Brighton celebrates https://t.co/wq3bFCMYqJ
— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) February 20, 2015
BOSTON -- For the second time in three years, the Brighton Bengals are champions of the Boston City League.
Brighton (18-4) forced New Mission (12-9) into 21 turnovers to defeat the Titans for the third time this season, but this time, the stakes were highest, as the Bengals fought their way to a 74-64 win in front of a large crowd at The Madison Park Sports Complex.
Both teams struggled with ball security throughout the contest, yet Brighton managed to win the rebounding battle (33-18), and hang on after the Bengals watched their 13-point lead dwindle down to four points in the game’s final minutes.
“It’s tough to keep the players focused,” said Bengals head coach Hugh Coleman, “because when you’re in the city, and you’ve got friends and family in the stands, it’s distracting. So we tried to call timeout and tell the guys to keep their heads, stick with what we’re doing, and rein them in as much as possible.”
Trailing 55-42 after three quarters, it seemed like a young New Mission team would go quietly, but that was far from the case. In fact, one of the youngest Titans on the roster ended up bringing his team back with a heroic fourth-quarter performance.
Freshman guard Dominic Jones scored 15 of his 21 points in the final period, and played a significant role in New Missions’ full court press, which forced the Bengals into 11 second-half turnovers.
However, the size and experience of Brighton proved too much for the Titans, as 6-foot-6 senior Jason Jones and 6-foot-2 junior Izaiah Winston-Brooks combined for 10 offensive rebounds, and produced some of the biggest points of the afternoon as they thwarted New Missions’ comeback attempt.
Winston-Brooks was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, but Jones -- one of the few remaining members of the 2013 Brighton squad that won City and State Championships -- led the Bengals as well.
Coleman said, “Since Jason [Jones] came on [to varsity] as a sophomore, he’s really asserted himself as the heart and soul of our team. He’s a rebounding machine, he’s led by example, and through his actions. He means so much as a leader, as I guy that’s been there before, and can tell the other players what it takes to win.”
On To The MIAA Tournament: The Bengals savored their victory at Madison Park, but understand that their season isn’t over yet.
“The City [tournament] is one thing, but State’s is another, when you’re playing teams you’ve never seen before,” said Coleman. “We’re not as crisp as we’d like to be, but our athleticism has carried us. So, we’re going to try to get more organized, and hopefully we will be able to play with a sense of urgency every game.”
Still, Coleman recognized that winning the City League “Means a lot. It’s a testament to our work ethic, and our philosophy. We’ve been up and down over the years, and we’re trying to get some consistency in this program. This is a great way for the seniors to go out, it’s a great way to usher in the freshman, and give the middle guys something to aspire to.”
Brighton and New Mission will enter the MIAA Division 2 bracket, and their placement will be announced this weekend. With a solid mix of veterans and young talent, both the Titans and Bengals are capable of making a deep run in the state tournament.
Brighton 74, New Mission 64
BR 13 23 19 19 --- 74
NM 16 9 15 22 --- 64
Brighton – Jason Jones (18 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks)
Brighton – Tyrone Perry (21 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists)
Brighton – Izaiah Winston-Brooks (11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists)
New Mission – Tyrique Lee (11 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists)
New Mission – Dominic Jones (21 points, 2 steals)
New Mission – Philmon Gerebhewit (14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks)