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No cakewalk for Brighton against South Boston

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs  February 20, 2013 07:57 PM

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South Boston's Marcus Campbell (left) has just stolen the ball from Brighton's Malik James and James dives to try and get it back. Brighton defeated South Boston in the semifinals of the Boston City League tournament on Wednesday at Madison Park. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

After not beating a single team with a current record above .500, South Boston showed it could compete with one of the best teams in state in the semifinal round of the city basketball tournament.

Even though the Knights lost to Brighton, 63-53, South Boston showed poise and determination as they went in to the fourth quarter down by just 1 point.

“Hats off to that program,” Brighton coach Hugh Coleman said. “They made it this far. They earned themselves a spot in the city championship.”

Losing their previous game to BC High by 31 points didn’t exactly help give the South conference winners momentum going into the game. However, coach Jeremy Silva said effort was something his team would not lack in the city tournament.

“That’s all we’ve been on our kids about. Playing hard, representing our school, representing our [conference], not wanting to be embarrassed in such a big setting and that was much improved today,” Silva said.

South Boston certainly was not embarrassed. Going in to the half trailing 30-21, the Knights opened the third quarter on a 17-9 run to cut the game to trail by only 1 point.

After Brighton scored coming out of a timeout, junior Jamari Jackson hit a 3-pointer with 2:27 left in the quarter to tie the game 41-41. The guard had 7 of his 9 points in the third quarter.

“Jamari just had it in his mind he was going to do whatever he needed to do to help his team win,” Silva said. “He did what he needed to do and in the third quarter we needed offense and he stepped up.”

Shortly after Jackson tied the game, senior Phil Lodge got to the line on an aggressive drive and knocked down both of his free throws to give South Boston a 2-point lead.

The forward also had the tough task of controlling the South Boston backboard against a much bigger Brighton team. He also had to do it while playing through illness.

“I was impressed with Phil tonight. He’s definitely sick, he’s really not feeling well at all,” Silva said. “I was actually afraid to take him out of the game and have him sit because I was afraid if he sat back down he wasn’t going to get back up.”

The senior and his fellow Knights played valiantly and went in to the fourth quarter down 44-43.

The Bengals held South Boston to just 7 points in the fourth quarter and ultimately won, but for a team that lost to East Boston, Dorchester and Brighton by an average of 27.3 points in the regular season, the Knights' effort could not be dismissed.

“Their effort is tremendous. They play hard, they make plays,” Coleman said. “[Basketball] has to do with confidence and if you come out and you believe in yourself and you work hard, anything’s possible and they were close to shocking everyone.”

South Boston will resume play in the state tournament next week.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • 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 jrice.globe@gmail.com. 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 butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.