Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Suite 16: Our MIAA Boys' Basketball All-State Team & Award Winners

Division 1 state champion Cambridge is well-represented on our All-State team and among our Award Winners.
By SuiteSports Staff

Another MIAA boys' basketball season has come to a close, and SuiteSports is proud to unveil its first ever All-State Boys' Basketball Team and Award Winners. The team and awards below were selected by a number of editors and reporters from across the state. But, if you feel the need to yell at anybody, you can find editor Joe Parello on Twitter here.

While we certainly encourage debate about our picks, we will not tolerate attacks on individual kids in the comments section. Please, keep it classy folks.

The Suite 16

First Team

G – Jakigh Dottin, Sr., Cambridge

Dottin led the Falcons to a second straight Division 1 state title and an undefeated record while averaging 14.5 points, 6 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. Still, his biggest contributions could very well have been his intangible leadership skills as a four-year starter for his uncle and head coach Lance Dottin.

G – Thomas Shaughnessy, Jr., Needham

Needham climbed on Shaughnessy’s back to win the first South sectional title in school history. The crafty lefty finished with averages of 23 points, 4 assists and 2 steals per game while holding down the opposition's best offensive player on a nightly basis.

G – Ethan Wright, Jr., Newton North

While the Tigers suffered a heartbreaking loss to rival Newton South in the first round of the state tournament, Wright did his part with 41 points and 10 rebounds in a losing effort. One of the best pure scorers in the state, the junior averaged 27 points per game and is drawing serious interest from D1 colleges throughout the country.

F – Carl Pierre, Sr., BC High

Pierre was another truly dynamic two-way player and the unquestioned leader of an Eagles squad that graduated longtime floor general Jack Loughnane. Offensively, he averaged 20 points per game while shooting over 50 percent from the floor, and he also contributed defensively with averages of 7 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. At 6-foot-4, Pierre could guard, essentially, any position on the floor, and that versatility makes him a legitimate D1 collegiate prospect.

C – Dimon Carrigan, Sr., Cambridge

An unstoppable force throughout the state tournament for a second consecutive year, Carrigan was undeniably the biggest factor in Cambridge’s repeat championship. He averaged 15.6 points, 17.2 rebounds and 7.8 blocks over six postseason contests, while single-handedly deterring the opposition from attacking the basket.

Coach - Paul Liner, Needham High School

Liner pushed all the right buttons on Needham's run to a sectional title, but more on him later.

Second Team

G – Alex Rivera, Jr., Lowell

Rivera gave Cambridge heart palpitations with a ridiculous 37-point performance in a losing effort during the D1 North semifinals. He terrorized defenses all year with averages of 23.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, and did his best work when the lights were brightest, with a combined 97 points and 26 rebounds over three state tournament games.

G – Nick Timberlake, Sr., Braintree

The leading scorer in the state averaged 28.1 points per game on scalding 51 percent shooting from the field and 45 percent shooting from long range. Timberlake cracked the 40-point barrier on multiple occasions while carrying Braintree into the state tournament.

G – Travis Evee, Jr., BC High

Right alongside Pierre all year and, at times the most clutch player in the Eagles' offense, Evee averaged 18 points, 5 assists and 2 steals per game as a junior. He hit a game-winning three to down Newton North in Comcast/Board 27 Classic, before out-dueling Mykel Derring and Brighton with an incredible shooting performance the following night.

F – Tyrone Perry, Sr., Brighton

In his final act with the Bengals, Perry carried his team back from a second-half deficit and led Brighton past Lynn Classical in a 79-73 thriller to win the D2 North sectional title, then, eventually, a state championship. Perry averaged 16.2 points, 8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2 steals per game during his senior season and finished his career with 1,423 points.

F/C – Jorge Torres, Jr., Springfield Central

One of the most athletic and versatile bigs in the state, Torres powered Springfield Central to a Division 1 Western Mass championship, leading the Golden Eagles with 16.4 points per game. Throughout the year, Central's arrival as the team to beat in WMass was heralded multiple times by Torres, perhaps most emphatically in the form of a dunk he unleashed against rival Putnam at January's Hoophall Classic.

While his team's season ended in disappointing fashion after a would-be buzzer beater was called back against Franklin in the D1 state semifinals, Torres did begin the season scoring in double-figures for 17 consecutive games, and will be one of the most feared players around when next year tips off.

Third Team

G – Ghared Boyce, Jr., Everett

Boyce came alive in the second half and nearly carried Everett to a comeback win over Central Catholic in the D1 North semifinals. Unfortunately for the Crimson Tide faithful, his last-second three-point attempt clanged off the iron, as Everett fell in the sectional semifinals for a fifth consecutive year.

G – Corey Olivier, Jr., Maynard

As a junior, Olivier brought the first state championship home to Maynard. His defense was impressive in a blowout win over St. Mary’s (Lynn) in the state finals and he won an individual battle with Hopkins Academy star Sam’i Roe while dropping 21 points in the state semifinals. We’re excited to see what Olivier can do in his final high school season.

G – Colin McNamara, Sr., Arlington

The engine behind Arlington’s undefeated run into the state tournament, McNamara left it all out on the floor with 30 points in a loss to eventual D2 state champion Brighton. Overall, he averaged 19 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals per game in his final campaign for the Spy Ponders.

G – Calvin Cheek, Sr., Boston Cathedral

Cheek put up a quadruple double on multiple occasions this season and totaled 12 steals in a 100-point performance for Cathedral during the D4 South finals. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they were unable to get past St. Mary’s (Lynn) in the state semifinals for a second consecutive year, but Cheek’s marked improvement on both sides of the ball was impressive to witness.

F – Sam Goldberg, Sr., Mansfield

While his individual numbers don't necessarily jump off the page, Goldberg exemplified what the Hornets do on both sides of the ball with his fundamental defense and excellent screen setting as a big man. The Hockomock League MVP was an integral part of Mansfield's run to the South sectional finals.

Honorable Mentions:

Charles Mitchell, Sr. G, New Mission

Nate Hobbs, Jr. G, St. John’s Prep

Luke Tamulevich, Sr. G, Whitman-Hanson

Jordan Galloway, Sr. G, Brighton

Michael Boyd, Sr. G, Malden Catholic

Matt Delahunt, Sr. G, Hanover

Sam’i Roe, Sr. G, Hopkins Academy

Kareem Octavien, Sr. G, Cambridge

Spencer Patenaude, Sr. G, Concord-Carlisle

Rivaldo Soares, Soph. F, O’Bryant

Connor Peterson, Sr. F, Franklin

Chris Doherty, Jr. F, Marlboro

Dominic Black, Jr. F, Arlington

Ulyen Coleman, Sr. F, Catholic Memorial

Colin Bradanese, Jr. F, Central Catholic

John Korte, Jr. C, Watertown

SuiteSports' 2016-17 MIAA Basketball Awards

Player of the Year: Dimon Carrigan, Sr., C, Cambridge

As a wide-eyed freshman, Carrigan was stunned to hear about the rich history of his new high school and learn that Patrick Ewing once led the Falcons to three consecutive state titles. Now he’s getting mentioned in the same sentence as Ewing after leading Cambridge Rindge and Latin to a second straight state championship.

The 6-foot-8 center grew rapidly early in his high school career, but his game was slower to develop. Yet, as a junior, Carrigan came alive at the ideal time for the Falcons with several triple-double performances late in the season, and a huge triple-double to down defending champion Catholic Memorial in the Eastern Mass. Final at TD Garden.

“As a sophomore, Dimon did not play a lot,” said Cambridge head coach Lance Dottin. “But to watch his offensive game evolve has been impressive and his ceiling is so high. He’s really turned a corner in terms of his maturation to the point that he’s probably the best player in this area, and that’s a credit to his work ethic.

This year, a state championship never seemed to be in doubt for Cambridge, and it was mostly because of Carrigan’s imposing presence. He blocked 211 shots during the regular season and tallied 43 rejections while averaging 15.6 points and 17.2 rebounds over six postseason games. His improved outside touch and stroke from the free throw line made the senior virtually unstoppable and left little debate as to who was the most dominant player in the state this season.

Offensive Player of the Year: Thomas Shaughnessy, Jr., SG, Needham

Throughout the entire season there may have been no player more valuable and instrumental to their team’s success than Needham’s Thomas Shaughnessy. The junior shooting guard, who stands at six-feet, 165 pounds, showed off a terrific offensive arsenal all season long.

When not pouring in treys from well behind the arc, the left-handed shooter was often found befuddling opposing defenders with his ball-handling, faking the dribble drive only to step back and drill a mid-range jumper. Not only was Shaughnessy’s shooting impressive, but he showcased his talents as a facilitator throughout the entire state tournament.  On a regular basis Shaughnessy could be seen driving into the lane using his opposite hand, only to dish it off to a teammate standing at the foul line, or kicking it out to the corner for a three-pointer.

“Thomas Shaughnessys don’t come around very often” said Needham coach Paul Liner. “You see it not only on the floor, but the way that he handles kids in practice and in the huddle. His success this year is directly related to his work ethic and passion for the game. Thomas is the first to arrive to practice and the last to leave.”

In the Rockets' key win over BC High in the South sectional semifinals, Shaughnessy poured in 22 points, but his two most influential plays to decide the outcome of the contest were both assists – one to Brandon Monheimer for a corner three, and the other to Will Cooper for an and-one basket that put Needham ahead for good.  Shaughnessy finished his junior campaign averaging 23 points a game to go along with four assists, three rebounds, and two steals per game. He shot 44 percent from the floor and 41 percent from behind the arc for the season.

Defensive Player of the Year: Carl Pierre, Sr., SF, BC High

While BC High’s own Carl Pierre may be wildly known for his offense, he proved throughout the 2016-17 season that he is also the top defender in Massachusetts. At 6-foot-3, Pierre’s wingspan allowed him to defend all five positions on the floor. During the season, Pierre took up the reigns of guarding either the opposing team’s starting point guard or top scoring threat.

When BC High chose to go zone, the Eagles often relied on the Catholic Conference’s Most Value Player to be one of their top rebounders, and Pierre delivered. The senior averaged seven rebounds per game, five of which came on the defensive glass. Five times during the season Pierre came away with double-digit rebounds, including in the Eagles' first round tournament game, when he coupled 22 points with 12 boards. Perhaps most notable about his season, though, was his durability, as Pierre played for all but six minutes combined of the 23 games BC High played.

“Carl’s ability to cover opposing players from point guards to forwards made him as valuable on the defensive end as the offensive end,” said BC High coach Bill Loughnane. “His quickness gave him an advantage over most opposing offensive players.”

To go along with his rebounding, Pierre also became somewhat of a rim protector for BC High. Multiple times throughout the season Pierre came away with, in some cases, game-saving blocks. Notably, in the Comcast Tournament against Newton North, Pierre came from across the court to swat away a potential go-ahead layup in the game’s final minutes. On the season Pierre averaged 20 points per game on 50 percent shooting, to go with seven rebounds per game and two blocks per game.

Most Improved Player: Colin McNamara, Sr., PG, Arlington

This past season, Arlington took the whole state by storm, going undefeated in the regular season before putting up a fierce challenge against Brighton in the Division 1 North Semifinals. The fulcrum to that success, Colin McNamara, burst onto the scene this season showcasing a variety of talents both as a scoring threat and as a facilitator. 

One of just two seniors on Arlington’s roster, McNamara was heavily relied upon to produce on a nightly basis and all season long he delivered. Never one to shy away from the spotlight, McNamara’s talents were on full display in the Comcast Tournament championship game. In the Spy Ponders' 65-63 win over Malden Catholic, the Middlesex League’s Most Valuable Player scored 21 points while dishing out two assists.

McNamara had similar success in the Spy Ponders' postseason showdown with Brighton. In an attempt to will his team to a win, McNamara scored 26 of his team's first 45 points, before ultimately coming up just short.

“That Brighton game was tough, but to go out like that with 30 points against the top team in Division 2 – it made feel like I left everything out on the floor,” said McNamara. “I was one of only two seniors on the team so I knew had to be the best version of myself on the court every single game in order for us to be successful.”

Next season, McNamara will continue his playing career at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. For the year he averaged 19 points per game, eight assists, seven rebounds, and four steals.

Rookie of the Year: Chris Edgehill, Fr., PG, Franklin

Down 51-43 with twenty seconds to play in the state semifinals, Franklin’s magical run seemed to be coming to an end. But the Panthers happen to have a freshman with onions beyond his years, and Edgehill proceeded to hit two immensely clutch threes from the corner, along with two ice-cold free throws, to stun Springfield Central at DCU Center and punch Franklin’s ticket to the state championship.

As Franklin head coach C.J. Neely can attest, that was not the first time Edgehill exceeded expectations on a grand stage.

“Chris is a great player. He’s a young, but he’s played a lot more basketball than most kids have by the time they get to high school,” said Neely. “He plays year round, all over the country in high level tournaments, and the trust is always there when he’s on the floor. At the beginning of the year he was making some freshman mistakes, but he’s come a long way and really matured.”

All in all, the 5-foot-11 freshman averaged 10 points, 5 assists and 2.5 steals per game while leading Franklin to its first ever state finals appearance. The fact that he did it while attempting the fewest field goals of any player in the Panthers starting lineup speaks to both the efficiency and poise of the tough young guard, who happens to be the son of Jim Edgehill, a member of the 1986 state champion Cambridge Rindge and Latin squad.

Coach of the Year: Paul Liner, Needham

A number of coaches made their presence known over the course of the 2016-17 season, but no one left a greater mark on Massachusetts basketball than Needham’s Paul Liner.

Liner guided the Rockets to a Bay State Conference Title, steered them through a difficult Division 1 South field, and landed them their first trip to the state semifinals in school history.

Throughout the state tournament, the Rockets showcased a bevy of different defenses, at times switching between multiple sets during the course of a single quarter.

One key adjustment that took place midway through the year for the Rockets was Liner’s decision to change his starting lineup. Liner turned to a smaller lineup featuring Will Cooper, Matt Shaker, and Brandon Monheimer. The move paid off, with Cooper, Shaker, and Monheimer all coming up with key performances in the postseason that helped the Rockets topple the likes of BC High and Mansfield.

The most impressive aspect of Liner’s coaching was how he helped his team win in a variety of different ways. Needham proved it could win a game in the 80s, with an 81-72 win over Newton North at the Comcast Tournament, but also had the defense to slow teams down, limiting high-powered Brighton to 55 points. Liner's squad also showed the mental toughness to overcome a team that it had lost to earlier in the season, when the Rockets got past BC High in the state tournament.


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