Boston High School: Omar Orriols

Div. 1 Boys: Brockton 67, Charlestown 64 (OT)

March, 13, 2012
BOSTON -- A lesser team might have evaporated in the heat.

Brockton trailed Charlestown by seven points at the TD Garden with a tick more than four minutes left in Monday’s Division 1 state semifinals. Charlestown’s Tyrese Hoxter had already netted nine straight points in the fourth quarter, and the smooth lefty was threatening to shove Brockton tumbling into its grave.

The Boxers shoved back.

They rattled off the next seven points, eventually forcing overtime, and William Baker drilled two free throws with 3.6 seconds left in the extra session to ice Brockton’s 67-64 win and send the Boxers to Saturday’s state finals.

“Just stay calm,” explained Brockton star Sayvonn Houston, who scored a team-high 22 points to go with 13 rebounds. “If you panic, you lose.”

The Boxers didn’t panic. They made adjustments. Hoxter had been torching them with dribble penetration, so coach Bob Boen called for a 1-3-1 trap.

Outside shots weren’t falling, so Brockton attacked the glass. Houston had a putback hoop to cut the deficit to 55-50 with four minutes left. Jaylen Blakely (15 points) was fouled in transition after receiving a great outlet pass from Houston and hit one of two free throws.

Jamal Reuben, who started slowly, snatched a missed Blakely three and followed with his first field goal of the game. His second didn’t take so long to arrive. Reuben stole a cross-court pass on the very next possession and finished a lay-in on the break, tying the score at 55-all with two minutes left.

The teams played the rest of regulation to a draw, with Charlestown’s Tyrik Jackson swatting Baker’s baseline drive at the buzzer to keep the score 57-57.

Reuben started the overtime period with a bucket just five seconds in and followed with a strong baseline take a minute and a half later, giving his team a 61-57 advantage.

The talented small forward finished with 10 points after scoring just two during the first 28 minutes.

“Even when I’m struggling, coach and my teammates just want me to keep doing what I do, because they know it’s going to come eventually,” he explained.

Charlestown responded strongly, pulling within one at 63-62 with 16.9 seconds left. But Omar Orriols missed the second of two free throws and Houston sank two charity shots at the other end to push Brockton’s lead to 65-62. When Baker rebounded a Fernandez miss on the ensuring possession and was fouled with 3.6 seconds left, he needed just one make.

He got two, making the tally 67-62 before Iser Barnes (12 points) added a meaningful bucket as the clock ran out.

It didn’t take long for Houston to realize he was headed to Worcester’s DCU Center on Saturday to play for the state championship.

“Oh, that sunk in. That sunk in as soon as the buzzer went off,” he said.

But some of Houston’s teammates wanted to wait before moving on from Monday’s triumph. After changing in the locker room, Blakely and junior guard Tyler Kim took turns laying on the Celtics logo at midcourt, almost as if doing snow angels in the very circle where Kevin Garnett jumps center.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Kim said. “So why not?”

Designated Shooter: Drew Fiske missed his first two three-point attempts, but Brockton’s designated sharp-shooter isn’t one to become gun-shy. His mentality –- which goes something like, “If you’re hot, keep shooting, and if you’re not hot, shoot until you are” –- resulted in two crucial makes.

The backup guard sank back-to-back three-pointers to even the score at 44-all to end the third quarter, unleashing a primal scream after drilling a three in front of Brockton’s bench to beat the quarter buzzer.

The first three came from behind the NBA arc.

“It was deep. Coach usually yells at me for shooting so deep, but I can hit them,” said Fiske.

“That’s the new game in high school. Shoot that ball deeper, deeper, deeper. I tell them, ‘We can get it to you at the line, you don’t have to be way out there,’” Boen said. “But he’s a tremendous shooter. He does that in practice all the time –- bang, bang, bang. And it’s great, because it teaches us to cover three-point shooters like Charlestown has. We say in practice, ‘You can’t let him have that shot.’”

Hoxter’s Hot Hand: After Fiske knotted the score to end the third quarter, Hoxter pieced together a personal 9-2 flurry to give Charlestown a 53-46 lead with 5:35 left.

Elusive in the half-court offense and explosive in the open court, the point guard continuously paraded into the paint.

“He was doing a nice job clearing out. They have two three-point shooters who you can’t leave, so we were having trouble giving help on [Hoxter],” said Boen. “He was killing us. He was going here, there and everywhere. Those right-handed shots he made were fantastic, because he’s a lefty. Every one he made was all net. I kept thinking, ‘That’s not a good shot,’ and swish, swish, swish.”

Brockton switched to a 1-3-1 trap a couple possessions later and the Boxers’ comeback ensued. Hoxter managed just four points the rest of the way.

“It got to the point our offense wasn’t doing anything, and we really had to change the tempo of the game,” Boen explained. “It worked. I’ll assume [Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso’s] players are such good players that if they hadn’t been surprised by it, they would have torn it apart. Because you usually can’t do that when the other team has a couple great shooters like he has.”

Once the game tightened, Brockton switched from the trap because Boen feared Charlestown would adjust. But the coach still had a trick up his sleeve to slow Hoxter: guard Will Baker.

“He was dribbling the ball and hurting us,” Boen said of Hoxter, “and Baker’s probably our best on-dribble defender. And he did steal that one from him, which was a great steal.”

The steal Boen referred to came with the score knotted at 57-all and less than a minute remaining in regulation. Hoxter dribbled out front as Charlestown had a chance to seize the lead, but Baker hounded him, drew a steal, and even drew a foul on Hoxter during the scramble for the ball.

Baker missed both the resulting free throws, but redeemed himself by sinking the finishers in overtime.

D1 North Boys: Charlestown 48, Lexington 44

March, 10, 2012

LOWELL, Mass. -- It wasn’t the way they drew it up, but it worked.

With mere seconds left in its Division 1 North final game against Lexington Saturday, Charlestown was holding on to a one-point lead.

Coming out of a timeout, Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso drew up a play to get one of his players a clean look at the basket, but due to time constraints, Rony Fernandez ended up taking a three.

He drilled the shot to give his team the 48-44 lead. Seconds later, after a desperation Lexington heave, the clock ran out and Charlestown had punched its ticket to the Division 1 State semi-finals Monday night.

“The play was supposed to be for Tyrese (Hoxter),” said Cardoso. “There was supposed to be a screen up top and Tyrese was supposed to penetrate. It ended up going in Rony’s hands with five or six seconds, and Rony created. That’s why he’s so versatile with the basketball.”

There could have been worse players to have the basketball in his hands than the 6-foot-1 senior guard. After the team scored only 16 points in the first half, it came out shooting the ball more efficiently in the second half.

That was particularly true for Fernandez, who ended the game with 22 points, 15 of which came from behind the three-point line.

“I was wide open and I just wanted to make that shot,” he said. “I dream about making those type of shots. It was a broken play. I think it was me and Tyrese were supposed to create off the dribble, and get a kick-out, but I guess it just broke up and I ended up wide open.”

Saturday marked the end of Lexington’s (16-8) Cinderella run through the Division 1 North tournament. On it’s way to Saturday’s final, the No. 12 seed had knocked off the No. 2 seed Acton-Boxborough, No. 3 seed Westford, and No. 6 seed Boston Latin.

It appeared for a majority of the first half that the story might not end there. Charlestown’s poor shooting, combined with Lexington’s domination on the glass (it won the rebounding battle 32-21) allowed it to get out in front early and take momentum into the half.

Patrick Burns (nine points, nine rebounds), Myles Penniman (12 points, five rebounds), and Chris Lee (14 points, seven rebounds), all gave Charlestown (20-4) problems with their length early on.

Things changed in the second half. With a minute and a half left in the third, Charlestown took a 30-28 lead, the first it had since the opening minutes of the game.

The cure for its shooting woes?

“Keep shooting,” said Fernandez. “Never lose your confidence. Omar (Orriols) is our best shooter (eight points, three rebounds, two steals) and we tell him to just keep shooting. All you have to do is keep shooting. We live and die by it.”

They live to play another day. This time they will be one game away from the D1 State Finals.

Get On The Bus: There was a period of time before the game when it was unknown if or when Cardoso was going to make it to the Tsongas Center. He made the unorthodox decision to ride to the game on the Charlestown fan bus, rather than with his team.

At some point along the ride from Charlestown to Lowell, the bus driver got lost. The team was sitting in the stands at Tsongas, but its coach was nowhere to be found. Luckily, Cardoso arrived in time to coach his team to victory.

“I wanted to support the fans, so I told my headmaster, ‘I’m going to go with the fans today because they’ve been great all season,” he said. “So we get in traffic and we get lost, and everybody’s phones didn’t have service out here, we got here though.”

In retrospect, one can say he would have arrived at Tsongas in a more timely manner had he traveled with his team, but Cardoso felt he was better suited to travel with his team’s fans on what is usually a high-pressure day.

“I felt like today I wanted to be a little bit loose, you know, be on the fan bus and hear the chants,” he added. “I wanted to hear them talk about who they’re cheering for, so I was loose before the game. Every time I’m on a team bus, it’s too serious. I said, ‘Guys, I’m going with the fans today'."

Up Next: Charlestown moves on to face Division 1 South champion Brockton at the TD Garden in the State semi-finals. It’s the same Brockton team that lost only twice all year -- one of which was an 18-point drubbing at the hands of this same Charlestown team in the finals of last month's Comcast IAABO Board 27 Tournament.

Because of its big win, the team knows it is capable of taking down Brockton again, but is not too quick to overlook the team that steamrolled through the Division 1 South bracket to get to where it is.

“We played Brockton before, so we know they’re going to come at us with all they’ve got,” said Fernandez.

Avoiding a letdown will be key if it hopes to move on to the Division 1 State Title game.

“Stay focused, focused, focused,” emphasized Fernandez, when asked how his team can avoid a letdown. “Don’t lose focus, don’t get gassed up, and we’ll get that win.”

Cardoso knows what kind of a battle his team will have on its hands Monday night.

“It’s like a whole new ball game, I hope these kids come in and take it seriously,” said Cardoso. “I know we beat them the first time, but they’re a very good basketball team. We gotta go out to the Garden and just play hard, play the Charlestown way.”

“Brockton doesn’t like Charlestown too much, and we don’t like Brockton too much either, so it’s going to be a grind house. They have some great fans and we have some great fans, so it’s going to be a grudge match and Brockton’s going to play with us.”

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.

Div. 1 Boys: Charlestown 72, Andover 54

March, 2, 2012

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. -– Charlestown sophomore Taris Wilson twinkled in his high school playoff debut, dropping 19 points -- all from the floor, eight of those in the final quarter -- leading all scorers and his fifth-seeded Townies to a 72-54 victory over No. 12 Andover in a Division 1 North First Round matchup.

“Andover’s a good team,” said Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso. “They move the ball pretty well, they’re very fundamentally sound and Coach Faze [Dave Fazio] does a great job with his kids. I thought tonight that we just played some great defense… It could’ve went either way. I just thought at the end we just had a great run on defense.”

The game started off slow, and by the end of the first quarter the score was 12-8, advantage Charlestown. The teams played through the first half with a halftime score of 31-25.

Both teams started out the third quarter scoring on free throws, but at the five-minute mark, Charlestown started to warm up, holding an 11-point lead with 4:15 to go in the third. Less than a minute and two free throws later, senior Omar Orriols scored his first points of the game, a three-pointer, to make the game 43-27.

Then, Orriols came back to hit another on, stretching the lead to 19.

“I felt like we just picked it up,” said Wilson of his team’s third quarter performance. “The first half, we were just running like ‘[Andover] is a good fundamental team,’’

At the the break, Wilson said that the team realized that they could produce more energy than they had in the first half, and to let a team like Andover stay close could spell danger, as they have shown throughout the season that given the chance to strike they are willing and able to regain a lead if ever allowed to.

“We really have to grind this out, get this ‘W’” Wilson characterized the mood of the halftime spent in the Charlestown locker room.

Andover was able to claw back to end the third quarter, down 48-32. But the fourth quarter opened up with the Townies scoring eight unanswered points, setting the tone for the rest of the game and keeping the Golden Warriors at bay with no chance of sailing a come-from-behind ship.

Sixth Man: Coming off the bench, Taris Wilson was not supposed to be the leading scorer for the game.

One of Charlestown’s veteran gunners, Rony Fernandes, Tyrese Hoxter or Omar Orriols were going to shoot out the lights, or senior forward Tyrik Jackson was going to be fed the ball like a Thanksgiving turkey and dominate the post, but none of those came true.

With 19 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals, Wilson has made a mark in the history book for his postseason debut.

“I’ve been on Taris a lot lately telling him to step his game up, getting on him in practice and he finally came through for us,” said an appreciative and smirking Hoxter, who finished the evening with 13 points, one rebound five assists, one steal and one block.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds, Wilson even got up above the rim to slam the ball home, a memorable moment for the crowd and a nodding achievement for the 16-year old with more basketball ahead of him this and seasons to come.

Comcast Tourney: C'Town wallops Brockton in final

February, 20, 2012
READING, Mass. — Maybe Charlestown was just waiting for the right time to unleash its true self.

It’s been a season of turmoil and unrealized expectations for the highly-touted Townies, who missed out on a spot in the City Championships. When people buzz about the best teams in the state, their name haven't always inspired the masses to clamor for theirs to be included.

But all of that perception could change after this weekend. Charlestown nipped BC High by a point on Saturday and dominated top-seeded Brockton 68-50 in the finals of the Comcast/IAABO Board 27 Tournament yesterday at Reading High.

The Townies now have their full complement of players, highlighted by Rony Fernandez, who scored 18 points, including three 3-pointers, running the show for a potential strong push in the MIAA Tournament. Edson Cardoso has been at the helm of the trying season, but he said it was all a part of his team managing its way through one of the tougher schedules in the state.

“With the schedule we put together we played a lot of tough teams,” said Cardoso. “We played 17 of the top-25 on our schedule. There’s not a team out there that we are going to play and not be competitive. You see it all every night (in the City). I feel like now we can get into the state tournament we can work hard and just leave it all on the court.”

Big Third Quarter: The energy was there from the beginning or Charlestown, but the third quarter is where they left their mark on this game. The Townies hit 8-of-10 shots from inside the 3-point line and also canned a pair of deep balls to turn a four-point halftime lead into a 14-point lead after eight minutes.

Omar Orriols connected on a corner three-pointer, and on the next Charlestown possession he faked a trey, took a step in an drained a jumper for a 47-37 lead. Tournament MVP Tyrese Hoxter poked the ball on the ensuing possession for the Boxers and finished on the other end with a lay-in to give the Townies their biggest lead of the night at the time 49-37.

The Boxers wouldn’t get closer than 12 the rest of the way through.

Something Different on D: Anyone who watched a City team play knows that a long night of man-to-man defense is usually on the horizon for 32 minutes. But the Townies showed a little wrinkle as they sat in a 2-3 zone for the majority of the night and basically asked the Boxers to beat them from the outside.

“Lately we’ve been playing a lot of zone,” said Cardoso. “We knew they had shooters, but we felt that our guards were long enough to bother their shots. I felt like these guys could bother jump shots a little bit, so it was the most zone we’ve played in a while.”

The Boxers finished the night 4-for-17 from behind the arc, and Jahleel Moise only scored two points as he dealt with early foul trouble and ineffectiveness when he was in the game.

Unlikely Source of Offense: Tyrik Jackson is by far the only true inside presence for guard/wing-oriented Townies lineup, and usually the 6-foot-6-inch senior isn’t asked to shoulder any of the offensive load.

But on Sunday -- just two games removed from tweaking his ankle, and subsequently missing crunch time, against Madison Park -- he showed in the first half that he can score if asked to by the coaching staff.

Jackson scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half on elbow jumpers and floaters in the lane over the bigger Boxers’ frontline.

“(Against BC High) I didn’t really do anything on offense, so I tried to be more active,” said Jackson. “I could move faster than some of their bigs, so that was my advantage.”

Jackson almost had the Rondo-effect going for him against the Boxers. The big men for Brockton were giving him the elbow jumpers in the first half and almost daring him to shoot the ball. To his credit he knocked them down and then made strong moves to the hoop when the defenders came to take away the shot.

“He does take that shot in practice and I told him against Brockton the big guys are going to sit on you, so hit a couple shots for us and they are going to come up on you and you can go right by him,” said Cardoso. “I was glad he took those shots.”

Cardoso said that Jackson will get more treatment on his ankle after playing back-to-back days to get ready for the upcoming tournament.

Comcast tourney: C'Town, Brockton advance

February, 18, 2012

READING, Mass. -- Charlestown head coach Edson Cardoso was looking for more assertion on the defensive end in the second half of the Townies' Comcast/IAABO Board 27 Basketball Classic semifinal against BC High.

His players listened -- they held BC High without a field goal in the third quarter.

Then at the end, with the Townies picking up steam, Cardoso wanted more dribble penetration from his star junior swingman Tyrese Hoxter. Cardoso again got his wishes -- but not before getting goosebumps for a few moments.

Hoxter scored eight points over a span of three offensive possessions with under three minutes to go, giving the Townies the lead for good, but not before hanging by a thread. They watched as Eagles star Jameilen Jones got two good looks with under 15 seconds remaining, then exhaled after he missed both, earning a tough 46-45 comeback victory at Reading High's Hawkes Field House.

"I think everybody in the gym thought it was going in," BC High head coach Bill Loughnane said of Jones' final shot, a 20-footer from the top of the key off a long inbounds pass. "When it left his hands, it looked good. After that second bounce, unfortunately, it took a wrong bounce."

Said Hoxter, "Coach told us not to let up, just keep fighting through it. It was a long three minutes, it felt like it was longer than that, but we knew we could pull through it."

After holding the Eagles (13-5) without a field goal in the third quarter, thanks to some stingy 2-3 zone defense, the Townies (15-4) made their push in the final five minutes, going right through the heart of Loughnane's patented 1-3-1 zone.

It started with Hoxter (28 points), who was called for a charge, but saw his fortunes reverse quickly when a BC High player was called for a technical foul for some choice words a few seconds later. Omar Orriols sank the ensuing free throws to cut BC's lead to 39-37.

With 3:10 to go, Hoxter hit his first of two back-to-back free throws, this one from the left wing to tie it at 41-41. The next trip down, Hoxter lined up at the same exact spot and went through the same motion -- a quick pass across the perimeter to senior point guard Rony Fernandez (five assists), who hesitated then threw it back his way -- to make it 44-43.

The next trip down, Hoxter gathered at the right wing, drove through traffic and switched hands mid-air for one of his trademark windmill layups to make it 46-43. That gave him an impressive eight points in three consecutive touches; but it was also the final basket of the night for Charlestown.

"I had the confidence in my shot, and they [weren't] closing out on me quick enough," Hoxter said. "So I just let it fly."

Cardoso said it's the first time Hoxter hit back-to-back three's in a Charlestown uniform, so understandably the shot selection might have unnerved him a bit.

"We'll take it, but we were really looking for him to penetrate that top guy in the zone, throw Rony on the strong side," Cardoso said. "And once Rony's man yielded to Tyrese, to kick to Rony or drive."

He continued, chuckling, "My heart was beating real fast when he was taking those three's. But, he's a scorer, I think he took it with confidence and thought he was going to make it. I wasn't mad at him for making it."

Jones (11 points) missed a runner through the middle of the paint with under 15 seconds to go, and Orriols was there for the board, picking up a foul in the process. BC's Justin Roberts was there for the rebound when Orriols missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Jones one final look at the basket that very nearly was a game-winner.

Jackson gives it a go: Contributing to the Townies' loss to Madison Park last Tuesday, which cost them the final spot in the Boston City Championship tournament this week, was injury of Tyrik Jackson, who sprained his right ankle.

The 6-foot-6 Jackson runs the floor well for a player his size, and does well catching and driving from the elbow. But a noticeable limp gave him limited mobility tonight, and thus he was relegated to the space around the basket.

Battling with Roberts and Oderah Obukwelu underneath, Jackson gave it a solid 17 minutes and played a big contribution to holding the Eagles without a field goal in the third quarter -- "When he was in there, he made a big difference for them," Loughnane noted.

Jackson finished with four rebounds, but made players entering the lane work for their buckets in what was a grueling defensive game.

"It shows some heart," Cardoso said. "I called him this morning and asked if he was alright. He said, 'Yeah Coach, I'll try and give it my best'. I said, 'If you can, yeah, great, if not rest for the state tournament'. But credit to him, he wanted to be out here with his teammates. I thought he gave us some solid minutes tonight."


Sitting deadlocked at 22-22 after one quarter of play, the Boxers (16-1) quickly kicked it into high gear, leading 44-27 at the break and 63-37 after three quarters. Jaylen Blakely led the way with 23 points in the win, aided by a 4-for-5 effort from three-point range. Jamal Reuben added 18 points, while senior center Sayvonn Houston added 12.

Senior guard Edirson Correia led the Falcons (12-7) with 13 points in the loss.

Recap: No. 15 C'Town 87, No. 19 WC 69

February, 11, 2012

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. -- At this time last year, Charlestown made the trek West, down Route 146, to deliver a haymaker to a Whitinsville Christian squad considered the state's tallest lineup.

This afternoon, the Crusaders came East to Bunker Hill, with a different look for the Townies -- smaller, quicker, more surgical -- and the result was very nearly a different outcome. The Crusaders hung with Charlestown through three quarters, before the Townies pulled away in the fourth, outscoring Whitinsville 31-14 in the final frame en route to an 87-69 victory.

"That team's very good, I thought that was the best shooting team we saw," Charlestown head coach Edson Cardoso said. "They're very well balanced, with a real good point guard, big man, two-guard, so I knew coming into this game it was going to be a battle. I told the guys, 'You're going to see a team like this in the state tournament, eventually down the line."

The Townies (14-3), played just seven due to health (Jawhari Dawan-Abdullah, stomach bug) and off the court issues (Gary Braham, suspension). But they saw all five of their regular starters reach double-figures, with senior point guard Rony Fernandez (26 points, four assists) leading the way. Senior forward Tyrik Jackson (12 points, 13 rebounds) came up big on the glass again, while Tyrese Hoxter (16 points, seven assists), Omar Orriols (13 points) and Iser Barnes (12) contributed some big shots from the perimeter to keep the defense stretched out.

But early on, the Crusaders (12-2) gave them fits with the methodical way they broke through the Townie's 2-3 zone with some of the most disciplined and precise ball movement they'd seen in a while. Junior point guard Colin Richey (23 points) funneled the offense down to the baseline, finding a player planted right in the heart of the zone and kicking to either the baseline or either wing.

Whitinsville shot nearly 40 percent from the field, getting good looks from the short side from Tyler VandenAkker (12 points, eight rebounds) and Jesse Dykstra. Grant Brown (10 points) came up with some big shots from the perimeter as well.

"We decided to extend a little bit more on the short corner, because they hit about four shots in a row from the short corner," Cardoso said. "We also decided to have the opposite guard extend even more on shooter No. 2 (Tim Dufficey). So we made some extensions in the second half, did a little better job -- not a great job, but it helped us get the victory."

To start the fourth quarter, Barnes completed a 6-0 run by ripping the ball out of his defender's hands at midcourt and landing a breakaway layup. A few possessions later, Hoxter found Jackson underneath the rim for an easy tip-in and 68-59 advantage.

Then with 1:37 to go, sophomore Taris Wilson hit the first of two monster breakaway slams, this one making it 76-63 to essentially put the game in hand.

On to MP Machine: The Townies get a rematch with Madison Park on Tuesday night, in their home gym, and the stipulations are pretty straightforward: winner locks up the final seed for the Boston City Championships at the end of the month. Brighton, New Mission and East Boston have all punched their ticket.

"The kids have been talking about a chance to do this Tuesday night," Cardoso said. "We're going to play hard and leave it all on the table. Hopefully these guys come out and execute the game plan, and have fun out there."

In their first meeting, on Jan. 19 at the Matadome, the Cardinals cruised to an 81-69 win that wasn't as close as the score might indicate. The Townies were without Fernandez and Orriols, and on the court they looked that less of a potent offense. Since that loss to Madison, the Townies have reeled off eight straight wins and jumped back into ESPN Boston's statewide poll (the Townies were the preseason No. 2 team in the land before plummeting out of the Top 25 altogether).

It goes without saying, the Townies are licking their chops.

"We're going in for the kill," Barnes said.

"We're focused," Hoxter added. "They're not going to come in here and punch us in the mouth. They're going to feel how we were feeling after that loss."

Hot from the field: The Townies outrebounded the Crusaders 16-7 in the final frame, giving way to many key transition points that helped ice the lead and the win. From the glass, WC still held a slim 35-33 advantage.

But down at the other end, the Townies had a terrific night from the field, shooting nearly 58 percent overall. That was aided by a 7-for-17 effort from three-point range, including three 3's each from Fernandez and Orriols.

Praise for Richey: Last season, New Mission head coach Cory McCarthy was throwing around high praise for the then-sophomore Richey, calling him "a suburban kid that plays urban".

Consider Cardoso another Boston City League coach that's a fan.

"He's tough," Cardoso said. "He's one of the toughest guards coming out of his league, and I think he's going give a lot of teams problems in the state tournament, because how do you stop a kid like that?"

Turning point? Following last season's loss to Charlestown in its home gym, WC coach Jeff Bajema greeted his players in the locker room and told them, "Guys, we can win states."

Sure enough, the Crusaders never lost another game the rest of the way, picking up their first Division 3 state title since 2005 at the DCU Center in Worcester. After that game, Bajema spoke to reporters about how much the whitewashing by Charlestown seasoned them for what to expect in the state tournament.

Given how much more competitive the Crusaders were this time around, could this be seen as another momentum shift?

"Hopefully, a game like this will lead us to better things," Bajema said. "But we've got a tough one Tuesday (against Holy Name), so we'll see."

Recap: No. 24 Charlestown 76, Cathedral 48

February, 4, 2012

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. -- Despite defeating Boston Cathedral 76-48, today's victory was not handed to the Townies.

Senior Tyrik Jackson had 11 rebounds, six points three blocks and a steal to lead the Townies in the paint and senior Omar Orriols found his stroke and lit up the Panthers for 20 points, including shooting 3-4 from the line and three three-pointers. He also added 9 rebounds, 3 assists and three steals, playing well on the perimeter and down low.

“I tell the guys all the time, you sacrifice an open shot for a better shot we’ll be fine”, said Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso.

Junior Tyrese Hoxter -- whom Cardoso has fielded calls from Kansas State, Providence and Lehigh for college plans -- scored seven of his eleven points in the fourth quarter, including back to back break away dunks off of Townie steals.

His first such dunk was a one-hander with little flair. The second, a two-handed monster ball with a little hang time on the rim, brought a lot of excitement from the home crowd.

“We’ve got three-four guys who can score twenty points any given night.”

Staying Hungry: Charlestown led 16-12 at the end of the first quarter, and there was not much change in production in the second, with the halftime score of 38-25. There were opportunities for the Townies to open up the score in that first half, but the pieces did not come together. Cardoso expressed his concern to the squad at the break.

“‘Guys, we need to stay consistent for four quarters. Let’s go out there and pick it up every play and don’t take breaks’”, said Cardoso to his players.

By the end of the third, the Townies had opened up to a 19-point lead, and by the end of the game a 28-point victory. Going into the playoffs, this game is truly a lesson for the players who have not experienced an opponent coming from behind to beat you -- do not let it happen.

“It reminded me of Central Catholic last year," Cardoso said. "We had a ten-point lead and we blew it in about twenty seconds. I tell guys we have to get better at keeping our leads.”

Give Up The Goods: Charlestown’s aggressive defense, playing passing lanes and leaving little space between themselves and their offensive counterparts, led to seven different Townies getting peels tonight, including three with at least two steals.

Orriols Knows The Floor: Carsoso said that he appreciates having a shooter like Omar on his team, and knows that on any given night he is going to light up the scoreboard with his shot and make defenders overplay him, allowing his teammates to score, but banging in the post, allowing the Townies to get more scoring opportunities and to take some from the opposition is huge.

“I tell Omar you should be getting at least eight rebounds a game,” said Cardoso the game’s leading scorer who also met his coach’s rebounding quota.

“That’s two rebounds a quarter. He’s actually getting more aggressive, also realizing, ‘When I crash the boards, I get an easy layup’”, Cardoso said, paraphrasing Orriols.

In the second quarter, Orriols completed his only three point play of the game, but for the most part, he chose to shoot outside shots and had success with it. At times, Orriols struggles finding his comfort zone from deep.

Today was not one of them.

“That’s what I do,” said Orriols. “I shoot.”

Recap: No. 24 C'Town 73, No. 21 Eastie 66

February, 1, 2012

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. -- Charlestown's Omar Orriols stepped behind the three-point line along the right wing, and a wry smile came across his visage as he went for his third three-point attempt of the first quarter against archrival East Boston.

After weeks of getting needled by head coach Edson Cardoso about being more assertive with the ball -- a point the two discussed further while he was serving an undisclosed suspension the previous two weeks -- Orriols came out blazing with this: a perfect 3-for-3 start from long distance.

"That felt hot, baby," he laughed later about the shot. "That felt hot. Real good. That felt good."

And so just over a month after getting embarrassed into a 17-for-56 effort from the field in their first meeting with the Jets, and just weeks after playing some of their most uninspired basketball in lopsided losses to St. Peter-Marian and Madison Park, the Townies are roaring back. Behind an even sheet from leading scorers Tyrese Hoxter (17 points), Rony Fernandez (15) and Orriols (15), the Townies (10-3) qualified for postseason with a 73-66 win over Eastie (9-4).

"We succumbed to their pressure [in the first meeting], but I felt like we were under control today," Cardoso said. "We had some turnovers, but not as many as 27 the first time we played Eastie."

As for the more inspired effort on the offensive end from Orriols, who finished 4-of-7 from deep, Cardoso was pleased.

"I told Omar when he gets going with shots, when he's wide open and takes it, it helps us a lot," Cardoso said. "Because he creates a spark. And once he hits one or two 3-pointers, the defense comes out and Tyrese can drive to the basket, and so can Rony. So when he hits three's, it helps us out on offense."

The Townies led 19-10 after one quarter, and 39-24 at the half. In the third quarter, Orriols and Fernandez hit back-to-back three's from opposite wings to take a 45-33 lead. Their shooting, combined with a 2-3 zone -- which looked more crisp than their first experiment with it in Saturday's win over Fitchburg -- gave the Jets problems all night. When they weren't chasing defenders and surrendering points from the weakside due to lack of help defense, they were struggling to hit shots from spots around the elbow.

"[We] didn't close out properly, Omar Orriols cooked us for three 3's...from there we were just scrambling to get back," Eastie head coach Malcolm Smith said. "With the team today -- and this is the first time here at East Boston that I though we had our guys a little timid tonight. We were very scared, to put it point blank.

"I thought we had a great preparation for this, and I don't know if it was the large crowd or what have you, but jitters set into them. When jitters set into them, we just aren't the same team."

Zack Gattereau (11 points) cut Charlestown's lead to 68-64 with 35 seconds to go when he picked his man's pocket at midcourt, off a deflection, picked up a foul on the way up to a breakaway layup, and converted the three-point play. But Hoxter and Orriols both made their free throws down the stretch to ice the win.

Will March led the Jets with 17 points, while Kenny Ramos added 10.

Energy guy: With long arms for his 6-foot-6 frame, flowing dreadlocks and an inclination for chirpiness, Charlestown junior forward Tyrik Jackson serves as the team's spark plug around the paint. The frenetic post player recorded 18 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks, and marked improvement in his assignments playing the middle of Cardoso's zone defense.

In Saturday's win over Fitchburg, Jackson gave up too many easy baskets from the weakside, and was slow to react at times against diagonal passes. Cardoso told following that game it would be a point of emphasis in Monday's practice; and true to his word, the problem was fixed, as Jackson maintained body control and used his long frame to deny penetration and force redirections to the corners.

Three of his eight baskets were overhead slam dunks. When he wasn't doing that, he was jawing it up at times with the fans from Eastie, mocking their various anti-Charlestown chants. All of it comes as a spirit that helps carry the Townies.

"Tyrik man, he's definitely the X-factor of the team," Orriols said. "Without him, it's going to be hard to crowd the boards, to block shots. Tyrik is dominant down low for us."

Said Cardoso, "Having him out there, 6-6 in the middle, he gives us a lot of energy and confidence...Tyrik brings it every day in practice, and brings it every game."

Long way to go for Grullon, but intriguing: One of the most interesting storylines to keep an eye on over the next year is the development of Charlestown's 6-foot-10 New York City transfer, junior Jon Grullon, who checked into the game in the second quarter to a loud ovation from the crowd. Built like an offensive lineman but with very limited mobility due to knock knees and conditioning, he only saw eight minutes of action and visibly has a ways to go to developing into a post player.

In one of his first possessions on the floor, Grullon hunched into position on a jump shot, only to watch his defender nearly a foot shorter than him easily mettle his way in front and out-jump him for the rebound. A few possessions later, Jackson fed Grullon a perfect touch pass across the paint that skipped off his hands out of bounds. When the Townies went to the line for free throws, Grullon often retreated to the other end rather than line up on the blocks.

Grullon just got his first action last week in a win over Snowden, and high school hoops is still fairly new to him. Grullon transferred into Charlestown last summer from Boys and Girls High, a nationally-recognized powerhouse out of the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, but never played a minute on the basketball team, according to Cardoso.

As for the knees, he has three more games before shuts it down on February 8 and undergoes surgery on his right knee, where a screw will be inserted to stabilize the knee, which lacks a good amount of cartilage. The plan is to rehab for "three or four months", according to Cardoso.

"Getting him mobile, getting him to understand the game of basketball is what we're trying to do with him right now," Cardoso said.

The knee problem might scare off some college coaches, but there is reason to keep tabs, however loose, on the big man. For one, he is a legitimate 6-foot-10 with a wide body.

And for another, he's apparently a decent swimmer. Asked about his conditioning, Cardoso points with his thumb to the swimming pool down the stairs from the gymnasium and says, "When you see him in the pool, he's very active."

Added Orriols, "Oh yeah, he works out there a lot, man."

Recap: Charlestown 55, No. 25 Fitchburg 52

January, 28, 2012

FITCHBURG, Mass. -- Unsatisfied with the way his team was playing man-to-man defense, Charlestown head coach Edson Cardoso did something very un-Charlestown-like. At 2 p.m. yesterday during practice, he installed a Syracuse-style 2-3 zone.

And with a much anticipated rematch with archrival East Boston on tap for Tuesday, the switch -- coupled with the return of two key players -- might be just what the skidding Townies needed to snap out of their funk. After trailing by a slim margin through three quarters, the Townies broke through in the fourth, and held on for a crucial 55-52 win over Fitchburg, this afternoon at the Doug Grutchfield Field House.

"I said, you know what, I've never played zone before in my life, but tomorrow against Fitchburg we're going to try it," Cardoso said of yesterday's practice. "We just feel like the 2-3 zone makes us a better rebounding team, we weren't getting too many offensive boards, and tonight I think might be the first time we've outrebounded a team."

Said junior swingman Tyrese Hoxter (23 points) of the switch, "We're real long, so we knew it work to help us get out in transition."

Hoxter catapulted the Townies (9-3) in the fourth quarter with some impressive play around the rim. The 6-foot-3 slasher didn't miss in the final frame, going 5-for-5 from the field and hitting both of his free throw attempts -- both converting three-point plays -- to total 12 points and give Charlestown enough cushion to hold off an inspired Fitchburg rally in the final minute.

First, Hoxter took a deep outlet pass from Omar Orriols (20 points) for an easy layup and 48-42 advantage with under two minutes to go. Fitchburg's Mick Snowden (12 points) returned the favor on the ensuing Red Raiders (9-4) trip down the floor, hitting a three from the left wing. But Hoxter answered again, picking the pocket of Quinton Perkins (12 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and slipping in a soft breakaway layup.

The next trip down, Hoxter threw a dagger. Gathering himself behind the right elbow, he took his defender to his right, took off from the right block, and delivered a reverse windmill layup through two bodies, picking up a foul in the process. He hit the free throw to make it 53-46 with 50 seconds to go.

"The dude [his man] kind of ran with his hands down at me," Hoxter explained. "So I kind of just went after him. As I was getting into the lane, the guy that was sticking Tyrik (Jackson) had his back to me. So I knew he was going to see me, and once he saw me I went up on the left side."

Hoxter got one more basket, a cherry-pick off an intercepted entry pass by Taris Wilson, before Chuck Doss (10 points) cut the lead to 55-52 with 4.9 seconds left on a three. The Townies threw the ball away from contact on the inbounds to ice the win.

Abi Akanni also chipped in with nine points and nine rebounds for the Red Raiders, who have now dropped two straight.

Stars return: It was a first return to action for two of the Townies' stars, Orriols and Rony Fernandez, in several weeks. Orriols was suspended from the team for two weeks, while Fernandez had missed the previous month for personal reasons.

Fernandez finished with eight points and a few assists, but Orriols' play was especially encouraging. He was 3-for-4 from three-point range in the third quarter, and in the fourth quarter he came down with several long rebounds and steals that opened up transition play, where the Townies excel the best.

"Now you get to see how we play Charlestown basketball," Cardoso said. "The young guys did a great job stepping up, but our veteran guys are gonna take us where we need to go. Our younger guys are gonna step up when they have to, but it just feels better having Rony at the point to get us under control."

Said Hoxter, "It opens up the court for me. Two shooters, I can pass to my left or to my right, or if it's open I can just attack the hole."

Playing through pain: Cardoso applauded the efforts of Hoxter, who is playing through a sprained right wrist and was estimated to be at roughly "70 percent" health.

"We hope he's 100 percent by the time we play East Boston," Cardoso said. "But he's giving us what he can. He gives us a problem on the matchup zone, because he's so long and athletic. He did a great job for us."

Building Momentum: One of the reasons we like Fitchburg's chances come playoff time is how their aggressive non-conference scheduling conditions them for the month of February. Headed into next week, the Red Raiders sit at 5-0 in the Mid-Wach A, with losses to Charlestown (today), LaSalle (R.I.) (Dec.29), BC High (Jan. 7) and a surging St. John's of Shrewsbury squad last Wednesday that has suddenly won eight of their last nine after starting the year 3-4.

Closing out games has been a problem at times this year for the Raiders -- they led 40-39 after three quarters, and 27-22 at the half. But head coach Paul DiGeronimo was encouraged by the effort in the loss, and how it will affect them going forward.

"We're only going to benefit from this game today," DiGeronimo said. "We've played better than we played on Wednesday. So, if we can play better in a loss, than we're headed in the right direction. We wanted to win, but I felt better coming out of this one than I felt on Wednesday against St. John's.

Recap: Madison Park 81, No. 18 Charlestown 69

January, 20, 2012

ROXBURY, Mass. -- Rushing back on the counterattack Madison Park's Dakim Murray grabbed the offensive rebound and quickly threw it up.

As the ball bounced off the rim, teammate David Stewart grabbed the second effort, missed, grappled the ball again and pitch it to teammate Rayshaw Matthews for the open jumper to go up 16 late in the second quarter.

It was the same issue all night for No. 18 Charlestown. It did not matter if the Cardinals missed, because the second chance was always there.

Dominating the Townies on the boards, host Madison Park trumped No. 18 Charlestown 81-69 to grab second place in Boston City North on Thursday.

“We grew up tonight,” said Madison Park coach Dennis Wilson. “I wanted to attack the inside, because they only really have one big men. If you looked at my (chalk) board, the three things I emphasized were defense, boxing out by putting bodies on people and taking care of the basketball.”

The Cardinals (10-1, 5-1) out rebounded the Townies 33 to 25 in total and 20 to 13 in the first half to pull away midway through the second quarter and never looked back. A layup by senior Iser Barnes and a trey by junior Tyrese Hoxter gave Charlestown (6-3, 4-2) its only lead of the night, a 19-18 margin at 6:11 in the second quarter.

Madison Park would immediately respond with nine straight points all from Murray, Matthews, and Stewart to edge up 27-20. The three attacked the boards all night for the Cardinals, with seniors Matthews and Murray both netting 17 points and junior Stewart tallying 14.

Murray and Stewart also each had seven rebounds.

“I am looking to see if the defense is crashing in on me then finding open teammates or taking my man off the dribble,” said Matthews. “After they put up every shot, you have to find a man and box them out.”

“Five to the boards is what coach preaches,” added Murray.

As the lead spread to 16, an effective half court press would prove to little to late for Charlestown. An open corner 3-pointer from senior Jawarhi Dawan Abdullah pushed the score to 52-40 late in the third.

However, Madison Park outscored its rivals for the remainder as Charlestown continued to struggle against the 1-3-1 trap.

Hoxter had 21 points for the Townies, while teammate senior Tyrik Jackson was a beast on the boards with 14 rebounds, 10 points and seven blocked shots. Charlestown had trouble getting second effort production from the remainder of its team who totaled 12 rebounds.

“We have been pressing all season and trying to create havoc,” said Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso. “Tyrik was grabbing rebounds, but the rest of the guys were not crashing or boxing out. Our weakness is rebounding.”

As was the case tonight, Charlestown will have to play the remainder of the season without starting guards Ronny Fernandez and Omar Orriols.With both teams previously dropping a loss to league leader East Boston (5-0, 7-2), the win was an important step in the battle for the conference's top regular season spot.

“I felt kind of strange sitting up in the stands (during the conference postseason) last year,” said Wilson. “You know I want to get back there. We still have a lot of basketball left.”

Nelson boosts CC over C'Town in D1 North

March, 6, 2011
CHARLESTOWN, Mass. -- Central Catholic freshman Tyler Nelson came off a Jimmy Zenevitch baseline screen late in the third quarter and headed for the corner. There, the 5-foot-9 guard found himself uncovered, free to do what not so many players in the state can do like him: catch and shoot from three-point range.

Just like that, Central took its first lead of the game, 53-51, and held on for a 79-71 win over Charlestown Sunday in its Division 1 North quarterfinal matchup.

Nelson found himself open from three two more times in the third, and he made it look easy by hitting those as well. His three clutch baskets not only gave his team the lead, but helped to extend it.

“I didn’t feel any pressure and I just had a good game and luckily they left me open and my shots were falling,” said Nelson. “I know I’m a shooter and I had confidence in this game.”

Nelson finished with 14 points, including two free throws in the final minute of play that made it a two-possession game.

Central (20-2) was ahead 59-55 after three quarters. When it appeared the Raiders might pull away from Charlestown, the Townies (19-3) battled back to tie the game at 66 with 2:35 left in the fourth.

Charlestown’s Omar Orriols was lethal from beyond the arc, hitting three 3-pointers to put Central back on its heels early. He finished with with 11 points and four rebounds. Akosa Maduegbunam and Tyrik Jackson also topped the scoring chart for the Townies, finishing with 16 and 14 points respectively.

“One through eight, they have the best eight in the state,” said Central Catholic coach Richard Nault. “We knew it was going to be a challenge coming in here in terms of what they have and the type of talent they have. Our kids battled all night.

“They’re the only team to beat St. John’s Prep all year and I consider St. John’s to be the best team in the state. So my team knew what they had in front of them tonight.”

Central spent much of the first half trying to slow down the Charlestown (19-3) offense, but even when they tried to slow the pace down, Charlestown’s defensive pressure caused turnovers, which they turned into transition baskets.

Late in the second quarter, the Charlestown lead had escalated to eight points, when Central started to amp up its own defensive pressure, and ended up forcing three Charlestown turnovers on three consecutive possessions. On the last possession, Zenevitch converted a layup and was fouled with 0.2 seconds left in the half, swinging the momentum back in Central’s favor in a crucial point in the game.

“I think that was the biggest difference in the game,” Zenevitch said. “The whole entire first half, our defensive intensity wasn’t there. Offensively we weren’t doing much, and then that came around, we had three steals in a row, converted them into points, and instead of being down eight, we were down two going into the half. You could tell in the second half that we played a completely different game and they weren’t doing the same things either, which was probably because we just picked it up.”

Zenevitch finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds, after starting slowly in the first half and often rushing his offense, settling for shots from outside the paint.

Even with the win, Central knew things would only get tougher going forward as it tries to reach its ultimate goal.

“We’re not done yet, we still have a state championship to win,” Nelson said. “We’ve just got to keep fighting. It’s not over yet.”

The Red Raiders were awaiting the result of the St. John’s Prep vs. Lincoln-Sudbury game Sunday to determine who and where they would play next.

“I’d love to play St. John’s again just for the sake of the rivalry and what’s happened the last few years,” said Nault.

And to no surprise, the Raiders will get their wish. Prep beat L-S easily, 70-56, to set up a Tuesday night semifinal showdown at Lawrence High. The last time the two teams met was Feb. 23 when SJP came away with a 72-70 victory.

Charlestown takes Boston City championship

February, 26, 2011

ROXBURY, Mass. -- On February 1st, two days after knocking off the No. 1 team in the state, Charlestown was edged out by East Boston 65-61, tying the season series between the rivals. Tonight, with the city championship on the line, the Townies jumped out to an early 12-4 lead, and held tight to defeat Eastie 63-56 to return the Boston City Championship trophy to Medford Street, as the Jets made Charlestown win a dog fight to earn that privelege.

“We got punched in the mouth last game,” said Charlestown junior guard Akosa Maduegbunam (15 points, five rebounds), the tournament's MVP, referring to the February 1st loss. “And we punched them back.”

In the fourth quarter, Charlestown was outscored 17-10, which was not surprising or impressive to East Boston (16-5) coach Malcolm Smith.

“It’s natural evolution,” said Smith. “A wounded beast, what happens? He starts to attack. When the chips are down, and there is nothing to lose, your wounded, so now you’re going to attack… I could deal with the loss, but I just didn’t think that we competed for four quarters. I think we competed for a quarter and a half.”

The scoring in the fourth for the Townies was also tempered by a promise Cardoso made to his players.

“I told the guys that the next person that takes a long jump shot and doesn’t run the set play is going to sit down,” Cardoso said. “They wanted to stay on the court and play, so they settled down, played defense and ran the offensive sets and started sharing the basketball. The mission of the fourth quarter was to maintain the lead and execute.”

The Townies led 37-27 at the half, with the final five points coming from sophomore guard Omar Orriols, who he came off the bench and grabbed four of his nine rebounds in the second quarter before making a shot.

“The last couple of games, I haven’t been so productive on the offensive end, so I just wanted to something instead of scoring, which was rebounding.”

Orriols eventually scored to double his team’s lead just before halftime, and hit another three in the third quarter, but he needed the support of an elder guard to get into his scoring groove.

“Akosa [Maduegbunam] came up to me during the game and said, ‘Omar, play with confidence. Shoot the ball with confidence’," Orriols said. "[His words] helped me boost my game.”

Cardoso added that Orriols is a bellwether instrument for how his team is faring.

“Omar is our x-factor. When Omar plays well offensively and defensively, we win a lot of games.”

Sophomore guard Tyrese Hoxter came up big for the Townies as well, scoring thirteen points, by shooting from the perimeter and driving to the basket, stealing the ball three times and assisting on seven shots. Even though he didn’t score in the fourth, he felt his teammates had the game under control.

“I know my teammates can score just as well as I can,” said Hoxter. “So when they collapsed on me, I just kicked it out to them.”

“I don’t want all the awards,” Charlestown junior Rony Fernandes said. He scored eleven points, had six assists, five rebounds, two steals and a block, he was not looking to score more as he can, he played an unselfish game for a worthy cause. “I just wanted the ‘W’."


In the fourth quarter, junior center Tyrik Jackson (six points, seven rebounds) blocked an East Boston attempted shot out of bounds, drawing ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaaahs’ from the packed crowd. The Eastie player pushed his palm into Jackson’s face, but while some of the Charlestown players came to his defense, Jackson walked away and avoided the fracas.

“We’ve been talking about mental toughness all year,” said Cardoso. “He could have went and smushed the kid back, but he kept his poise, thought about the big picture in winning the game, and stayed steady.”

No. 4 C'Town blitzes No. 20 WC

February, 6, 2011

WHITINSVILLE, Mass. -- Charlestown jumped out to an early 10-2 lead less than three minutes into the game and never looked back, defeating the Whitinsville Christian School 78-67 last night in front of a packed house.

“I told the guys that we need to continue to run our transition offense,” Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso said. “I told the guys to get the ball up, push it, find an open man, get [a shot], get back on defense. That’s the style we play at Charlestown.”

The player who caused the most problems for the Townies (13-1) was 6-foot-9 center Hans Miersma, who was able to tally 18 points and 14 rebounds despite fouling out with more than six minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

“I told Tyrik [Jackson, Charlestown’s tallest player at 6 foot-5] to get some rest because he’s going against a big boy,” said Cardoso. “Pretty skilled kid and he’s strong. I told Tyrik just play the game that you’ve been playing.”

Unfortunately for Jackson, Miersma won the battle, out-hustling Jackson on the boards (three rebounds), but Jackson was still tenacious on the defensive end, blocking four shots and two steals while producing decent offense numbers with 11 points.

Charlestown's two leading scorers on the day were juniors Rony Fernandes and Akosa Maduegbunam, with 17 each. Maduegbanum scored first by knocking down a three-pointer, one of three for him on the game, in the game's opening minute. He felt that he turned on the offensive machine because they were keying on him, as the team did not forget what he did last year in their matchup.

“I think I had seven 3’s or something like that last year,” said Maduegbunam. “They put their best defender on me and he made me work for my points. All over the court I could hear, ‘Guard him’, ‘Don’t leave him’… My defender did a good job of [calling for help], he didn’t give me breathing space.”

Fernandes contributed two steals and a block on the defensive end, acknowledging his the team’s scoring capabilities, but maintaining that the capacity to score is largely based on the defensive pressure that he and the Townies kept on the Crusaders (11-2).

“Defense, defense, pressure all of the time,” said Fernandes. “We knew it was a hostile environment, and this is a big game for them, so we wanted to lock them down on defense.” The point guard said that Cardoso has been guiding the team on playing under pressure with their new success in knocking off formerly undefeated St. John’s Prep by 16 points last week.

“We’re every team’s big game,” Fernandes said. “We just have to calm down and run our sets. Everybody contributed… we as a team rebounded and played d[efense].”

Omar Orriols (14 points, three steals) also credited the Townies’ defense in his early scoring, with two 3-pointers in the first quarter.

“Defense is our number one thing,” Orriols said. The junior also said that being aggressive and challenging Miersma in the paint was a calculated move after analyzing Whitinsville’s game plan at halftime.

“The second half was mostly attacking the hole,” added Orriols. “We found out that he was their main option so we had to attack him and try to get him into foul trouble and get him out of the game.”