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city boys’ basketball semifinals

East Boston, New Mission advance to title game

Dorchester’s Markus Neale tries to block East Boston’s Dion Knight, who scored a game-high 35 points.

barry chin/globe staff

Dorchester’s Markus Neale tried to block East Boston’s Dion Knight, who scored a game-high 35 points.

East Boston earned a 59-57 overtime victory over Dorchester and New Mission defeated Snowden, 66-50, in the late game of the Boston City League boys’ basketball semifinals Wednesday at Madison Park. The two teams will go head-to-head in the championship Thursday.

In the first game, junior guard Dion Knight carried East Boston with a game-high 35 points. He scored 9 in the first quarter and gave the Jets an early 16-7 lead.

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“We gotta ride him, he’s our go-to guy. We go as Dion goes,” said East Boston coach Shawn Brown. “And in that situation it’s get the ball to Dion and we play off of Dion, it’s no secret.”

Dorchester’s defense tightened up in the second quarter. After trailing, 23-10, the Bears went on a 16-4 run behind two 3-pointers from senior guard/forward Tavon Smallpiece (12 points) and trailed by just 1 at halftime.

After a low-scoring third quarter, Dorchester led, 36-35.

Down, 42-41, Knight gave East Boston its largest lead of the fourth quarter after a layup and a 3-pointer. Layups from Dorchester junior guard Justin Clarke (10 points) and Smallpiece tied the game at 46 with just over a minute to play.

Neither team could score in the final seconds and the game headed to overtime.

“It was a scary thing,” Knight said. “I thought we were gonna lose. I had to keep my head in the game.”

Brown said he told his team that overtime was just four more minutes to win the game.

“I told them at that point it’s about them,” Brown said. “They gotta want it more, it’s about who wants it more. And they came out and worked hard.”

Overtime was much like the final quarter. The teams traded buckets and the score was knotted at 55 with 1:47 to play. Knight sank two free throws to give the Jets the edge, but senior guard Khail Newson, who led the Bears with 16 points, made a layup to tie the game once again.

With just 34.8 seconds left, John Mitchell put the Jets on top. Dorchester couldn’t score on its final possession and East Boston held on for the victory. Dorchester senior guard Markus Neale notched his 1,000th career point, and finished with 15.

In the second game, New Mission coach Cory McCarthy earned his 200th win and senior forward Fred Rivers scored a game-high 21 points for the Titans. Shaquan Murray scored 16 and Asante Sandiford added 12 points, including three huge one-handed dunks. New Mission never trailed.

“Snowden, they’re a good team,” Rivers said. “They came out, they gave us their best in the first and then we felt we needed to turn it up a little notch so we came out and tried to have as much fun as we could playing.”

The Cougars were led by Javaughn Kittrell, who had 15 points and Francis Depina, who added 14.

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