Boston High School: Zack Gattereau

Div. 1 Boys: Charlestown 61, East Boston 58

March, 3, 2012

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.

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. 21 Eastie 68, No. 22 MP 42

February, 2, 2012

EAST BOSTON, Mass. -- Sometimes it's just a matter of getting back to basics, and doing what you do best.

In the case of the East Boston boys basketball team, what they do best is play defense. The Jets know they won't fill up a stat sheet in the offensive end. What head coach Malcolm Smith loves to see, however, is numbers spilling into the margins in the turnover column and at least an even matchup in the rebounding section.

No. 21 Eastie rediscovered its dogged, defensive mentality at the right time, forcing 26 turnovers in a 68-42 victory over No. 22 Madison Park Thursday night at East Boston High.

It was a big win for the Jets (12-4) on a number of fronts. First, it puts them up by a game atop the Boston City League's North division ahead of both Madison Park (12-2) and Charlestown, giving them an edge for one of the division's two spots for the upcoming City playoffs. It also wipes away the bad taste of Tuesday's 73-66 loss to the Townies.

And finally, this win was about Eastie getting back to the roots of what has made it a successful basketball team.

"It was a reality check for us on Tuesday night over at Charlestown, in terms of us being a family, us having to fight to the finish and not taking possessions off," admitted Smith. "The bottom line is, it took 15 games for us to realize we're a family, that we need every single person on this team to contribute, both defensively and offensively."

Missing a pair of regulars meant that contributions had to come from everywhere at both ends of the floor. Zack Gattereau led the offense with 15 points, Kyle Jimenez-Fox added 13 and Kenny Ramos chipped in with 12. Defensively, led by Travon Moore and a strong effort off the bench from Algino Jean, the Jets forced 11 of the 26 turnovers in the first quarter and out-rebounded the bigger Cardinals, 36-35.

Gattereau was big in the first half, dropping a 3-pointer at the end of a 12-1, first quarter run and scoring 11 of his 15 in the first 16 minutes. The MP Machine was able to cut the deficit to four points (22-18) midway through the second, but Eastie closed out the half with six free throws and an 11-5 spurt for a 33-23 advantage at the break.

"We were shorthanded this game because we didn't have all of our players so all of us had to bring extra intensity on the defensive end and that's what we did, turn defense to offense easily," Gattereau said. "I was just trying to get offensive boards to get me going and hope my teammates would find me after that."

The Cardinals appeared ready to rally in the third, but every time they put a couple of baskets together, Jimenez-Fox was there to knock down an open three. He did so three times, and each trey put the Jets back up by double digits.

"Our objective was to just play hard and the way we prepared in practice," Jimenez-Fox said. "We had to fast break to beat this team. We weren't trying too many set plays. Our guards were driving down the middle and the wings would collapse and they kicked it out to the wing and I was wide open."

Strong defense makes for a happy coach: Smith couldn't but help smile after watching his squad turn in a superlative defensive performance. The Jets mixed parts of a 1-3-1 zone with a lot of basic man-on-man defense and timely trapping in the corners with great success.

And it was truly a team effort. Six players had at least four rebounds, Gattereau added to his offensive night by keeping close tabs on MP big man Dakim Murray (six points, 12 boards), and everyone on the floor seemed to have a steal or at least be in the mode of disrupting Madison's flow.

"Travon Moore brings more defensive flair than anybody and more grit and inten sity, and Algino Jean came off the bench and sparked our defense tremendously today," Smith praised. "Those two were big and Charles Hines, a sophomore, came off the bench and got a key steal. The thing I'm more proud of than anything, it was 85 percent man to man today and that right there showed the grit of this team."

"I don't usually celebrate wins or get too gassed up about them, but this one felt very good," he continued. "Not just because it was a rivalry but because we got back to being who we were."

Lamenting a tough night: Madison Park coach Dennis Wilson is a veteran of the hardcourt wars, and he has been on both sides of the coin more times than even he would care to count over the years.

David Stewart led all scorers with 17 points and six rebounds and Rayshaw Matthews added 13, but Wilson found very little on the positive side to take away from this loss.

The Cardinals now have to beat Snowden and then capture a rematch with a resurgent Charlestown if they want to reach the City playoffs.

"They are a very aggressive team, they play hard they come at you and you have to be able to deal with that, keep your composure, find open people, attack the basket," Wilson explained. "We didn't do that. We lost our composure. We started off pretty good and then we fell apart, throwing the ball away. Last time I checked, we were wearing burgundy, they were wearing white. We were throwing it to white shirts. We panicked."

"Nobody played well. Nobody," he continued. "We didn't box, we threw the ball away, we didn't attack the basket, we didn't defend, we didn't do anything right. So all we can do, and sometimes good teams have days like that. I'm hoping we got it out of our system. We'll file this away, everyone will be honest with themselves and realize they didn't play well."

Recap: No. 24 C'Town 73, No. 21 Eastie 66

February, 1, 2012

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 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: Bp. Loughlin (N.Y.) 59, East Boston 54

December, 28, 2011

DORCHESTER, Mass. — East Boston (3-2) got tripped up in the first round of the Shooting Touch Shootout with a 59-54 loss to Bishop Loughlin (N.Y.) yesterday at the Kroc Center.

It wasn’t the performance that head coach Malcolm Smith has come to know from a program that has produced gritty, heady, defensive teams that locks down opponents and forces them to play at the Jets’ frantic pace.

Smith saw that for spurts, but didn’t see that team on a consistent basis yesterday.

The Jets were forced into 21 turnovers, several of them unforced and silly giveaways, and offensively they lacked any type of flow as only Will March (12 points) and Zack Gattereau (11 points) reached double figures.

“We were sloppy from the beginning of the game to the end of the game,” said an emotionally frustrated Smith after the game. “That was a poor performance. Anybody that has been associated with East Boston basketball knows that that was a poor performance.”

What made the game even more maddening for Eastie was the fact that it was still in the game until the very end.

Bishop Loughlin went on a 11-0 run that stretched from the end of the third quarter to the beginning of the fourth, but the Jets mounted with 12 of the next 13 points to grab a 53-52 lead with 2:08 left in the quarter.

Kenny Ramos had his hands all over a rebound, but some how it slipped through his grasp and right into the waiting arms of Khadeen Carrington, who scored a game-high 21 points, for a lay-in to take back the one-point advantage.

The Jets came right back down the next play and had a costly turnover and after a timeout, Michael Williams got free on the inbounds play all alone behind the Jets defense for the two possession advantage.

“I don’t know if it was the nerves of this crowd or what,” said Smith. “We didn’t deserve to win that game. We didn’t deserve to be that close at all. It was turnover after turnover.”

Shywann Spencer sunk two clinching free throws with 18.1 seconds on the clock to officially stamp home the win and a date against Hudson Catholic (N.J.) in the championship round tomorrow back at the Kroc Center.

“I’m not taking any positives out of this game,” said Smith. “That team beat us and they deserved to win.”


There were no shortage of whistles for physical play and handchecking during the game as East Boston finished the night with 26 calls against them, while Bishop Loughlin finished with 17.

When Eastie did get to the line, they couldn’t connect and finished 9-of-21 from the stripe.

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.”