DIVISION 2 BOYS’ BASKETBALL FINAL | BRIGHTON 82, NASHOBA 58
Matt Lee/Globe Staff
SPRINGFIELD — There are an abundance of distinct features that effectively convey what the Brighton boys’ basketball team is all about — its blinding style of play, the potential for a slew of players to take over a game at any given time, even the coaching staff’s matching blue velvet sport jackets.
Yet one characteristic pervades through all aspects of the Bengal program:
Saturday afternoon in the Division 2 state title game at MassMutual Center, Brighton flaunted the camaraderie that brought it to Springfield, downing Nashoba, 82-58, for its first state championship trophy since 2013.
“I’m very proud,” said Brighton coach Hugh Coleman. “It’s not easy in the city of Boston. It’s not what other people’s circumstances [are], but it’s ours and we make it work. I believe that if they put forth the hard work, if they listen to the messages, I believe they can be as successful as they want to be.”
Down 35-34 at the half, Brighton (23-5) came out of the locker room with a vengeance, ripping off 24 third-quarter points to Nashoba’s 4.
Where the Bengals struggled in the first half — containing the Chieftains dynamic mix of shooting and length — they made up for with a swarming full-court defense in the second, pummeling Nashoba on the boards and turning steals into easy baskets.
Senior guard Jordan Galloway (16 points, 4 steals) was instrumental in the turnaround, showcasing a growth assistant coach Willie Veal lauded postgame.
“Jordan is the type of guy that loves the game,” Veal said. “He’s aggressive, he likes to score, he likes to run the show. We had to bring Jordan in, like, ‘We can’t do this without a team.’ He pulled himself together and ever since that time he’s stepped up and taken care of business. I told him, ‘Honestly, Jordan, we cannot win without you.’”
Nashoba (21-4) fought back early in the fourth thanks to the strong two-way presence of junior guard Justin Peirce (20 points), cutting the Brighton advantage to 64-56.
In true Brighton fashion, it wasn’t one, but multiple players who stemmed the tide. A Galloway no-look feed to Johnny Ortiz (11 points) for 2 was followed by a deep Tyrone Perry (9 points) 3-pointer, icing a lifelong dream for the resilient Bengals.
Tears began to well in Coleman’s eyes as his seniors left the floor for one final time, putting a cap on his second state title as head of the Brighton program.
One of the team’s many emotional leaders, Perry struggled to find the right words to describe just how much a state title meant.
“To be honest, I was just speechless,” the senior said. “All the hard work that we put in for four years, with these guys, it’s just the best feeling. Working hard with your teammates and then getting a championship that you always dreamed of, it’s the best feeling.”
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