By Justin A. Rice
Reviving a tradition started by former coach Jack O’Brien, Charlestown High walked to TD Garden for its Division 1 Eastern Mass title bout with Brockton on Monday in 70-degree weather. Unlike O’Brien, who won five state championships at Brockton, this year’s Townies’ team walked away empty handed.
“We wanted to continue that tradition,” Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso said after the 67-64 overtime loss. “We walked the 1.7 miles. It took about 30 minutes. It was a great walk. Guys came in loose.”
“I tell my guys we had to live in the moment, play for the moment. I felt we left it on the court, we lost in overtime.”
The heartbreaking loss came despite a fourth-quarter clinic put on by Charlestown junior forward Tyrese Hoxter. After a back-and-forth first half, Brocton tied the game at 44 at the end of the third quarter on a buzzer-beating shot by senior forward Drew Fiske.
But Hoxter opened the final quarter by scoring every point of Charlestown’s 9-2 run that put them up 53-46 with 5:36 to play.
With 2:14 to play, Brockton senior forward Jamal Reuben stole the ball and went in for an uncontested layup to tie the game at 55.
“I knew they had momentum, we had to get some defensive stops,” Brockton senior center Sayvonn Houston, who also scored 22 points, said of Charlestown’s 9-2 run. “The full court [press] really worked. Pressuring the ball really worked.”
Hoxter only scored one more basket in the fourth and both teams missed chances in the final second of regulation before Brockton opened the extra session with four unanswered points. Charlestown managed to get within one point, 63-62, after Hoxter scored his only bucket of overtime with 57.3 to play and senior forward Omar Orriols hit a free throw with 16.9 to play.
But Orriols missed the second free throw and Houston pulled down the rebound for Brockton before being fouled. He drained both free throws to go up 65-62 with 15.1 on the clock.
“We missed some boxing out assignments and gave up some second chance points,” Cardoso said of his team’s meltdown. “We knew in order to win against Brockton we couldn’t give up second and third chance points. That game could’ve gone either way. At one point we had a good lead. We missed some free throws. We missed some opportunities.
“I feel we got sloppy at the end.”
Charlestown (20-5) beat Brockton by 18 points earlier this season in the Comcast Tournament.
“We knew we had to come back and prove something against them and we did,” Houston said.
Brockton (23-2) advances to the state title game where they will play the winner of St. John’s Shrewsbury and Springfield Central at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the DCU Center in Worcester.