NEEDHAM — Earlier this week, St. Sebastian’s star point guard Trevor Mullin sent coach Dave Hinman a text reiterating that he’s far more concerned with winning a NEPSAC Class A championship than reaching 2,000 career points.
His actions backed up his words Wednesday, as he consistently looked for his teammates and unselfishly spearheaded a 72-52 win over St. Paul’s (N.H.) in the quarterfinals.
Mullin, a Wellesley resident who is headed to Yale in the fall, could have almost certainly scored the 26 points he needed if he hoisted 3-pointers the entire way.
Instead, he let the game come to him — en route to an organic 15 points — and helped the second-seeded Arrows (25-1) inch one step closer to their first Class A title. The seventh-seeded Big Red swarmed Mullin whenever he had the ball, but they didn’t have an answer for his pinpoint passing.
“I’m not really trying to force that, not really thinking about that,” Mullin said of the milestone. “I’m just trying to get the ‘W’. If it comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
Freshman phenom AJ Dybantsa of Brockton — an impossibly athletic, 6-foot-8 wing who’s already garnerning national attention — dropped 22 points to lead the way. Sophomore guard/forward Jaylen Harrell (Boston) added 19.
Dybantsa swatted multiple shots in the first few minutes to help set the tone, then he threw down several monstrous dunks. On perhaps his best highlight of the night, he said he wasn’t initially planning on dunking it, but he changed his mind in the air and sent the fans into a frenzy.
“It makes it pretty fun out there when I just throw the ball up and he goes and dunks it,” Mullin said. “It’s pretty easy for me. He’s a special kid, obviously. He’s a freak out there.”
Mullin said he hasn’t seen Dybantsa’s birth certificate, so he can’t confirm he’s legitimately a freshman, but he thinks it’s accurate.
Dybantsa plays offense with a distinct smoothness and defense with a noticeable nastiness.
“His highlights today were a career for most people,” Hinman said. “AJ just controlled the game, especially at the defensive end to open the game. I thought that was the key to us getting out to a fast start.”
He said his focus was on letting the game come to him, and he did that and then some.
With former Celtic Brian Scalabrine in the house, and the gym overflowing with adoring fans, Dybantsa gave everyone in the audience a show.
“When I was younger, I always wanted the spotlight,” Dybantsa said. “Now that I have it, it’s just playing out there and putting on my best showing for everybody.”
St. Sebastian’s bolted out to a 22-12 edge and extended the margin to 40-26 at halftime. Mullin had six points on two 3s at that point, then he added four 2s and a free throw in the second half.
Zion Simmons (Mattapan), Timmy Bollin (Raynham), and Jack Williams (Medway) also contributed for the Arrows. On one possession in the second half, Williams corralled three straight offensive rebounds in sequence that epitomized the kind of hustle the Arrows know it will take to win a championship.
They’re set to host Williston Northampton on Saturday in the semifinals, just two wins away from making history.
“That’s been the goal the entire season,” Mullin said. “Last year, we did fall short, lost in the semifinals. That’s the thing that’s pushing us through right now.”
Trevor Hass can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.