Boston High School: Rony Fernandez

Recap: No. 4 Mission 87, No. 23 Charlestown 60

December, 15, 2012
12/15/12
2:01
AM ET
CHARLESTOWN, Mass. -- It was a physical contest to open the loaded Boston City North slate for both squads. But more importantly, at least for New Mission, it was an ugly contest.

History shows that when New Mission is "playing ugly" like they did in their 2010-11 state championship season, they tend to win. So while the No. 4 Titans' 87-60 win over a green Charlestown squad was full of turnovers and fouls, it was also full of floor burns, hard elbows and overall just getting nasty with one another.

Just how head coach Cory McCarthy likes it.

"If you remember my previous season [2010-11], we've never been pretty," McCarthy said, alluding to his 2011 MIAA Division 2 state champion squad. "Last year, I think we got a little too pretty, trying to do cute things like hit three's off of curls and stuff like that. So I think this year, we just got dirty again. We scratched, scathed and clawed again. That's New Mission basketball."

At the same time, there was something organic about the Titans (2-0) when sophomore point guard Juwan Gooding (23 points, five 3-pointers, seven rebounds) was in his element. The 6-foot Dorchester resident accounted for the Titans' first 11 points, including back-to-back-to-back three-pointers, to kick things off and put the Townies (0-1) in hurry-up mode early.

"I was just feeling it," Gooding said of the opening minutes. "I had my stroke going. When I hit one, I just thought I'd keep going."

At the other end, Gooding at times brought frenetic energy, meeting the ballcarrier at half-court and tried to pin him to the sideline, keeping his arms and hips active in an effort to try and jar the ball loose. Towards the end of the first quarter, this led to an easy breakaway layup by Shaquan Murray (14 points) that made it 17-10. Gooding finished with four steals total.

That defensive mentality -- harrass your man, invade his personal space, make him uncomfortable -- has permeated for years. But on this night, Gooding's hot hand from the outside was just as contaigious.

The Titans hit 11 three-pointers in all, seemingly none more important than the back-to-back sequence that made it 60-42 with less than three minutes to go in the third quarter. First, Percio Gomez (11 points) caught a sideline inbounds pass from Murray at the right elbow, then immediately kicked it back to Murray, who had strafed towards the corner. The next time down, Gomez took the ball at the right wing and drove deep baseline, kicking back out to Gooding for the 18-point advantage.

Mission closed the third quarter leading 71-45, after Gomez was award three free throws at the buzzer, having nailed five 3-pointers in that stanza alone. Six-foot-4 junior Fred "Bam" Rivers provided some muscle underneath, coming up with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Charlestown got a bulk of its production from 6-foot-6 transfer juniors Freddy Oliveira (15 points, eight rebounds) and Allijah Robinson (11 points, eight rebounds).

Breaking the Zone: Charlestown broke out of a midseason slump last year by switching to a 2-3 zone (for seemingly the first time in school history), and rode that all the way to a Division 1 Eastern Mass. championship berth at TD Garden. Head coach Edson Cardoso says he still plans to mix things up between zone and man this season, but early on the Townies had some great possessions in the 2-3 zone defense, getting deflections up top from Robinson and Jimmy Edwards, as well as junior Taris Wilson.

Yes, the Titans attacked the zone with perimeter shots, hitting 11 three's. But on some nights, perimeter shots is not how you beat the zone -- sometimes, that's how the zone beats you. Mission, however, turned it on Charlestown by throwing some 2-3 offense right back at them.

"Most teams set up in a 1-3-1 against a 2-3, we run a 2-3 against a 2-3," McCarthy said. "We bring the three against the two, so we just go odd-even, our odd against their even, and then we just weave them. Then eventually, we duck a big in and throw it over the top, and we have isolation. So, that helps us playing against man or zone.

"For me, I struggled last year trying to figure out how our offense works. I think we have something that works, because I have such smart guys in the high post -- Chima [Ebele], Fred [Rivers], Nate [Anderson] when he's healthy. We're versatile, and we're not the same team as last year."

Anderson easing back: Six-foot-7 senior center Nate Anderson has been slowly making his way back into the lineup, after being hamstrung the last week or so with an ankle sprain. Tonight, he got most of his minutes late in the game and nearly unnerved McCarthy when he went up for a dramatic tomahawk dunk in transition, missed, and hit the floor hard with a hard foul.

A few possessions later, Anderson broke to the top of the key for a deflection and steal, then broke away for a thunderous one-handed slam, drawing a wild reaction from the crowd with about two minutes to go in the game.

"Nate sideline to sideline is just disruptive," McCarthy said. "And he has it now, he has the passion now."

Bridges remains out: Sophomore point guard Greg Bridges remains out of the lineup, and McCarthy says the 5-foot-7 spark plug isn't even practicing with the team right now.

Bridges started as a freshman last season for the Titans, and built up some hype for 2012-12 after an explosive showing at AAU Nationals last July, reportedly hitting 11 three-pointers in one game.

"He needs to take some time off, that's all," McCarthy said.

And the reason?

"Nothing really, other than to really focus on his future -- and he has a future," McCarthy said. "And we want to make sure we secure a future for him. He's a good kid, he just has to have some maturity."

The next Rony? Cardoso was asked about the play of Gooding, and he brought up a familar name in Townie basketball folklore -- Rony Fernandez, the point guard who catalyzed the Townies to their first North sectional title since 2005 last March, and subsequently was named to ESPNBoston.com's MIAA All-State Team.

"He reminds me of Rony a little bit," Cardoso said. "Similar game, you know, Rony could shoot from deep, Juwan can handle it...He's a tough matchup, he's going to hurt a lot of teams."

ESPNBoston's MIAA All-State Boys Basketball Team

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
4:59
PM ET
THE SUPER TEAM

All-StateGuard – Aaron Calixte, Jr., Stoughton
An exceptional athlete gifted with a tenacious motor, and one of the state's most dynamic scorers, the 5-foot-11 Calixte was the driving force behind the Black Knight's run to the Division 2 Eastern Mass. final, and asserted himself as the state's premier point guard. For his junior season, he averaged 19 points and six assists, and was named a Hockomock League All-Star. Calixte also stands out on the gridiron for the Black Knights' football squad.

All-StateGuard – Tyrese Hoxter, Jr., Charlestown
After playing in the shadows of former All-Stater Akosa Maduegbunam a year ago, the 6-foot-3 Hoxter thoroughly burst onto the scene and had a monster campaign for the Townies, leading them to the TD Garden floor for the first time since 2005 before bowing out to Brockton in the Division 1 Eastern Mass. Final. This season he averaged 19 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.

All-StateGuard – Tyrell Springer, Sr., Springfield Central
After falling short of a state title two seasons ago with New Leadership, the 6-foot-2 Springer led Central to the DCU Center floor this season where the Golden Eagles captured their first Division 1 state title since 1991. The centerpiece of one of the state's most athletic lineups, Springer averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, seven assists and 7.3 steals. He is undecided on college plans.

All-StateForward – Jake Layman, Sr., King Philip
The 6-foot-8 Layman was one of the most dominant players in Massachusetts this season, with the ability to score both inside and out, as the Warriors set a school single-season record for wins (18) before suffering a surprise upset in the Division 2 South quarterfinals. In 21 games, he averaged 26.5 points, 16 rebounds, 5.8 blocks, 3.2 assists and three steals. He closes his career with with 1,752 points, 1,098 rebounds and 391 blocks, giving him career averages of 20.6 points, 12.9 rebounds, 4.6 blocks, 2.8 steals and 2.6 assists. This is his second appearance on the Super Team; he also captured the Hockomock League's MVP for the second straight season. Layman, who was named ESPN Boston's "Mr. Basketball" earlier this week, is ranked the nation's No. 62 overall senior by ESPN, and will continue his career next season at the University of Maryland.

All-StateCenter – Sayvonn Houston, Sr., Brockton
A nightly double-double machine, Houston established himself as one of the state's most dominant true centers, making life difficult down low as the Boxers went 23-3 and made their first Division 1 state final appearance since 1985. He saved his biggest performances for the biggest stages, such as his 20-20 night in the Division 1 South semifinals, or his 22-point, 13-rebound effort in Brockton's overtime win over Charlestown in the Division 1 Eastern Mass. Final at TD Garden. Houston is undecided on college plans.

BEST OF THE REST

All-StateJalen Adams, Soph. G, Melrose
Quickly rising as one of the Bay State's most complete scoring guards, the 6-foot-1 Adams took home Middlesex League MVP honors after averaging 21 points per game. He led the Red Raiders to an 18-2 regular season record, before they fell to state runner-up Brighton in the Division 2 North semifinals. Adams has already declared that he will be transferring to Wilbraham & Monson Academy next season, where he will reclassify to the Class of 2015.

All-StateJaylen Blakely, Jr. G, Brockton
Like Houston, the 5-foot-11 Blakely saved some of his best performances for the crunch time in the playoffs, such as his eight-assist performance in the Boxers' win over Catholic Memorial. Blakely distributed evenly to Brockton's talented shooters and post players, as they went 23-3 and reached their first state final appearance since 1985.

All-StateMatt Droney, Sr. F, Catholic Memorial
A terrific shooter, the 6-foot-4 Droney was named the Catholic Conference's MVP after a season of averaging 20.7 points, six assists and five rebounds per game. He also became the eighth player in school history to surpass 1,000 points earlier this season. The Canton resident will be doing a post-graduate season next year at the Taft School in Connecticut.

All-StateDarien Fernandez, Jr. G, Wareham
The 5-foot-7 waterbug demonstrated a tenacious motor in leading the Vikings to their second Division 3 Eastern Mass. Final appearance in three seasons. Wareham was the state's last unbeaten before losing to state champion Danvers. For the season, Fernandez averaged 24 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and five steals, and recorded three triple-doubles. He needs just 45 points next season to reach 1,000 for his career.

All-StateRony Fernandez, Sr. G, Charlestown
Fernandez was one of the most outstanding point guards of the MIAA tournament, leading the Townies to a thrilling win over Lexington in the Division 1 North final before bowing out to state runner-up Brockton in the Eastern Mass. Finals. For the season he averaged 16 points and seven assists. He is undecided on college plans, but is currently fielding interest from Division 1 programs such as Maine, Northeastern and Hartford.

All-StateJoey Glynn, Sr. F, Cardinal Spellman
The 6-foot-5 Abington resident did it all this season for the Cardinals, averaging a double-double (18.5 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, 2.2 blocks) as they lost to Eastern Mass. runner-up Wareham in the Division 3 South semifinals. For his career, Glynn scored 1,425 points. He will continue his career next season at Bentley University.

All-StateSteve Haladyna, Sr. G/F, St. John’s Prep
One of two repeat All-Staters, the 6-foot-3 Haladyna was unable to lead the Eagles deep in their Division 1 state title defense, but he still leaves the Danvers campus as one of its most decorated basketball stars. He averaged 22.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, both team highs, and for his career he finishes with 1,392 points -- second all-time on Prep's scoring list. The South Hamilton resident will continue his career next season at Tufts University.

All-StateMalik James, Soph. G, Brighton
The 6-foot-1 James elevated his game when the Bengals needed it most, as they made their first state final appearance in school history, falling to Mahar in the Division 2 title game. For the season, James averaged 18.1 points, 8.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds as the Bengals won their first-ever Eastern Mass. title.

All-StateJameilen Jones, Jr. G, BC High
BC High's season came to an unexpected halt as the Eagles loss in the first round of the Division 1 South tournament, but the 6-foot-2 Jones has established himself as one of Eastern Mass.'s premier two-way players. For the season, he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds as the Eagles went 15-6.

All-StateZach Karalis, Sr. G, North Andover
The 6-foot-1 Karalis was one of the driving forces for the Scarlet Knights, who went 21-2 and reached the playoffs an unprecedented 47th straight time. For the season he averaged 15.9 points and shot 46 percent from the field, to go along with 6.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.8 steals. Karalis will continue his career next season at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

All-StateKevin LaFrancis, Sr. C, Acton-Boxborough
After a stellar season in leading the 21-2 Colonials to a Division 1 North semifinal appearance, the 6-foot-6 LaFrancis was named the Dual County League's MVP. He averaged 19.5 points and eight rebounds this season, and finishes his career at A-B with 1,012 career points. He is undecided on college plans.

All-StateAlex Lopez, Sr. G, Springfield Commerce
The 5-foot-10 Lopez led the Valley League in scoring for the second straight season, averaging 22.3 points as the Red Raiders went to the Division 1 Western Mass. Finals and took state champion Springfield Central to the wire. He led Western Mass. in field goals made (185) and total points (512). Lopez is currently undecided on college plans.

All-StateDamian Lugay, Sr. G, Weymouth
The 6-foot-2 Lugay led the Wildcats to a second straight 17-win season, before they were bounced in the first round of the Division 1 South tournament. For the season he averaged 18.1 points and just under four assists, and leaves Weymouth as a two-time First Team All-Bay State Conference. Lugay is undecided on college plans.

All-StateGeorge Merry, Sr. C, Danvers
At 6-foot-7, Merry was a force at both ends of the floor for the Falcons, known for his ability to redirect shots as much as his scoring touch. He averaged 16.1 points, eight rebounds and 6.6 blocks as Danvers captured its first Division 3 state championship in school history. Merry is currently undecided on college plans, but showing interest from several schools in Divisions 2 and 3.

All-StateMarcus Middleton, Jr. G, Stoughton
Tasked nightly with locking down the opposition's top scorer, Middleton established himself as one of the state's premier on-ball defenders. Middleton averaged 16 points per game for the Black Knights, who won the Division 2 South title before bowing out to state runner-up Brighton in the Eastern Mass. championship at TD Garden. Middleton also stars on Stoughton's football squad.

All-StateMatt Mobley, Sr. G/F, St. Peter-Marian
One of state's most pleasant late-blooming surprises, the 6-foot-3 Mobley was one of the leading scorers in Central Mass. as the Guardians made it all the way to the Division 1 Central Final. For the season, he averaged 23.2 points in leading SPM to its most successful season under head coach Marcus Watson. Mobley finished his career at SPM with 1,175 points, and will do a post-graduate season next year at Worcester Academy.

All-StateTyler Nelson, Soph. G, Central Catholic
The 5-foot-11 Nelson established himself as one of the state's premier shooters, as the Raiders made it to the Division 1 North semifinals before bowing out to champion Charlestown. He averaged 15.5 points and four assists this season, shot 42 percent from three-point range, and 91 percent from the free throw line.

All-StateColin Richey, Jr. G, Whitinsville Christian
After winning a Division 3 state title a year ago, the 6-foot Richey nearly led them back, as the Crusaders lost in the final seconds to state runner-up St. Joseph Central in the state semifinals. For the seaosn, Richey averaged 16.8 points, 6.7 assist and 6.3 rebounds for the Dual Valley League champions.

All-StateKamari Robinson, Jr. F, Springfield Central
The 6-foot-5 Robinson was a rock underneath for the Golden Eagles, who captured their first Division 1 state title since 1991 and third overall. He was a nightly double-double threat this season, averaging 13 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and three assists, as Central went undefeated in Massachusetts.

All-StateMichael Thorpe, Sr. G, Newton North
The Tigers went run-and-gun this season, and the 5-foot-11 Thorpe kept them thoroughly going. One year after reaching the Division 1 South finals, he nearly led them back, before losing to state runner-up Brockton in the semifinals. He was named the Bay State Conference's MVP, with averages of 15 points and four assists. Thorpe will continue his career next season at Emerson College.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
All-StateMARCUS MIDDLETON, STOUGHTON

The kind of on-ball pressure Middleton provided nightly to some of the state's premier scorers can take its toll physically, but he was routinely up to the task. As teammate Aaron Calixte saw a barrage of double-teams and box-and-one's, Middleton did his part at the other end, hedging off screens and staying one one's hip, chasing them all over the floor. As much praise as Calixte will get in this unprecedented season for the Knights, an equal amount must be thrown Middleton's way.

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM
G – Marcus Middleton, Jr., Stoughton
G – Anthony Hodges, Sr., Holy Name
G – Darien Fernandez, Jr., Wareham
F – Jake Layman, Sr., King Philip
C – George Merry, Sr., Danvers

COACH OF THE YEAR
All-StateHUGH COLEMAN, BRIGHTON

The Bengals lost their best player before the start of the tournament, and backpedaled into the playoffs with uninspiring losses to Acton-Boxborough and Madison Park. Yet in the end, they were one step away from the school's first-ever state title. Coleman is an unabashed disciple of the legendary Jack O'Brien, and staples of those historic Charlestown squads are sprinkled all over the program. Not only has Coleman done a remarkable job bringing the team to heights never before reached in his three seasons at the helm, but this is a program that will be dangerous for the next few years.

RUNNERS-UP:
Paul Connolly, Newton North
Dean O'Connor, Franklin

FINALISTS:
Kevin Brogioli, Wareham
John Gallivan, Stoughton
Reggie Hobbs, Lexington
Malcolm Smith, East Boston
Chad Softic, Mahar
John Walsh, Danvers
Dennis Wilson, Madison Park

D1 North Boys: Charlestown 48, Lexington 44

March, 10, 2012
3/10/12
11:48
PM ET



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 54, Central Cath. 47

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
11:13
PM ET
READING, Mass. -- With less than one minute to go in Charlestown’s Division 1 North tournament quarterfinal game against Central Catholic Thursday, Tyrese Hoxter stepped to the free throw line.

Charlestown was ahead by four points, so if he made both, Hoxter (12 points) could have forced Central to shoot desperation three’s as their only way to get back in the game.

He made the first. If he missed the second, Central could still race down and get a quick basket and make it a one-possession game. His second shot hit the rim and bounced away, keeping Central’s hope temporarily alive.

However, Charlestown’s Tyrik Jackson (10 points, 11 rebounds) came away with the offensive board and passed it out to teammate Rony Fernandez on the perimeter. Central was forced to foul Fernandez, allowing Charlestown (19-4) to hold on for a 54-47 victory.

“I feel like we’re playing great basketball right now,” said Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso. “After the Comcast Tournament (win in February), we just went on a personal vendetta and said, ‘You know what? Every team we play, we’re going to leave it on the court, and that’s what they did tonight.”

[+] EnlargeRony Fernandez
Brendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comCharlestown's Rony Fernandez (12 points) helped lead a fourth-quarter outburst that punched the Townies' ticket to Saturday's Division 1 North final.
Central (22-2) would not go away quietly though. On its next possession, Tyler Nelson (12 points) got a look at a three-pointer, but it missed. His teammate Shawn McCoy got the rebound and tried for the put-back, but that too was off the mark. Finally, it was up to Nick Cambio (10 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks) to grab the offensive rebound, but his shot from the baseline missed too.

Taris Wilson came down with the rebound, and he was quickly fouled. As Wilson got to the free throw line, the Central fans began to file out of the gymnasium in mass.

They knew, as the seconds ticked away, that it was not their team’s night. Charlestown will be the team fighting for the Division 1 North title Saturday at the Tsongas Center, not Central Catholic.

“It feels like this team beats us every year, so it feels good to get one on them,” said Fernandez (12 points).

Open And Shut: Over a three-minute span in the middle of the fourth quarter, Charlestown went on a 12-0 run to take back the momentum that seemed to be building in Central’s favor up to that point.

After being down as much as seven in the third quarter, Central came back to take the lead late in the quarter, and maintained it by a slim margin early in the fourth. Charlestown showed its resiliency, taking the lead and then some.

In one sequence during that stretch, Central had to call a timeout because Charlestown scored a basket, then got a steal on the next Central possession, allowing Hoxter to throw down an uncontested dunk. The Townies' faithful erupted in excitement, and Central coach Rick Nault called a timeout before things could get out of hand.

“I wanted to excite the crowd and just give my team a boost because the game was just a seesaw battle, going up and going down,” said Hoxter.

Cardoso will take any momentum in the state tournament, no matter how his team can get it.

“I thought once Hoxter got on that breakaway, throws it down, we get more energy,” he said. “Whatever it takes to motivate these guys. These guys are teenagers, so whatever it takes to motivate them, we’ve got to do it.”

Nullifying Nelson: A large part of the Charlestown defensive gameplan focused on Tyler Nelson. The team was very aware of what the sophomore guard could do when he is given open space to drive or shoot the basketball.

“We wanted to take out (Nelson),” said Fernandez. “We know he’s their shooter, so we had eyes on him and followed him everywhere. We knew he could shoot so we wanted to stop him.”

“I thought with Nelson, every time he caught the ball, get a hand up,” said Cardoso. “When he comes off screens, stay on his hip. We scouted Central and had so many notes on them and saw how many plays they run for him, so I thought we needed to have eyes on him, and I thought Tyrese did a good job on him.”

Few And Proud: As teams get deeper and deeper in the playoffs, it is often the teams with the most depth that advance on. When relying on any one player to carry a team, it can become easy to defend.

That is not the case with Charlestown. It does not rely on any one player to shoulder the load, but instead can depend on multiple players to contribute effectively.

Thursday, six players scored, with four reaching double-digits. That balance will be trouble for the remaining teams in the Division 1 tournament.

“We knew this was going to be a low-scoring game, we didn’t expect to score 85 points against a team like Central,” said Cardoso. “No way are you going to score 85 against a great defensive team like that. We thought that maybe if we moved the ball and some guys got eight, some guys got nine, and we started chipping away, that maybe we’d have a chance to win this game. We didn’t think anybody was going to have a standout, 25 to 30 point game.”


Div. 1 Boys: Charlestown 61, East Boston 58

March, 3, 2012
3/03/12
11:12
PM ET



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
3/02/12
12:20
AM ET



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, Brockton advance

February, 18, 2012
2/18/12
11:04
PM ET



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."

NO. 1 BROCKTON 85, CAMBRIDGE 55

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
2/11/12
9:39
PM ET



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
2/04/12
9:52
PM ET



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
2/01/12
1:05
AM ET



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 ESPNBoston.com 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: Madison Park 81, No. 18 Charlestown 69

January, 20, 2012
1/20/12
12:35
AM ET



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.”


X's and O's: Charlestown's Tyrese Hoxter

December, 18, 2011
12/18/11
1:42
PM ET
No. 2 Charlestown came into BC High yesterday with a high ranking to protect and completed their mission. It was not easy, however, as two of the Townies' top players -- juniors Tyrese Hoxter and Tyrik Jackson -- got into foul trouble early on, and had to sit during most of the third quarter.

After going over the film, I noticed something about Charlestown’s team: Tyrese Hoxter is the key to their success. They have one of the most talented rosters in the MIAA, but Hoxter is the player that can help separate them from the rest with his aggressive and athletic play.

Here is a video breakdown of why Charlestown cannot afford to have Hoxter in foul trouble often:

Foul Trouble

Before I jump into the offensive side of the ball, I want to harp on why Hoxter got in foul trouble. Coach Edson Cardoso told our correspondent Corey Allen, “We are an aggressive team, but we have to play with a little more poise.”

There is no doubt that Hoxter suffered from being overly aggressive on defense.



In the first clip, Hoxter is playing defense straight up and reaches a little bit. He was trying to prevent the pass to an open Jameilen Jones, but should have been closing out with his knees bent and hands up. His length would have stopped the pass anyways. In the second and third clip, Jones was simply reaching and the referee caught him. The last clip actually was not called as a foul, but it could have been. The ref let the little bump on Jameilen Jones happen, but this would have been a critical foul since it happened early on in the game.

Hoxter needs to play with a little more poise on defense because his team needs him in the game.

Momentum Shifter

Hoxter is what I like to call a “momentum shifter”. He is the type of player who makes athletic plays that frustrate the defense and change the momentum of the game. He is like Devin Hester; he makes big plays that many people will have a hard time stopping.

In this game, Hoxter only had 12 points, but as you will see from the clips, many of his baskets were loud points.



In the first clip, Hoxter puts his athleticism on display by making an acrobatic lay up in transition. In the second clip, Hoxter makes an unlikely lay up with 0.1 seconds left (he did get it off in time). This put his team up 44-29. There’s a big difference from being down 13 points at the half and 15 points.

The last play is just one of Hoxter’s dazzling passes. This is not a strong point in his game, but this just shows his ability to get the job done.

Without Hoxter

In the third quarter, when Hoxter picked up his fourth foul, BC High went on a 12-3 run. Without him, it gave Rony Fernandez more time with the ball in his hands. This is not necessarily a bad thing, considering that Fernandez is one of the elite drive-and-kick distributors in the MIAA. Here are a few clips of him creating for his teammates.



As you can see in all three clips, Fernandez has a knack for getting his teammates wide-open looks from outside. He beats his man with his quick first step, draws the defense, and finds his open teammates.

The only problem with this is that without Hoxter and Jackson in the game, Charlestown becomes a different team. They become a team that shoots a lot of three-pointers. In this game, the strategy worked. With Omar Orriols becoming a legitimate threat from beyond the arc, this strategy will help Charlestown beat many teams. When shots do not fall, however, this strategy can become a problem.

When Hoxter is not in, Fernandez is forced to be the one who gets to the basket, which is not necessarily one of his strengths.



These two clips are an example of Fernandez having to drive and force shots when Hoxter is not in.

With Hoxter

When Hoxter is in, Fernandez can play to his strengths.



As you can see from these three clips, the backcourt duo of Fernandez and Hoxter will be very difficult for many MIAA teams to guard. Their drive-and-kick play works both ways. When Fernandez drives (as seen in the first two clips), this allows Hoxter to get room to drive to the hoop or to get an open lay up near the hoop. When Hoxter drives (as seen in the last clip), it allows Fernandez to knock down open shots.

Conclusion

Year after year, Charlestown has some of the most talented players in the city. This year is no different with their backcourt of Hoxter and Fernandez. They have the size of a college backcourt and good chemistry.

After seeing what Charlestown was like without Hoxter, I came to the conclusion that they need him if they want to be an elite team this year.

Boston City League All-Star Classic rosters

March, 31, 2011
3/31/11
1:31
PM ET
The Boston Scholar Athlete Program and the Boston Centers for Youth and Families have announced the teams and award winners for the 2011 Boston City League Basketball All-Star Classic.

The game will take place this Saturday at Northeastern University's Cabot Center, with the doors opening at 1:30 p.m., the girls' game starting at 2 p.m. and the boys' game following at 4 p.m.

Below are the rosters and award winners for the North and South divisions:

BOYS

North
Jose Alfonseca, Sr. G, Snowden
Jeff Amazon, Sr. G, East Boston
Jonathon Deane, Jr. G, Latin Academy
CJ Dowdell, Sr. F, Charlestown
Rony Fernandez, Jr. G, Charlestown
Tyrese Hoxter, Soph. F, Charlestown
Khayree Hudson, Sr. C, Madison Park
James Jones, Sr. F, Fenway
Kwamaine Lane, Sr. F, Latin Academy
Walter Lewis, Sr. G, East Boston
Akosa Maduegbunam, Jr. G, Charlestown
Paul Maurice, Jr. G, Snowden
Tyrell Pugh, Sr. F, South Boston
Johan Vizcaino, Sr. G, South Boston
Stan Winn, Sr. G, East Boston

Coach of the Year: Edson Cardoso, Charlestown
Sportsmanship Award: Troy Bowens, Snowden

South
Dominique Boyd, Sr. F, Dorchester
Jared Butler, Soph. C, O'Bryant
Jakari Christopher, Jr. G, Burke
Darius Davis, Sr. G, New Mission
Jason Hall-Sergenton, Sr. F, West Roxbury
Dwayne James, Sr. G, Burke
Samir McDaniels, Sr. G, New Mission
Jesse Noel, Sr. G, Hyde Park
Kachi Nzerem, Sr. F, New Mission
Roger Paul, Sr. G, West Roxbury
Chris Shelton, Sr. F, Burke
Bernadin St. Vil, Sr. C, Brighton
Andrew Toney, Sr. F/C, Brighton
Alex Villanueva, Sr. G, Boston English
Kevon Young, Sr. G, Brighton

Coach of the Year: Hugh Coleman, Brighton
Sportsmanship Award: Jakari Christopher, Burke

GIRLS

North
Sara Centeio, Fr. G, Charlestown
Kayla Cox, Jr. G, Fenway
Maria Delvecchio, Jr. C, East Boston
Kaila Duarte, Soph. C, Fenway
Amber Edwards, Soph. G, Madison Park
Krystal Edwards, Soph. G, Madison Park
Makeeba Farguarson, Sr. C, Charlestown
Brittani Hardy, Sr. F/C, Snowden
Davetta Kinner, Sr. G, Latin Academy
Jovanna Sandifer, Jr. G, Snowden
Maya Scott, Sr. F, Latin Academy
Cleusa Sequeria, Sr. G, Fenway
Daitannah Smith, Fr. F, South Boston
Tajanay Veiga-Lee, Soph. G, Fenway
Elaina Wright-McCarthy, Fr. G, South Boston

Coach of the Year: Carla Hands, Madison Park
Sportsmanship Award: Maya Scott, Latin Academy

South
Araion Bradshaw, 8th G, O'Bryant
Robbie Cardoso, Sr. G, New Mission
Kiana Dailey, Soph. F, O'Bryant
Pierline Durand, Sr. G, O'Bryant
Khadijah Ellison, Sr. G, Burke
Ashley Jean-Louis, Soph. G, Boston English
Tianna Johnson, Jr. G, New Mission
Raven Kelsey, Fr. F, O'Bryant
Jazala Laracuente, Fr. G, New Mission
Fredericka Lawson, Sr. F, Burke
Trayana Mair, Soph. G, Boston English
Rachelle Pierre, Jr. F, Hyde Park
Marissa Serrette, Soph. G, West Roxbury
Shantal Solomon, Sr. G, Brighton
Aaliyah Williams, Jr. F/C, Dorchester

Coach of the Year: Gertrude Fisher, O'Bryant
Sportsmanship Award: Pierline Durand, O'Bryant

No. 12 Franklin stays hot over No. 5 C'Town

January, 2, 2011
1/02/11
11:57
PM ET



FRANKLIN, Mass. -- Straight from the tip-off, it was obvious the championship game of the Franklin Holiday Hoop Classic would be an uptempo game. To start off the game, Franklin junior Jason McKie got a quick lay-up and then Charlestown sophomore Tyrese Hoxter registered an even quicker lay-up on the other end, making life for the stat keepers at the desk difficult.

And even though Franklin held a 20-point lead at the half, the Townies managed to chop away at the lead in the final quarter. But thanks to some heady play under the boards late, the Panthers were able to hold on for a 77-69 win to continue their surprising 5-0 start.

“Our strategy was to go fast on offense and slow them down on defense,” Franklin head coach Dean O’Connor said. “We tried to get easy baskets in the fast breaks and tried to make it so they don’t get easy baskets on offense. On defense, we tried to slow them down and make them move the ball around a little bit, which worked out well for us.”

Led by a handful of challenging shots and drives from Rony Fernandez (15 points, all in the second half) the Townies (3-1) stormed their way back into the game with each minute in the fourth. With 37 seconds left, Charlestown managed to fight all the way to make it a five-point deficit at 73-68. But Tyler Kessler grabbed a clutch rebound on a Charlestown miss and made outlet pass to Sam Bohmiller, who sunk two free throws to closeout the game. Free throws were a common theme for Bohmiller, as he went 10 for 10 from the line and finished the game with 12 points.

“Sam Bohmiller, who’s only a sophomore, probably played his biggest varsity game yet tonight. He did a great job under pressure,” senior captain and tournament MVP Kyle Gibson said. “He was able to work through the press and hit all of his free throws. We had some trouble rebounding the ball at times but in the end we just played team basketball and that helped us get the win.”

The track meet, however, started when Franklin took advantage of many unforced Charlestown turnovers, and went on a 14-4 run at the end of the first quarter. They were doing it all, whether it was executing their flex offense perfectly or getting steals and finishing at the basket effortlessly, and stretched the lead into the 20’s with an 11-2 run late in the second quarter.

Gibson (19 points, seven rebounds) powered many of Franklin’s first-half runs, whether he was killing his defender in the post or boxing out one of Charlestown’s high-flyers. Without question, his heightened rebounding ability has been one of the biggest keys for the Panthers so far.

“Before tonight, Kyle’s been averaging 22.5 points per game. He’s always been a good scorer but he’s rebounded the ball well lately along with being a good team leader," O'Connor said. "He is having a great year so far and we are very happy with him."

While Gibson and Bohmiller both had strong games, it might have been junior Jason McKie’s energy and defense that was the most important piece for Franklin.

“We’ve used Jason every game to cover the other team’s best perimeter player regardless of their size. Akosa [Maduegbunam] is a big guy and Jason is quick. Jason really made him work for the ball tonight,” said O’Connor.

McKie finished with 18 points, while Charlestown's star junior Maduegbunam -- stuck in foul trouble -- finished with an uncharacteristic 13.

“We’ve always been a fast break team and we continued that approach today," Gibson said. "They had to slow the game down at one point, since things were getting out of control, so we took advantage and got the win."

Little Things Make The Difference For Needham

Similar to the Franklin-Charlestown game, Needham held the lead for the majority of the game, but Medway chipped away at the lead throughout the game. Medway senior Joe Henry brought his inside-outside game at the Rockets, but fell short when Needham senior Kevin Farley hit two clutch free throws with 18 seconds remaining to escape with a 54-51 win.

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