Boston High School: Maynard

Recap: Maynard 38, Clinton 24

November, 27, 2014
CLINTON, Mass. -- It was just a few ticks into the fourth quarter and Maynard was feeling the heat.

After racing out to a 30-point lead, the Tigers suddenly found themselves in a precarious situation after watching Clinton storm its way back to trail by only a touchdown.

Clearly, with momentum shifted over to the side of the Gaels, Maynard needed to siphon up something positive in the worst possible way.

Enter punter Reese Lesage.

The senior, standing inside his own 35-yard line, booted a deep punt that settled on the Clinton 3. The kick seemed to breathe life back into the Tigers as they rewarded Lesage's heroics by holding the Gaels on downs and forcing them to punt inside their own end zone.

Maynard got the ball back on the Clinton 31-yard line and two plays later, junior running back Stephen Peterson (103 yards on 14 carries) bolted 27 yards to pay dirt with just under six minutes remaining allowing Maynard to survive a 38-24 triumph in the 56th edition of this Thanksgiving rivalry at Veterans Athletic Complex.

Clinton leads the overall series 33-22-1.

"Reese's punt was the turning point of the game," said Tigers head coach Harold Ogilvie. "It put them back on the 3-yard line. If we gave them the ball at midfield or anywhere else we could've been in trouble. We were able to pin them back on that play and our defense pinned their ears back and played the way they've been taught to play. We are a bend but don't break sort of defense. We're going to give you the yards but we're not going to let you get into the end zone."

The Tigers completed an impressive campaign, closing with a record of 8-3, while the Gaels finish at 4-7. Both teams earned playoff berths this year. Maynard lost to Blackstone Valley Tech while Clinton was upended by Northbridge.

Despite the half-foot of snow that fell on the region overnight, there was no doubt this game would be played as scheduled. Kudos to a host of volunteers who arrived here in the wee hours of the morning to clear off the field and stands in preparation for this tilt.

"There were people here at 6 a.m. getting this field ready," Clinton head coach Paul Constantino said. "We wanted to play on Thanksgiving and Maynard did too. Barring any unforeseen thing when they showed up we were going to play today. All of the kids wanted to play today. It's what it is suppose to be."

The Tigers wasted little time setting the tempo in this one, scoring on their first four possessions to lead 30-0. A Daryl Jent fumble on the game's opening play was recovered by Maynard on the Gaels' 30. Two plays later, senior running back Bryan Kiley busted up the gut for a 27 yard score. Kiley would add the conversion run to put the Tigers on top 8-0. Early on, Clinton's offense (179 yards) failed to move the ball against Maynard's vaunted defense led by linemen Jared Cormier, Akram Semakula, Jake Kennedy and linebacker John O'Callaghan. The Tigers would go up 16-0 minutes later on Zach Boerman's 1-yard dive completing a 40 yard drive.

On Clinton's ensuing possession, a bad snap on a punt attempt forced punter Alex Ortiz into a throwing situation that fell incomplete. Getting the ball back deep in Gaels' territory, Zach Uglevich found the end zone from 10 yards out with 2:38 still remaining in the opening quarter. Another Clinton punt resulted in more points for Maynard (308 yards, 211 in the first half) as they marched 95 yards capped off by Cal Howes' 12 yard scoring pass to Boerman. Kiley's conversion run had the Tigers well-in command.

"Leadership has really brought us through," said Kiley, who finished with 136 yards on 22 rushes. "We knew we needed to stay focused when they came back on us. We did what we had to do to win. As a team we try to even out the carries to several running backs. The past years we kind of had just one key running back. It's not like that this year. We've spread things out and it has really worked well for us and gave us a really strong backfield."

Down by 30 points, it would have been easy for the Gaels begin turning their thoughts to Thanksgiving dinner. But after Ortiz returned a kickoff 89 yards to put Clinton on the board, suddenly a glimmer of hope could be seen on the Gaels sideline. After stopping the Tigers on their next possession, Clinton got the ball back and drove 76 yards, keyed by runs from senior back Kenel Meunier (86 yards on the ground). Facing fourth and goal at the Tigers 3, junior running back Brandon Whitney bowled over the goal line with no time left in the half. Following Jent's conversion catch, Clinton had sliced the deficit in half, trailing 30-16.

Maynard could do nothing offensively on its first possession to begin the third quarter. The Gaels had the ball back in their hands and were now starting to find holes within the Tigers defense. Behind the running of Jent and Whitney (27 yards), Clinton kept its 65 yard march intact. Reaching the Maynard 1, Jent (19 yards on 11 carries) pushed his way across the goal line and would add the conversion run to make it a one score game (30-24) with 2:33 left in the quarter.

"We gave Maynard two scores right from the get-go," said Constantino. "Suddenly it's 22-0 and then its 30-0. We called a time out and I told our kids to keep fighting because there is no place to hide. We were able to get back into it but they had that great punt which changed things a bit as it put us back so deep. I told our kids I know things are hollow right now but it really was an incredible comeback in the way they never quit."

Following Jent's score, a feeling of dis-belief had beset on the Tigers sideline. Thoughts resonated through their heads that If they continued to allow Clinton to ride this newfound crest of momentum, how would they ever live this down should the Gaels find a way to rally back for a victory?

Early in the final quarter, Maynard reached midfield but a swing pass to Kiley on third down netted them a four yard loss thus forcing a punt. But as a result, Lesage proved to be the most unlikeliest of heroes with his high, arcing punt putting Clinton in the shadow of its own goal post and, in turn, snuff out to its remarkable comeback effort.

"It's Clinton and I knew they would make a charge at us," Ogilvie said. "That's a well-coached team over there and those kids don't quit. I'm very proud my guys answered the bell in the fourth quarter. It's nice to finish the year 8-3. It's a great way to go into the off-season. I'm excited about what we have coming back next year. Maynard is a special place and there are a lot of special players on this team."

Central-West Chowder Cup football game called off

March, 22, 2014
After 13 years, the Central-Western Mass. Shrine Chowder Bowl appears to be finished.

The summertime event centered on the top senior high school football players from both regions of the state. For some, it would mark the final time they would suit up and play competitively.

More-importantly this was game that raised public awareness for Shriners Hospitals for Children, which both the Shriners and Chowder Bowl representatives and players prided itself in being apart of. All proceeds from the game went directly to Shriners Hospitals. According to former Chowder Bowl chairman Peter Spaulding, the event raised more than $100,000 during its 13-year history.

But for now, the game is off. During the past several months, conversations between Central Mass. and Western Mass. Chowder Bowl reps stalled. Questions arose as to whether or not to continue the game and who would take over the reins once originators of the event began to step down. In addition, dwindling interest from players and coaches alike played a significant role in the game's abrupt demise.

“For me personally, I'm very sad to see this happen,” said Spaulding, who was Chowder Bowl chairman from its inception in 2001 to 2012. “Things change and it had gotten tougher to get kids motivated to play in the game. It is their senior year and many of them have other things to do. The coaches are not paid and volunteer their time. But more and more coaches have had opportunities to work at various football camps during that same time period and can make some extra money doing it. It was a number of factors that led to the downfall if you will. It’s just an evolution of the times I guess.”

After learning there would be no Chowder Bowl this year, members of the National Football Foundation/Joseph R. Mewhiney Central Mass. Chapter acted swiftly in an effort to start up a Central Mass. all-star game. In late February, that idea became reality. A decision was made to go forward with the game -- dividing teams into a north and south region based on geographical location.

That resulted in the inaugural Joseph R. Mewhiney Central Mass. Chapter All-Star Game, which will be held on June 27 at Worcester State University’s John Coughlin Memorial Field at 7 p.m.

Maynard head football coach and Chapter committee member Harold Oglivie said a total of 44 senior-only players will represent each squad. High school coaches were allowed to nominate as many seniors on their respective teams as they wanted to. They could also nominate players from other schools.

“I’m very disappointed that the Shriners game is off,” Oglivie said. “It was a great event for a great cause. But if you aren’t getting all of the representation, and kids start to back out of the game, that does hurt the event. It’s no longer considered a true all-star game at that point.

“Now, by having this Central Mass. game, there will be more player representatives, especially from the smaller schools. There is more-opportunity for those Division 5 and 6 programs to put more than one kid on the team. I hope there is a group of coaches in Western Mass. doing exactly what we are doing now. If not, then it is unfair for those kids out there who want to play.”

Committee member and Algonquin Regional head football coach Justin McKay believes the new format will be a viable resource in promoting high school football within the region.

“Football needs to be promoted more in Central Mass.,” he said. “The way the game is presently going, there is a lot of pressure for kids to do other things because of concussions and other things. I think the point of this all-star game, and why we wanted to have it, was to promote Central Mass. football.”

According to Spaulding, the Chowder Bowl earned a profit in its very-first year and would eventually top off around $10,000 per-year before things started to drop off a bit the past couple of years due economic issues. A large portion of revenue that was raised came from game program advertisements purchased by team-member families and various corporations.

Perhaps overshadowed in all of this is the message the Chowder Bowl carried. The game brought attention to work done at Shriners Hospitals and the care of its patients.

“When kids wore the Shriners game jersey on the field, I always felt that it brought an awareness to the public about the Shriners,” Spaulding said. “It told them who we are and what we were doing. It reminded them that the Shriners is always there to take care of the kids.”

McKay added, "The biggest shame in all of this is that the Shriners will not be getting what they have gotten in year's past. That is the biggest sorrow I feel about all of this. What has been done over the last 13 years in terms of raising money for sick children is not going to be done this year. That is the sad part."

Soccer tourney roundup: Newton North girls advance

November, 3, 2013
NEWTON, Mass. – Shannon Fitzgerald scored a brace and tacked on an assist as the No. 2 seed in Division 1 North (and No. 2 ranked team in the statewide rankings) Newton North moved into the sectional semifinals with a 3-0 victory over No. 10 seed Andover on Sunday afternoon.

The final score was comfortable for the Tigers (15-0-2), but the start of the game was anything but easy, as the visitors stormed out of the gates and put pressure on the Newton North back line. Forward Veronica Alois, in particular, caused problems for the Tigers and helped the Warriors (11-5-4) earn three corner kicks in the opening five minutes.

There is a cliché in soccer that goals change games. In the 20th minute, Newton North proved it right again.

A long ball forward by Fitzgerald caught Tigers forward Angela Ward one-on-one with Andover senior defender Sarah Van Antwerp. The two players came together and van Antwerp went to ground, but the official waved play on and Ward took advantage of the breakaway to score what turned out to be the game winner.

Andover head coach Meghan Matson commented, “It stinks because we were dominating to start the game possession-wise and just our opportunities on goal. I think we did a really good job stepping up and winning the 50/50s and being a real defensive presence on the field.”

She added, “It was a non-call that from our perspective should have been a call but it is what it is and you kind of have to move on from there.”

The Warriors had to move on without Van Antwerp, who pulled her hamstring in the collision with Ward. Four minutes after her injury, with Andover still reshuffling its back line, Newton North struck again. Fitzgerald this time was the scorer. With a deft touch to take the ball inside a defender on the edge of the 18, she struck a shot inside the post to make it 2-0.

Newton North head coach James Hamblin remarked, “The first five minutes, I think we were all over the place. They were nervous, excited…I don’t know and to be fair Andover came at us. The first five minutes we couldn’t get out of our own half.”

He continued, “That old cliché - the goal turned the game and they had to take her out and we got the second while they got organized.”

After halftime, Newton North took control of the game with Andover keeper Emily Masterson forced into strong, diving saves at her near post to stop both Ward and Fitzgerald from finding the third goal. Matson acknowledged the improvement in her senior goalkeeper this season.

“This season our starting keeper was out with a concussion and she stepped in and she’s been incredible for us. She’s made some really clutch saves and it’s amazing to see the transformation in her confidence.”

Bay State Conference MVP Christina Callahan and fellow midfielder Amelia Williams started to get control of the center of the pitch in the second half and the Tigers grew increasingly willing to hit long diagonals to the forwards, as the clock ran down.

“We definitely have good power, strength, and speed up top,” noted Hamblin. “The front two of Ang and Shannon are excellent and we’ve had a rotating system on the other forward. We used our pace and power to get in behind them and it worked at times.”

Andover did create a couple of chances in the dying minutes as it grew increasing desperate to find a goal.

Alois took advantage of a slip to break into the box and rounded Tigers keeper Maddie Bledsoe only for right back Maya King to come across the field and make a last-ditch block. A minute later, Alois’ footwork created space at the top of the 18 for Meredith Van Antwerp, but her shot was right at Bledsoe.

As the game entered the final 30 seconds, the Tigers had one more flurry on offense, but Masterson made two sliding blocks in the 18 and one slide tackle well outside of the box. Despite the keeper’s best efforts, the ball fell to Fitzgerald who fired home her second and clinched the game.

Hamblin remarked,” I said to the girls at halftime that the next goal is huge. I said that if we get it, it’s game over. I would have liked for it to come early, not with 10 seconds left, but I thought the more we defended well then the more frustrated that they got and started hitting longer balls that we soaked up.”

Matson was disappointed that the final score was not indicative of how well Andover played against the still unbeaten Tigers.

You look at the score and see 3-0 and think that’s kind of a rough game, but it was definitely not indicative of how the game went,” she said. “To go down 2-0 like we did and keep attacking says a lot about their heart.”

Newton North will advance to Tuesday night’s semifinal at Manning Field in Lynn to take on Masconomet.

Tournament Notes:
  • The No. 1 seed in D1 North also advanced on Sunday, as Central Catholic (the No. 1 team in the final regular season, statewide rankings) defeated Lincoln-Sudbury, 4-2. It was the second game in a row that the Raiders have won by that score, after giving up only a single goal in the first 17 games of the season. Central Catholic will take on another DCL Large team in the semifinals – No. 5 Acton-Boxborough.
  • On Sunday, several of the defending state champions advanced in the tournament: In D1, the Needham boys scored late to beat league rival Weymouth, 1-0, in a rematch of last year’s sectional final and the Franklin girls scored five goals to beat league rival Milford. In D2, the Medfield girls went on the road to beat Foxborough, 4-2. In D3 girls, Weston will take on Hamilton-Wenham on Monday.
  • There is guaranteed to be a new champion in D2 and D3 for the boys, although each of the state champions from 2012 is still alive in the postseason. Groton-Dunstable was moved from D2 to D1 in the Central (D2 no longer exists outside of Eastern Mass.), and pulled off an upset of No. 2 seed Doherty on Sunday. Sutton was also moved during realignment, from D3 to the newly created D4 in Central, and will take on Maynard as the No. 2 seed on Monday.
  • To this point (although to be fair not all of them have taken the pitch yet) each of the No. 1 seeds are still alive. The biggest upset to this point happened on Sunday evening as the Walpole girls, the No. 19 seed in D1 South, knocked off No. 3 seed Oliver Ames, the Hockomock’s Davenport division champ and 2012 sectional finalist, on penalties after 100 scoreless minutes. It was the second straight PK victory for the Rebels, who also beat No. 14 Plymouth South on Friday. Walpole advances to face No. 6 North Attleborough, which beat Whitman-Hanson, 3-2, in overtime on a goal by Hana Caster. The Rocketeers had their own penalty let off on Sunday when a Panthers PK struck the post in a tie game with fewer than 10 minutes remaining.
  • The D1 South boys’ quarterfinals are set with four very intriguing match-ups. Top seed and top ranked Silver Lake crushed Milford on Sunday and will host another Hockomock League opponent, Mansfield, on Tuesday. The winner of that game will face the winner of New Bedford (beat Marshfield, 3-1), which spent several weeks ranked no. 1 this season, and Franklin (beat Taunton, 2-1), which took home a Kelley-Rex division title and has only lost once all season.* On the other side of the bracket, Needham will face Brockton (beat Bridgewater-Raynham, 2-0) in a rematch of last year’s first round meeting and the winner faces whichever team advances out of a Top 20 battle between Wellesley (beat Braintree, 4-0) and BC High (beat King Philip, 4-0).
  • In D1 North, there were a pair of upsets on the boys’ side with No. 13 Malden beating No. 4 Peabody, 1-0, in overtime and No. 12 Lowell advancing past No. 5 East Boston, 3-2, on penalties. Those two will face off in the quarterfinals. Top seed Somerville moved on with a comfortable 4-0 win and will take on a talented Bay State team, Brookline, which beat Lincoln-Sudbury, 1-0). Second seed Madison Park beat Chelmsford, 1-0, and will next face perennial power Acton-Boxborough, which beat Framingham, 1-0, in overtime. St. John’s Prep (beat Andover, 2-0), the No. 3 seed, will play No. 11 Lexington (beat Revere, 5-0) in the final second round match — all to be played on Tuesday.
*Franklin also lost, 2-0, to Attleboro, but the game was officially changed to a 1-0 win after Attleboro was forced to vacate its wins.

Lawrence Acad.'s Howes commits to Merrimack

August, 22, 2013
Lawrence Academy senior guard Kyle Howes has verbally committed to Merrimack College for the 2014-15 season, his AAU program Boston Warriors announced tonight.

The 6-foot-2 Howes, a Maynard resident, is entering his third season at LA after a nice two-year run at Maynard High to start his high school career. As a freshman in 2009-10, he started in the backcourt on a Tigers squad that captured the No. 1 overall seed in Division 3 Central. He transferred to LA over the summer of 2011, and re-classified to the 2014 class.

Here is the full release, courtesy of Boston Warriors director Mark Papas:

The Boston Warriors are happy to announce that long-time player Kyle Howes has committed to full athletic scholarship to play basketball at Merrimack College. Merrimack has been on Kyle from the beginning. Kyle is very comfortable with Coach [Bert] Hammel and the coaching staff, and he feels that Merrimack is the best fit for him.

Kyle has excelled at both basketball and football at Lawrence Academy. This past spring and summer Kyle was our leading scorer and toughest player.

“Kyle will be a success at the next level because he loves basketball and wants to be successful. The college coaches know Kyle can score but this summer not only was he one of our leading scorers, but he did the little things to help us win big games like rebounding versus bigger opponents and diving on a loose balls.” quotes coach Cory McCarthy. “We had a slow start to the Gold Super Showcase and needed a win badly, Kyle stepped up and lead by example showed his teammates the effort it takes to get physical and play high level defense to get a big win over Grassroots Indiana.”

Roundtable: Predicting the MIAA tournaments

May, 31, 2012
Today, with the MIAA Baseball and Softball tournaments set to begin, the lacrosse tournament in its first action, we roll out predictions from staff and correspondents.


Scott Barboza
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor


Final - Duxbury over Acton-Boxborough
Why this pick: Really?


Eastern Mass.
Final - Concord-Carlisle over Hingham

Final - Algonquin over Grafton

*Brackets to be released

State Final
Concord-Carlisle over Algonquin
Why this pick: The Patriots defend better than just about anybody in the state, save for No. 1 Duxbury. While C-C might not overwhelm with offense, they're still talented up top with Will Blumenberg and Jackson Finigan.

Division 3 EMass
Final - Dover-Sherborn over Norwell
Why this pick: Because it has to be the Raiders' year eventually, right?


Scott Barboza
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor

Division 1

Final - Malden over Boston Latin

Final - King Philip over Bridgewater-Raynham

Final - Milford over Shrewsbury

Final - Agawam over Minnechaug

State final - Milford over King Philip
Why this pick: The Scarlet Hawks have been the most consistent team box to wire. And there's Shannon Smith, who's been unreal this season.

Division 2

Final - Dracut over Burlington

Final - Coyle-Cassidy over Fairhaven

Final - Grafton over Notre Dame Academy

Final - Hampshire over Wahconah

State Final - Dracut over Grafton
Why this pick: The Middies beat up on a deep Merrimack Valley Conference schedule this season. That'll make the postseason seem a little easier.

Division 3

Final - St. Mary's (Lynn) over Greater Lowell

Final - Greater New Bedford over Avon

Final - Blackstone Valley Tech over Assabet

Final - Turners Falls over Franklin County Tech

State final - Greater New Bedford over Blackstone Valley Tech
Why this pick: As mentioned in my bold prediction, I think the Bears will enter well adapted to playoff softball.


Brendan Hall
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor


North: Lowell
The No. 1 seed Red Raiders have one of the state’s toughest draws to start, in a pairing I like to call the “Group of Death” in the upper left quadrant of the bracket. To get to the semifinals, the Raiders have to face the winner of tonight’s Westford-Salem matchup, followed by the winner of Chelmsford and Malden Catholic. Should they make it to the semifinals, the presumptive opponent would likely be Peabody -– and you have to think the Tanners will roll out ace Pat Ruotolo in that matchup.

If the Raiders can survive all of that -– which they can, with a deep stable of hitters and one of the state’s best rotations in Matt Tulley, Chad Gens and R.J. Noel –- why shouldn’t they win this bracket?

South: BC High
“Group of Death 1-A” might be the lower left quadrant in this bracket –- Barnstable, Catholic Memorial, Framingham and the Eagles. A win over Framingham would pit the Eagles against either CM or Barnstable –- neither of which is an easy out by any stretch – and after that, you have to think there is vengeance on their minds at the possibility of facing Franklin again in the semifinals (the Panthers crushed BC High last year, plating 17 runs). A BC High-Xaverian final isn’t out of the question here.

Central: St. John’s of Shrewsbury
No team in the state has been as consistent as the Pioneers, who swept St. John’s Prep, didn’t allow a run in two games against Burncoat, and came back around to clobber their lone losses (BC High, New Bedford) the second time through. Look for Ben White, Mike Badjo and company to beat Milford in a much-anticipated final.

West: East Longmeadow
This is the last chance for the Spartans, who have been placed with lofty expectations since the town won the state American Legion title two summers ago. If Steve Moyers, Matt O’Neil and company can’t get it done this year, then when?

State Champion: Lowell
One of the state’s great baseball cities gets a state title to call its own, while Tulley and Gens go down as two of the Mill City’s best ever.


North: Danvers
North Andover is the No. 1 seed for the second straight year, but Danvers has the big-game experience to overcome everybody else in this bracket. Potential semifinal matchups with either Lynn Classical or Reading will be must-see.

South: Plymouth North
This is my bold prediction of the playoffs. Few teams across the state have a track record like Eagles skipper Dwayne Follette when it comes tournament time, and if they can get by Dennis-Yarmouth in the quarterfinals –- a team they lost to twice this season –- I can see them overcoming Hingham or Oliver Ames. Top seed Dighton-Rehoboth lost to the Eagles in last year’s final, by the way –- could we see this again in 2012?

The Eagles are aggressive on the basepaths and at the plate, in a unique brand of baseball my loyal legion of Twitter followers have dubbed “DwayneBall”. How this hasn’t become a hashtag until 2012 is anyone’s guess, but let’s get this trending, fellas.

Central: Auburn
Rockets have the clearest path to the final, whereas No. 1 seed Northbridge might have to avoid an upset from feisty Hudson in the quarterfinals. The Rockets also hold the advantage over Northrbridge in the regular season.

West: Monument Mountain
More than Pittsfield or Taconic, everyone out west says this is the best team in the Berkshires. And the fact the Spartans have been doing it all without Columbia-bound shortstop John Kinne, who has been out all season, is even more impressive.

State Champion: Plymouth North
A seven-loss state champion? Better believe it. I like the Eagles’ chances in any given year, to be honest.


North: Lynnfield
Or to put it more bluntly, I like any team from the Cape Ann League taking this field.

South: Coyle-Cassidy
Mac Curran gets most of the attention, but this is a squad that dominated the Eastern Athletic Conference, has won 10 of its last 11, and is among the state’s stingiest defenses (2 runs allowed per game). A potential semifinal matchup with Wareham is very intriguing.

Central: Maynard
Bryant University commit Mike Marshall has been as good as advertised for the Tigers, but he’s not alone. The Tigers have five starters batting over .375, led by Marshall, and will dole out ace righty Ben Chiasson, a Franklin Pierce commit who has been one of Central Mass.’s best (7-1, 51 IP, 83 K, 12 BB, 0.96 ERA).

West: Frontier
Frontier and Pioneer Valley (the top two seeds in this field) split the regular-season series, but I’m going to go with Frontier unseating the defending Division 3 runners-up. Quality bats in the Frontier lineup, let by Keith Spencer, Rylan Baronas and Niko Ames -– those three have a combined 64 RBI between them.

State Champion: Coyle-Cassidy
We could end up with a heck of a pitchers’ duel at Fitton Field if it’s Coyle’s Curran against Maynard’s Chiasson, but for now that’s just wishful thinking of course.

Andy Smith

Division 1 North: St. John’s Prep
Coach Pat Yanchus said Saturday his team isn’t hitting the way he’d like them to be going into the tournament, but they have enough strong pitching and defense to carry the bats if needed. Plus, given the way the bracket is laid out, it’s hard not to see Prep cruising to at least the semi-finals. I think they can win the final two games and take the North.

Division 1 South: Norwood
8-0 over its last 8 games. Call it a crazy pick, but I never bet against the Big Mo...mentum.

Division 1 Central: St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Hard to find a team that has played as well as SJS has against against a schedule as tough as SJS had this season. I can’t see any team taking SJS down in this bracket. I think this is a state finals team.

Division 1 West: Springfield Cathedral
Cathedral went 18-2 and won four games all year by more than 3 runs. That type of experience with small deficits can only help in the playoffs, where most games are the tightly-contested, grind-it-out type.

Division 1 State Champion: St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
If I think long enough, I could talk myself into Prep winning D1, but SJS has been playing too well for too long for me to think someone will take them down in these playoffs.

Division 2 North: Danvers
The Falcons have outscored opponents 33-14 in the past five games. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say Saturday night’s 8-2 loss to St. John’s Prep was a reminder of the difficulties that lie ahead in the playoffs. I look for them to go all the way.

Division 2 South: Dennis-Yarmouth
Same rationale as D1 South: D-Y is 10-0 in its last 10 games. I’ll take the team with the most momentum going into the playoffs and feel good about it.

Division 2 Central: Northbridge
Important rule to follow: If you want to keep getting assignments, don’t bet against Editor David Lefort's alma mater. Northbridge it is.

Division 2 State Champion: Northbridge over D-Y
I can’t see a team from the West making it to the state title game. Ultimately, I don’t think Danvers has enough pitching to make it to the finals. I’m taking Northbridge here because of nothing more than a gut feeling. I could very well be wrong here. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Division 3 North: Newburyport
They won Division 3 last season. Their longtime coach retired at the end of last year, but here they are again. This veteran team was two wins away from the No. 1 seed in this bracket. Give me the team that’s been there before. I trust them to do it again.

Division 3 South: Coyle-Cassidy
This bracket is Coyle's to lose. Two of its three losses this season came against Dartmouth, and that team isn’t in this bracket. C&C is an easy pick here.

Division 3 Central: Oxford
This team is capable of putting up a lot of runs when it needs to (scored double-digit runs eight times this season). I like teams with firepower, so I’m picking Oxford here.

Division 3 State Champion: Newburyport
For all the reasons mentioned in the bold prediction.

John Botelho
Staff Writer, Brockton Enterprise

South Section Champions:

Division 1: BC High
The offense has been top notch all season, and probably features more future NCAA D1 hitters than any lineup affiliated with the MIAA. Put metal bats in their hands after using wood all year, and the Eagles will bash their to a South crown.

Division 2: Oliver Ames
Hall of Fame coach Leo Duggan seems to have a knack for developing pitching. Ryan O'Shea, a Central Michigan commit who was supposed to be the staff ace, has thrown four innings this year because of a shoulder injury. The Tigers didn't miss a beat early and raced out to a commanding lead they never relinquished in the Hockomock League Davenport Division. Their path won't be an easy one, but David Holmes (4-0, 1.35 ERA) is as good as any pitcher in this sectional. If he beats Pembroke, one of the Tigers' younger pitchers will have to find a way to pitch OA past a very good Hingham team but this team is capable of playing with anyone, and comes into the tourney battle tested from Hockomock League play.

Division 3: East Bridgewater
The Vikings and Coyle & Cassidy will get a lot of play here, but E-B just seems to have the clearest bracket. Coyle will have to go through Apponequet or Rockland in the quarterfinals before squaring off with the likes of a string Wareham or Middleboro team just to reach the finals. The Warriors are loaded with pitching, led by Mac Curran and Donny May, who both sports sub-1.00 ERAs this year, but they have less room for error than East Bridgewater does. A match-up featuring these two teams in the final would be ideal, as they're probably the two most complete teams in this sectional.

State Champs

Div. 1: BC High beats Lowell in EMass final, then takes out Steve Moyers and East Longmeadow in the state title game.
Div. 2: Danvers beats Monument Mountain in state title game.
Div. 3: Lynnfield beats Pioneer Valley in state title game.

Boston Warriors showcase tomorrow night

May, 30, 2011
Tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Waltham High School, the Boston Warriors AAU program will hold its 3rd Annual College Showcase Night to showcase its juniors and sophomores, as well as several uncommitted seniors.

The evening will begin with 45 minutes of individual skill work, with the players split up between big men and guards. Former Providence College and Atlanta Hawks star Troy Brown will be working the big men; Watertown High coach Steve Harrington, a two-time MIAA state champion coach, will be working out the wings and guards.

The last 75 minutes all of the players will be split up to run five-on-five games on both courts, in front of the college and prep school coaches on in attendance. Below is the preliminary list of players expected to be in attendance:

Kachi Nzerem, 6-5, New Mission / Marianapolis
Nate Anderson, 6-6, New Mission
Kenny Reed, 5-10, Reading
Matt Droney, 6-4, Catholic Memorial
Max Risch, 6-6, Old Rochester
Jared Lewis, 6-3, Malden Catholic
Jordan Lewis, 6-1, Malden Catholic
Corey Gomes, 6-6, Uxbridge
Abiodun Akanni, 6-4, Fitchburg
Ryan Jann, 6-3, Westford Academy
Jerry Ellis-Williams, 6-5, Reading
Tyson Hallowell, 6-2, Middlesex
Sam Musler, 5-11, Belmont
Isshiah Coleman, 6-5, New Mission
Leroy Hamilton, 6-3, New Mission
Anthony Bell, 5-10, Boston Cathedral
Tony Alexander, 6-3, Boston Prep
Kyle Howes, 6-1, Maynard
Chris Murray, 6-1, Littleton
Joseph Connelly, 6-1, Beaver Country Day
Mark Melanson, 6-2, Burlington
Patrick McHugh, 6-4, Watertown
Isaac Carp, 5-10, Pingree
Ben Lawhorn, 6-3, Lincoln-Sudbury
Terrence Manning, 5-10, St Rafael's (R.I.)
Mario Payne, 6-0, Lincoln-Sudbury