(VIDEO) Everett Finishes Strong to Defeat New Mission
By Nate Weitzer for Mass Prep Stars
BOSTON – They were down 63-55 against the defending Division 2 state champions with four minutes left to play and it was gut check time for Everett Crimson Tide.
Everett had failed to capitalize on their size advantage throughout most of a clash with New Mission at the second installment of the BABC Holiday Tournament at Cathedral High, but the Tide found a way to score in the paint down the stretch, as they finished the game on a 12-3 run and stunned the Titans with a 67-66 victory.
“We knew we could come back,” said Everett senior forward Jordan McAfee, who scored the go-ahead basket with four seconds remaining. “[New Mission] is a good team but we knew that we’re bigger and stronger than [The Titans] so it was great to capitalize on that down the stretch.”
The Tide (8-0) trailed the Titans (5-4) 59-53 after three quarters, as New Mission’s twin killers Charles Mitchell (24 points) and Charlie Mitchell (15 points) were creating turnovers as per usual.
Because they continually turned the ball over in the face of the Titans pressure, the Crimson Tide couldn’t get the ball into the post, where McAfee (14 points, 15 rebounds) and Theo Zidor (11 points, 5 rebounds) held a significant size advantage.
Yet Everett was able to break the pressure in a somewhat unconventional way. The Tide used that size advantage and leaked out for a number of lay-ups, as they were able to rebound 4-on-5 before point guard Donnell Skeen (3 points, 6 assists) threw a series of long passes to McAfee and Zidor during Everett’s final scoring run.
“We moved the ball,” Everett head coach John DiBiaso said about his team’s comeback effort. “We kept our heads up and moved it and that led to easy baskets. [New Mission] plays that trapping style and when you trap, someone’s open.”
After a McAfee lay-up made it 63-62, New Mission expanded its narrow lead when Charles Mitchell hit a huge three-pointer from the corner with 1:37 remaining in regulation (video below).
Can't leave Charles Mitchell in the corner. His 6th 3 makes it 66-62 New Mission 1:34 remaining pic.twitter.com/EUUgcQLjaf— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) January 16, 2017
Eventually, the Tide would respond in kind as their best shooter got open for a clutch three and Ghared Boyce (16 points) knocked it down to make it 66-65 with 40 second left to play (video below).
Boyce left wide open now for Everett and he drains it. 66-65 New Mission with :39.6 remaining pic.twitter.com/Z1PGxzv5Pr— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) January 16, 2017
With a 10-second difference between the shot clock and game clock, Everett elected to play straight-up defense, and Zidor came up with a huge rejection. Everett junior Isaiah Likely (15 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists) secured the loose ball and immediately threw a one-handed pass the length of the court to a wide-open McAfee for a lay-up that proved to be the game-winner (video below).
Zidor with the block and the outlet to mcafee puts Everett up 67-66 with 3.7 seconds remaining pic.twitter.com/0VUeylQkKP— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) January 16, 2017
“This was a big win for us and a statement,” McAfee said afterwards. “It was great to capitalize down the stretch and hopefully we can keep this momentum going.”
Stars Who Shined
Jordan McAfee ‘17 F – The quarterback of the Crimson Tide’s championship football team, McAfee continues to demonstrate a knack for winning during basketball season.
The 6-foot-5 forward is versatile enough to put the ball on the floor and create his own shot, but his talents we best utilized on the offensive glass (5 rebounds) and in the paint, where he burned New Mission’s undersized front line in this contest.
Ghared Boyce ‘18 G – He may not have had his best shooting game, as he went 4-for-11 from downtown, but Boyce hit the biggest shot of the day for Everett when he nailed an open three-pointer to make cut the New Mission lead to 66-65.
The junior guard hung tough in the face of the Titans relentless full court pressure and found a way to collect himself before hitting a very clutch shot.
Isaiah Likely ‘18 G/F – The 6-foot-4 small forward can do a lot of different things well on the basketball court, and Likely contributed in a variety of ways for Everett in this narrow win.
Likely goes coast-to-coast for the hoop.
He paced the Tide’s offense with 11 first-half points and made several key assists down the stretch, including a perfect deep pass to McAfee for the game-winner.
Theo Zidor ‘17 F – After dealing with foul trouble throughout the first half, Zidor was able to come back and make a huge difference in the paint for Everett in the second half.
“When I came back in during the third quarter I was struggling. I had to get back into rhythm and thankfully everything clicked and I got hot,” Zidor said.
The senior knocked down all five of his attempts at the free throw line and scored six points in the paint during the final two quarters before making the biggest defensive play of the night with a block of New Mission’s Alex Delarosa.
Zidor stripped by Charles Mitchell but hangs back for a dunk. New Mission 41, Everett 40 late Q3 pic.twitter.com/bnnYW42v3z— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) January 16, 2017
Zidor with the emphatic finish.
Afterwards, Zidor described that pivotal play from his perspective: “I saw [Delarosa] penetrating and coach wanted us to stay on our man, but I peeled off and blocked it, tried to save it to Isaiah [Likely] and he pushed it down to Jordan [McAfee] for an easy bucket.”
Charles Mitchell ‘17 G –Charles hit a tough three at the buzzer to end the second quarter (video below)
......and knocked down his fifth triple of the game (video below) to make it 59-53 right before the end of the third quarter.
Charles Mitchell with his 5th 3. New Mission leads 49-43 late Q3 pic.twitter.com/sbWEjS6RaK— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) January 16, 2017
Along with his twin brother, Charlie, the senior captain was everywhere for New Mission, as they combined for seven steals and kept their team ahead throughout most of the game.
Charles steals and Charlie crosses before hitting a floater. 53-45 New Mission early Q4 pic.twitter.com/WZbOZmLcEu— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) January 16, 2017
Charles to Charlie for a big New Mission possesion.
Alex Delarosa ‘17 G – Delarosa served as the Titans point guard down the stretch and he made a number of good decisions on his way to a line of 13 points, 7 rebounds 5 assists, and 2 steals.
The shifty guard found Charles Mitchell open for three to make it 66-62 late and might have been able to lead the Titans to victory if he had shot better than 5-for-10 from the free throw line.
“I thought we were the better team today,” asserted New Mission head coach Cory McCarthy, “But [Everett] used their size to their advantage and made plays when we couldn’t. It was a good game and a fun game to be a part of, but they beat us and we’ll take that.”
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