In an era in which public school basketball players are often courted away by prep programs, Maurice Works followed the path, departing East Boston following his freshman year to attend Lawrence Academy in Groton.
But his journey was destined from the beginning to differ from the rest – he always knew he wanted to come back home.
“It was my plan senior year to come back to the city and win the state and city championship,” said Works. “A high school championship in your state, and in your town, is rare. I want to be one of those players to be able to do that.”
Now a senior, Works has made his return to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), and the Boston City League circuit donning the red lettering reading “Tech Boston” across his chest.
The Bears have been on the rise under the direction of coach Johnny Williams. And with the return of the core group of players that helped vault TechBoston Academy to a 16-6 record and a Division 2 South quarterfinals appearance last season, they seemed poised for another successful campaign.
When Works made his decision to finish high school at Tech and bring his talents back to the city, both he and Williams saw eye-to-eye on expectations.
“One thing that we both expressed to each other was about winning and wanting to win. That was his one goal,” said Williams.
“The first thing he said to me was ‘coach, I want a city and a state title. I am coming back to get a city and a state title.’ I said ‘well, you put the work in, and we have the formula to do that — or at least make a solid run at it.’”
The 6-foot guard has become a true leader for the Bears — joining the likes of Walter Dew-Hollis , Shamar Moore , Shamar Browder , Lyron Bennett and Kervonne White-Hall in their quest to deliver hardware to Dorchester.
A great deal of his leadership, and experience stems from playing in the Independent School League, along with sharing the court with Division 1-bound talents such as Shandon Brown (New Hampton School/George Washington) and Cole Swider (St. Andrew’s School/Villanova) for BABC.
“[Works] is just an incredible young man to coach,” said Williams.
“He brings the presence as a second coach on the floor. And that is something we’ve always been lacking. We have pretty good point guards [but] he brings that leadership and he brings that extra coach that I need on the floor to tell me kind of certain situations from a player’s perspective, and it is huge. A lot of people don’t realize that is a major part in winning when you have a floor general that can articulate what he sees on the court.”
Averaging 17 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals per game, Works has been the engine to Tech Boston’s roaring 6-0 start, including a 70-63 victory host Bridgewater-Raynham on Friday for the Larry Fisher tournament title.
But in a city, and state, that has been dominated by a select few schools over the last decade, the Bears will need Works and all the leadership and talent he exudes on the basketball court to finally get the program to the ultimate plateau.
“I think it has been a long time coming. I have been doing a number of things with the program to put us in position to win, and with Maurice coming, it just adds to the firepower we already had,” said Williams.
“I was always a player away, and he definitely is that special piece to that puzzle that you are always missing. He is that special person that is going to get you over the top. He is not going to allow us to lose. That is one thing I love about him: He will not allow us to lose no matter what.”
■ Bishop Stang junior Damien Perry poured in a program record 39 points and 6-foot-3 senior Malik Morris added 24 points in a 93-86 win over host Cathedral at the BABC Holiday Classic. The Spartans are off to a 6-0 start with wins over defending Division 3 North champion Watertown and D1 power Catholic Memorial . . . Brockton (7-0) is excelling thanks to a deep and talented roster. Burke (6-0) and Lynn Classical (5-0) also maintained perfect starts with key wins at their respective holiday tournaments . . . Defending Div. 2 state champion Brighton handed Everett its first loss and Cambridge extended its winning streak to 50 games at BABC’s annual tournament, as sophomore center Khai Smith secured 20-plus rebounds in wins over Portsmouth (NH) and Bishop Hendricken (RI) . . . Second-ranked St. John’s Prep outlasted Lawrence, 97-92, in overtime and came back to defeat Central Catholic, 80-68, in the Commonwealth Motors Classic at Metheun High . . . Hingham senior Johnny Gates set program records with 33 points and nine 3-pointers in a triple overtime win over Falmouth on Dec. 22 . . . BC High senior guard Travis Evee eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in a 54-38 win over Cathedral on Dec. 23 and led the Eagles to a 73-64 win at Mansfield with 34 points on Dec. 28.
Players of the Week
Laqu Howard Brighton — With a team-high 26 points, the senior guard paced the Bengals to a critical win over tenth-ranked Everett on Thursday.
John Korte, Watertown — The versatile 6-foot-6-inch center produced a game-high 31 points to lead the Raiders past Brighton, 54-53, at the BABC Holiday Classic Wednesday. And he led Watertown with 24 points in a loss to Bishop Stang the following day.
Johnny McCoy, Mansfield — Manning the middle for the Hornets, the 6-foot-4 senior grabbed 11 rebounds with 22 points in a 60-47 victory over Bridgewater-Raynham on Sunday. McCoy contributed 21 points in a loss to BC High on Thursday.
Tommy O’Neil, St. John’s Prep — His team trailed Central Catholic by as many as 15 points, but the 6-foot-8 center carried the Eagles to an 80-68 comeback victory with a game-high 32 points at Methuen High on Saturday. O’Neil also netted 26 points in an overtime win over Lawrence on Friday.
Levar Williams, Burke — The 5-foot-11 junior guard totaled 52 points with 12 made 3-pointers in wins over Bishop Hendricken (RI) and Belmont at the BABC Holiday Classic on Wednesday and Thursday.
Games to Watch
■ Tuesday, Brookline at Cambridge, 7 —After narrowly escaping with a win against Portsmouth (NH), Cambridge roared to a 50th consecutive victory. Brookline presents a stiff challenge for win No. 51 with junior standout Chris Camille back in the lineup.
■ Tuesday, Lowell at Central Catholic, 7 —Two loaded programs with aspirations of a Div. 1 North title this season meet in an early clash for Merrimack Valley Conference supremacy.
■ Wednesday, Catholic Memorial at Franklin, 6:30 — Historically much less dangerous on the road, Catholic Memorial could make a statement with a win at a Franklin team that is coming off a 48-46 win over Arlington in the finals of the Somerville Holiday Hoop Fest.
■ Friday, Andover at Lawrence, 7 —