Manny DeBarros expressed a sigh of relief after securing his first victory as boys’ basketball coach at his alma mater, Brockton High, a convincing 72-40 Southeast Conference win Friday night over visiting New Bedford.
The former basketball captain (Class of 1998) was hired in early December to replace 13-year coach Bob Boen, who originally planned to retire after this season, but ultimately decided to step down because of the COVID-19 restrictions.
DeBarros said navigating his first month as a head coach during a pandemic has been challenging, but that didn’t stop him from basking in a smile following the Boxers’ season-opening win.
“It’s a relief because the guys have been grinding for the past two weeks and working hard,” said DeBarros, who was planning to coach the junior varsity team this winter. “I’m really proud of the guys. It definitely has its challenges because you’re constantly trying to keep the players safe. All I’m trying to do is help these players elevate these players to the next level.”
The Boxers have four seniors — Nayvon Reid, Vanilton Xavier, Isaac Lane, and Noah Olowu — who played integral roles in last year’s run to the Division 1 South final. That group helped DeBarros begin his tenure successfully.
The 6-foot-4-inch Reid netted a game-high 13 points and six rebounds, while Lane added 10 points and four rebounds to pace a Brockton offense that had eight players score 5 or more points. The Boxers led 28-15 at halftime and then outscored visiting New Bedford, 25-7, in the third quarter to take a commanding lead.
Senior Will Tarpey led the Whalers with 10 points.
‘I think in the second half our guys started sharing the ball more and trusting more,” DeBarros said. “That’s really what we’re trying to develop more in terms of chemistry. The key for us is to not worry about individual points but putting the team first and our guys understand that.”
Brockton, which would have been one of the favorites in D1 South this season, will play an eight-game league schedule plus a non-conference matchup with reigning D4 co-champion Abington before competing in the SEC Tournament.
“Our goal is to continue to build the program but it started today,” DeBarros said.
Abington 59, Carver 49 — Matt Maguire dropped a 22-point, 15-rebound double-double to power the host defending Division 4 co-champion Green Wave (1-0) past the Crusaders (0-1) in the South Shore League.
Catholic Memorial 77, BC High 68 — Senior guard Kurtis Henderson scored 17 of his game-high 44 points in the fourth quarter as the Knights held off the Eagles in a scintillating Catholic Conference matchup in West Roxbury. Mike Loughnane was stellar for the Eagles, racking up 32 points and 10 rebounds.
Dighton-Rehoboth 60, Seekonk 54 — Senior guard John Marcille scored 17 points to lead the Falcons (1-1) to their first win of the South Coast Conference season.
Manchester Essex 45, Ipswich 42 — The host Hornets closed the game with a 10-0 run for the Cape Ann victory.
Quincy 57, Pembroke 54 — Dyllan Lopes netted 18 points and Kaan Yavuz had 14 for the Presidents in the Patriot League win.
Rockland 48, Middleborough 39 — Senior Patrick Moriarty paced the Bulldogs (1-0) with 18 points in the South Shore League win.
Walpole 49, Milton 33 — Behind 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots from sophomore center Sean O’Brien, Walpole picked up a season-opening win in the Bay State Conference. Junior forward T.J. Farrell added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Wareham 81, Bourne 24 — Ayvn Lopes (17 points) paced a balanced attack in the South Coast win.
Wayland 58, Weston 48 — Senior guards Porter Moody (16 points) and Noah Lee (11 points) led the the Warriors (2-0) in the Dual County League win. Junior guard Dana Fisher added 10 points off the bench.
Bridgewater-Raynham 83, Durfee 22 — Tahlia Tah (16 points, 3 assists), Amber Silva (15 points, 5 assists), Kenzie Matulonis (9 points, 7 steals, 6 assists), and Fiona Kelly (9 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) propelled the host Trojans (2-0) to the Southeast Conference victory.
Cape Cod Academy 41, Sturgis West 28 — Junior MacKenzie Balfore notched a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Seahawks in their Cape & Islands season opener.
Duxbury 48, Hingham 45 — After scoring 21 points in her varsity debut, freshman Molly Donovan scored 23 on the road against the Harborwomen in the Patriot League win. Senior captain Sydney Ropes added 19 for the Dragons (2-0), who led 14-13 after 1, 22-21 through 2, and 36-29 through 3 before fending off a late Hingham flurry. Perry Blasetti paced the Harborwomen (0-1) with 16, including two late 3s, but Donovan calmly sunk two free throws with 10.4 seconds left to help preserve the win.
Greater Lowell 67, Innovation Academy 14 — Aliza Som led the Gryphons (1-0) with 20 points and four assists, and Kaelynn Tanner dropped 12 points in the Commonwealth win.
Ipswich 25, Manchester Essex 24 — Riley Daly (11 points) and Carter King (10) carried the Tigers to a narrow Cape Ann League win over the Hornets.
Lincoln-Sudbury 44, Acton-Boxborough 35 — Freshman wing Grace O’Sullivan amassed 14 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough for the Colonials, who dropped their season opener against the Warriors in the Dual County League.
Natick 34, Wellesley 13 — Sophomore forward Madi Foreman (11 points) led all scorers for the Red Hawks (1-0) in the Bay State Conference matchup.
Nauset 90, Nantucket 22 — Senior guard Avery Burns scored a career-high 38 points and classmate Korin Mereste dominated the paint with 20 points and 15 rebounds as the Warriors rolled to the Cape & Islands win.
Newton South 44, Concord-Carlisle 37 — Senior Amaris Mills (24 points) and sophomore Maddy Genser (19 points) combined for 43 points for the Lions (1-1) for the Dual County League win.
North Reading 48, Georgetown 29 — Behind 19 points from sophomore guard Faith Newton, the Hornets (2-0) scored a Cape Ann League road win against the Royals (0-2).
Pentucket 58, Lynnfield 39 — Sophomore Abby Dube (10 points), junior Lana Mickelson (9 points), and senior Arielle Cleveland (9 points) led visiting Pentucket (2-0) to the Cape Ann League victory.
Somerset Berkley 39, Fairhaven 31 — Lily Buron scored 9 points while Camryn Crook had 8 to keep the visiting Raiders unbeaten in the South Coast Conference at 2-0.
Walpole 53, Milton 16 — Sophomores Brooke Walonis (16 points) and Chinenye Odenigbo (11 points, 11 rebounds) powered visiting Walpole (1-0) to the Bay State Conference win.
King Philip 3, Mansfield 2 — Shaun Fitzpatrick converted a rebound with 4:39 left to lift the visiting Warriors (2-0) to a narrow Hockomock win.