Wednesday, January 11, 2017

O'Bryant Runs Away from TechBoston Academy Late

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

ROXBURY, Mass. - In the early going, O’Bryant has made it known that it is a force to be reckoned with in the Boston City League.

After a close loss to No. 8 Brighton earlier in the season, and convincing wins over Boston Latin Academy and Snowden, the Tigers kept their high level of playing going on Wednesday, using a dominant fourth quarter to knock off TechBoston Academy, 67-55, at John D. O’Bryant High School.

TechBoston (4-2) held a 46-45 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but O’Bryant (5-2) opened up the final frame with an 8-0 run to take a 53-46 lead – an advantage they never relinquished.

Tigers coach Drew Brock said the difference in the fourth quarter was his team’s aggressiveness.

“We did a really good job with a defensive trap,” said Brock. “For the first three quarters TechBoston was more aggressive, and getting every loose ball. In the fourth quarter we were able to change that and get the tempo in our favor.”

With O’Byant trailing by one entering the fourth, the Tigers turned to sophomore superstar Rivaldo Soares (15 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks) to take control.

After a Soares free throw evened the game up at 46, O’Bryant’s vaunted half court trap forced a TechBoston turnover, which turned into O’Bryant’s first lead since the start of the second half when Emmanuel Exilhomme knocked down a three-pointer.

The Tigers continued to keep their foot on the gas pedal, as after a Soares missed free throw, Soares was able to get the rebound and tap it back out to Romario Ebanks, who swished a three from the corner to put O’Bryant up 53-46.

TechBoston got back within five, 53-48, on a runner by Walter Drew-Hollins (20 points).

O’Bryant was not going to be denied, however, as a Kobe Smith (17 points) three-pointer from the wing with under three minutes to go gave the Tigers an insurmountable 57-48 lead.

“When we let teams run on us we make it easier on other teams to get fast break points,” said Drew. “I try to switch defenses up, two or three per quarter, to keep the other team’s offense honest. In the fourth quarter I stuck with the 1-3-1 to go with the trap to get ourselves into a rhythm.”   

As anticipated, these two teams showcased the bitter rivalry that exists between the sides in the early going, as a fast paced, physical opening few minutes set the tone for the game.

Lead by Soares, who scored four first quarter points, the Tigers took a 13-8 lead after one.

The second quarter, however, belonged to Drew-Hollins. The junior guard displayed his length and athleticism, coming away with three steals and eight points in the frame to help pull TechBoston back within one, 27-26, heading into the half.

TechBoston’s momentum continued into the start of the third quarter, when it appeared for a momentum that it was going to the Bears who ran away the contest.

Trailing 32-29, Drew-Hollins began the TechBoston run by hitting a floater.

After Shamar Moore (14 points) hit a three to put the Bears on top, 34-32, Drew-Hollins took control once again.

He hit consecutive free throws to extend the TechBoston up to four, and proceeded to steal the ensuing inbounds pass and put it right up for an and-one lay up to give the Bears a 39-32 lead, their largest of the game.

O’Bryant closed the gap before the end of the quarter as eight combined points from Soares and Ebanks brought the Tigers back within one heading into the fourth quarter.

“In the fourth quarter we played team basketball,” said Soares. “In the first half I thought a lot of our turnovers were from our guys trying to just play one-on-one. That certainly changed and the scoreboard proved that.”

The Tigers now turn to their non-league slate, where tough tests against No. 2 BC High and No. 7 Catholic Memorial await.

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