For all the success Cory McCarthy has had with both the boys’ and girls’ New Mission basketball teams, he hasn’t been able to replicate it at the Boston City League tournament.
After founding both New Mission’s basketball programs in 2003, McCarthy led the girls’ team to a state title in 2007 and won back-to-back boys’ state championships in 2010 and ’11. He also played a crucial role in the program getting its own gym at the former Hyde Park Education Complex this year.
But McCarthy has never won a city championship.
In fact, his combined city tournament record with the boys’ and girls’ teams only improved to 2-6 on Wednesday night after the Titan’s boys defeated Dorchester, 53-37, in the semifinals at Madison Park.
“Nobody wanted us to be here, as usual, but it’s good to get a city tournament win because I usually don’t get those,” McCarthy said.
The bald, bespectacled coach, who likes to play the role of the disrespected team with a chip on its shoulder, has a theory that the deck is stacked against him in the city tournament.
He said he has counted the fouls for and against his team in all of the city tournament games he has coached leading up to Wednesday. The result: 111 fouls called against his team and 61 fouls called against their opposition.
“Those are games coached by Cory McCarthy in [the city tournament],” he said while watching the New Mission girls beat Latin Academy in the semifinals on Tuesday night. “[The city tournament] isn’t meant for me. New Mission isn’t going to get any breaks in the city tournament.”
So what was the foul count on Wednesday night?
New Mission 22; Dorchester 14.
See what I mean, that’s an eight foul discrepancy,” McCarthy said. “Even when I win, I can’t win. We were getting mauled but it's all right.”
In the first half alone on Wednesday night, New Mission out-fouled Dorchester 12-8.
But New Mission also went into the half with a 35-14 lead after sophomore guard Juwan Gooding (game-high 21 points) scored 15 points and senior guard Percio Gomez and junior guard Shaquan Murray (9 points) hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close out the half.
Perhaps the biggest sign that New Mission’s city tournament fortune is starting to change is that it beat the upstart Bears with a depleted lineup.
In the last two weeks 6-foot-4-inch senior forward Isshiah Coleman went down with a high ankle sprain, 6-4 junior forward Fred Rivers went out for the year with a broken foot, 6-2 senior guard/forward Zachary Badohu fractured his ankle and junior forward Edward Tone is also out with a toe injury.
The biggest loss in that bunch is Coleman, who McCarthy said could only come back if they make the third round of the state tournament.
And that is exactly where Coleman’s presence will be missed the most since McCarthy has always maintained that the reason he doesn’t mind his city tournament woes are because he doesn’t get really fired up until the state tournament.
“If it isn’t the state tournament, I’m not ready to cut anybody’s throat,” he said Tuesday night. “That’s what it is, I’m trying to win the state tournament.”
First he will try to win his first city title at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday night at Madison Park against North conference rival Brighton.
Brighton beat New Mission twice this year, including making a 20-point comeback in the second meeting in a game that fans and parents were prohibited from attending because the first meeting between the two teams was so contentious.
If nothing else, Thursday night’s game should pad McCarthy’s foul tally in the city tournament.
“We’ll brawl with them tomorrow. No biggie," he said. "There will probably be 80 fouls tomorrow. I’m happy with that, that’s how I want it. The dirtier the better; the filthier the better.
"That’s how we want it. If the [referees] let a few things go tomorrow, no problem.”
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.