Two days after East Boston senior guard Pat Santos nailed a miraculous full court buzzer-beater to defeat Madison Park by a point on Tuesday night, the media circus came to the East Boston High’s gymnasium.
And if things weren’t hyperbolic enough after the buzzer-beater was the No. 1 highlight on SportsCenter’s Top 10 on Wednesday, the Jets just happened to be hosting their biggest rival, Charlestown, on Thursday night.
But with a local TV news crew and several print reporters on hand, it was Charlestown that came out on top, 53-48, in another wild city league finish.
East Boston (4-1) had a 14-0 run down the stretch to cut Charlestown’s lead to 49-48 with 55 seconds left but junior guard Taris Wilson drew a foul while driving baseline before splitting the pair to put Charlestown (2-2) up by two points with 37.2 seconds on the clock.
“The other team was still stuck in the past but we came out here and woke them up,” Charlestown junior forward Alijah Robinson said after scoring a game-high 15 points.
“We weren’t worried about what they did to Madison but what we did to them.”
It didn’t seem like the hype got to Santos’ head as he hit the opening 3-pointer of the game from the left wing before junior guard Dion Knight hit a 3-pointer of his own to help the Jets start the game on a 9-2 run.
But after Santos missed a buzzer-beater from the top of the key at the close of the first quarter, No. 18-ranked East Boston only led 10-8 going into the second.
The Townies opened the second quarter with a 9-0 run to go up 17-10 with 5:42 left in the half. Eastie finally got on the board midway through the quarter and went on a 6-0 run to get within a point 17-16. Charlestown responded with its own 10-3 run to take a 27-19 lead into halftime.
The Townies seemingly cracked open the game with a dunk fest in the third quarter, closing the quarter with three dunks by three different players (Wilson, Robinson and Freddy Oliveira) during a 10-2 run that gave them a 41-31 lead going into the final quarter.
“It feels good, I love this gym,” said Robinson, who transferred from East Boston. “I got my first dunk in here. It feels good to come back in here and beat them.”
Robinson also hit two huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to go up 49-35 with 4:30 left, which was amazing considering Robinson injured his shooting hand against Brighton last week.
“I was like ‘Gee you shot the ball pretty well with a fractured hand all taped up,” Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso said. “I was surprised he was even hitting threes. I taped his hand and he was like ‘I’m ready coach.’"
While those shots could have easily sunk the Jets, that’s when they went on their 14-0 run, which was capped by a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Marcus Shaw, to cut the lead to 49-48 with 52.7 seconds left.
After Wilson’s foul shot put Charlestown up 50-48, Santos was called for a backcourt after he couldn’t handle a wild pass with 16.5 remaining.
Robinson said he was nervous Santos would hit another big shot at the buzzer.
“I was,” he said. “He’s good for that but we had to stick together and trust each other as a family and a team and pull through.”
Last year Charlestown took two of three regular season games against East Boston before beating the Jets 61-58 in the Division 1 North quarterfinals at East Boston High.
Thursday, first-year East Boston coach Shawn Brown, who played for Charlestown in the early 1990s, was coaching in the rivalry as a head coach for the first time.
“I enjoyed it, I thought the atmosphere was great, you could feel the intensity,” a hoarse Brown said after he has given countless interviews about the Santos buzzer-beater in the last few days. “I thought our guys were up for it in the beginning. I thought it was good, it was exciting.”
Just like in the Madison Park game, however, East Boston’s jets cooled after they got out to a good start.
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out, that’s what we’re trying to figure out because we do get out, we are up and at it,” Brown said. “It’s my job; I have to figure it out why they are not sustaining it.”
Meanwhile, Charlestown is starting to gel after they got blown out by New Mission and BC High in the first week of the season. On Tuesday the Townies upset Brighton, 62-44, for their first victory of the season.
“When you have 13 new players and two returners it takes time to build,” Cardoso said.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction. The practices have been headed in the right direction. We have been using more mouth pieces if you know what I mean.”
Cardoso was also happy to welcome Brown to the other side of the rivalry.
“East Boston is a great team every year,” he said. “We compete with each other. No team ever blows the other team out. It’s always under five points, four points. Shawn Brown is going to do a great job with this team.
“He actually coached me when I was younger so I learned a lot from him. He’s a great role model to his guys. I’m happy he’s coaching at East Boston now.”
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
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