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Behind frenetic defense, Wareham boys’ basketball caps dominant postseason run with Division 4 title over Springfield International

Elijah Carrion, the lone senior on Wareham's roster, holds aloft the Division 4 championship trophy after defeating Springfield International.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

LOWELL — Top-seeded Wareham once again followed its postseason recipe for success — smother the opponent.

The Vikings gave No. 3 Springfield International exceedingly few good looks at the rim as they cruised to a 66-40 victory Sunday in the Division 4 boys’ basketball championship game at Tsongas Center.

Wareham (22-3) won all five of its tournament games by at least 22 points, winning by an average of 29.2. It’s the Vikings’ second state title; they were Division 3 champs in 2010.

The Bulldogs connected on just one first-quarter field goal, putting them in an early 16-8 hole.

“[Springfield International] isn’t used to pressure” said Wareham junior guard Ajay Lopes after scoring a game-high 20 points. “When we pressured them, they couldn’t get into their stuff. They were rattled and they had turnovers.”


The Vikings set the tone with a 15-4 run over a seven-minute stretch between the first and second quarters.

For the fourth time in five tournament games, Wareham junior Antoine Crosson posted a double-double (14 points, 15 rebounds). He made his presence felt early with six first-quarter boards, then closed with 6 points in the fourth quarter.

“[Crosson] changes the whole dynamic,” said Wareham coach Steve Faniel. “He’s just another option to have. To be able to throw the ball into the post and get a basket, we haven’t had that in a long time.”

On defense, Crosson held highly touted sophomore Sam Fleming to 4 points.

“I was just trying to work hard and be aggressive and be able to crash the boards a lot,” said Crosson. “I just had to box them out, and I think I did a pretty good job.”

Elijah Carrion, the lone senior on Wareham’s roster, provided a spark in the second quarter — scoring 4 points, taking two charges, and diving on the floor after loose balls.


Wareham took a comfortable 34-20 lead into halftime and only once did the lead dip below 14 in the second half.

Wareham junior Ajay Lopes gets to the rim for 2 of his game-high 20 points. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Lopes scored 11 in the second half, including a pretty step-back 3-pointer from the corner over Fleming’s outstretched arm. Lopes continued applying pressure and came away with a late steal and layup that stretched the lead to 24 and send Vikings fans into a frenzy.

“[Lopes] makes my job a lot easier. He’s like having another coach on the floor,” said Faniel. “He understands everything that I want done out there and he’s able to facilitate that.”

Kenny Rogers led Springfield International with 12 points, and London Denson added 11.

Wareham's Antoine Crosson finished with his fourth double-double in five tournament games. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Wareham 66, Springfield International 40

at Tsongas Center, Lowell

Springfield Int’l (22-3) 8 12 10 10 — 40

Wareham (22-3) 16 18 15 17 — 66

SPRINGFIELD INTERNATIONAL — Kenny Rogers 3 6 12, London Denson 4 3 11, Sam Fleming 2 0 4, Erasmo Ruiz 1 2 4, Josh Colon 1 0 3, Ke’Jour Gladden 1 0 2, Jay’Len Lovejoy 1 0 2, Ricardo Hylton 1 0 2. Totals 14 11 40.

WAREHAM — Ajay Lopes 7 4 20, Antoine Crosson 7 0 14, Aaron Cote 3 1 8, Jayce Travers 2 0 6, Diego Mello 2 1 5, Elijah Carrion 1 2 4, Jakwon Pittmen 2 0 4, Taj Lewin-Pina 1 0 3, Jaron Pittmen 1 0 2. Totals 26 8 66.

3-pt. goals: S Josh Colon; W Ajay Lopes 2, Jayce Travers 2, Aaron Cote, Taj Lewin-Pina.

Wareham celebrates its first state championship since 2010. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Wareham's defense allowed just one first-quarter field goal. Here Jakwon Pittman passes the ball after stealing it from Springfield International's Josh Colon. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff