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.