Boston High School: Shy Davis

Div. 1 Boys: Taunton 60, Needham 55

March, 1, 2012
TAUNTON, Mass. –- Taunton coach Charlie Dacey may have made the understatement of the season regarding sophomore point guard Shaquille Davis after Thursday’s MIAA Division 1-South first-round game against Needham.

“He wants the ball,” Dacey said after No. 7 Taunton rallied for a 60-55 victory over 10th-seeded Needham. “He’s a sophomore but he wants the ball.

“Too many times he didn’t have the ball. But when he did get the ball he did something very constructive with it. I don’t know what the percentage was but it was a high percentage of him doing something constructive.”

How true.

Davis scored 22 of his overall 31 points in the second half – including 16 in the fourth quarter during which the Tigers (14-3) out-scored the Rockets (15-6) by a 27-15 margin.

“I just had to take over when it got close,” Davis said. “They just gave me the ball and I had to go to work. I wanted to play good defense and just take over on offense and not force any bad shots.”

Davis really “took over” at the free throw line where, because he was able to penetrate, he connected on 87 percent (13-for-15) of his attempts.

In fact, Davis sealed the deal by twice converting both ends of a two-shot foul in the final seconds.

“I had to block everyone out and concentrate,” Davis said of his proficiency at the stripe. “I’ve been practicing after practice on my free throws. They’re free so you’ve got to hit them.”

That Davis was in that position in the first place was noteworthy considering Needham led for all but a few seconds of the first quarter and Taunton didn’t grab its next lead until 5:40 remained in regulation.

Needham led by as many as 11 points (25-14) late in the first half and by seven (42-35) after 38 seconds had elapsed in the fourth quarter.

“We’re young and they’re young,” Dacey said. “We can do some fairly brilliant stuff and then we can shoot ourselves in the foot. That’s sort of the way it went. We just didn’t want to pull away from them.

“The tournament pressure is a matter of who can withstand the jitters that we obviously had in the first half. We scored 43 points in the second half so we began to make sense of things at that point.”

Defense a key: What Davis meant to Taunton on offense so did Gerald Cortijo-Pamilla (13 points) mean to Taunton on defense.

“If we get the ball into the open court we’re effective,” Dacey said. “But that’s predicated on defense. Gerald did a great job pressuring the ball.

“Their whole offense was pushed out much further than where they wanted it, and that made a big difference.”

How big a difference did Taunton’s defense make in pushing out the Rockets?

Needham only shot 29.7 percent (11-26) in the second half which was a key factor in Taunton’s being able to rally.

“Playing defense and upping the tempo of the game … that’s the way we have to play,” Dacey said. “We have don’t have to trap. But if we can force the ball out that far, it’s a long trip to the hoop if they get by us and, hopefully, we’ve got people stepping in and helping out.”

Short trip in first half: Needham’s first-half shooting reflected the fact Taunton wasn’t as effective on defense as it was in the second half.

The Rockets, who were led by Connor McLeod (16 points), Shy Davis (12) and Ryan Charter (12), shot a commendable 48 percent (12-for-25) in the first half which ended with their leading 26-17,

Then, with Needham leading 42-35, Taunton went on a 14-2 run (eight points by Shaquille Davis) and forged a 49-44 lead.

And with 1:10 left in regulation, Charter converted both ends of a one-and-one which pulled Needham within 57-55.

After a Taunton turnover, Shy Davis missed a jumper and Shaquille Davis snared the rebound and was fouled.

He then sank both ends of a two shot foul for a 59-55 lead with 14 seconds left, and Fawaz Mass added a late freebie to set the final score.

Recap: Needham 53, No. 11 Stoughton 49

February, 20, 2012

WALPOLE, Mass. -- For the second time in as many games, the Needham Rockets have knocked off a top 15 opponent.

After a 32-point victory over No. 6 Newton North last Thursday, Needham upset No. 11 Stoughton 53-49 in the first game of the Walpole Hoop Classic. Quite simply, the Rockets are playing their best basketball at the right time of the year.

“The Newton North game, senior night was excellent,” said Needham head coach Paul Liner. “I though we had great energy and the kids came out to play right from the beginning. There’s been some games where we kind of sit back and let things come to us, and I thing we’ve been the aggressor, gaining confidence and playing a complete game.”

The Rockets (14-5) were certainly the more aggressive team to start Sunday’s game verse Stoughton.

Junior forward Connor McLeod scored 16 of his game-high 26 points for the Rockets in the first quarter, boosting Needham to a 22-11 lead after the first.

The Black Knights (15-4) outscored the Rockets in the middle two quarters, holding Needham to just six points in the third quarter to tie it at 37 to start the final frame. However, Stoughton was held to just a 1 for 11 effort from the field in the fourth quarter.

Lanky D: The Rockets have a lot of size and length, which has helped them to hold opponents to just 46.7 points per game, the best defensive Record in the Bay State Conference.

“One of our game goals has been under 50,” said Liner. “We’ve been able to do that and holding teams to under 50 is really important.”

The big guys down low for Needham, Zach Nussbaum, Kevin Farley, John Madsen and Trevor Dow do a lot of the dirty work that won’t show up on stat sheets, but is vital for success. And they held Stoughton’s leading scorer Aaron Calixte to just six points on the evening.

“I knew we had three athletes that could play him really well, and he’s so dangerous with the ball.”

Another interesting matchup was Needham’s Shy Davis covering Stoughton’s Marcus Middleton.

Middleton finished with 12 points, but was held scoreless in the final quarter.

“He’s a great shooter,” Davis said of Middleton. “Marcus was a floater, so I just had to keep an eye on him. And I’m much taller and lankier than him so it was an easy cover.”

Needham will play Xaverian in the championship game of the Walpole tournament Monday at 7:45 at Walpole high school after the Hawks picked up their first win of the season 63-55 over the host’s Walpole.