Kiana Daley knows a little something about losing a Boston City championship game. This time it was different.
The senior forward scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the second half to lead O’Bryant to a dramatic 44-39 victory over New Mission Thursday at Madison Park.
This was the rubber match between these teams. New Mission got the best of O’Bryant in the first matchup, while O’Bryant won the second game, so the top teams in the Boston City South Division were familiar with one another.
After a back and forth third quarter, the Tigers trailed Brighton, 32-28, entering the final frame. But Daley was just heating up.
The Tigers outscored New Mission, 16-7, in the fourth, and Daley had 9 of them.
“I told myself, ‘I’m the captain and my team looks up to me, so when I need to push the ball and make some points, make things happen, I have to do it no matter what,’ ” Daley said.
After Daley connected on a layup to give the Tigers a 37-36 lead, Daran Kaba stole the ball and found Laetitia Dorsinville for another basket.
O’Bryant forced a five-second violation on the Titans’ next possession, and Daley’s jumper gave the Tigers a 5-point lead, their largest of the game.
New Mission and O’Bryant struggled with the tough defensive pressure employed by both teams early in the game. New Mission jumped to an early 11-7 lead, but O’Bryant battled to tie the game, 16-16, at end the first half.
With top scorer Deandra Humphries sitting down with foul trouble, the Titans leaned on junior point guard, Jazala Laracuente, who scored a team-high 13 points. Laracuente tried to push her team in the final seconds, but she was unsuccessful on her final 3-point attempt that would have tied the game.
Last year, O’Bryant coach Trudy Fisher believed her team was not prepared or equipped to defeat Fenway. This season, she said the 57-43 loss to Fenway in last year’s title game helped motivate her team.
“We weren’t really ready. Fenway wanted us really bad last year and they just took it to us right away, and they beat us fair and square,” Fisher said. “This year we wanted it because we lost it last year and we were willing to do whatever it took to be successful.
“Sometimes they say you have to fail before you succeed, they came in here last year thinking that they were going to win the game without putting forth the effort that they put forth this year. And they knew what it took after they left last year and wanted to win.”