DIVISION 1 STATE SEMIFINAL, MARCH 12 AT THE TD GARDEN:
MANSFIELD 73, EVERETT 65
Talented and Efficient Mansfield Ends Crimson Tide’s Dream Season
By Lorenzo Recupero
For all of the accolades and milestones set this season, none could save the Crimson Tide from suffering a tough, 73-65, defeat against a strong Mansfield team that covered more of the TD Garden parquet than Everett’s defense could handle.
The Crimson Tide were playing in their first state finals bracket since 1994 following a 19-win regular season, one of the best in the illustrious career for head coach John Dibiaso, but the strength of the Hornet’s game — spreading the floor, living and dying by the 3-pointer — was too overwhelming for the Tide. Everett’s final lead of the game was 17-14 with just under a minute to go in the first quarter. Mansfield never let-up after that, going on a 20-2 scoring run that flattened Everett and ballooned Mansfield’s lead to 34-19 with 2:39 seconds to play in the first half.
“I thought we battled to the end,” said head coach John Dibiaso following his final game on the sidelines for Everett High. “I thought we played tough and we tried to stay in it until the end, and we just couldn’t get over that second quarter deficit, we kind of dug ourselves a hole there. We were down 15 at one point. But It was uphill the rest of the game,” said Dibiaso of his team pulling within four points of Mansfield with .19 seconds left in the game, but by then it was too late to muster a comeback.
The school’s all-time leading scorer, Ghared Boyce, powered the team offensively with a game-high 22 points, proving himself the best player on the court with step-back jumpers and tough drives to the basket that kept Everett in the game late. But even his offensive prowess couldn’t mask Everett’s inability to close-out on Mansfield’s 3-point shooters or secure rebounds.
“Defense, that’s really what it was [that went wrong],” said Boyce on what contributed to the loss. “We couldn’t get a rebound, and gave up too many second-chance points. We could have got back into the game If we could hold them to one shot, but we failed to box out and they got the victory,” said a visibly emotional Boyce, who finished his career with 2,072 points, the most all-time in Everett history.
With the season over, Boyce’s future in Everett lore will now settle in its place amongst the banners at Everett High gymnasium for years to come. His record will not be
superseded anytime soon, standing as a reminder of his impact on the Crimson Tide basketball program, when he helped Everett to a Division 1 North Championship.
“It’s a big accomplishment for me. The 2,000 points and all-time leading scorer for the school, but I really wanted to win a state championship with my brothers. That would have meant more to me. Sadly, we couldn’t’ make it. But I’m proud of my brothers, proud of my coaches, family and all my supporters and fans, we just fell short,” he said. “I’ll never forget this moment. We lost but I’ll never forget playing at the Garden with my brothers,” he said.
And though the EHS phenom won’t ever dawn an Everett uniform again, his final message to his teammates was clear and direct.
“We couldn’t win it, but we’ll still be together,” he said We are family and will still be around for each other and communicating no matter what.”