Friday, January 6, 2017

New Mission maintains status as Kings of the City with another win over Brighton

From Left: Charlie and Charles Mitchell are the leaders for defending D2 state champions New Mission
By Nate Weitzer (@Nweitzer7)

BOSTON - It’s rarely pretty when New Mission and Brighton meet in their annual clash at Madison Park High and that’s just how the defending Division 2 state champions like it.

The Titans (4-3) started slowly in their latest meeting with Brighton (3-2), but eventually pulled away for a 78-70 victory over their conference rivals to maintain bragging rights in the Boston City League.

“It was a typical New Mission-Brighton game,” said Titans head coach Cory McCarthy. “It was ugly, messy and disgusting, but that’s the fabric of our team and the fabric of our program.”

Brighton set the tone throughout the first half and forced New Mission into an uncharacteristic 14 turnovers, but the Bengals only led 36-35 at the break after a late run led by Titans leaders Charles (7 points, 4 assists) and Charlie Mitchell (11 points, 2 assists, 2 steals) cut into the deficit.

Afterwards, Charlie explained how his team continued to grow in confidence as they hung around.

“We came out a little scared I’ll admit,” said Charlie. “It’s our rivalry and you might get jitters in big games like this. But after awhile we saw how [Brighton] was playing and we felt like, ‘We got this.’ First we test the waters and then we play New Mission ball.”

Even with starting forward Kevin Nunez departing the game early in the third quarter due to an apparent sprained ankle, the Titans continued to make their move. 

They committed just two turnovers during that period, while seniors Alexander Delarosa (15 points, 4 assists) and Darren Tsagaroulis (16 points, 12 rebounds) drove to the basket with determination to tie the game and eventually build a five-point lead.

“It had me sick,” McCarthy said about the high number of turnovers in the first half. “It’s pathetic when a team of all guards turns the ball over 14 times. It’s not what we do. We were undisciplined, and although we won the game I’m absolutely furious at my team right now.”

He added, “Once we started attacking the basket and stopped shooting threes it opened up better looks for us. That’s how we have to play.”

The Bengals made countered with points in the paint from Jordan Diaz (10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks) and a critical three-pointer from Mykel Derring (18 points), but Charles Mitchell provided an immediate response with a triple to keep New Mission up 63-58 early in the fourth quarter.

With Nunez out, McCarthy had to turn to another player at small forward and senior Daeshawn McLauglin (14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists) came up huge with seven straight points to expand New Mission’s five-point lead to 10 with just over a minute remaining in the game.

“Kevin [Nunez] is a big factor for our team and when he went down our hearts did drop, but we’re a team and we have a lot of talented players and we know that if they got an opportunity to shine they will shine,” said Charlie Mitchell.

While he wasn’t happy with the performance of his team at times, McCarthy was pleased to see the Titans get a win after they dropped two of their three contests during their annual trip to Florida over Winter Break. 

“It’s never been us to go into the New Year at .500 and we haven’t lost a game in-state in over a year, so I told the guys that we have to keep it going,” McCarthy said.

With yet another win over their conference rivals in typical New Mission fashion, it’s safe to say that the Titans have regained some momentum after a disappointing trip down south.  

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