READING, Mass. — Maybe Charlestown was just waiting for the right time to unleash its true self.
It’s been a season of turmoil and unrealized expectations for the highly-touted Townies, who missed out on a spot in the City Championships. When people buzz about the best teams in the state, their name haven't always inspired the masses to clamor for theirs to be included.
But all of that perception could change after this weekend. Charlestown nipped BC High by a point on Saturday and dominated top-seeded Brockton 68-50 in the finals of the Comcast/IAABO Board 27 Tournament yesterday at Reading High.
The Townies now have their full complement of players, highlighted by Rony Fernandez, who scored 18 points, including three 3-pointers, running the show for a potential strong push in the MIAA Tournament. Edson Cardoso has been at the helm of the trying season, but he said it was all a part of his team managing its way through one of the tougher schedules in the state.
“With the schedule we put together we played a lot of tough teams,” said Cardoso. “We played 17 of the top-25 on our schedule. There’s not a team out there that we are going to play and not be competitive. You see it all every night (in the City). I feel like now we can get into the state tournament we can work hard and just leave it all on the court.”
Big Third Quarter: The energy was there from the beginning or Charlestown, but the third quarter is where they left their mark on this game. The Townies hit 8-of-10 shots from inside the 3-point line and also canned a pair of deep balls to turn a four-point halftime lead into a 14-point lead after eight minutes.
Omar Orriols connected on a corner three-pointer, and on the next Charlestown possession he faked a trey, took a step in an drained a jumper for a 47-37 lead. Tournament MVP Tyrese Hoxter poked the ball on the ensuing possession for the Boxers and finished on the other end with a lay-in to give the Townies their biggest lead of the night at the time 49-37.
The Boxers wouldn’t get closer than 12 the rest of the way through.
Something Different on D: Anyone who watched a City team play knows that a long night of man-to-man defense is usually on the horizon for 32 minutes. But the Townies showed a little wrinkle as they sat in a 2-3 zone for the majority of the night and basically asked the Boxers to beat them from the outside.
“Lately we’ve been playing a lot of zone,” said Cardoso. “We knew they had shooters, but we felt that our guards were long enough to bother their shots. I felt like these guys could bother jump shots a little bit, so it was the most zone we’ve played in a while.”
The Boxers finished the night 4-for-17 from behind the arc, and Jahleel Moise only scored two points as he dealt with early foul trouble and ineffectiveness when he was in the game.
Unlikely Source of Offense: Tyrik Jackson is by far the only true inside presence for guard/wing-oriented Townies lineup, and usually the 6-foot-6-inch senior isn’t asked to shoulder any of the offensive load.
But on Sunday -- just two games removed from tweaking his ankle, and subsequently missing crunch time, against Madison Park -- he showed in the first half that he can score if asked to by the coaching staff.
Jackson scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half on elbow jumpers and floaters in the lane over the bigger Boxers’ frontline.
“(Against BC High) I didn’t really do anything on offense, so I tried to be more active,” said Jackson. “I could move faster than some of their bigs, so that was my advantage.”
Jackson almost had the Rondo-effect going for him against the Boxers. The big men for Brockton were giving him the elbow jumpers in the first half and almost daring him to shoot the ball. To his credit he knocked them down and then made strong moves to the hoop when the defenders came to take away the shot.
“He does take that shot in practice and I told him against Brockton the big guys are going to sit on you, so hit a couple shots for us and they are going to come up on you and you can go right by him,” said Cardoso. “I was glad he took those shots.”
Cardoso said that Jackson will get more treatment on his ankle after playing back-to-back days to get ready for the upcoming tournament.