No. 22 English staves off No. 11 Brockton

LYNN, Mass. -- Can we get much higher?

Junior Keandre Stanton dominated for Lynn English this afternoon living above the rim, scoring 21 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, blocking five shots and making two steals, leading the No. 22 Bulldogs in an upset over the No. 11 Brockton Boxers, 73-68.

“I’ll tell you this,” said Lynn English captain Travonne Berry-Rogers, who buried 29 points today. “You cannot get an easy shot off against Keandre. He’ll get a finger tip, finger nail, a whole hand [on your shot]. It’s hard going against him.”

A junior center, Stanton towers at 6-foot-6, but got a nod from Barton yesterday at practice not because of his height, but his hustle and heart.

“He’s been playing so good that at Saturday’s practice we named him a captain,” said Barton. “He’s been working hard at practice and in the games. He’s a captain for the rest of the year. He’s earned it.”

The teams traded leads at the end of the first and second quarters, Lynn English (10-1) up two then Brockton (7-3) swinging to a 40-37 halftime lead on the heels of junior Shane Sims (21 points). In the third, the Bulldogs outscored the Boxers 24-13, including a 9-2 run to finish the quarter led by Stanton. The forward scored eight points and pulled down seven boards in the quarter, while Berry-Rogers drained seven of his 29 points in the third. Berry-Rogers also had seven assists and three steals.

“(I told them) just to stay focused, and not to get carried away looking at the score,” said Barton during his team’s run. “One at a time.”

In the fourth, Brockton came back to within three at 69-66 with 1:25 left in the game, outscoring the Bulldogs 13-8 in quarter to that point.

“I think we decided to start playing and stopped worrying about all of the things we had worried about,” Brockton head coach Bob Boen said.

Brockton looked like they might stage a comeback, keeping Lynn English from scoring, but unable to produce any offense, the score remained the same until 11.8 seconds remained.

“We unfortunately sent their best shooter to the line at the end of the game,” Boen said of Berry-Rogers, who sank both shots in the 1-1 scenario, pulling ahead slightly at 71-66.

Sims was fouled down the other end of the court and sank both of his free throws with 6.6 seconds left to get back within three at 71-68, but on the following possession, Berry-Rogers was fouled again, and with the game on the line he sank both free throws in the one-and-one scenario, giving his team a five point lead.

“It took confidence,” said Berry-Rogers cooly. “And, uh, I got ice in my veins. You got to have the eye of the tiger. I practice almost 100 free throws everyday at practice, because especially in my home gym, I should be able to knock those down.”

Brockton failed to score on a last ditch effort, leaving the Lynn English faithful a reason to howl together.

“It’s all about defense, hard work and dedication,” said senior Corey McMillan, who had 10 rebounds, five steals, a block and six points. “It’s all about competing. Our coach wants us to be aggressive off of the glass because defense and rebounds wins games.”

“There’s a little rivalry there,” added Barton of the two teams, hinting there could be more to come down the road. “We could definitely see them [Brockton] in the tournament.”