By Justin A. Rice
ROXBURY — Madison Park busted New Mission’s near monopoly on city bragging rights on Friday night at Madison Park High.
After the Titans’ defeated J.E. Burke in the finals of the girls’ Boston City League Championships [see next entry for coverage], the New Mission boys’ were unable to keep their end of the bargain—forced to watch through bleary eyes as the Cardinals hoisted the trophy the Titans thought had their name on it.
Only one team was called Titans but it was truly a clash of top-ranked teams as Madison Park (16-1) held off New Mission’s furious comeback down the stretch to hold onto the the 66-59 victory.
“That’s the character of this team, they have the heart of lions and their warriors even though they’re Cardinals and they refuse to lose,” Madison Park coach Dennis Wilson said after his second straight city title and fourth overall. “Everybody at some point in time did something to make this happen. That’s why this team is great.
“I want this for them; I’ll be here another 50 years so I don’t need anything.”
Top-ranked Madison Park controlled second-ranked New Mission (19-2) in the post, where senior center David Campbell scored a game-high 25 points, including 17 in the second-half, to earn tournament MVP honors.
“It really boosts us, we feel like we are the best,” said Campbell, whose No. 1 seeded team in the Division 1 South bracket will begin state tournament play on Wednesday at home against either Barnstable or Durfee. “It’s going to be really good for us. We’re real happy, real happy.”
Like Wilson, New Mission coach Cory McCarthy came into the tournament saying he puts more emphasis on states and the city tournament is for player pride. But McCarthy left Madison Park’s gym on Friday night unsure if the loss would plague his team the remainder of the post season, even though the Division 4 team is unlikely to face anyone tougher than Madison Park when they begin their quest for their first state title on Saturday at the Reggie Lewis Center. The No. 1-seeded team in the Division 4 North bracket will play the winner of Trinity Catholic and St. Mary’s.
“We probably won’t [face anybody better than MP] but guess what, every time you lose, well coached teams see how you lost so you have to improve. So we just have to improve and we will improve. That’s just the nature of our school. It’s the nature of our school and of our kids. We will improve and we will be in the state tournament.
“The city tournament is for our guys. The state tournament is for our school.”