After Wednesday’s semifinal win over Dorchester in the Boston City League championships, New Mission coach Cory McCarthy said he expected Thursday’s title game to be a battle. He was right. Unfortunately for McCarthy’s Titans, they weren’t able to emerge victorius, as Brighton scored a 71-62 victory at Madison Park.
It was the first title in school history, said coach Hugh Coleman, and the first time a team not named East Boston, Madison Park or Charlestown has won the championship since 2000.
“We beat everyone we had to beat, we got into the tournament, and we won the tournament,” said Coleman. “So in the city, right now, we are currently the model team.”
Nick Simpson, a 6-foot-4-inch junior guard, threw down a two-handed slam at the end of the third to cap an 11-0 run and give Brighton a 57-46 lead.
The back-and-forth matchup between point guards Malik James (20 points for Brighton) and Juwan Gooding (12 points for New Mission) kept the game interesting. It got chippy in the fourth, however, and they received technical fouls for pushing. With 4:28 left in the quarter, James induced Gooding’s fifth foul, forcing the sophomore to the bench for the remainder of the contest.
James was named tournament MVP. , said the physical battle helped him excel, but he was mostly worried about getting the win.
The game seemed out of reach in the fourth when Brighton’s Mark Mojica drilled a 3-pointer with about three minutes left, but the Titans didn’t give in. With the clock winding down, New Mission managed to cut the deficit to 3 points behind a couple of quick baskets by Shaquan Murray, who finished with 13 points.
But New Mission’s comeback fell short, as it lost to Brighton for the third time this season.
“We’ve been there before and I’ve been here before and we don’t have anything to prove to anybody,” said McCarthy. “When it comes to a loss it’s not necessarily always about the kids, it’s always about the name on the uniform and people will always play hard against the name on the uniform and it’s New Mission they play hard against, it’s not an indictment on my kids.”
Brighton enters the state tournament with momentum. Not only do the Bengals have the city title under their belt, recently defeated previously top-ranked Danvers in the Comcast Classic.
“This is definitely a good motivational thing for us, knowing that we got states coming up,” said James, who will learn his team’s first-round opponent Friday. “We definitely needed this to boost our confidence up.”