|Arlington poses with the Comcast/Board 27 Championship Trophy for Division 2 Boys|
By Nate Weitzer (@Nweitzer7)
MALDEN, Mass. - The rising tide lapped around the young Spy Ponders, threatening to drown them in a sea of disappointment.
They had just given up a 19-3 run to host Malden Catholic in the Division 2 boys’ final of the Comcast/Board 27 Classic, resulting in a 63-63 game with under a minute to play.
Arlington’s most important possession of the game seemed to be going nowhere, as the shot clock ticked down to three seconds and forward Dominic Black couldn’t find anywhere to go with the basketball from the elbow. Yet in desperation, the junior co-captain created some separation and hoisted a deep two that hit nothing to give the Spy Ponders a 65-63 lead with 2.7 seconds remaining and seal the win.
“Honestly, I was trying to get the ball to my point guard,” said Black. “It was a tough shot. [The Lancers] played good defense on me, but I was able to get it done.”
Arlington (19-1) opened a 39-24 lead at halftime by closing the second quarter on an 18-4 run. But Malden Catholic (12-7) came storming back in the second half thanks to tough interior play from senior forward Jonah St. Clair (22 points, 13 rebounds).
Curtis Philpot (10 points, 4 rebounds) and Michael Boyd (17 points, 3 assists) contributed three key lay-ups to cap the run and tie the game at 63 to the delight of their home crowd.
But the Spy Ponders were able to do quiet the raucous crowd on multiple occasions during the second half thanks to clutch shooting from freshman Bensley Jones (16 points, 5-for-11 from three) and strong play from point guard Colin McNamara (19 points, 2 assists).
“Both teams go on runs in every high school game,” said Arlington head coach John Bowler. “We went on our run early and [The Lancers] went on one late, but we kept our composure and we were able to hit big shots down the stretch.”
When asked about the clutch performance of his younger players, Bowler effused, “[Joseph and Black] played unbelievable tonight and they’ve done it all year for us. To do what Bensley Joseph does as a freshman is incredible. His nickname is Showtime and it shows because he’s not afraid to step up and take a big shot.”
While the Middlesex League champions are undefeated against conference competition and currently riding a 33-game home winning streak during the regular season, but this type of win against a legitimate D2 state title contender can put this program on the map.
“We came out to show that we’re not just a Middlesex [League] team and we can play with anyone,” said Black.
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Mike Boyd drains a 3 but Mc trails Arlington 16-13 late Q1 @GlobeSchools @HerewegoJoe pic.twitter.com/HlQju6suxa— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) February 20, 2017
Can Kelly finds Curt Philpot for hoop plus harm. FT no good and it's 21-20 Arlington mid Q2 pic.twitter.com/FjMXbHZBuu— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) February 20, 2017
Colin McNamara and-1. Arlington 33, MC 24 late Q2 as Spy Ponders go on a 12-4 run @GlobeSchools @HerewegoJoe pic.twitter.com/awentX9zz5— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) February 20, 2017
Boyd scores for MC but Arlington responds with an and-1. End Q3: Arlington 55, Malden Catholic 44. @GlobeSchools @HerewegoJoe pic.twitter.com/uHBfzY05wU— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) February 21, 2017
This freshman is cold. Fifth 3 from Bensley Joseph makes it 61-49 Arlington mid Q4 @GlobeSchools pic.twitter.com/ufXCpH7ZN8— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) February 21, 2017
Jonah St Clair has been a beast this half. And-1 to make it 61-55 Arlington 3:15 remaining pic.twitter.com/O7LM4lC5AN— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) February 21, 2017
Boyd scores and were tied 63-63 with :21.9 remaining. That's a 19-3 run from the host Lancers @GlobeSchools @HerewegoJoe pic.twitter.com/DUFvrfMHLs— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) February 21, 2017
Improbable shot from Dominic Black makes it 65-63 Arlington with 2.7 seconds remaining @GlobeSchools @HerewegoJoe pic.twitter.com/LiDeLUsxMy— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) February 21, 2017
D2 Boys Final at Comcast Classic: Arlington 65, Malden Catholic 63. @GlobeSchools @HerewegoJoe pic.twitter.com/Sm9RVowUr8— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) February 21, 2017