Monday, March 13, 2017

Brighton Shoots the Lights Out Against Whitman-Hanson in D2 EMass Final

Brighton scored the most points in a state semifinal since 2001
By Nate Weitzer (@Nweitzer7)

BOSTON – On Monday night, the TD Garden belonged to Brighton.

The North champion Bengals were on fire from the opening tip, and South champion Whitman-Hanson never stood a chance in the face of an unprecedented barrage of shooting and scoring, as Brighton rolled to a 94-48 victory in the Division 2 Eastern Mass Final, and advanced to the D2 state finals in Springfield this Saturday.

Nine different players scored during a 29-point first quarter for Brighton (22-5) and, while Whitman-Hanson (19-4) responded to trim the deficit to 10 at 33-23 midway through the second quarter, Brighton’s retort was a 12-3 run to go into the locker room up 45-26 at the half.

“Our seniors were very loose and very confident. You could see it in their eyes and then all of a sudden it became contagious,” said Brighton head coach Hugh Coleman. 

In the third quarter, senior leaders Jordan Galloway (17 points, 5 assists) and Tyrone Perry (11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) blew the game wide open by sparking a 31-7 run to make it 76-43.

“It’s my last year and I have to put everything on the line,” said Galloway. “At halftime I told the guys that I want to take [The Panthers] heart in the third quarter, and that’s what we did.” 

Brighton hit seven three-pointers in that frame between Galloway, Perry and junior Laqu Howard (13 points, 2 assists), who was a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Senior Willie Veal added three triples to help the Bengals shoot a ridiculous 12-of-22 from deep until the reserves came in during the middle of the fourth quarter.

By the end of the game, all 13 players on Brighton’s roster managed to record a bucket in front of a vivacious crowd. 

“We try to go as deep as we can and we have that luxury to be able to do go to our bench,” Coleman said. “I’m very happy for the young guys and for their families that everyone was able to get into the game and get a basket at the Garden.”

While the reserves put the icing on the cake, Brighton’s nine key rotational players combined for a complete effort the likes of which their coaching staff has dreamed about over the past couple of seasons.

“This group is young and talented and we had a lot of potential at an early age, but at first we didn’t win,” Coleman recalled. “Sometimes you don’t win because you have to earn it or you have learn how to win. And what we emphasize the most is that it’s not only about winning on the court. It’s about winning off the court in the classroom”

The Bengals, who reached the state finals in back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013, winning a state title the latter year, will look to add another championship with a win over Nashoba in the D2 State title game. 

One thing is for certain, this tight-knit group will not be rattled by the bright lights of Springfield’s Mass Mutual Center or Springfield College after lighting the TD Garden on fire with a prolific offensive performance.

“It’s the biggest stage, but we’re still going to play the same way and play with each other,” said Galloway. “Playing as a team goes a long way and we struggled at first, but we’re getting the hang of it.”

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