Monday, January 23, 2017

MIAA Top 25 Boys Basketball Poll: 1/23/17

Needham shot up our rankings after a big win over Newton North Friday night.
Our rankings of the best teams in the state during the 2016-17 basketball season, as selected by our panel of staff writers and correspondents. (Updated 1/23)

1. Cambridge (11-0; Last Ranking  –  1): The Falcons returned from a triumphant trip to Springfield and promptly steamrolled conference opponents Waltham and Lincoln-Sudbury

2. BC High (12-0; Last Ranking  –  2):  Pushed to the brink in a narrow overtime win at St. John’s Prep last Friday, the Eagles maintained their undefeated season with a hard-fought 12th win.   

Friday, January 20, 2017

No. 2 BC High Needs OT to Survive No. 6 St. John's Prep's Upset Bid

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

DANVERS, Mass. - BC High guard Travis Evee was concerned that his only opportunity had gone by the board. Luckily for him and his teammates, it hadn’t.

With BC High knotted up with their Catholic Conference rivals St. John’s Prep at 60 and under five seconds to go, Evee got into the paint and pulled up, only to have his mid-range jumper hit the back iron to send the game to overtime.

In the extra frame, Evee (22 points) acquired a second chance to be the game's hero, and this time he delivered. The junior point guard drove to the basket, maneuvered through traffic and hit the game winning layup as No.2 BC High knocked off St. John’s Prep, 70-68, on Friday night at St. John’s Prep High School.

Evee said coach Bill Loughnane told him to go straight to the basket.

Mendes and Cappadona Lead Marlboro Past Groton-Dunstable

By Jason Siegel (@jasiegel1821)

With four teams in Mid-Wach B (Nashoba, Westborough, Groton-Dunstable, and Marlborough) having at least eight wins, the best way to separate them is to see the results when two of the teams go head-to-head.

On Friday night in Marlborough, the Marlborough Panthers (9-2, 4-0 Mid-Wach B) added a 66-48 victory over the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders (8-2, 2-2 Mid-Wach B) to their résumé.

In a game where Marlborough led from start to finish, the Panthers were paced by starting guards Joao Mendes and Owen Cappadona. Mendes led all scorers with 22 points, while Cappadona contributed 19 points and 8 rebounds.

Shaughnessy leads No. 9 Needham to thrilling overtime win over No. 4 Newton North

Needham junior Thomas Shaughnessy denies Newton North's EthanWright the ball in the fourth quarter

By Nate Weitzer (@Nweitzer7)

NEEDHAM, Mass. – Thomas Shaughnessy is one of the most talented prospects in the state of Massachusetts, but sometimes talent pales in comparison to the sheer force of an indomitable will. 

As he’s done all season, Needham’s junior guard carried the Rockets offense in a meeting with rival Newton North. Yet it was his defensive efforts on Tigers superstar Ethan Wright that allowed the Rockets to come back from a seven-point halftime deficit to force overtime and defeat their rivals, 59-52, in a thrilling conference game.

“Thomas [Shaughnessy] is the best we’ve had here in a long time,” said Needham head coach Paul Liner. “He really willed us to victory tonight.”

NFL Conference Championships Primer (With Picks): The Road To Houston

Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler covering All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown should be one of Sunday's best matchups.
By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin) and Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

We have about seven hours of football left until we know which two teams will head to Houston and battle it out for Super Bowl 51. Based on how the regular season went, we got the two teams you probably expected to see out of the AFC (you could make a case for Oakland, I guess, but Derek Carr's injury took care of that), and while we didn't get the teams you would expect from the NFC, we did get the No. 2 seed in the conference and the team that beat the No. 1 seed, so you can't say the teams are undeserving.

Most fittingly, though, is the quarterbacks who we have left. We have the two who finished as the best quarterbacks in the league by virtually any metric under the sun (Ryan and Brady), a quarterback on a nine-game winning streak with a QB rating in the ballpark of 120 (Rodgers), and a quarterback with two Super Bowl rings who has all the potential in the world to throw for 500 yards and 5 touchdowns on any given Sunday (Roethlisberger).

And think of the potential Super Bowl matchups. Patriots-Packers. Patriots-Falcons. Falcons-Steelers. Packers-Steelers. Not one potential dud. That wouldn't have been the case if the Chiefs or Giants had advanced this far. Let's all consider ourselves lucky.