New Mission’s full-court pressure was just too fast and disciplined on Friday.
Charlestown’s (4-8) guards could barely get past half court without getting swarmed by New Mission's defense, which propelled the Titans (8-3) to an 83-57 win.
“In high school, nobody [else] really runs a man press. We run a pretty strong man press. We got a lot of length on the backside, force people to the sideline, make people make perfect passes,” said coach Cory McCarthy. “It’s a luxury to have and we’re just taking advantage of a luxury.”
One of those guards wreaking havoc in the Charlestown backcourt was junior guard Kordell Harris. Harris, as well as junior guard Shaquan Murray, was able to come up with plenty of steals.
“Believe it or not, that was the game plan,” Murray said. “To play defense, pressure and attack. That’s how we were able to get turnovers and fast-break layups and shots.”
Coach Edson Cardoso recognized his guards were disturbed by the full-court pressure.
“It did give us some problems. I thought we did a better job against it in the beginning, but then got lackadaisical,” Cardoso said.
Murray also led the way for New Mission with 19 points, including three 3-pointers. Joining him in the offensive onslaught was junior forward Fred Rivers, who scored 16 points.
Rivers had the tall task of defending Charlestown’s Freddy Oliveria, who was held to 9 points. The two are familiar with each other after playing on the same team in offseason tournaments.
“He’s a great player, always brings the same intensity,” Rivers said.
McCarthy was also very high on Rivers’s activity, both offensively and defensively.
Practically every time Charlestown looked like they were going to make a run, Rivers either got a smooth jump shot to go or got himself to the free throw line.
“He’s one of the best players nobody knows,” McCarthy said. “I thought we showed we were the better team. We played better team ball.”
Half of Rivers 16 points came from the stripe.
“Free throws are very key to the game. For hours and hours your just shooting free throws and it’s time to show it in a game,” Rivers said.
With the score, 62-43, at the beginning of the fourth, Charlestown looked like it had one last run left. Senior forward Alijah Robinson, who led Charlestown with 22 points, got it started with a 3-pointer. Robinson came up with a steal on the very next play, resulting in transition dunk.
Both teams then traded free throws before Rivers and Murray hit back-to-back baskets for New Mission. Sophomore guard Juwan Gooding hit two free throws on the very next play off a New Mission steal.
Charlestown responded with a basket from junior guard Ryan Gunter. However, it led to Gooding making the most impressive shot of the night.
With the clock winding down, Gooding hit a step-back 3-pointer from the right side of the court, extending the New Mission lead to 25.
“He’s a good shooter, he can do that whenever he really feels like it,” Rivers said. “That’s my guy. I really appreciate him, glad he transferred.”
Gooding, who transferred from Milton, was able to provide a lift off the bench with 16 points.
“It’s a good test of character. Every once in awhile we got to find out who’s really for the team and he’s really for the team,” McCarthy said.
Despite the big win, McCarthy still does not think his first-place team is the best team in the city league.
“We lost to Brighton and until we beat Brighton, they’re the best team,” McCarthy said.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.
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