By Joe Dicruttalo (@JDicruttalo)
8th Grade Championship - Westboro 66, Brookline 59
The stage was set for a great match up in the finals between Brookline and Westboro. Brookline was undefeated throughout the regular season and advanced to the finals with strong showings versus Sharon, Wellesely and Arlington.
Westboro played a great season with only one loss in December to Brookline. Westboro had a great tournament with double digit wins over Southboro and Canton, and an impressive win in the semi- finals over Newton. The top two teams in the 8th Grade Division 1 throughout the year met up for what could have been the best game of the 2015 season.
With a couple hundred fans looking on, Brookline and Westboro put on a show all night, going back and forth in a very high level, competitive basketball game. From the opening possession Mike Doherty would look to attack the rim and was very successful doing so. Brother Matt picked his spots as well, and the twin brothers combined for 10 of Westboro's 14 first quarter points. The Doherty brothers would outscore Brookline 8-0 to start the game, and forced them into an early time out. After the first quarter Westboro would hold a 14-12 advantage over last year's Metrowest champions.
In the second quarter, Brookline would look to 6'3’ power forward Chris Camille to keep them in the game. Camille attacked the rim, controlled the glass and finished with ten points in the second quarter. Westboro, trailing by six, relied on its well-rounded attack and was able to answer the impressive 2nd quarter run of Brookline with a strong counter attack of their own. Dominic Caspariello and Jake Hughes would start warming up and provided big shots for Westboro, ending the quarter on a Westboro 7-0 run. Westboro took a narrow lead into halftime, 27 to 29.
The second half began where the first half left off with a back and forth battle. Brookline's Christian Andrews was a major factor throughout the second half on both the offense and defensive end. Andrews caused several turnovers as Brookline picked up its half court pressure, and forced Westboro into poor decisions. Brookline gained momentum throughout the remainder of the third quarter taking a 44-43 lead into the final frame.
Down the stretch Westboro would again rely on their well balanced attack as Caspariello would score 10 4th quarter points and Jack Hughes hit a big 3-pointer to put Westboro up by five with just under two minutes to play. Westboro would force Brookline to foul them as they held the ball with two minutes to play, and would hit eight free throws out of ten down the stretch.
Behind strong free throw shooting and great team defense down the stretch, Westboro would hold on to defeat the defending Metrowest champions, 66-59.
Dominic Caspariello led Westboro with a team high 18 points. Matt Doherty (17), Mike Doherty (14) and Jake Hughes (13)all notched double digits in the win.
It would take a total team effort to defeat such a talented Brookline team who has only lost one time in the past two seasons. Brookline's Chris Camille finished with a game high 20 points and Christian Andrews finished with 14 points (10 in the second half), and Mark Barrett added 11.
Both teams competed hard from start to finish, and it was very good to see their hard work and season long commitment to excellence result in both teams squaring off for the division- 1 8th grade title. Congratulations to both teams on a great season and a great Metrowest career.
Matt and Mike Doherty (Westboro) - Having watched every game of the D1 State tournament it was clear to see these two young men were without a doubt the most valuable players in the tournament. Mike and Matt scored 15 & 16 points per game, respectively, to go along with impressive rebounding numbers. With continuous strong takes to the hoop, and a very powerful pull-up game, the brothers were able to control each and every game they played in the tournament. One of the best things about both young men was their commitment to their teammates, their continuous hard work and their overall toughness. Playing through injuries, and doing whatever it took to help lead their team to a championship - these two were nothing short of special throughout their playoff run.
Alex Stoddard (Wellesely) - If hitting the game winning runner in a first round upset over West Roxbury wasn't enough, Alex would finish the tournament with 16 points per game and 6 assists per game. He was able to rally his team in an impressive second half run against Brookline in the Elite 8, cutting what was a 16 point lead to two with just a couple minutes to play. This 6'2 Guard has a lot of poise and skill, and was a big reason his team was only a few possessions away from a Final 4 appearance.
Jake Erlich (Easton) - One of the most competitive athletes throughout the tournament, Jake led his teams in points and rebounds and was also a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end. He drew the task of guarding Mansfield's Khristian Connor in Easton's opening round game, then was asked to cover Arlington's big man James Gascoigne in the Elite 8. He held each player to their lowest totals of the tournament. He was able to get to the free throw line at will throughout the tournament as well as knock down his go-to 15-footer game after game.
James Gascoigne (Arlington) - Very skilled athlete who has excellent body control and toughness around the basket. He can finish at the rim and looks to be balanced more than any other big body around. He has soft hands, good vertical jumping ability and is a strong competitor. He was a crucial factor in the win over Easton. He played very hard in a tough match up versus Brookline despite coming up short to last the defending champs.
Chris Camille (Brookline) - A 6'3 power forward was game in and game out one of the most impressive athletes in the field. He sat out in the opening round versus Sharon, but he was able to bounce back strong in their next three match-ups throughout the tournament. He played very big down the stretch versus Wellesely and was his team’s leading scorer in all three games he played. He scored a game high 20 points in the championship game, and was in double digit rebounds throughout the playoffs as well.