It’s Mission at buzzer

By Dan Ventura / City Playoffs | Friday, February 19, 2010 | | Other High School

Photo by Herald file
It wasn’t quite the way New Mission basketball coach Cory McCarthy drew it up, but he wasn’t quarreling about the end result.

Osmel Odena took an inbounds pass, dribbled to the top of the key and banked in a 3-pointer as time expired to give New Mission (19-1) a stunning 68-67 victory over East Boston in a Boston City League semifinal last night at Madison Park. The Titans will take on No. 1 Madison Park, a 70-52 winner over Boston English in the other semifinal.

“I knew it was do or die,” said Odena, who missed the first meeting between the teams because of a family emergency. “As soon as I let it go, I felt pretty confident that it was going in.”

New Mission needed a big defensive stop to keep its flickering hopes alive. The Titans forced a Jets turnover off an inbounds play with four seconds left to gain possession at midcourt.

“Our defense gave us a chance,” said McCarthy. “We kept telling the kids every time their heads were down to keep on fighting, fighting, fighting. I knew they would be rewarded for their hard work.”

East Boston (16-5) appeared primed to take over the game late in the third quarter. The Jets went on an 8-0 run to take a 45-37 lead, as Dimitri Coronel scored seven of his 11 points in the quarter. But as they did in the first half when they erased an early East Boston lead with a 10-0 run, the Titans scratched and clawed their way back into the game.

Johnathan Basile started the run with a 3-point shot, then Charles Gunter (14 points) went to work, converting a layup and a conventional 3-point play to cap an 11-0 run, giving New Mission a 47-45 lead after three.

The Jets regained the lead at 61-60 on a free throw by Elijah Chisholm (14 points, 10 rebounds), then built it up to as many as five. They appeared safe when Jeff Amazan hit two free throws with 47.2 seconds to make it a 66-62 game. But once again, the resilient Titans refused to cave in, getting a free throw from Odena and an offensive rebound bucket by 6-foot-8 Ousmane Drane (12 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocked shots) to narrow the deficit to 66-65.

“This was nice, but we have another game to play,” said Odena. “I’ll enjoy this one if we win (tonight).”

In the first game, Madison Park (18-1) struggled to get any flow in the first half. The Cardinals trailed for much of the opening 16 minutes, before David Campbell (22 points, 11 rebounds) and Spencer Braithwaite (19 points), five assists) keyed a spurt to give the Cardinals a 33-27 lead at the half.

“Give Boston English credit, they came out here and battled to win a game,” said Madison Park coach Dennis Wilson. “Even when we built up a big lead in the second half, they fought right back to make a game of it.”

The comeback Wilson was referring to came at the start of the fourth quarter. Trailing 51-35 after three quarters, Boston English (13-8) opened the final stanza on a 13-0 run as Jose Figueroa (19 points) knocked down a 3-pointer. But Braithwaite picked up the pace at both ends, causing several turnovers while scoring eight points in the final five minutes.

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