Friday, February 16, 2018

Brookline Upsets Needham in a Thriller

By Kyle Schroeder (@kyschroeder81)

Brookline, Mass. - After losing earlier in the season to Needham 63-53, the gap between Brookline and the Rockets seemed sizable. With Needham coming off a big win Newton North, it seemed liked history was poised to repeat itself.

Except it didn’t.

Brookline at home was able to pull off the huge upset over Needham, winning 64-62 with Thomas Shaughnessy’s three-point attempt missing at the buzzer. It was a great battle throughout the entire the game, but it was really the fourth quarter that made this game one of the best of the year in the state.

At the beginning of the fourth, it looked like Shaughnessy had taken control of the game. He hit a pull up three to put his team up 48-43 and then got a steal on the very next possession and drew a foul. He hit both free throws to give the Rockets a seven-point advantage.

Needham opponents have seen this movie before. When Shaughnessy starts making big plays in the fourth quarter, it typically spells doom for the opponent.

Not for the Brookline Warriors.

Brookline responded by increasing the ball pressure on Needham and it paid off in a huge way. Needham started committing turnovers and that fueled the Warriors transition game, which resulted in Brookline smashing Needham with a 17-2 avalanche.

The key point in this run was Chris Camille’s ferocious dunk in transition that gave Brookline the 51-50 lead and sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Brookline sophomore guard Ben Murray (nine points) capped off the 17-2 run with a lay up in transition putting the Warriors up eight with around 3 minutes to go. After getting hit with this giant haymaker, Needham delivered a huge response.

Needham senior forward Brandon Monheimer (10 points) drained a corner three on the next possession, followed by Shaughnessy hitting a pull-up trey, and after a steal Monheimer was fouled shooting a three. Monheimer missed two of the three crucial free throws to keep the deficit at 60-59.

After a Camille travel, Shaughnessy attacked the basket trying to give the Rockets a one-point lead and instead junior forward Mark Barrett (10 points) blocked his shot. The block resulted in a Matt Price (10 points) layup going the other way giving a Brookline a 62-59 lead.

On the very next possession, Shaughnessy does what he usually does and made clutch plays. He drained a contested step back three to tie the game with around 15 seconds remaining. Giving him 29 points on the night, which led all scorers.

The Warriors with a chance to win the game drew up a beautiful play that got Andrew Geshickter (eight points) a wide-open three. The ball rimmed out and Camille used his elite size to grab the rebound and draw the foul. Camille calmly nailed both free throws to give the Warriors a two-point lead with six seconds remaining. Camille led all Brookline scorers with 15 points and two assists.

“Needham is an exceptional team,” said Brookline head coach Courtney Valentine. “They are a top tier team in the state and I’m extremely proud of my boys tonight. They showed a ton of resiliency and they never got down on themselves. Just a huge win for us.”

As wild as the fourth quarter was, the start of the game might have been just as wild.

Needham looked like it was going to roll to victory as they went on a 9-0 run to start the game forcing a Brookline timeout. The Warriors shockingly responded with a 15-1 explosion. This run made by Brookline was all about the versatility of Camille. Camille had an offense rebound put back, a beautiful dime to Murray for a corner trey, and a basket plus the foul after he pickpocketed a Needham player. Brookline took a 15-13 lead into the second quarter.

Over the next two quarters, it was a back forth affair with no big runs. Needham outscored Brookline 32-28 over the course of that time period.

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