ESPNBoston's MIAA Basketball State Championship Picks


Division 1:

Central Catholic (22-5) vs. Putnam (24-0)

Brendan C. Hall: That Putnam outclassed a team as well-coached as St. John's in virtually every facet of the game on Tuesday night in the Central/West semifinal should give you an idea of the talent of the Beavers, who last lost a game on Feb. 12, 2013. I'll choose my words carefully, but I'm not sure Central has seen a team in Eastern Mass. with the kind of defensive pressure Putnam brings. Dizel Wright and David Murrell are arguably the state's two best defenders, but the X-factor here will be Jonathan Garcia, who has been quite the revelation in the second half of the season. Pick: Putnam

Chris Bradley: Given the great run that Central Catholic made through the Eastern Mass. competition, one would have to imagine that the state championship will be a much, much closer game than Putnam's 77-51 state semifinal win over Central Mass. champ St. John's. Putnam has the best group of guards in the state, which means Central guards Alex Santos, Tyler Nelson, AJ Pettway, and Kevin Fernandez will have their hands full. Pick: Putnam

Division 2

New Mission (22-2) vs. Concord-Carlisle (22-2)

Hall: Ask anyone. After New Mission lost to St. Joe's (N.J.) and its Kentucky-bound 7-foot-1 center Karl Towns last December, I muttered on press row that the Titans would win the state title in March. Too late now to turn back. Pick: New Mission

Bradley: Cory McCarthy put together a tough schedule, including games against both Division 1 state finalists, so that his team would be prepared for any team they'd see in the Division 2 field. While it a great run for Concord-Carlisle in their first year in Central Mass., look for New Mission bigs Asante Sandiford and Fred "Bam" Rivers to expose them in the post Pick New Mission

Division 3

Cardinal Spellman (21-4) vs. Tyngsborough (22-2)

Hall: No disrespect to Tyngsborough, but I think the entire state is going to be rooting for the Cards on Saturday. Pick: Cardinal Spellman

Bradley: Don't count Tyngsborough out, but Cardinal Spellman may have seen their best competition during their incredible run through the Division 3 South tournament, a run that included wins over Martha's Vineyard, Westport, and Watertown. Look for a big game from Spellman star guard Ryan "Toasty" Roach in his last high school game. Pick: Cardinal Spellman

Division 4

Quaboag (24-2) vs. St. Clement (23-1)

Hall: I have a prop bet with Mike Herren that Quaboag would win D4, not Bishop Connolly, and seeing how the Cougars were eliminated on Monday, somebody in Fall River owes me a sandwich. That aside, big man Jake Wisniewski should find a worthy adversary in St. Clement big man Eamonn Joyce down low, but there's a reason Wisniewski is being hailed as one of the state's hidden gems. Pick: Quaboag

Bradley: It's been quite a run the past couple weeks for Quaboag, one that the Cougar faithful hopes will end in a state title on Saturday. Quaboag is experienced, but they're also have a very talented forward in 6-foot-4 junior Jake Wisniewski. Wisniewski has had some big games in the playoffs, he should be game for one more on Friday at Holy Cross Pick: Quaboag



Division 1

Braintree (23-1) vs. Westford Academy (22-4)

Hall: Considering Westford ran through two of the state's most intimidating frontcourts in Springfield Central and Holy Name to reach the title game here, I expect the Grey Ghosts to give the Braintree juggernaut one of its toughest battles of the season. But in the end, the Wamps are still a juggernaut, and they'll pick up their first state title since 2006 Pick: Braintree

Bradley: The Wamps have dominated nearly every opponent they have played this year thanks to their supremacy on the perimeter and height in the paint. Look for Gatorade Player of the Year Ashley Russell to lead Braintree to the state title Pick: Braintree

Division 2

Arlington Catholic (21-4) vs. Longmeadow (19-5)

Hall: Longmeadow had to duke it out with all Division 1 teams, including stalwarts Springfield Central and Northampton, in its league. That experience has paid off in the playoffs, the latest feat an upset of state title contender Nashoba. Look for Taj Lewis to have another big game Saturday. Pick: Longmeadow

Bradley: Few teams in Division 2 played a tougher regular season schedule than Arlington Catholic, that strength of schedule should pay off in their most important game of the year. Pick: Arlington Catholic

Division 3

St. Mary's (Lynn) (23-2) vs. Hoosac Valley (23-1)

Hall: Brianna Rudolph, one of the state's best lead guards, had herself a ball on Tuesday at the Garden. Look for more of the same on Saturday. Pick: St. Mary's

Bradley: The Spartans haven't lost a game since falling to Archbishop Williams over a month ago, a loss they avenged with a win over the Bishops in the D3 state semifinal. Expect a big game out of senior Brianna Rudolph. Pick: St. Mary's

Division 4

New Mission (19-3) vs. Millis (15-10)

Hall: The relative ease with which Millis, a .500 regular-season team, has run through this tournament just goes to show the strength of the Tri-Valley League. That experience will pay off here. Pick: Millis

Bradley: The Titans have been able to win all their games but one by double digits so far in the tournament, showing their supremacy over any team they saw in Eastern Mass. Millis made quite the Cinderella run in their first year in Central Mass., but it will be difficult for them to stop Deandra Humphries and Jazz Laracuente. Pick: New Mission​