Anthony Green has grown a little bit.
The North Quincy senior stood 6 feet 3 inches when he entered high school. He was up to 6-7 as a sophomore. This season, he stands 6-9.
He is now attracting attention from Division 1 college programs because he has grown more than just vertically, according to his teammates.
When Green first joined the program, he could hardly jump, senior cocaptain Efthim Butka said. Now, Butka is trying to persuade Green to do a between-the-legs dunk.
“He’s gotten very athletic in general,” Butka said. “It’s not just his height.”
Green has also gotten stronger. North Quincy coach Kevin Barrett said he remembers Green as an out-of-shape freshman — a work in progress. Senior cocaptain Kyle Richardson has watched the center change that.
“He shed weight and got so much taller,” Richardson said. “His work ethic is through the roof.”
When Green hit his growth spurt as a sophomore, he had to relearn everything from his footwork to his jump shot. The process took time, Barrett said, but Green stuck with it.
“He wanted to be a basketball player and that’s what he did through a lot of hard work and commitment and thick skin,” Barrett said. “A lot of kids might have packed it in, but he fought through the adversity and the naysayers.”
Barrett rewarded Green’s effort by calling him up to the varsity midway through his sophomore season. As a junior, Green contributed as a defensive presence, though the coaching staff did not expect anything of him on the offensive end.
That changed this offseason. Green and Richardson went to the gym nearly every day to lift weights, learn moves, and familiarize themselves with the team’s set plays. Green knew he had to develop his offensive game after North Quincy lost its three scoring leaders from last year: brothers Dan and Pat Gould , and Marquis McClendon .
Green now boasts a bevy of offensive moves, including the ability to hit a 15-foot jumper.
“It’s crazy because I remember having to lay off him and make him shoot over me,” Butka said. “Now he can shoot and he can post and be a pain in the butt to guard. It’s ridiculous how much he’s changed.”
Green has been an anchor for a Red Raider squad that ran off 19 straight wins before losing to rival Quincy.
He showed off his expanded offensive skills early, tallying 19 points in a December matchup with East Boston, and his teammates have shown they can pick up their game, too. Butka drained six 3-pointers in an early-season win over Quincy, tallying 27 points to go with 10 rebounds. Butka said he never envisioned himself as a long-range shooter, but he added that element to his game this offseason to complement Green’s inside game.
Junior Matt Gerakis dropped 32 on Scituate in a 61-35 blowout in January. Barrett said the growth of Gerakis and fellow wing Solomon Umoren has been the biggest surprise this year and a key to his team’s success.
North Quincy (20-1), the No. 1 seed in the Division 1 South bracket, tipped off the tournament with a 67-66 win over Newton South, setting a new program mark for wins in a season. North Quincy was scheduled to take on Quincy Friday night.
Along the way, coaches from George Mason, DePaul, Drexel, and other Division 1 college programs have watched Green play. The possibility of a basketball scholarship has added pressure, Green said. When he first committed himself to the game, he was not thinking about the opportunities it might bring. With college recruiters in the stands at so many of his games now, it is hard to ignore those motivations.
“It’s a little bit of pressure,” Green said, “knowing that there are D1 schools in the bleachers, so you have to go give it your all every time you are out there.”
The senior added that he would like to do a postgraduate year at Tilton Academy next year. He is still young — he will be 18 in August — and his coaches said another year to develop would be good for his game.
Given his history, doctors think Green might still grow 2 more inches, meaning more change could be in store for the big man.
Lower seeds make noise
The Stoughton, Foxborough, and Oliver Ames girls entered the D2 South tournament at 10-9, 10-10, and 9-11, respectively. With those records, they earned the 12th, 13th, and 15th seeds in the 16-team field. But after just sneaking into the tournament near the bottom of the pack, all three made their presence felt in the first round Tuesday.
Oliver Ames pulled off the biggest upset, taking down second-seeded Plymouth North, 57-50. The Tigers trailed entering the fourth quarter but took advantage of a 12-2 run in the middle of the period to advance to the second round.
“We had a great fourth quarter,” OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook said. “Michaela Lievi and Kate Holleran both stepped up. They hit some really significant 3-point shots during crunch time.”
Lievi finished with 18 points and Holleran had 17.
Eleven fourth-quarter points from sophomore Cassidy Harrison helped Foxborough hold on for a 64-56 upset of North Attleborough, which had beaten the Warriors by 10 during the regular season.
Foxborough’s win set up a second-round matchup with Hockomock League foe Stoughton, which beat Westwood, 50-43, on the road.
In total, Hockomock girls’ teams went 7-1 on Tuesday.
“Honestly I think the fact is that the Hockomock League is so competitive, it gives us such good competition coming into postseason play,” Clement-Holbrook said. “Every game is a battle. We had to weather significant adversity during the season and it made us better.”
Milton pulls away to get back at Scituate
Wednesday night’s first-round game between the Milton and Scituate boys started out looking like last year’s D2 South sectional final. Sailor senior forward Noma Okundaye had another nine-point first quarter and the game was tied seven times during a back-and-forth first half.
Then the second half started, and the Wildcats started dominating. After a 31-point third quarter, Milton coasted to an 84-60 victory, avenging the 58-53 loss to Scituate that ended its season a year ago.
“Revenge — we’ve been talking about that at every practice,” junior guard Keyon Jones said. “It feels good.”
Jones finished with 19 points. Senior captain guard Anthony Smith led the Wildcats with 20. After entering halftime up seven, Smith keyed a 16-2 Milton run to start the second half that burst the game open. The Wildcats hit five 3-pointers in the third quarter.
“We have a lot of guys that can shoot the ball for us; it’s just that tonight they happened to all go in,” coach Bill Donovan said. “I can tell you with 12 wins this year, they haven’t all gone in all year. They just went in tonight, that’s all.”