East Boston is still flying high.
Just like in their semifinal victory Thursday against O'Bryant, the Jets (17-5) took a big lead against Charlestown in yesterday's boys' Boston City championship game, nearly lost it, then hung on to take a 71-69 win at Madison Park to earn their second straight title. It was the first loss of the season for the Townies (20-1).
"If you've been following us all year, you know how it's a seesaw and the best thing I can say is you're ridin' with the Jets, so buckle up," Eastie coach Malcolm Smith said. "One of the things is we're always letting teams get back in and that's something we have to work on. But today, man . . . those kids were hungry and they weren't letting this one slip for nothing."
Charlestown trailed, 42-27, at the half, but cut the deficit to 1 after back-to-back 3-pointers from junior Charlie Haymon and senior Greg Hackett made it 57-56 with 6:44 left. The Jets answered with a basket from forward Tyrone Figueroa, then got a 3-point play from tournament MVP Derrick Foster (17 points) to make it 62-56.
With less than 4 minutes to play and facing a 10-point deficit, junior Shabazz Napier and Hackett (12 points) started a 9-0 run for Charlestown. But the Townies could not overtake East Boston. The teams traded free throws in the final minute, including a foul on Charlestown that was offset by a technical on the Jets' bench with one second left, each team making 1 of 2 shots. Charlestown's bid for a comeback failed when Napier's 3-point shot at the buzzer fell short.
"The thing that makes us win is our defense and our defense was not there in the first half," said Townies coach Steve Cassidy. "We picked it up in the second half, but it's tough to come from that far down. There's just no room for error."