After going scoreless in the first quarter, junior forward Kiana Daley erupted for a game-high 24 points to lead O’Bryant to its third straight Boston City League championship game appearance, via a 54-28 victory over South Boston Tuesday at Madison Park High School.
O’Bryant will face New Mission in the title game Thursday at 5 at Madison Park. New Mission defeated Latin Academy, 43-18, in the other semifinal.
O’Bryant and South Boston entered halftime tied at 16. But Daley then went on a tear, scoring 14 of her points in the third quarter as O’Bryant outscored South Boston, 21-5, overall.
Daley went to the line at the 6:35 mark after getting fouled on a failed putback attempt and sank one of two free throws to give the Lady Tigers (17-1) their first lead of the game, and they never looked back.
“Sometimes I have to really motivate [Daley] to get going, but I was really proud of her and all of the girls today how they rebounded in that second half,” said O’Bryant coach Trudy Fisher, who is looking for her fourth city league championship.
South Boston (16-2) controlled the game early, taking an 8-1 lead in the first quarter, led by Daitannah Smith and Elaina Wright-McCarthy, who combined for 14 of the Knights’ 16 points in the first half.
“It was crystal clear that South Boston wanted that game more than we did . . . they came out much more aggressive than we were, they fought for the ball, they kept beating us long,” Fisher said. “After that I just told my girls to settle down and we moved our press back from full court to half court, and just played a little bit better.”
While the Tigers would have loved another shot at Fenway, the team that defeated them in the championship game last year, Fisher was just happy to have another opportunity to compete for the title. Fenway was ruled ineligible to play in the city tournament.
“At this particular point, I’m in the cities and I really don’t care which team [they play],” she said.
New Mission coach Briana Forde instructs her team to grab a lead in the first five minutes of the game to take confidence from the opposing team, and that’s what the Lady Titans did against Latin Academy.
New Mission (15-5) opened a commanding 28-7 lead after a layup by Deandra Humphries, who led all scorers with 13 points.
Latin Academy struggled against the Titans’ press and never was allowed to gain control of the game.
“Our game plan was really to play aggressive, play team defense, help side, and just really overall be aggressive,” Forde said.