By Joe Dicruttalo (@JDicruttalo)
#1 Brookline vs. #9 Wellesley
Brookline, being last year’s Metrowest Champs, have a large target on their back. Brookline jumped out to an early lead over Wellesley going into the half up 29 to 13. Chris Camille (21 pts) and Christian Andrews (13pts) of Brookline combined for 19 first half points.
The second half was a completely different game as Wellesley looked to lead guard Alex Stoddard (15 pts) to take charge in the comeback effort. Alex scored 12 of his team high 15 points in the second half, and was able to assist Malik Sinclair (12 pts) on several long range shots. These two helped Wellesley cut the Brookline lead to just four points with less than two minutes to play. Brookline would then look to their big man Chris Camille who proved to be too much for Wellesley to handle on the inside. Camille scored basket after basket down the stretch and helped Brookline advance to the Final 4. Final Score: Brookline 56, Wellesley 46
#2 Westborough vs #10 Canton
Westborough really struggled throughout the first half as Canton’s size and length forced them into bad shots. Canton would take a 19-15 lead into the halftime while Canton Varsity Coach Ryan Gordy looked on.
In the second half, Matt and Mike Doherty turned up the tempo of the game and really got Westborough out into transition. Matt Doherty (10 pts) was able to find Dom Caspariello (13pts) leaking out in transition and connected with him for easy baskets throughout the 3rd and 4th quarter. Mike Doherty lead his team in scoring with 16 points but was also a pest on defense really making Canton’s Devon Foster work for every bucket and holding him to a season low six points. Final Score: Westborough 51, Canton 31
#3 Belmont vs. #6 Newton
Newton basketball is known around Massachusetts as a team that you do not want to see in the playoffs. From the success of their high school programs all the way down to the youth program, these kids are tough to beat! Trailing by nine, 33-24, going into the half, Newton would make several key adjustments that turned the game right around. Newton started attacking the rim more and scored 18 points in the 3rd quarter and was able to cut the deficit to four going into the 4th.
The final frame went back and forth as Ezra Pemstein (16pts) and Aidan Lopei (13pts) started to heat up. Belmont looked to guard Danny Yargemian, who scored a game high 25 points, while shooting a perfect 8-8 from the foul line, to take control.
As the final minutes of the game waned, it was clear that whoever had the ball last would come out on top. With the game tied at 62, Newton called a timeout with just under six seconds to play and the ball coming in underneath their own basket. Belmont guarded the play very well but Newton’s Ezra Pemstein would grab the offensive rebound and hit a tough fade away basket as time expired to win the game. Final Score: Newton 64, Belmont 62
#4 Arlington vs #5 Easton
Arlington put together a great team effort to hold off a very scrappy Easton team in a game much closer than the score indicated. Tied after the first quarter at 14 apiece, Arlington had an explosive second quarter where five different players scored to give them a 31 to 21 lead going into the half.
Easton’s Jake Erlich (17pts) continued to attack throughout the second half and had Easton within three points with less than four minutes to play. Easton would also look to guard Sean O’Brien (13pts) to help them narrow the deficit.
Arlington’s balanced attacked would prove too much for Easton, as five of their players would tally eight or more points to earn the right to face Brookline in the Final Four.
Arlington’s leading scorers were, Nick Karalis (8pts) Ngor Manyang (9pts) Adam Bowler (9pts) Joey Pazzia (11 pts) and James Gascoigne (11pts). Final Score: Arlington 55, Easton 44
Elite 8 Leading Scorers
1. Danny Yargemian (Belmont) 25 points
2. Chris Camille (Brookline) 21 points
3. Jake Erlich (Easton) 16 points
4. Mike Doherty (Westboro) 16 points
5. Ezra Pemstein (Newton) 16 points
Final 4 Predictions
#1 Brookline vs. #4 Arlington- Brookline will be tested from start to finish. These two teams squared off on February 8th and Brookline escaped with a two-point win, 55-53 on their home court. It is going to be a fun matchup between Chris Camille and James Gascoigne as two of the top interior players in the state go head-to-head. This game should be one of the most exciting games of the season and a great rematch from earlier this year. I have to give the slight edge to last year’s champs, Brookline, who will win in a close one and will have a shot to repeat. Winner: Brookline.
#2 Westborough vs. #6 Newton – Newton is a tough, hardnosed, scrappy team but so is Westborough. These two teams matched up on March 1st and Westborough was able to win by 10, 52-42. Twins Matt and Mike Doherty have been playing with an unmatched level of confidence and will be very tough for Newton to match up with. Newton, the highest seed in the tournament still playing, has had a great season, but will struggle to keep up with Westborough in transition. Westborough wins to force a showdown with Brookline in the Finals. Winner: Westborough.