The MIAA Division 1, 2, 3, and 4 boys’ basketball state finals will be held Saturday in Worcester. Here’s a look at all the matchups.
Matchup: LYNN ENGLISH (22-2) vs. SPRINGFIELD PUTNAM (20-2)
Saturday at Holy Cross, Worcester, 6:45 p.m.
Coaches: Antonio Anderson, second year (Lynn English); William Shepard, 10th year (Putnam).
Lynn English starting 5: F Alonzo Linton (Sr.); F Justin Fitzpatrick (Jr.); G Jarnel Guzman (Jr.), G Mason Jean-Baptiste (Jr.), G Jack Rodriguez (So.).
Putnam starting 5: C Sadiq Harmon (Jr.); F Taelon Martin (Sr.); F Cecil Villa (Sr.); G Maickel DeJesus (Sr.); G Rudy Hytmiah (Sr.)
The lowdown: Putnam returns to the state final after a brief lull. The Beavers won back-to-back state titles in 2013 and 2014 before falling, 80-78, to Catholic Memorial in the 2015 state final at Worcester’s DCU Center. Shepard has the personnel to lock down English’s front line. Putnam is allowing just 49.3 points per game over its last 10 games. The Bulldogs, who averaged 82.7 points during the regular season, are seeking the program’s first state title since 1939. If Linton is unable to find offense in the paint, Guzman, Rodriguez, and Fitzpatrick will have to stretch the Putnam defense by hitting shots from the perimeter.
Matchup: TECHBOSTON (23-2) vs. TACONIC (20-3)
Saturday at WPI, 2:15 p.m.
Coaches: Johnny Williams, 10th year (TechBoston); Bill Heaphy, 15th year (Taconic)
Taconic starting 5: C Mohammed Sanogo (Jr.); F Isaac Percy (Jr.); G Robert McCown (Sr.); G Quincy Davis (Sr.); G Quentin Gittens (Sr.);
TechBoston starting 5: F Rich Burton (Sr.), G Lyron Bennett (Sr.), G Shamar Browder (Jr.), G Alan Nunez (Jr.), G Javon Pierre (Sr.)
The lowdown: In a rematch of last year’s Division 2 final, which TechBoston won, 78-40, this one could prove to be tighter. Taconic has won 19 consecutive games after a 1-3 start, and the growth of the four returning starters from last season’s run to the final has been immense. However, TechBoston aspires not to just become a great team, but, as coach Johnny Williams described after the 61-53 semifinals victory over Belmont, a great program. Back-to-back state championships could be the beginning.
Matchup: BISHOP STANG (20-5) vs. DOVER-SHERBORN (20-5)
Saturday at Holy Cross, Worcester, 12 p.m.
Coaches: Colbey Santos, fifth year (Bishop Stang); Rick Grady, 12th year (Dover-Sherborn)
Bishop Stang starting 5: F Eric Camacho (Sr.), F Declan Markey (So.), G Damien Perry (Sr.), G Justin Lopes (Sr.), G Joey Silvia (Jr.)
Dover-Sherborn starting 5: C Alex Waugh (Sr.); F Brett Stark (Sr.), G Cam Raycroft (Sr.), G John Muckstadt (Sr.), G Evan Skeary (So.)
The lowdown: Much like Bishop Stang’s opponent in the state semifinals (Dracut), Dover-Sherborn is on an unlikely run. The Raiders were the sixth seed in the D3 Central bracket, but won three games before upsetting top-seeded Hudson in the sectional final. Then D-S dispatched an impressive Sabis team and can now aim to secure the program’s first state title since 1981. Dover-Sherborn’s defense has been impressive in the postseason, allowing 40 points or fewer in all five wins. But D-S may have a tough time containing Perry and the Stang offense. Along with Lopes, Perry does a great job of finding forwards Eric Camacho and Declan Markey open down low when the defense collapses on him. Senior Isaiah Rodrigues can also provide scoring and valuable 3-point shooting off the bench for Stang.
Matchup: ABINGTON (20-7) vs. WORCESTER TECH (23-1)
Saturday at WPI, 6:45 p.m.
Coaches: Peter Serino, fifth year (Abington), Sean Lynch, 11th year (Worcester Tech)
Abington starting 5: F Cam Curney (Jr.); G Bryson Andrews (Sr.); G Will Klein (Jr.); G Colby Augusta (Jr.); G Matt Maguire (So.)
Worcester Tech starting 5: C Brendon Hamilton (Sr.); G Zaire Peart (Sr.); G Andrew Enlow (Jr.); G Deron Kumah (Jr.); G Jose Bonilla (Sr.)
The lowdown: After being eliminated by Maynard three straight seasons in the D4 Central semifinals or final, Worcester Tech is in the state final for the first time since 1989, when the school was called Worcester Vocational-Technical High. Abington is also playing for the first state title in program history and is making its first appearance in the state championship game. Abington pulled off a comeback in the state semifinals after trailing defending state champion Pope John by 9 points with 1:18 remaining. Maguire and Klein came up huge down the stretch and have stepped up as secondary scoring options behind Andrews. Serino said “[Worcester Tech’s] guards are very quick and explosive, so we need to contain them in transition, as well as their penetration in the halfcourt.”