Boston High School: Pat Santos

D1 North: Everett 77, East Boston 55

February, 26, 2013

EVERETT, Mass. -– Everett's transition offense created a slippery slope for East Boston tonight.

The host No. 7 seed Crimson Tide (15-6) created turnovers in both teams' territories, then consistently beat the Jets down the court to score 21 straight points between the second and third quarters. Trumping No. 10 Eastie (12-8) 77-55, Everett advances to the Division 1 North quarterfinals to play No. 2 seed Lowell (18-3) on Friday.

“The transition game is stuff we live and die by,” said Everett coach John DiBiaso. “We do different drills (with) trapping, converting from offense to defense, (and) looking out for each other. We play at that intensity because we practice at that intensity.”

Senior Tyree Gregory lead Everett with 22 points, while teammate sophomore Gary Clark netted 14 points and grappled five rebounds.

After hitting a layup right before halftime, Gregory finished a wide crossover dribble to lose his defender then hit a deep two-point jumper seconds into the third quarter to start the run at 42-28. Seconds after assisting Clark off a steal, senior Gilly DeSouza converted two steals and a rebound into six points including a one-handed dunk by Gregory for a 51-28 lead with 5:20 left in the quarter.

Everett's standard "Diamond Trap" full-court press aided all three of DeSouza's steals.

“I practice dunking all the time so it is just adrenaline,” said Gregory. “We practice D'ing on the press then running the ball to attack. We put the pressure on them and the offense just came like that.”

Gregory finished a powerful one-handed layup through a foul from a defender then senior Jordan Seldon hit junior Timmance McKinney for a counter attack dunk and the 59-28 advantage at 3:38 in the third.

Jets senior Stanley Harris forced a point off free throws to cut the run 12 seconds later.

“A lot of those points came off turnovers,” East Boston coach Shawn Brown. “You spend a lot of time going over (the press), but there is a difference when you are in the game. When we got in a half court set, we ran good sets”

The Jets trailed since the first basket at 7:03 in the first quarter, but got as close as 25-24 at 3:27 in the second quarter. Seven straight points started with a quick layup off the throw in by sophomore Raekwon Cole and finished on a boxed out layin by senior Will March to cut the score within one.

Thirteen consecutive points including two three-point jumpers by Gregory put the Crimson Tide ahead for good with a 38-24 lead and 1:28 left in the first half.

“We were aggressive, we came out with intensity (and) we kind of physically wore them down a little bit there,” said DiBiaso “We rotate 11 guys so it gives us a lot of options.”

“We always want to go into the locker room at half time with at least a double-digit lead,” added Gregory.

Everett had a 12 man bench, while East Boston only had a five subs.

Much Different Matchup: A lot has changed for the two teams since East Boston won 49-48 in Everett last month.

Eastie entered today with five former JV players and without leading scorers Pat Santos, Kenny Ramos (both seniors) and sophomore Rasheed Bell. Santos did not dress, but was a strong verbal leader throughout from the bench.

“Gets me excited about next year,” said Brown. “We have young guys not used to pressure. You get in a game situation it is different.”

Sophomore Dion Knight lead Eastie with 17 points.

Recap: No. 13 Eastie 70, Madison Park 63

January, 29, 2013
EAST BOSTON, Mass. -- Pat Santos' magic was a little more subtle this time around, but the effect was all same.

The senior, whose nationally televised buzzer beater propelled East Boston to a 43-42 victory in its previous matchup with Madison Park, scored 10 points and assisted three in the third quarter to complete a 17-point comeback for the Jets.

Aided by fellow senior Will March, Santos and the host No. 13 Jets (9-4, 2-3) overcame Madison Park (4-7, 1-4) in the third quarter for a 70-63 win and a season sweep of its Boston City League A Division rival.

“We won by more and (it) did not have to come down to the last shot,” said Santos. “We are good at the transition so we just had to play good defense and make them turn the ball over. Trap and bring the other guy to help”

East Boston outscored MP 18-10 in the third to grab its first lead since the opening 22 seconds.

After completing an alley-oop off a throw in to March, Santos (16 points) stole a Cardinals pass near half court and finished the counter layup for knot it at 51-51 at 1:50. A shot-clock beating floater and an old-fashion three by the guard edged the Jets ahead 56-51 a minute later.

“I am just the help side so I see the ball,” said Santos. “Once the ball goes I am moving with (it).”

“We talked about taking care of the ball, rebounding and boxing out,” added East Boston coach Shawn Brown.

March, a 6-foot-3 forward, scored the Jets' first eight points of the third and tallied 12 total in the quarter to prompt the comeback. The forward finished a 45-32 lay-in off a steal and assist from Santos to start his tear then finished another assist in the paint from Santos for the 47-38 edge at 4:40.

“(Stewart) kicked his butt in the first half,” said Brown. “Right now he is taking your lunch money so what are you going to do about it. The second half he came out and he performed.”

Madison Park had previously gone on a 13-2 run midway through the second quarter to grab a game-high 37-20 lead at 3:35. Senior David Stewart bodied a defender and tallied a three-point play to start the tear at 26-18 with 5:44 left in the first half.

Two minutes later, junior Johnny Bowden nailed a quick three-pointer off an inbound, and Stewart added a free throw for the 37-20 advantage.

“We played very aggressive, a lot of composure (and) we did not let the press affect us,” said MP coach Dennis Wilson. “Broke the press with composure, good passes and execution. (It) is affective when you panic, throw errant passes and travel.”

Bowden had rolled off a pick and nailed an end-line trey for the first double-digit margin at 20-19 with 1:32 left in the first quarter. The Cardinals also worked passes to Stewart around the free-throw lane throughout the first half to draw the defense out and open up underneath.

The 6-foot-3 senior center tallied 16 points and eight rebounds, with 12 points coming in the first half.

“They are going to double-team David,” said Wilson. “We have options off our offense when they double team him.”

“That is a key for our guys trying to figure out where he is,” added coach Brown.

Eastie ran a man-to-man press throughout a majority of the game, with the defense proving more effective in the second half.

“We like to push up the tempo (and) try to create turnovers and easy baskets,” said Brown. “We are struggling in the half court so for us our defense it is a way of trying to get easy baskets.”

The former City North champs have won the previous seven matchups between the two squads, including a 60-59 victory in last years' City League Tournament finals.

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

January, 15, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recap: No. 3 New Mission 66, No. 10 East Boston 42

January, 9, 2013
HYDE PARK, Mass. -– They were just too big and too deep.

Even with star player Nate Anderson forced to the bench with foul trouble, the New Mission frontline still boasted no player under six-foot-four. The Titans’ bigs dominated the paint throughout and kept East Boston from getting into its offense.

Senior forward Isshiah Coleman picked up the slack for Anderson with a game-high 17 points and nine rebounds to lead No. 3 New Mission to a 66-42 victory over No. 10 East Boston in Wednesday night’s City League clash.

New Mission’s performance was even more impressive considering that it had not played a game in 11 days. Head coach Cory McCarthy had his team prepared, and the Titans (5-3) jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the opening four minutes.

“We practiced hard and that’s all it really comes down to,” he explained. “I think that tonight we stuck with the game plan. Today, they played a smart game. We stayed in the passing lanes, we tried not to let them reverse the ball, and we did what we’re supposed to do.”

East Boston (5-3) came into the game shorthanded. Senior forward Kenny Ramos and leading scorer Rasheed Bell were both out injured, which left the team with limited options on the post. This was a situation that the Titans were happy to exploit.

He said, “We have height for days. I know the whole game people heard me screaming to get the ball inside, but when you have arguably the biggest team in MIAA, why not?”

Despite falling behind 12-0, despite being shorthanded, and despite turning the ball over 15 times in the first half against New Mission’s punishing 1-2-2 zone, East Boston managed to get themselves back into the game.

A pair of layups by senior guard Pat Santos, who led the team in scoring with 14 points, and a three from sophomore Dion Knight pulled Eastie to within six points at 22-16. Just when it seemed that the visitors might go into halftime with momentum, New Mission rattled off seven straight points including a three at the buzzer by Shaquan Murray.

East Boston head coach Shawn Brown was disappointed in how his team started, but was impressed by its ability to get itself back into the game in the first half.

“We got some stops but we couldn’t score,” said Brown. “I thought they weathered the storm in the first half. I thought the three at the end of the half was tough, but it always felt like a 10-point game. I was pleased with the effort of my guys in the first half.”

The difference in the game was New Mission’s ability to create turnovers on defense. By using the six-foot-seven Anderson at the point of the 1-2-2 zone, it seemed as though the trapping and pressing extended from halfcourt to the baseline and sideline to sideline. There seemed to be no passing lanes for East Boston, which ended the game with 29 turnovers.

“Nate is such an athletic freak and he had no idea how good he could be,” said McCarthy. “You just have to put him in a position where he can do the right thing by accident. We put him at the top of our halfcourt set and he took away one whole side of the court on the ball reversal.”

He added, “I thought we really defended well. Once you start forcing turnovers without getting stretched, you’re in good shape. I think we left a lot of points out there but...hey, we won the game.”

Brown also pointed to his team’s turnovers as the key component to the loss and a problem that his team needs to fix going forward this season.

He said, “With 29 turnovers you’re not going to beat anybody, let alone a team like that. There was a worry coming in about their length and it definitely affected us.”

New Mission controlled the second half with Coleman and Anderson (eight points) adding to their highlight reels with several powerful dunks. Sophomore point guard Juwan Gooding scored seven of his nine points in the third quarter to help build the lead while Murray finished with 11, including six in the second half.

Knight joined Santos in double figures for East Boston with 11 points and senior guard Stanley Harris added six. Brown gave several players called up from the JV squad a chance to get experience in the fourth quarter.

The game threatened to get out of control early in the fourth quarter after Coleman received his second technical foul of the game for a dunk after the whistle. A later incident followed a whistle in the lane and saw a player from each team sent to the locker rooms. Gratefully the game ended without any further issues.

Recap: Charlestown 53, No. 12 East Boston 48

December, 20, 2012

EAST BOSTON, Mass. -– Charlestown lost its first two games by a combined 53 points, but don’t let that fool you, as the Townies have now strung together two straight impressive wins. First over No. 17 Brighton on Tuesday by 19 points, and then a 53-48 victory over cross-town rival No. 12 East Boston (4-1) tonight.

“We weren’t really in sync as a team and didn’t trust each other as we do now,” said junior forward Alijah Robinson. “Those two losses really woke us up and we just had to come together.”

Robinson took matters into his own hands Thursday scoring a game-high 16 points leading Charlestown (2-2) to their second victory of the year. Robinson actually attended East Boston as a freshman and had his first dunk in the Eastie gymnasium.

“I just came out here with a mindset like I have to play like it is my last game in high school forever and I needed to compete better than anyone else,” the 6-foot-8 center said. “I think I did really well tonight.”

The Townies actually trailed 10-8 after the first quarter, but picked up the pace in the second scoring the first nine points and never looked back as they went into the locker room with a 27-19 lead. A combination of a tenacious full-court press and clutch shooting put them ahead at intermission.

Eastie fought back early on in the second half, cutting the deficit to just two at 31-29 midway through the quarter, but that was where Williams and the Townies exploded, going on a 15-2 run spanning midway through the third to the beginning stages of the fourth.

Charlestown had three dunks on the run, including one by Robinson, who scored nine of the Townies' 15 points. They led 46-32 with just over six minutes left in the game, but the Jets wouldn’t go down quietly.

The Jets went on a 14-0 run of their own to pull within one at 49-48 with 52.7 seconds left in the game.

Following a Charlestown timeout, junior guard Taris Wilson drove to the basket, drawing a blocking foul and then hit one of two free throws, giving the Townies a two-point lead with 37.2 seconds left.

On the ensuing possession the Jets turned the ball over on a bad pass resulting in a backcourt violation. Williams was then fouled and made one of two free throws giving the Townies a three-point lead and the Jets one last shot with 15.1 seconds to play.

Sophomore guard Marcus Shaw’s corner three rimmed out and Charlestown’s Colin Collins added a fast break layup to seal the five-point win.

“I was never comfortable with that lead,” Charlestown head coach Edson Cardoso said. “When you come in here the gym is tight and the fans are yelling, so mentally you have to be prepared to play throughout the course of the game.”

Collins finished with 13 points, while junior forward Freddy Oliveria added 12 in the win.

Coming off of his game-winning full court shot and Sports Center No. 1 top play, Eastie's Pat Santos was limited to just three points. Sophomore Rasheed Bell led the Jets with 12 points.

Winners of two straight, the Townies are now starting to find their true identity, but still aren’t completely where they want to be.

“We’re just adjusting guys right now,” Cardoso said. “We will probably go 10 or 12 deep because like I said our identity is starting to come out, but we still have some work to do.”

Charlestown’s work is not done before the holiday break, with a huge Saturday afternoon visit from St. John’s Prep on tap.

“We are looking forward to the next game and not dwelling on the past, just getting ready for the next one,” Robinson said.

Despite his monster performance, Robinson was actually playing with an injured right finger -- an injury suffered in Tuesday’s game against Brighton.

“I was like 'Jeez, you shot the ball pretty well with a broken hand',” Cardoso said about Robinson. “I was surprised, he was even hitting three’s (two). I wrapped up his hand, and it is still swollen, but we just have one more game before break so he can rest for two weeks.”

Cardoso was impressed with the toughness Robinson showed, playing virtually the entire game after sitting the games first three minutes.

“He is very tough, we want him to get tougher, and he needs to get tougher,” Cardoso said. “Tonight, he proved that through an injury he could go out there and play his heart out.”

Eastie's Santos recaps wild buzzer-beater

December, 19, 2012
Pat Santos was leaving a classroom in the basement of East Boston High School, en route to his fourth-period study hall in the library, when his cell phone exploded.

Dozens of text messages suddenly popped up, and Santos went to the nearest computer to discover his name above Adrian Peterson's in a SportsNation poll on

The dazzling 82-yard touchdown run by AP on Sunday was nice, but let's be fair. That's not unexpected. This feat by Santos -- a one-handed, 85-footer buzzer-beater (Boston Herald video HERE) to deliver the Jets a wild 43-42 thriller over Boston City League rival Madison Park, in the notoriously unfriendly confines of the Cardinals' home gym -- came out of nowhere to be named the No. 1 play today on "SportsCenter."

And after a few moments of excitement -- players storming the court, a barrage of tweets from the fans in attendance -- nobody today in Eastie is sure how to take this in.

For Santos, there was "no time for reaction" in the moments immediately following his miraculous heave. He was mobbed by his teammates on the Madidome floor and "couldn't even move." When the senior returned to his East Boston home, it was a subdued celebration with his parents, simply having a meal, washing up and going to bed.

Today in the hallways at Eastie, Santos constantly found himself stopped by teachers and classmates he's never met, asking him, "You're the kid who hit the shot, right?"

"Right now, it still feels surreal to this second," Santos said. "I can't even believe what happened."

Eastie head coach Shawn Brown has hit his share of buzzer-beaters. During his playing career at Charlestown High in the early 90's, he hit one on Eastie's floor to beat the Jets. In his post-graduate season at New Hampton (N.H.) Prep, he hit one to beat Winchendon for the NEPSAC Class A championship. In his four-year career at Merrimack, he nailed several, including one to beat archrival St. Anselm for the Northeast-10 regular season championship.

But this? Brown finds himself at a loss for words.

"To be a part of it is surreal," he said. "I don't know if you can recreate that scenario ever again, especially for us. But to realize the magnitude of it, and waking up to folks telling you that you're on ESPN, is just mind-blowing."

Brown returned to his home in Brockton last night and opened his phone to see 16 text messages and at least 10 missed calls.

All of it came less than a second from never happening.

In fact, Brown was preparing in his head for what he was going to say to the team after a rookie mistake all but cost them the game. With four fouls to give, Brown instructed his players to commit a foul before the ball could cross the half-court line. Naturally, the ball went all the way into the corner, where MP's Johnny Bowden drew a foul on the way up for a 3-point attempt, giving him three free throws with one second remaining on the clock.

After Bowden hit the first two shots, MP coach Dennis Wilson called a timeout. It appeared the third shot was going to be an intentional miss in an attempt to prevent Eastie from getting the ball back. Brown had to think fast, and Santos took charge.

"I was thinking at first that he was gonna make the final shot," Santos said. "I told my teammate Xavier, 'Don't touch, let me get it.'"

Santos grabbed the rebound, turned and tossed up a prayer. He said "it felt good," but nobody expects an 85-foot heave to go in.

"At that point, I told them if you get it, be prepared for the miss and then chuck it up," Brown said. "Pat just kicked in. It was a gutsy shot by a gutsy kid. If there's someone you want taking that shot and not worry about making or missing it, it's Pat."

As for today, such is the beauty of the newly aligned Boston City League. Last summer, the 15 member schools voted to realign in a three-tier format based on competitive balance. For Eastie, which is in the top tier (named the "North" division) alongside Charlestown, MP, New Mission and Brighton, there is no rest. The Jets face archrival Charlestown tomorrow night.

Still, this one will be hard to let go.

"Practice today is gonna be crazy," Santos laughed. "We have a motto, L.I.G. -- let it go. We play good, we let it go. We play bad, we get over it. It's gonna be hard, but we've gotta get over this one anyways."

Recap: No. 12 Eastie 43, No. 19 MP 42

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

City semis: East Boston 62, New Mission 43

February, 23, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February, 10, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recap: No. 19 Eastie 61, Madison Park 59

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recap: East Boston 68, No. 2 Charlestown 58

December, 20, 2011

BOSTON — The Charlestown and East Boston rivalry on the basketball court has taken on a life of its own, according to Eastie head coach Maclolm Smith, and the latest version added a little more flair to the long-storied matchup.

The Jets defense switched from man to zone and back again several times, to force the Townies into several uncharacteristic turnovers, en route to a 68-58 home victory last night in a battle for Boston City League bragging rights. The two teams have now squared off four times in the past 12 months -- with each team winning twice -- and it wouldn't be far-fetched to see the City Championship go through one of these two schools in the new calendar year.

“As always, that’s a charged rivalry,” said Smith, whose team is now 3-1 on the season. “It takes a mind of its own, this game. You can prepare for it left and right and everything else. The kids come in and do what they have to do.”

There may be respect between the two schools, but there is no love lost on the court. The game always features tough, physical play between the two squads, and Townies coach Edson Cardoso knows that positives can come out of the game no matter what the outcome.

“It’s a physical game. It’s aggressive and there is a lot history,” said Cardoso, whose Townies (3-1) dropped their first game of the year. “I have a lot of respect for East Boston and the things they do here. I just think that this makes us a better team. Even though we lost tonight this makes us a better team.”

Pressure pays off: The defensive pressure was dialed up from the opening possession for the Jets, as the defense forced the Townies into a backcourt violation to begin things. Townie turnovers would be a theme of the first half as the Smith decided to go with a man press on the ball handlers in the backcourt while occasionally throwing a different look or two with a zone defense as the game wore on.

No matter what defense was called, it worked in the first 16 minutes. The Townies were forced into 17 first-half turnovers and only shot a paltry 33 percent (8-of-24) from the field.

“Nothing beats a full court man-to-man pressure,” said Smith. “If you put them in difficult positions and make them catch it in the trapping areas and things like that, that’s what caused the turnovers.”

The Jets jumped out to a 10-2 run off of five Townies miscues in the first four-plus minutes of the game and used another second quarter spurt to gain just enough separation to make things comfortable enough in the second half.

Tyrese Hoxter pulled the Townies to within 3 in the second quarter, but then Zack Gattereau connected on a 3-pointer and was fouled for a 4-point play. The Jets then used a 15-4 run the rest of the quarter to grab a 39-23 lead at the half.

Pulling a "Reggie": The highlight of the run was a Reggie Miller-esque spurt at the end of the quarter by Pat Santos. Santos didn’t light it up with the deep ball, but he still managed to put up five points in less than 10 seconds.

Santos stole a pass at midcourt — one of his five thefts — had a trailed open but decided to force the ball to the hole successfully for the hoop and the harm. He calmly sank his continuation and then picked off the ensuing inbounds pass, where he went straight to the bucket to push the lead to 15.

Sixth man rises: Smith knows that his senior guard isn’t going to like being called a sixth man or enjoy coming off the bench for that matter, but he might have a very good option in Gattereau off the pine.

The lengthy senior wing finished with a team-high 24 points and stroked 4-of-5 shots from distance. Gattereau and Santos, who finished with 14 points, were the only two Jets in double figures.

Smith said he had to give Gattereau a little bit of tough love with the benching because of defensive issues that may have crept up this season, but apparently the message got through as he played tough defense to go along with his silky shooting stroke on the night.

“We had a little bit of a tussle early going back and forth because I wasn’t happy with his defensive intensity,” said Smith, who laughed and said he was happy with the effort tonight. “He sort of goes with the flow and that’s just not going to cut it with a game of this magnitude I really needed a defensive stalwarth to play on (Hoxter). Zack got over it and wasn’t complaining and came off the bench. That’s his role now. He may not like it, but I do.”

Hoxter gets his: The gameplan for Eastie was to make like difficult for the talented Hoxter, and for most of the first half it did just that.

Hoxter did get off in the second half though. He finished with 10 of the 12 Townies points in the third quarter and ended the night with a game-high 27 points. Most of his work was done at the foul line, where he sunk 11-of-16 attempts.

He was, however, the only Townies player to record double figures. Charlestown struggled mightily from the floor and especially from deep, as it finished 0-for-13 from behind the three-point line.

“Their defense was so good that we couldn’t get good looks,” said Cardoso. “We did get some shots up, but we just couldn’t hit the shots tonight.”