In a rematch of last year’s Boston City League Final, Burke used their resilience to come back against a talented and physical Latin Academy squad.
Coming back from 10 down at the half, the Bulldogs used a couple hot hands along with a tough defensive effort to take down the Dragons on the road 70-61.
“I loved our fight in the second half,” said Burke coach Sean Ryan. “It was the first time all year that we had to deal with foul trouble, so we had to deal with something we haven’t had to deal with in the past. We didn’t make shots early on, but we kind of grinded it out. Credit to (Latin Academy), they really put us on our heels early.”
With a 39-29 deficit after 16 minutes, Burke (9-2) began to chip away in the third to make it 52-47 heading into the final period.
From there, the Bulldogs took the game over with a 23-9 advantage thanks primarily to a defense that allowed 2-of-12 shooting from the field before the final minute of play.
“We tried a special defense on (Latin Academy) early and we fouled in that defense too much,” Ryan said about the defense in the second half. “We just got back to grinding out a hard, full-court man-to-man and I thought that wore them out (in the fourth).”
Sophomore sensation Jaeden Roberts netted a game-high 22 points. He added nine rebounds and five assists on the evening.
“I thought (Roberts) pressed early,” Ryan said. “I thought (in the second half), he finally settled down and some good things happened and the game opened up.”
Senior Matt Drayton also came up with five of nine points during a 9-2 run that saw a 52-49 hole turn into a 58-54 lead after a steal and right-handed layup.
“(Drayton) has been inconsistent, but has had a few games where he has hit four threes,” said Ryan. “Eventually, if it is a good shot, I feel like it will go in. That was a huge one in the corner (to tie the game in the fourth).”
Drayton finished with 10 of his 14 points in the second half for Burke, including a three to knot the score 52-52 in the fourth.
For Latin Academy (9-2), 6’7” senior Brennan Shapiro (10 rebounds) was a big part of the offense as he scored 11 of his team-high 21 in the second quarter as the Dragons ballooned a 17-15 lead to a 39-29 advantage. Senior Michael Corriea Johnson added 17 points, seven boards and seven assists. Senior Osman Aden was held to just five points.