ROXBURY, Mass. – Two more games were on tap Sunday to close out the 2013 BABC Holiday Classic. Both involved Boston City League teams we saw on Friday, but with new opponents, and it was a split for the city schools with the loss being an impressive display by the winning team.
Dorchester (MA) High 75, Nashua (NH) Bishop Guertin 63
Springfield (MA) Putnam 69, Hyde Park (MA) New Mission School 52
Newson leads the way in a big turnaround for Smallpiece, Dorchester
On Friday afternoon, Dorchester’s X-factor, Tavon Smallpiece (Sr. SF) was a non-factor. He wasn’t active, didn’t rebound and you hardly knew he was on the floor. It was out of character, and his team blew a lead and lost. Sunday, he was better, and so was Khalil Newson (6’1″ Sr. SG), who led the way as his team had a better result.
Newson has a good body and can score and shoot. While he can handle the ball in a pinch, there’s no question that his position at the next level is shooting guard. He’s better trying to score than run the show, and he has teammates who can run the show as well. He’s also not the most athletic guard, but he knows how to score and use his body.
Newson scored 23 points to lead the way on Sunday. He battled all game against a Bishop Guertin team that competed and even grabbed the lead early in the second half from a 19-2 run that started right after Dorchester took its biggest lead of the game at 28-12. With the game hanging in the balance in the fourth quarter, Newson hit a big three-pointer with a man right on him near the top of the key that may have sealed it.
Dorchester coach Johnny Williams is looking for a lot from Newson this year, and it’s understandable. He wants him to score, be their best player, and also lead. With a good newcomer joining at the last minute in Markus Neale (6’1″ Sr. SG), who didn’t shoot as well on Sunday, the last part becomes even bigger. On Sunday, he responded, and with help from classmate Smallpiece, Dorchester got a better result than two days earlier.
Well-balanced Putnam impresses with team basketball
Not many people in Boston know much about Putnam since it is out in Springfield. Anyone seeing them for the first time had to be impressed at how they picked apart New Mission, making the Titans look bad at times after a slow start.
Early on, New Mission did well with its press. But once Putnam adjusted, their ball movement and defensive work got them ahead and kept them there, and they never relented. New Mission didn’t help with questionable decisions and shots, but Putnam had something to do with that.
Although Putnam wins with intangibles like trusting each other, competing and talking on defense, they aren’t lacking talent. The biggest name is undoubtedly Tyonne Malone (6’4″ So. SG-SF), who has been on the travel circuit and shown promise. The lefty is athletic and had his moments, but he hasn’t been able to put it together enough thus far to move past being a “potential” player.
Jonathan Garcia (Jr. PG-SG) may be the most impressive from a prospect standpoint. A baby physically, he’s quick and has a slight frame but competed all game long. He was seemingly in every other play, making several nice passes and getting offensive boards in a ten-point outing.
Ty Nichols (Jr. PG-SG) is right there among those on this team with the most potential, as he has some length, his body has a ways to go and he has good ball skills. As his body develops, he could turn into a very good prospect, and his play within the team concept isn’t in question.
Dizel Wright (Sr. SG) isn’t the most impressive prospect on the team, but he had a game-high 22 points and impressed with how he moved without the ball. He always seemed to be in a place to score, has above-average quickness and was able to finish over big men in addition to his passing.
Ki-Shawn Monroe (Jr. SG) also impressed with his touch from long range, as he hit three from long range for nine points. He’s still a baby physically, so there’s potential down the road there as well.
It all adds up to a team that most should expect to see in March, making another run in the Division I state tournament.