|Rivaldo Soares and the high-flying Tigers are through to the Division 2 South semifinals|
BOSTON - There is always something special about watching a Boston City League boys’ basketball game, and at Latin Academy in the Division 2 South quarterfinals, this proved to be true once again.
On a Friday night where a second quarter surge from fifth-seeded O’Bryant (17-6) certainly helped them to their 88-76 victory over fourth-seed TechBoston, it was the play of Eighth-grade point guard Dasonte Bowen that won the game.
“Whatever I’m going to say right now, probably is not going to give [Bowen] his just due: He simply was the best player on the court in the second half,” said O’Bryant coach Drew Brock.
After jumping out to a 20 point lead at halftime, 49-29, thanks in large part to the play of senior Romario Ebanks (19 points) and sophomore Rivaldo Soares (23 points, 10 rebounds), O’Bryant struggled mightily in the second half to find any offense.
TechBoston (17-6), with their season hanging in the balance, came out of the half playing a high intensity style of full-court trap defense that frankly left the Tigers dazed and confused in an attempt to score.
Bowen, though, was able to break the press himself, dribbling through double teams and using his ball handling skills to attack the rim or dish it off to reset the offense. He finished the game with 18 points, but even that doesn’t tell the whole story of how important he was to his team down the stretch.
The Bears struggled on offense to begin the second half as it seemed like almost every shot they got at the rim had to be adjusted due to the length of Soares down low. Their play on defense, however, kept the game within reach at 64-46 by the end of the third quarter - and you knew they had one more run in them.
Junior Walter Dew-Hollins (23 points, 9 rebounds), freshman Shamar Browder (18 points), and junior Shamar Moore (16 points) started to find their rhythm, and within a span of two minutes TechBoston snapped off a 12-3 run to trim the deficit to 11, 81-70, with 1:57 to play.
But for the Bears, it was too little too late. A beautiful dish on the wing from junior Chinaedu Oguchiente to the 6-foot-5 inch Soares, who threw it down over two defenders for the slam, pushed the O’Bryant lead out to 85-70 with a little over a minute remaining and booked the Tigers trip to the Division 2 South quarterfinals
O’Bryant will face either top-seed Falmouth or eighth-seeded Scituate who play in Falmouth tomorrow at 5pm.
“The one thing I do know is that Falmouth is tough, but I know they don’t have the schedule that we played,” said Brock.
The second half was shaky to say the least for O’Bryant, but in their second quarter offensive explosion they showed just how dangerous they can be.
The Tigers shot 12-for-20 on field goals in the second quarter, that included 4-for-6 from three-point range. Ebanks contributed with three of those shots from deep and everything was so fluent in terms of their offensive movement and rhythm.
“I knew they were going to apply a lot of pressure and I tried to tell my guys ‘let their pressure turn into us getting fast break opportunities," said Brock.