LOWELL, Mass. – The Massachusetts AAU Final Four was held at UMass-Lowell this weekend, and a trip there was on the docket for Saturday. It allowed for a chance to check out a few of the high school age groups since most were on the schedule for the day.
The day started with the oldest players taking the courts as the 11th graders opened it up. Middlesex Magic has been striding as a contender for a few years, but this time around they broke through with a 54-52 win in the championship game over MABC. It didn’t come easily, as the Magic were down by seven late in the game before coming back to pull it out. They were also without a couple of regular starters.
Chris Braley (6’4″ Jr. SG, Newport (ME) Philips Exeter Academy) led the way for Middlesex Magic with 20 points in the final and Peter Miller (6’9″ Jr. PF, Winchester (MA) Northfield Mount Hermon) added 12. Braley continues his development into a fine shooting guard, while Miller has emerged as much as any big man in New England this spring. Miller has a better feel for the game, but more importantly is more assertive at both ends of the floor and it’s made a big difference in the results.
The 11th grade Division II title went to a new program, the Bay State Flash, as they knocked off Worcester West in the title game. Third place went to KSC Thunder, who beat M-Plex in the third place game. Fidelity House took home third place in Division I with a win over Bay State Magic in the third place game.
The 10th grade Division II final was a tight affair for most of the game, and the BABC ninth grade team and Mass Hoop Jaguars were tied at 33 at halftime. BABC never quite busted the game open in the second half, but pulled out a 58-48 win. Scoring numbers were not available for the game.
BABC was led by Marcel Pettway (6’5″ Fr. PF, Providence (RI) Wilbraham & Monson Academy) in the title game as he dominated at times. With his big body, he went to work inside, scoring often off lob passes and assertively posting up and looking to score when he got the ball. If he grows a couple of inches, we’ll be talking about a high-major prospect down the road, but as he’s rather mature physically, the jury is out on whether or not that will happen.
Pettway had plenty of help, with Bruce Brown (6’3″ Fr. SG, Boston (MA) Wakefield HS), Terrance Mann (6’4″ Fr. SG-SF, Lowell (MA) Tilton School), Jordan Scurry (6’3″ Fr. SG, Attleboro (MA) Beaver Country Day School) and Brendan Hill (6’5″ Fr. SF-PF, Mansfield (MA) High) chief among them. Brown is a baby physically with good scoring tools, as he was able to drive and finish in traffic before hitting some good mid-range jumpers. Mann is long and athletic, and while a baby physically he drove confidently with the ball. Scurry is a baby physically and has a good frame, and he made his mark being active. Hill went to work inside as an enforcer at times blocking some shots and rebounding. He also made a smart transition layup by going right to the basket as no defender tried to stop the ball.
In the 10th grade Division I final, BABC ran out to an early lead on Mass Premier and cruised to a 73-41 victory. Jonathan Joseph (5’6″ Fr. PG, Brockton (MA) Putnam Science Academy) was the leader for BABC, rallying them in the semifinal after they struggled out of the gates and making plays constantly. He drove to create for himself and others, and also played through some frustration that appeared to come from the officials. While he made his share of mistakes, his intangibles were the biggest part of his contributions.
Bonzie Colson (6’5″ So. SF-PF, New Bedford (MA) St. Andrew’s School) had some foul trouble that included a technical in the semifinals, but it was sandwiched in between some solid offense. He scored in a couple of ways, showing a good feel for the game and an ever-expanding game away from the basket.
Jalen Adams (6’0″ So. SG, Boston (MA) Melrose HS) showed some nice potential in the semifinal before an ankle injury shelved him for the rest of the day. The athletic guard had a nice block and then showed good balance to keep the ball inbounds and showed some scoring ability offensively. One negative was his transition defense, where instead of sprinting back to try to stop the ball, he instead slowly went back to try to bait the offensive player and then gamble for a block. Next year, he will attend Wilbraham & Monson Academy.
Curtis Cobb (6’3″ Fr. SG, Fall River (MA) Durfee HS) will join Adams next year at Wilbraham & Monson. A baby physically, he wasn’t a huge factor in both games but got out in transition and hit a couple of jumpers.
Boston Warriors Blue took home third place in Division I, beating Mass Bearcats Red in the third place game. The Greater Boston Lions took home third place in the Division II with a win over Bay State Magic.