Friday, December 16, 2016

New Mission pressures Charlestown and runs away with an 83-63 victory

Charlie Mitchell pats twin Charles on the back after New Mission's big third quarter. Kevin Nunez (12) and Shaquille Murray (3) on the right

By Nate Weitzer

CHARLESTOWN, Mass – No matter whom they have on the roster, the New Mission Titans attack opponents in the same fashion.

In the second game of their Division 2 State Title defense, the Titans pressured Charlestown from the opening tip and eventually ran away with an 83-63 victory on the strength of a 31-point third quarter. 

Twin captains Charlie and Charles Mitchell led the way, as Charles (19 points, 8 steals) recorded six steals in the first quarter alone. The Titans produced 19 points off 13 turnovers throughout an impressive first half, but only led 38-27 due to some poor shooting (2-of-14) from three-point range.

Yet there was no panic from Titans head coach Cory McCarthy, as he preached patience during halftime and once again, elicited maximum effort from his players.

“It’s the same story,” confirmed McCarthy. “We try to pressure teams, turn the ball over, make our run and then hold on for dear life. It all comes from how we prepare, in a different style. That’s how we’re able to bring a certain effort level and play at a speed that most teams aren’t prepared for. It’s hard to duplicate that speed and communication that Charles and Charlie [Mitchell] have, and eventually our pressure wore [Charlestown] out.”

The Titans knocked down 4-of-7 attempts from long range en route to a 31-point performance in the third, as they opened up a 69-44 lead and put the game beyond much doubt with eight minutes left to play.

Seniors Alex Delarosa (9 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) and Kevin Nunez (11 points, 7 rebounds) came off the bench to spark New Mission in several close contests during their title run last season. Now those seniors are starting are playing an integral role as two of the better rebounders on a generally under sized roster. 

Charles Mitchell recognized the importance of creating turnovers with pressure because the Titans struggle to defend in the paint. 

“Without turnovers, we won’t score,” Mitchell explained. “We’re best off turnovers and that’s how we can go up a lot. Before the game Cory [McCarthy] always tells us that no team can keep up with us, so we just try to come out on fire and run until the other team can’t run anymore.”

Indeed, the Townies were able to stay close throughout the first half with 6-foot-6 sophomore Franklin Udeh (15 points, 9 rebounds) scoring down low, and Lionel James (10 points 5 rebounds) put up good numbers throughout the second half, but it simply was not enough to match the Titans high-powered offense.

Charles and Charlie Mitchelll (12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals) found their stroke from long range in the third quarter and new starter Shaquille Murray (13 points, 2 assists, 3 steals) contributed as a scorer and facilitator as well.

With the ball moving side to side, the Townies 2-3 zone became exposed and the Titans were able to capitalize with some hot shooting.

“[Nunez and Delarosa] saved us in the TD Garden last year and now it falls on them to take the next step along with Shaq Murray to help out Charles and Charlie [Mitchell]. We’re deep this year, but we have to keep the pace and hope that teams get tired.”

That formula has worked for McCarthy in each and every appearance against Charlestown over the last five years. He’s now 5-0 in his career at Charlestown High and this marks his final appearance since he plans to move on from coaching at New Mission after this season. 

“There’s always a lot of Charlestown mystique and it’s always great to beat Charlestown,” McCarthy said about his winning ways against one of the most storied programs in the state. 

“I’m glad I get to go out without dropping one here, because this is one of the better atmospheres in the city.”

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