Friday, March 9, 2018

Late Surge Lifts Burke to First Sectional Title in 20 Years

Photo by Eamon Convey 

By: Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612) 

In an effort to claim their first sectional title in 20 years, Burke saved its best for last.

Trailing by one with just under two minutes to go, the Bulldogs closed on an 11-2 run highlighted by a steal and score from Devante Jamison as No. 3 Burke defeated No. 1 Apponequet, 70-62, to win the Division 3 South Sectional title on Friday night at Taunton High School.

The win gives Burke its first sectional championship since 1998 when they defeated Duxbury.

Burke will take on the winner of St. Mary’s and Watertown on Tuesday night at the TD Garden.

“Taking over this program four years ago that wasn’t thought of as a basketball school," said Burke coach Sean Ryan. "I’m so proud of how these guys, how hard these guys have worked, how they’ve grown off the court, and it’s great to finally see them rewarded on the court."

In a second half that saw 14 different lead changes, Apponequet hoped to be the receipient of the final one as Andy Johnson (27 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) finished a cross court feed to give the Lakers a 60-59 with 1:50 left.

Burke came right back the other way as Bryan Desir (19 points, 4 rebounds) finished through contact to give the Bulldogs a one-point edge.

Desir missed the ensuing free throw but McCarthy Akinkouye corralled the offensive rebound and finished to give the Bulldogs a 63-60 lead.

The Bulldogs jumped into their full court pressure right off the made basket, and Jamison came through with the biggest play of the game picking the pocket of Johnson and laying it in at the other end to give the Bulldogs a five point advantage with a minute left.

“I just love playing defense,” said Jamison. “Defense shapes my whole game. Even with four fouls I’m not going to stop. I see a steal, I had to go get it.”

Jamison tallied 10 points, seven assists, and four steals. 

Two Johnson free throws pulled the Lakers back within four, but Desir converted at the rim off a Jonah St. Germain steal to seal the Bulldogs win.

Both teams came out running looking to push the pace and get out in the open floor.

Burke grabbed an 18-17 lead on a Desir triple, but the Lakers responded with an 11-0 run that encompassed the end of the first and beginning of the second quarter.

Johnson scored the first eight points of the spurt before Adam Seablom put on the finishing touches with a catch-and-shoot trey.

Burke came back to close the gap before the half. Akinkouye scored five straight and Levar Williams splashed a transition trey to highlighted a 10-2 run that evened the score at 30.

Johnson scored consecutive baskets to give the Lakers a four point lead once again, but a trey from St. Germain and a free throw from Jamison evened the score at 34 going into the locker room.

No comments :