EASTIE RALLIES TO TAKE DOWN MP

Dan Ventura Boston Herald

A game full of imperfections had a perfect ending. That is, of course, if you are an East Boston fan.

Trailing for most of the game, the Jets rallied from a 12-point deficit in the final seven minutes to force overtime. From there, East Boston took over in the extra session, outscoring Madison Park, 15-6, to take home a hard-fought, 91-82, victory last night at the Madidome.

It was a marathon affair to say the least as 61 fouls (according the official book) were called. East Boston was whistled for 12 in the first quarter alone (as opposed to two for MP) and watched as the Cardinal attempted a whopping 20 free throws in the opening eight minutes.

But that might not have been such as a bad thing as it turned out. In the old days, a trip to the free throw line was better known as the charity stripe. Well, it was no charity for MP, which made just 11-of-20 in the opening quarter and 33-of-63 (imagine getting 63 free throws in a game and losing?) for the contest. By contrast, EB was 23-of-39 from the line, eight of the attempts coming in the waning moments of overtime when MP was forced to foul.

Even with this disadvantage, the Jets still managed to be down by just three (17-14) at the break. Madison Park kept the lead through three quarters (59-50) largely on the strength of big man David Campbell, who was immense with 25 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots. With Campbell and speedy point guard Spencer Braithwaite (22 points, six rebounds, six assists) leading the way, MP carried a 62-50 lead into the final seven minutes.

But the walls started to cave in when Campbell was whistled for his fifth foul shortly thereafter. Without Campbell in the paint, East Boston received the jolt it needed and began attacking inside with a vengeance. Dion Ruff was a whirling dynamo for the Jets in the final quarter, scoring 11 of his 13 points in that stretch. His two free throws with 3.2 seconds gave Eastie a 76-75 lead.

Things weren’t easy for Eastie and you just had a chance something was going to happen in the final 3.2 seconds. It did as Braithwaite was fouled just as he was ready to shoot with 0.2 seconds left. He missed the first and made the second to force overtime.

Despite some serious foul trouble (Dimitry Coronel, Jeff Amazan, Elijah Chisholm, Tweet Wynn and John Flakes all fouled out for Eastie), the Jets took control midway through the overtime and never looked back. Amazan (18 points, five rebounds) and Walter Lewis (15) scored all 15 of Eastie’s points in the extra session to give them the wild win.

For Amazan, putting it to MP is old hat. Last year, as a member of Charlestown, Amazan help fashion one of the biggest comebacks of the season. Trailing by 17 with less than three minutes to go, the Townies rallied to win on a 3-pointer by Amazan from the baseline.

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