The Spartans pulled out a tight victory against Mission on Wednesday night to bring home their first Under-18 title in the Boston Neighborhood Basketball League boys' championships.
Freddie Oliveria hit two clutch overtime free throws with 5.7 seconds left in overtime to give the Spartans the narrow 49-46 victory at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.
“Those were big free throws,” said Oliveria, who is going into his senior season at Charlestown High. “I was very nervous. We stuck together as a team. We were a little nervous, it’s the championship game. We got it together and we started playing together as a team and we got the W.
“We went away from what was working and the coach told us to go back to it and we went back to it. I’m just happy about the championship. It feels good.”
In the Under-13 championship, Lee School beat Money Team, 26-14. Abdul Meslin scored a game-high 8 points for Lee School while Julian Howell led Money Team with 7 points.
In the Under-15 championship game, the Rebels beat the Boston Titans, 46-29, thanks to Johnathan Cassers's game-high 16 points. His teammate Deven Palmer finished with 13 points while Izaiah Winston-Brooks and Omar Fontes-Jules each chipped in 7 points for the Boston Titans.
“I noticed we were struggling to get the ball past half court in the beginning of the game,” said Cassers, who attends the Academy of the Pacific Rim charter school in Hyde Park. “I told my teammates to look up and every time I got the ball I always looked up and I always tried to see the open man. And when I saw the open lane I just took it.
“It feels good to represent the area you’re from. It feels good go back home and tell everyone how I won and how we played better as a team.”
In the Under-18 game, Mission, which defeated the defending champion Lee School to reach the Under-18 championship game, were down 13-2 in the early going before battling back to trail, 26-24, at halftime.
Carlin Haymon, who scored a game-high 19 points, sank a pair of free throws with 4.7 in regulation to send the game into OT.
“We waited too late to execute, they executed the game plan but they missed a lot of foul shots,” Mission coach Charles Davis said. “We just didn’t play together. They played tough, I’m proud of them. Nobody expected us to get this far and I’m proud of them.”
Spartans' guard Ernie Chatman (12 points, six assists) was called for traveling with 15.4 seconds left in overtime as his team led, 47-46, Haymon had a chance to give his team the lead with 8.9 seconds left but he missed a layup after catching an inbound pass under the hoop.
Oliveria grabbed the rebound and Haymon spent his last foul and headed to the bench with 5.7 seconds left. In the meantime, Oliveria came up big at the line to clinch the victory.
“It’s fitting for him to make two free throws to put us up three because that kid has been through so much,” Spartans coach Joe Chatman said. “So many people expect so much out of him because of his size and for him to show that he had the grit and the toughness to make two free throws at the end shows you a lot about who he is and what he’s become over the last five years.”
Oliveria said the win gives him confidence going into his senior year.
“We just won the BNBL championship,” he said. “It feels good.”
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