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BOYS' BASKETBALL | BOSTON CITY LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP

With game on the line, Mason Lawson leads Latin Academy to historic victory

Latin Academy's Benny Martinez (4), Tianu Santos (3) and Brennan Shapiro (23) react at the buzzer as they finished off a win over New Mission for the program's first Boston City League championship since 1993.
Latin Academy's Benny Martinez (4), Tianu Santos (3) and Brennan Shapiro (23) react at the buzzer as they finished off a win over New Mission for the program's first Boston City League championship since 1993.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

In the most intense moments of the Boston City League boys’ basketball championships, Mason Lawson remained poised.

Latin Academy’s senior point guard scored 12 points in the fourth quarter Friday night to propel his squad past Charlestown, and provided an encore in Saturday’s BCL final, scoring the final 8 points to edge New Mission, 46-44, and clinch the school’s first City League title since 1993.

In the BCL final last season, Lawson scored a team-high 19 points, but missed eight free throws in a loss to TechBoston. This time, he converted 6 of 10 free throws, including a three-point play with 36 seconds remaining to put BLA up 46-44.

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“I felt all the emotions of losing [in the final] last year, and told myself I wasn’t leaving BLA without winning a [City League title],” Lawson said.

“I knew big free throws could’ve won us a City [title], even a state [title] last year. This year, I worked on everything I didn’t do well last year in order to get to this point.”

Mason Lawson (14) goes up against the defense of New Mission's Hassan Jenkins (22) during Latin Academy's victory.
Mason Lawson (14) goes up against the defense of New Mission's Hassan Jenkins (22) during Latin Academy's victory.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Lawson’s heroics proved the difference in a game with four ties and 13 lead changes. Late in the third quarter, New Mission went on an 8-0 run to take the largest lead by either team, 34-29, but BLA responded with a 7-0 run to regain control.

The Titans (6-3) were relentless on the glass with Hassan Jenkins (16 points, 6 rebounds) and Kenmar Morgan (8 points, 14 rebounds) putting the pressure on BLA’s back line. But junior Osasu Woghiren (10 points, 6 rebounds, 6 blocks) stood strong and sophomore Brenan Shapiro (4 points, 2 blocks) came up with what proved to be a clinching rejection with 22 seconds remaining in a two-point game.

“With a Malcolm [Smith] team, their strength is always their strength,” said BLA coach Dan Bunker, who twice fell in City League finals as a player in 1997 and 1998.

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“New Mission was super tough, very tough on the glass. We knew we had a battle and it was a battle the whole game, no team could really pull away. I’m really happy Osasu was able to step up and be that difference maker we needed.”

New Mission's Kemar Morgan (12) rips a rebound away from Latin Academy's Mason Lawson.
New Mission's Kemar Morgan (12) rips a rebound away from Latin Academy's Mason Lawson.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe/Josh Reynolds for The Boston Glo

Latin Academy (10-0) also got great defensive effort from its backcourt, as the Dragons produced 27 turnovers in a second consecutive tournament game. Along with Lawson (15 points, 5 steals), seniors Tianu Santos (5 points, 3 steals, 2 assists), Abdulahi Aden (7 points, 3 steals), and Mohamud Ali (3 points, 2 steals) hounded New Mission’s guards all evening to cement their legacy as the first class to hang a BCL boys’ basketball banner in 28 years.

“I’m really proud of our seniors,” Bunker said. “They put in a lot of hard work over the years. We took our lumps, and they really learned from all our losses. I couldn’t be happier to win it on our home court. Now that 1993 banner isn’t going to be too lonely up there.”

Benny Martinez (center) celebrates with Latin Academy teammates following their Boston City League boys' basketball championship.
Benny Martinez (center) celebrates with Latin Academy teammates following their Boston City League boys' basketball championship.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe