MP controls glass in D1 South first round win

ROXBURY, Mass. -- Madison Park’s Ray Matthews inbounded the ball to Roderick Tyler, who immediately found himself hounded by Franklin defenders. Not panicking, he found another teammate who kept the ball moving up the floor, which allowed Khayree Hudson to finish with an emphatic dunk at the other end.

Four passes, no dribbling, two points. It was that kind of a game for MP Thursday, in its Division 1 South Tournament 60-45 victory over Franklin: everything seemed to go their way.

“I’m just so proud of my guys, they battled,” said MP coach Dennis Wilson. “We’ve got a young team, and we’ve lost three overtime games this year. It’s tough with inexperience to know how to close out a game and put a team away. I think those losses have helped us be a stronger team.”

After failing to get its 6-foot-4 senior captain Kyle Gibson going offensively early in the game, it appeared Franklin (13-9) started settling for perimeter jump shots, but they had a difficult time finding the bottom of the net.

As a result, Hudson and Tyler were able to crash the boards, not allowing the Panthers to get second-chance opportunities. They finished with 14 and 12 rebounds respectively.

“Khayree Hudson, Roderick Tyler, Jason Soares, David Stewart, they are just amazing,” said Wilson. “They’re definitely forces inside. They’re rebound machines and that was the difference. We got two and three shots to their one.”

Hudson in particular had a quiet double-double, ending with 11 points to go along with his double-digit rebounds. It was so quiet that he didn’t even know he finished with one.

“As a big man I wasn’t doing good offensively but I tried to keep my team on the board with offensive and defensive rebounds and try to play defense and help the team out,” he said.

Tyler ended with 13 points for MP (13-5), making him the team’s leading scorer.

“I knew I was going to come out and play with fire tonight,” he said. “I told myself I was going to play my best and one of my main focuses was to get on the boards and get rebounds tonight.”

Franklin took the lead early in the first quarter after Tyler Kessler hit two 3-pointers to give the team an 8-2 lead. MP came back and tied the game at eight and ended the quarter ahead 13-12.

MP never trailed at all during the final three quarters, thanks to Franklin’s timely misses.

“That’s what happens when you live and die by the three,” said Wilson. “Your legs get tired, and the shots that were falling in the first half, you know you don’t have the same legs in the second.”

“We had a 1-3-1 trap, and that really wore them down because they had to work for every shot and that worked to our advantage,” he added.

MP took a 26-19 lead into the half, giving Franklin a feeling of optimism that the game was by no means over. However, the cold streak that plagued them for most of the second quarter continued into the second half. Over the first 5:18 of the third, MP outscored them 15-4, bringing its lead to 41-23.

“There was a lot of ebbs and flows, ups and downs,” said Wilson. “They started off good, we were in a little hole, we went ahead, were up seven at halftime, then came out and went up by 11 in the third quarter, and then we pretty much kept them at bay for the entire game.”

MP will next play at Mansfield Saturday night, after the Hornets defeated Needham 60-34 Thursday night.