” said Madison Park coach Dennis Wilson. “We missed too many foul shots and made too many turnovers. But that’s what happens with a young team.”