In what was considered a down year for Everett football, coach John DiBiaso’s squad reached the Division 1 North title game, falling to Central Catholic, 20-14. Everett has been a perennial powerhouse in football for decades. DiBiaso utilizes a run-heavy attack and smash mouth defense, and the longtime coach has carried that mentality to the hardwood as the coach of Everett’s boys’ basketball team.
Last winter, the Crimson Tide upset second-seeded Lowell in the Division 1 North quarterfinals before narrowly falling to Lynn English in the semifinals. This season, despite a loss to Andover Sunday, Everett is 14-3 and vying for the top seed in the tournament, led by a cast of DiBiaso’s gridiron stars.
Senior Lubern Figaro, a 6-foot-1-inch free safety headed to Wisconsin, has been the basketball team’s heart and soul. His tenacity on the wing sets the tone for Everett’s blitzing defense and his ruthless drives to the rim epitomizes DiBiaso’s preferred style and pace of play.
Freshman Jordan McAfee, a 6-foot-3-inch backup quarterback with a shot at starting under center next fall, has become one of the Tide’s most effective weapons off the bench.
Senior running back Joe D’Onofrio, senior outside linebacker C.J. Parvelus, junior tight end Shawn Chapelle, and senior running back Marquis Holman are all part of DiBiaso’s basketball team, too.
“There are a lot of [similarities],” Figaro said of the sports. “Defensive sliding and all that. The way you run on defense there’s a lot of back-pedaling when guys are coming at you. Boxing out for a jump ball.”
McAfee thinks the transition from football to basketball gives the Tide an advantage over opponents and helps the team offensively as well.
“It gives us more toughness and smarts,” McAfee said. “You make reads quicker on the court than on the field, we just play hard with consistent effort, go hard every time we do anything and play as a team.”
McAfee came off the pine to hit two 3-pointers in Everett’s 57-44 win at archrival Malden Friday. The Tide opened up a big fourth-quarter lead after upping its intensity on defense, forcing a bevy of turnovers and getting out in transition. Everett ran to success just like DiBiaso’s teams have done on the football field for so long.
“We’ve got some guys that can shoot it, but you don’t want to settle in high school basketball,” DiBiaso said. “When you go on the road and you go into these gyms in the tournament that you’re not familiar with, rims can be tight, the lighting can be bad. The games are won by layups and free throws.”
The Tide have their sights set on another deep playoff run with tournament pairings set to be released on Friday.
“We just have passion for the game each and every night,” Figaro said. “We want to win the state. We’re the number one team in the north.”
City lineup set
The Boston City League playoffs begin Wednesday with semifinal games at Madison Park. At 4 p.m., Central Division champion Dorchester plays North runner-up East Boston. At 5:30, North champion New Mission faces South champion Snowden. The winners meet in Thursday’s final also at Madison Park.