By Lorenzo Recupero
For the first time in Pope John High School history, the Tigers are headed to the division 4 state title game after dispatching Mashpee, 70-62, at the TD Garden on Monday, March 12.
The Tigers (23-1) earned the right to compete against Maynard for the state title on Saturday, March 17 in Springfield.
The come-from-behind win was a result of a 11-1 scoring run after the Tigers fell behind 61-60 with less than two minutes to play in the game.
Spearheading the claw back was senior Michael Thompson, a duel athlete that starred in the Tigers past football season at wide receiver as well. His double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds were instrumental in the team’s win, including his layup with under two minutes in the game that gave the Tigers a 62-61 lead they wouldn’t give up. Junior Mehki Collins was also important in the win, adding a team-high 23 points.
Head coach Leo Boucher is looking forward to the opportunity, a chance to bring home the school’s first ever state title.
“We’re not a team, we’re a family,” said Boucher to the Boston Globe following the game. “Our basketball team is just about everything to us. It is pretty cool [going to the state finals]. We got a great administration and we got great kids and great support. It’s just awesome. It is great for this school, and it’s great for these kids.”
All Pope John photos by Joseph Prezioso
Division 4 State Final:
Pope John Tigers vs. Maynard High School
Saturday, March 17th: MassMutual Center – Springfield, MA
The MassMutual Center is located in Springfield’s Downtown. Patrons should enter the MassMutual Center at the entrance on the corner of Dwight Street and Bruce Landon Way (Formerly Falcons Way).
DIRECTIONS: Traveling West on Rt. 90, take Exit 6 off the Mass. Turnpike to Rt. 291. From Rt. 291 take Dwight Street Exit. Turn left at the end of the ramp and follow Dwight Street to the MassMutual Center.