Sunday, February 26, 2017

MIAA Boys' Basketball State Tournament Preview and Picks

Cambridge's Jakigh Dottin. Photo courtesy of ESPN Boston and Brendan C. Hall.

 By SuiteSports Staff

Mass Madness is finally here.The MIAA boys and girls basketball tournaments start this week and you can find nightly coverage on SuiteSports through the state finals at Springfield College.

Here is our breakdown and predictions on the boys’ basketball brackets across the state:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Bartlett Tops Westboro for Clark Tournament Large Title

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

WORCESTER, Mass. - All season long, the Bartlett Indians have been known for their running and gunning offense, averaging close to 80 points scored per game.

But Saturday in the Clark Tournament large school final, it was actually a stellar first half defensive effort that allowed the Indians to hold onto a 72-61 championship win.

"We scouted (Westboro), and we knew the Doherty boys (Westboro twin brothers Mike and Matt Doherty) were both playing very well," Bartlett coach said. "They're both seasoned, even though they're only sophomores, so we came out in a triangle and two to take them away."

5 MIAA Boys' Basketball Tournament Storylines to Watch

Can anybody in D1 Central or West stop the versatile Sean Burke and St. John's (Shrewsbury)?
By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

With the regular season now out of the way, it is on to the postseason and, just like any other year, this season’s basketball state tournament brings with it a bevy of questions. Here are five different storylines to follow in this year's tournament. 

1. For Mansfield, is the fourth time the charm?

In each of the past three seasons, Mansfield has entered the tournament with state championship hopes, only for their season to come to a crashing halt at the hands of Catholic Memorial. Three years ago the Hornets fell to the Knights in triple overtime, before losing a seven-point lead in the south sectional finals in 2015. Mansfield then saw a tie game early in the fourth quickly slip away last season in the sectional semi-finals.

Shrewsbury Closes Dominant Regular Season With Emphatic Win Over Algonquin

By Billy Aubin

WESTBORO, Mass. - Call it a statement game. Fresh off of a less than inspired effort against Wachusett, which resulted in Shrewsbury tying the Mountaineers 3-3 for its first non-win of the season, the Colonials blew out the Algonquin Tomahawks 7-0 on Friday afternoon, their regular season ending in an impressive 19-0-1 record.

The Shrewsbury Colonials displayed dominance, leaving no question as to who the premiere high school team in Central Massachusetts is this season.

In the process, Coach Steve Turnblom notched his 100th career win as Shrewsbury’s bench-boss. Turnblom credits his program’s success to the high standard of character he expects in his team.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Final Regular Season MIAA Top 25 Boys Basketball Poll

Jerrod Clark and No. 6 Brighon strut into the state tournament after winning a BCL title
Our rankings of the best basketball teams in the state at the end of 2016-17 regular season, as selected by our panel of staff writers and correspondents. (Updated 2/24)

1. Cambridge (19-0; Last Ranking  –  1): The Falcons extended their winning streak to 40 at the Tuscan Brands Round Ball Classic before edging Central Catholic, 70-61, to finish their season. They’ll enter the D1 State Tournament as the odds-on favorites to repeat.

2. BC High (18-2; Last Ranking  –  2):  Travis Evee and Carl Pierre were transcendent in Comcast Classic wins over Newton North (63-62) and Brighton (77-73) as the Eagles sharpened their talons ahead of the state tournament.

3. Mansfield (20-2; Last Ranking  –  3): The Hornets will enter the D1 South bracket as the number one seed, but do they have what it takes to finally get past Catholic Memorial in a potential quarterfinals matchup?