Massachusetts High School March Madness

Massachusetts Finals: St. John's Prep, New Mission, Whitinsville Christian Win State Titles

New Mission, a Boston-area school of only about 275 students, beats Northridge 67-57 for Division 2 championship.

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Massachusetts DI Final: St. John's Preps Beats St. John's 72-57; Connaughton Scores 22

St. John's Prep looked like it might be stifled by St. John's of Shrewsbury and its stingy defense in the first half of Massachusetts' Division 1 championship game Saturday, but the No. 1-ranked team in the state eventually figured it out in the third quarter on the way to a 72-57 victory at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.

Led by  Massachusetts' Gatorade player of the year Pat Connaughton, a 6-foot-4 small forward who has committed to Notre Dame, Prep scored 30 points in the third quarter to make it 58-39 heading into the final stanza.

The fact that Prep (25-1) had 58 points with a quarter left  was made more impressive considering that St. John's of Shrewsbury had held its opponents to just 43, 38, 47 and 41 points in its previous four playoff  games.

Connaughton scored 22 points in the game -- 12 in the first half to help St. John's Prep to a 28-21 halftime lead -- after averaging 22 points, 16.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game leading up to Saturday's championship.

St. John's Prep, which hadn't appeared in the state championship since 1974, was led in scoring by junior Steve Haladyna with 29 points.

For St. John's of Shrewbury (21-4), which was competing in its fourth straight state final, senior Richard Rodgers scored 26 points. The 6-foot-5 Rodgers is a football signee of Cal-Berkeley.

Notes: According to the Worcester Telegram's Twitter account, The DCU Center announced the official attendance for all the games played on Saturday was 9,460.

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Moving Up: New Mission, School Of Only 275 Students, Wins D2 After D4 Title in '10

New Mission of Roxbury raced  to a 17-point halftime lead and defeated Northbridge 67-57 on Saturday in the Massachusetts Division 2 championship.

New Mission, a Boston-area school of only about 275 students, won the Division 4 championship last season. Most Division 2 schools have more than 1,000 students.

"We made the decision to move up," New Mission head coach Cory McCarthy told the Worcester Telegram prior to the game. "Actually, it was my decision."

Turns out that was a good decision. With Saturday's victory at the DCU Center, New Mission (22-4) becomes the first school to win Division 4 and Division 2 championships in back-to-back seasons.

The turning point in the final seemed to come early in the second quarter as Northbridge mustered just two points in the first three minutes, allowing New Mission to get out to a comfortable lead. Up 55-34 going into the final stanza, New Mission never looked back.

New Mission was led by Darius Davis, a 6-foot-4 senior guard, who finished with 17 points -- 12 of which came in the first half. Samir McDaniels added 16 points while Kachi Nzerem poured in another 15.

For Northbridge (20-6), Corey Pryor scored 17 points, nine of which came in the first half. The talented senior averaged over 27 points per game this season. Jake Ratcliffe chipped in 11, and Harrison Murphy had 10 to round out Northbridge's double-digit scorers. It was the team's first time in a state championship game since 1980.

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Whitinsville Christian Wins MIAA Division 3 Championship Over Watertown

Whitinsville Christian's size and experience helped the team to victories of at least 15 points in all five of its games leading to the title game.

On Saturday afternoon, Whitinsville Christian (23-2) defeated Watertown 42-36 for the Division 3 championship game at the DCU Center in Worcester. It was Whtinsville's first state title since 2005.

With seven Whitinsville players measuring at least 6-foot-4, Watertown had few answers for Whitinsville's size as Watertown's tallest player was just 6-3.

Whitinsville, the newly crowned state champions, was led by 6-9 senior center Hans Miersma. He scored 12 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and asserted his size and strength early in the game.

Less than four minutes into the game, a Miermsa dunk attempt rattled the basket so hard that it caused a 10-minute delay so tournament officials could collapse the hoop and fix the shaken-up shot clock.

After trailing 9-7 to end the first quarter, Whitinsville (23-2) took a 21-15 lead into halftime behind solid defense and costly Watertown turnovers.

Watertown (19-6), located about 20 minutes west of Boston, had a chance to take the lead with less than three minutes left in the game.

After a failed Watertown 3-point attempt, a Miersma layup on the other end gave Whitinsville a 35-32 lead that was never relinquished.

Senior guards Taylor Bajema and Colin Richey each contributed 12 points in the win for Whitinsville, a town about an hour southwest of Boston.

Guard Marco Coppola, the leading scorer in Eastern Massachusetts, and forward Cory Donohue each scored 15 points in the loss for Watertown.

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Three Championships On Tap For Saturday; Winthrop Reigns In Division 4

Earlier this week, Winthrop (19-6) defeated Cohasset (22-3) 58-55 to capture the Division 4 title at TD Boston Garden to begin championship festivities.

Senior center Anthony Hatzisavas led the team with 16 points.

Junior forward Joe D'Amore chipped in 15 points, including 11 in a hotly contested fourth quarter which saw Cohasset charge back from nine down with 2:30 to play.

For Winthrop, a town 20 minutes east of Boston, the championship victory came after three consecutive losses in the north sectional finals.

Cohasset, a coastal town twenty minutes southeast of Boston, was led by sophomore Shane Haggerty with 17 points.

Kyrel Jaundoo and Sam Richardson also registered double-digit point totals in the losing effort.

Three additional state championships will be decided Saturday at the DCU Center in Worcester.

The Division 1 title game features the St. John's Pioneers (21-5) versus the St. John's Prep Eagles (25-1). The Eagles enter the championship game with only one loss and the top ranking in Massachusetts. Their national ranking sits in the 40's.

St. John's Prep is led by senior small forward Pat Connaughton, a Notre Dame recruit and MaxPreps top 100 player.

The New Mission Titans (19-4) will face the Northbridge Rams (18-5) in the Division 2 final.

Northbridge, seeking its first every state title, is led by senior guard Corey Pryor who averages 27 points per game on the season.

New Mission holds a tremendous size advantage entering the game with a starting lineup averaging 6-foot-4.

In Division 3, the Watertown Red Raiders (17-5) are a slight favorite over Whitinsville Christian (19-2).

Watertown is led by senior guard Marco Coppola who has averaged 23.5 points per game in the playoffs and led Eastern Massachusetts in scoring this season.

Whitinsville Christian has relied on their size advantage to disrupt state tournament opponents en route to the title game.

Guard Taylor Bajema enters the final on a hot streak averaging 21.3 points per game in his last three.

Massachusetts at a Glance - All Games ET

Saturday, March 19 @ DCU Center in Worcester

Division 3 Finals

12:30 p.m. - Watertown vs. Whitinsville Christian

Division 2 Finals

4:00 p.m. - New Mission vs. Northbridge

Division 1 Finals

7:30 p.m. - St John's vs. St. John's Prep

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