Brighton High's Malik James and Reading High's Olivia Healy stopped by ESPNBoston.com's Foxborough office yesterday afternoon, where they were officially presented their trophies as the state's player of the year, the "Mr. Basketball" and "Miss Basketball" awards, respectively.
James, a 6-foot-1 point guard, was masterful in Brighton’s run to its first-ever MIAA Division 2 state championship in school history. He averaged 20 points per game over a six-game run through the tournament, which culminated with a 59-41 win over South Hadley in Saturday’s state final at Worcester’s DCU Center. Most dramatically, he led the Bengals to a comeback victory over Scituate in the Eastern Mass. final at TD Garden. Brighton trailed by 11 points with four minutes to go, but James sealed the victory with a three-point play with 1.8 seconds to go.
Healy, a 5-foot-10 guard/forward, led the state in scoring average (27.5 points per game), and shot 54.1 percent from the field -- including a 41 percent clip from three-point range. She also averaged 11.5 rebounds, 5.3 steals and 3.8 assists per game. She leaves Reading as the school's all-time leading scorer of either gender, at 1,897 points, breaking the previous mark set in 1985. In her four seasons with the Reading varsity, the Rockets went 86-7 with four Middlesex League titles, two MIAA Division 2 North titles, an Eastern Mass. Championship and the school's first-ever state title in 2012. The Rockets also endured a 48-game win streak, starting at the beginning of the 2011-12 season and snapping on March 11 in the Eastern Mass. Championship at TD Garden.
Both are expected to fulfill Division 1 aspirations following graduation. Healy signed a letter of intent with the University of Richmond last November, while James is expected to finish up next year at prep school. Yesterday, during the awards presentation, James received his first Division 1 scholarship offer, from Canisius College, for the 2014-15 season.