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BOYS' BASKETBALL | BURKE 70, LATIN ACADEMY 61

Burke goes to the drawing board at halftime to spark second-half comeback over Latin Academy

Trailing by 10 to Boston City League foe Latin Academy at halftime, Burke head coach Sean Ryan knew his team wasn’t playing like themselves Monday night.

With the 15th-ranked Bulldogs facing early foul trouble for the first time all year, they needed to make an adjustment.

The Bulldogs did just that as their ferocious full-court press powered a second-half comeback. Led by sophomore Jaeden Roberts and senior Matt Drayton, the Bulldogs outscored the No. 17 Dragons by 19 in the second half en route to a 70-61 road win.

“We were undisciplined defensively,” Ryan said of the first half. “I like to play with a lot of discipline, not fouling, moving the ball. I thought we took quick shots — bad shots — and I wanted to get back to who we were.

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“Really happy with how they responded in the second half.”

Roberts scored 11 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, leading the Bulldogs (9-2) by letting the game come to him — something he didn’t do in the first half.

Drayton had 10 of his 15 points in the second half, including a corner three to tie the game at 52 and a layup moments later to knot it again at 54.

“He did a great job in the fourth quarter,” Ryan said. “He was a huge difference and that’s a really tough kid, so I’m excited for him and how he played toward the end.”

The Dragons (9-2) led by two at the end of the first quarter but stretched it to 10 at halftime by playing through 6-foot-7-inch senior Brennan Shapiro, who scored 11 of his team-high 21 points in the second quarter. Shapiro (12 rebounds) and fellow senior Mike Correia (17 points, 11 rebounds) controlled the paint.

For nearly the entire second quarter, both teams played at Latin Academy’s pace. Shapiro created problems for the Bulldogs through his rebounding and distributing from the high post.

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So, the Bulldogs adjusted. They switched out of a special defense they had designed to slow down Latin Academy senior star Osman Aden (five points).

“We just got back to grinding out hard full-court, man-to-man, and I think that really wore them down,” Ryan said. “We do have some athletes, so we made some other kids handle the ball [for Latin Academy], and I think that paid dividends toward the end.”

Burke cut its deficit in half heading into the fourth quarter. After trading baskets to open the frame, the Bulldogs turned to Drayton and Roberts to marshal the comeback. They put together a 10-2 run to take a 64-56 lead with under two minutes to go.

“I loved our fight in the second half,” Ryan said. “We kind of grinded it out. I’m happy for our resiliency and how we fought through. Credit to [Latin Academy], they really put us on our heels early.”