Move up two divisions, win another
By Brian Lowe / Division 2 Boys
Sunday, March 20, 2011
WORCESTER — From beginning to end, New Mission was in control of yesterday’s Division 2 state final, and the Titans’ 10-point margin of victory did not fully reflect their dominance over Northbridge at the DCU Center.
New Mission jumped out to a 6-0 lead and led by 17 at halftime on the way to a 67-57 triumph.
“It feels real good because, at the beginning of the year, we set the goal that we wanted to be here competing for a state championship,” said senior guard Darius Davis, who was part of last year’s Div. 4 state title team. “We knew we had to get the job done.”
And Davis, who led the Titans with 17 points, was at the forefront. He nailed a pair of long jumpers in the first three minutes, part of a hot-shooting start for New Mission, which also used its full-court press to frustrate Northbridge.
Samir McDaniels (16 points) scored on a spin move under the hoop to open the second quarter, putting the Titans ahead 18-8, and Leroy Hamilton followed with a 3-pointer from the right wing.
From that point, they led by more than 10 points until Harrison Murphy of Northbridge scored the game’s final basket with four seconds to play.
“Oddly enough, we had some good shooting, but the idea is really to get the ball inside,” New Mission coach Cory McCarthy said. “And once we got the ball inside, even if we missed, we would have the offensive rebound. That was the game plan from the time we scouted them on Wednesday.”
The success from the field forced Northbridge coach Paul Baker to alter his defense.
“We were hoping to play a sagging man-to-man, and that kind of went out the window when they started sticking jumpers from the outside,” Baker said. “And when they’re making shots from the outside, they’re tough.”
New Mission went ahead 44-24 with 4:22 left in the third quarter on a dunk by Isshiah Coleman following a Northbridge turnover. Kachi Nzerem sunk a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds to play in the quarter to put the Titans ahead 55-34.
New Mission forced 10 turnovers in the first half, several thanks to its press. McCarthy attributed that success to their attitude as well as their length.
“We just knew we had to come in and get a jump on them early,” McDaniels said. “This was our last game as high school students, as New Mission players. We wanted to go out with a bang, and that’s what we did.”