(VIDEO) Undefeated Cambridge Rindge & Latin Repeats as D1 State Champions
By Nate Weitzer for Mass Prep Stars
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – For the second consecutive year, the Cambridge Falcons are the kings of high school basketball.
Led as they were all year by a star group of seniors and the massive paint presence of 6-foot-8 center Dimon Carrigan (21 points, 10 rebounds, 9 blocks), the Falcons handled Franklin, 70-43, to wrap up an undefeated season at MassMutual Center in Springfield on Saturday night.
These Falcons have won 45 straight games dating back to the middle of last season and have cemented their own legacy amidst the storied history of a program that last won back-to-back titles when NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing was on the roster.
“It’s all been passed down to players like my nephew, Jakigh, who really wanted to play at Cambridge,” Dottin said about the program’s history. “Today is sort of the closure of his legacy; Three North championships, two state championships, and MVP, so he’s got something one me,” Dottin added, laughing, because he lost in the 1987 state finals after winning a title during his junior year with Cambridge.
From the opening tip, Carrigan’s presence made a world of difference. He logged seven blocks in the first half alone and changed a multitude of shots while leading a Falcons defense that held the Panthers to just six points in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, Cambridge (24-0) put the pedal to the floor and quickly expanded a 31-18 halftime lead to 20 points at 41-21 thanks to an and-1 from Kareem Octavien.
Franklin (22-3) responded with a 7-0 run to make it 43-30 late in the third, but the Panthers would get no closer, as their efforts were just as futile as every other opponent that stood in the way of the Cambridge juggernaut.
“It’s a big relief,” Jakigh said about completing another state title run,” I feel great and it’s amazing because I’ve been with these guys since about the fifth grade. To be able to go back again and win with them is truly a blessing.”
This close-knit group is even more emotional about their success because their former teammate, Davonte Neal, passed away three years ago, and they’ve been on a mission to honor him ever since.
“The mixture of the history and the sad loss of [Davonte Neal] has really brought this group together,” Dottin asseted. “Davonte’s dad spoke to the kids and it’s emotional, but embracing that spirit and carrying that spirit every day helps the kids accept the challenge of bringing your best.”
The Champions celebrate.
Stars Who Shined
Dimon Carrigan ‘17 C – When he checked out of the game with three minutes remaining and the score well in hand at 63-39, Carrigan walked with the swagger of someone who should be considered the best player in the state.
“DC is one of a kind. He’s tall, athletic and controls the ball for us. When he can block a shot it gets the ball out to me and really jumpstarts our offense,” Jakigh said.
Dottin added, “Watching Dimon over the last three years has been incredible. He’s evolved so much and his ceiling is even higher. I’m really surprised that a lot of Division 1 schools haven’t been as interested, but for us, he’s been a game changer in that he blocks shots, he changes shots, and while no one can compare to Patrick [Ewing], he gave us a chance for three state championships as well.”
Easy hoop for Cambridge off big-to-big passing. Mahon responds w/3 for Franklin and Falcons lead 35-21 early Q3 pic.twitter.com/8ArAn33sqc— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) March 18, 2017
Some high-low action, as Carrigan finishes from Rymer.
Jakigh Dottin ‘17 G – Last year’s consensus Player of the Year in Massachusetts, Jakigh takes a bit of a back seat to the rapidly improving Carrigan, but his importance to Cambridge can’t be understated.
The floor general tallied 8 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in the final game of the season and as his uncle and coach mentioned, cemented his legacy by going out as a true winner.
“We don’t do this just for us, we do it for our city and now we get to go back to Cambridge and celebrate,” Jakigh said.
Dottin nails a big seond half 3-pointer.
Daniel Rymer ‘17 F – Right next to Carrigan as an imposing presence in the paint, the 6-foot-4 Rymer is committed to play football at University of Maine next fall and he left Franklin’s front line battered and bruised in this contest.
“It feels amazing,” Rymer said about winning another state title. “Growing up with these guys, you build a brotherhood together. So you lose one [Davonte Neal] and it brings you even closer together and it’s emotional.”
Kareem Octavien ‘17 G – The Falcons best two-way player on the perimeter may very well be Octavien, who is another key senior for the champions.
In this contest, Octavien played an important role as part of the Falcons’ hybrid full court press and he found his offense from the wing, adding a key and-1 to make it 41-21 midway through the third quarter and electrify the crowd.
Octavien nails a big jumper for CRL.
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