The size of Latin Academy was just too much for a resilient East Boston team in Friday night’s north division matchup.
LA (4-2) closed the last six minutes of the game on a 19-5 run to come away with the 58-41 win over the Jets. Six of those 19 points came from sophomore center Catherine Loney, who led the way in scoring for the Dragons with 18 points. She credits the amount of practice time she’s put in to her post moves.
“I like to post up and just go hard and go up with it,” Loney said. “I’m in the gym seven days a week, so I don’t take breaks. ”
She certainly did not take a break in this game. She and rest of the Latin Academy front court, owned the East Boston backboard all afternoon.
“We will be doing some boxing out drills, that’s for sure,” said East Boston coach Phil Brangiforte. “We’re small and the last few games, that’s what we’ve been getting beat on, the boards.”
Despite this, East Boston rallied in the third quarter. With 3:08 to go in the quarter and LA up 31-21, junior guard Chuckearah Johnson, who led the Jets with 22 points, hit a step back 3-pointer to start a 7-0 run for East Boston.
“We picked up on the defense, we went to the press. I think that’s what brought us back,” said Brangiforte.
The East Boston full-court press produced a surplus of turnovers, making it difficult for the Dragons' guards to even cross the half court. With the lead cut to 3, coach Emily Hunter-Coleman called a timeout.
“You all need to figure this out,” Coleman said to her players.
Coleman described how senior guard Briana Willis stepped up in the huddle and addressed her teammates on how, as a team, they were not playing at their level.
“I think it took that emotion and that fire in her eyes to let the girls know this is not us and it wasn’t. That’s why we picked it up,” Coleman said.
The speech had an immediate effect with an inspired senior guard Ayjah Willis drawing a foul on the next possession on a hard drive to the basket.
Once the fourth quarter came along, it was all Latin Academy.
“We tend to make mistakes and we know what to do to. It’s all mental. A mental breakdown starts to happen but we just told ourselves we got to stay strong and fix the mistakes we were doing. We don’t want to lose to a team like this,” Loney said.
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