From the start of Thursday’s Boston City League final at Madison Park in Roxbury, it seemed as though the leaders of the TechBoston boys’ basketball team never had a doubt, and that confidence proved contagious.
With seniors Alan Nunez and Shamar Browder setting the tone, TechBoston’s newcomers followed suit in an impressive 63-47 win against Latin Academy for a third straight BCL title.
“Me and Alan have been here four years,” said Browder. “When we came [to Madison Park] as freshmen and lost in the [BCL] championship, we felt it. Now I feel like [the BCL final] is just a regular game, everything’s the same, we just have to play the right way.”
Latin Academy (19-4) opened in a matchup zone and TechBoston (13-7) capitalized by hitting 5 for 5 from deep to take a 23-10 lead after one quarter. Nunez was particularly bold, launching a pair of 30-footers that hit nothing but net.
“We knew what we had to do,” said Nunez. “I’ve been shooting from out there all my life. I’ve never been afraid, I got the confidence.”
Latin reined in the turnovers and outscored the Bears, 17-6, in the second quarter to trail, 29-27, at halftime. But in the third quarter, the Bears showed their pedigree with a 7-2 run to start and an 11-0 run to close the frame, opening a 49-34 advantage that proved enough to hold on throughout a chaotic ending.
“It’s easy when your veterans listen,” said TechBoston coach Johnny Williams. “Then all your newbies have to fall in line, because [Nunez and Browder] won’t allow anybody to not listen. Before you know it, all 12 players are echoing the same thing.”
And it wasn’t just Nunez (16 points) and Browder (12 points) getting hot. TechBoston was 8 for 11 from beyond the arc with sophomore Chris Norman III (10 points, 13 rebounds), Rakim Butler (9 points), and transfer Elliot Williams (8 points, 4 assists) providing key contributions.
Mason Lawson scored a game-high 19 points for Latin, but the Dragons shot just 1 for 13 from deep over the first three frames and missed 15 total free throws.
Since Latin had already played the maximum 22 games this season, the game was officially ruled a forfeit with regards to MIAA state tournament seeding. Latin is locked into the second seed in Division 2 North regardless.
While the Bears have a tougher road as a lower seed in the D2 South bracket, no team will want to see a two-time defending state champion that is now brimming with confidence.
“It has nothing to do with me coaching, it’s what they want,” Williams of his program, which has now won five straight tournaments [state and city].
“And they want it. Every year when they lace up. That’s our goal every year is to go to [the state finals in] Worcester,” said Williams. “No disrespect to any tournament, we don’t take second place trophies home.”Nate Weitzer can be reached at email@example.com.