Monthly Archives: January 2012

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Permanent potential: English High drops heartbreakers to Madison Park and New Mission

English High basketball coach Barry Robinson speaks to his team during a timeout of a tough loss to Madison Park last Tuesday night. Photo by Patrick O'Connor.

The following is the fifth in a series of blog posts about English High’s basketball team and the school’s efforts to hold their athletes to higher academic standards. The posts are a follow up to the Boston Globe Magazine story I wrote about the school increasing its eligibility threshold for athletes to a district-high 2.5 GPA.

By Justin A. Rice

Friday was not only English High’s matchup against the defending MIAA Division 2 state champs, New Mission, it was also the deadline for all makeup work in senior guard Marquis Lewis’ English Language Arts class — exactly one week before the marking period ends this Friday.

“I got them all in,” Lewis, who has the lowest GPA on the team, said of his 24 outstanding English assignments. “I had to spend some long nights up but I got them all in. … [My teacher] didn’t think I was gonna do it.”

Lewis, who was academically ineligible last year, knows just merely turning in his makeup assignments doesn’t guarantee him a passing grade in English. And then there are the poor grades in his other classes, not to mention a slew of unexcused absences.

“It’s all about quality,” he said after last Friday’s 78-67 loss to New Mission, the 12th ranked team in the Boston Globe’s Top 20. “I tried to explain every answer thoroughly, double check and went over every answer I needed to.”

Lewis’ potential for failing off the team felt all the more real after he scored a game-high and career-high 18-points in a 64-57 win against a much bigger West Roxbury team on Jan. 13. Trailing 36-32 at halftime, English got within one point, 47-46, of Westie after senior small forward Kwame Townsend banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter. Lewis got the assist the big shot after grabbing an offensive rebound that clanked off the front of the rim.

“It was just crazy it was just a loose ball, I saw Marquis fumbled it and he gave it to me so in my head I was like ‘I have to make this to get our team back,’” Townsend said afterwards. “So when I shot it, it just felt good; the release of it, oh my God.”

Then with 5:22 left in the final quarter Lewis hit his own 3-pointer to give English its first lead of the game, 52-49. The Blue & Blue opened up a 9-point lead before blowing it. They ultimately hung on for the 7-point win by hitting 6-of-10 free throws in the final stretch, including a pair by senior forward Wiley Shipman and a pair by Townsend with 32 seconds left to go up 62-57.

The win improved English to 5-3 overall and put them in third place in their league.

“I want to say that for some of us, mainly me, it was the first time that I’ve ever been in a situation like this,” Lewis told his teammates in the locker room after the game, “and I don’t know some of you guys the same so I just wanted to say now that we’ve been in this situation, let’s do nothing but get better from it.”

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English on wire: players scramble to make 2.5 GPA

The following is the fourth in a series of blog posts about English High’s basketball team and the school’s efforts to hold their athletes to higher academic standards. The posts are a follow up to the Boston Globe Magazine story I wrote about the school increasing its eligibility threshold for athletes to a district-high 2.5 GPA.

By Justin A. Rice

Junior guard Frantz Francois turned his head away from English High basketball coach Barry Robinson, or Coach Rob, and cursed to himself through a half smile when the coach reminded his team about a 6:30 a.m. study hall shortly after a tough loss to New Bedford on Jan. 9.

“Who needs a ride and who needs to get picked up?” Coach Rob asked his team after the 103-83 loss that ended at 8:44 p.m.  I’m waking you guys up at 5:30 in the morning and I’m not playing, if you are not here at 6:30 in the morning you are NOT playing Wednesday [against Burke]. This week is basically going to break or make this team. I’m being serious man. I’m not joking with you right now.

“You will not be getting into that library after 6:30 and you will be sitting on that bench on Wednesday. We will be doing this all this week man, until you show me we don’t need it no more. But right now as a team we need to get that two-five.  You got it?”

The following morning Francois was one of 16 bleary-eyed teenagers in the library, including all 11 varsity players and six members of the jayvee squad.

“When I woke up at five [Coach Rob] texted everybody at 4:46, ‘If I’m up so should you. Let’s go,’” said Francois, who is one of about three varsity players in danger or failing off the basketball team when the marking term ends in less than three weeks.

“Man, I didn’t even go to sleep last night, I’m running off two cups of coffee, some Red Bull and I’m wide awake,” Francois, who got home around 9:30 the previous night, joked shortly before confessing that he  actually fell asleep at about 10 or 11 p.m.

At first Francois said he didn’t do any homework the previous night before remembering that he did an English worksheet, although at the moment he is unable to locate it as he’s shuffling through his binder.

Despite dire academic straits, Francois had his best game of the season against New Bedford—who was 5-2 going into the game compared to English’s record of 3-2 record. New Bedford was ranked in some preseason polls but quickly fell out of the Top 25 after a few loses.

“Last week I put that in my mind to come out and do what I can do,” Francois said after the game. “The majority of my games I feel like I haven’t been playing to my potential so I decided to step up. Basically it’s a mindset. If you know you know how to play basketball you know how to play basketball.”

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The following is the third in a series of blog posts about English High’s basketball team and the school’s efforts to hold their athletes to higher academic standards. The posts are a follow up to the Boston Globe Magazine story I wrote about the school increasing its eligibility threshold for athletes to a district-high 2.5 GPA.

By Justin A. Rice

ROXBURY — During Christmas vacation it was hard for Bryanne Toney not to think about the buzzer-beating shot Dorchester High hit to defeat English High in their final game before the holiday break.

“It stays on your mind like crazy,” said the English power forward who scored 22 points in the loss, “Cause yeah you’re like ‘If I would’ve done this, this would happen, if I  would’ve done this, this would happen.

“But in a game you wouldn’t regularly do it because it’s not like a muscle reflex. So you’ll see it [during the game] but in the end of the game you’ll go over it in your head and be like ‘Dang I could’ve done that that, that, and that and we would’ve won.”

But after Toney hit a free throw to put English up by a point with seconds remaining on Dec. 21, Dorchester went coast to coast and nailed a floating runner to give the Bears the one-point victory.

“That was heart breaking,” says Toney, who was finally able to get the loss off his mind by helping English defeat O’Bryant, 74-62, in their first game back from the holiday break on Friday. “[I didn’t let the loss ruin my holiday] because I have my family. But there was certain times when I was about to go to sleep [I thought about it] or I’d hear a buzz on my alarm clock and I was like ‘Dang.’”

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Latin Academy skates past Eastie at Frozen Fenway

 

BOSTON — Latin Academy faced off against East Boston Monday afternoon at Fenway Park, kicking off a two week bonanza of high school and college games at the venerable park.  Eastie battled tough, tying the game on two occasions, but Latin Academy won 4-3 behind a hat trick from senior captain, center Kevin Moran.

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