Catholic Memorial led Mansfield, 64-61, with 6.5 seconds left in regulation and junior guard Aamahne Santos heading to the line Tuesday when dozens of spectators in the packed UMass-Boston gymnasium headed for the exits.
Little did they know the Division 1 South semifinal would last three overtimes before CM would survive with a 96-90 win over the defending Eastern Mass. champs.
CM will meet North Quincy in the sectional championship Saturday at UMass-Boston.
Santos (21 points) missed the front end of the 1-and-1, allowing Mansfield guard Rocky DeAndrade (30 points) to push the ball up the floor and find Ryan Boulter in the left corner for a 3-pointer. The game headed into overtime.
Michael Boen (19 points) helped keep Mansfield neck and neck with CM. The game was tied at 75 entering double overtime.
CM started the second OT strong and led, 83-79, with 1:36 left following a Santos 3-pointer. But, again, Mansfield countered.
With 15.9 seconds left, Mansfield called time, drew up a play, and Boulter (19 points) drove baseline from the right corner and dropped home a runner. The contest entered the third OT tied at 85.
At long last, the Knights pulled ahead, thanks in part senior guard Guilien Smith’s 7 points in the final four minutes.
“Best high school game I’ve ever been associated with,” CM coach Dennis Tobin said.
Smith finished with a game-high 32 points, scoring in all four quarters and each overtime period. Sophomore guard Brandon Twitty added 24 points off the bench.
North Quincy 50, Newton North 46 — With the game tied at 46 and 14 seconds remaining, North Quincy junior guard Jackie Chen emerged from a scrum under Newton North’s basket with a rebound and drew a foul. Chen’s two clutch free throws gave the Red Raiders their first lead of the night as they rallied from a 9-point fourth-quarter deficit to win their semifinal.
North Quincy trailed Newton North by 9 points heading into the fourth quarter, but the Red Raiders outscored the Tigers, 18-5, in the game’s final eight minutes.
Newton North set the tone, with Sam Jefferson (22 points) and Tommy Mobley (13 points) drilling 3-pointers to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead. Jefferson was sensational from beyond the arc all night, finishing with six 3-pointers. But while Jefferson was virtually unstoppable from outside, senior forward Efthim Butka put on a show of his own for North Quincy, scoring 16 points, 11 in the first half, to keep the Red Raiders in the game.
Kyle Richardson and Anthony Green helped North Quincy advance. Richardson finished with 13 points, while Green added 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 blocks.
Trailing, 41-32, entering the fourth quarter, North Quincy raised its defensive intensity. The Red Raiders shut off the paint, forcing Newton North to settle for contested 3-pointers. That’s when Chen came off the bench and scored all 7 of his points, including the two winning free throws.
“Words can’t explain it,” Chen said of the pressure he felt at the line. “It was for the seniors. No regrets, like coach said. It feels amazing.”