With the state qualifications on the line, a banged-up Charlestown team came back in the second half to defeat their rival.
After trailing by 8 at the half, the Townies (6-9) used their defense to take over the rest of the game, holding East Boston (9-5) to just six field goals for the entire second half to win, 67-48. East Boston was outscored, 40-13, in the second half.
“I told them if you lose tonight, you’re not making the state tournament, seniors this is it for you, so why not just leave it on the court?” Charlestown coach Edwin Cardoso said. “You guys are at home playing a great team but let's play with some heart, with some motors and intensity and they did it.”
Charlestown gave its coach the intensity he asked for by going on a 13-7 run to start the third. Junior guard Taris Wilson added to that run with electrifying dunk that sent the crowd into a frenzy. The dunk was 2 of 14 second half points for Wilson, who had been held to just one basket in the first.
“Picking up those three fouls early in the first half really got to me. I really got to thinking about how I can help my teammates and how I can just come out here and really be aggressive and not pick up any more fouls,” Wilson said.
Junior forward Freddy Oliveira was out with an ankle injury and junior forward Alijah Robinson was on limited time with a fractured hand and Wilson had to play the game with a hurt kidney and back spasms he suffered in Charlestown’s previous matchup against Brighton.
“I just try not to let it get to me. I know my team is playing for a spot in the states at this point, so I just got to go out and play hard in every single game left,” Wilson said.
With the injuries to the team. Cardoso came out with a much different starting lineup than seen in previous contests. Both Wilson and Robinson were on the bench and freshman forward Jovani Lopez Harper and sophomore center Chris Conway were given the start.
Conway was especially impressive, giving the Townies a lift with 16 points. He put the same amount of effort in to his defense on senior center Will March throughout the entire contest.
“I told Chris before the game, your job tonight is to make sure Will March does not get in to that blue paint. Every time a shot goes up, your only responsibility is to box out Will March,” Cardoso said.
While East Boston and Charlestown are known to be rivals, the Jets looked both mentally and physically defeated by the start of the fourth quarter.
“They wanted it more. They took our guys heart. Point blank. There’s nothing else to say about it. They took their heart. No fight in them,” coach Shawn Brown said after his alma mater completed the sweep against his team.
It was really the Charlestown’s defense that pulled them away from East Boston as the game went on. It looked like senior point guard Pat Santos was going to have a big game with 11 points in the first half, but the captain was held scoreless in the second.
“I’ve been looking for this all year round. In game 16, this is the best defense we’ve played all year and if we play that type of defense, we’ll be OK,” Cardoso said. “Yes we’re in tight pressure to win games but if they can bring it like that, we’ll be fine.”
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