The St Clement Anchormen (24-1) fended off the Quaboag Cougars (23-2) 45-42 and captured the MIAA Division 4 State title in a nail bitter at Holy Cross
on Friday, March 14. The title is the first in the school’s 89 year history.
With 41.4 seconds left in the game, St Clement point guard Brandon Williams (Dorchester) missed the first free throw of a 1-1 with St Clement leading 45-42. The Cougars scrambled for the ball and shot for the tie, but missed the 3 point shot. Williams scored 6 points and controlled the game for the Anchormen.
At the half, St Clement lead by a slim 20-19. The Cougars dominated the opening of the 3rd period by going on a 9-2 run. At the end of the 3rd period, Emaru Pena (Roxbury) hit two clutch 3 point shots. Pena went 4 for 5 from the 3 point range
Coach told me to just keep shooting and play defense,” Pena said. “Once I make one I’m going to keep making the rest. I like the pressure. We came too far.” St Clement extended their lead by 8 at the end of the 3rd
In the 4th, junior Eamonn Joyce (Medford) and senior Khaneil Bruce (Cambridge) led the offense. Joyce had a total of 12 points, and was once again brilliant with 9 rebounds and sinking all but one of his free throw attempts. Bruce led the team with 19 rebounds and 9 points.
“I was just thinking I had to get in position for every rebound to do everything I could to help my team win,” Joyce said. “Winning the battle of the boards was extremely important. We needed offensive rebounds to win.”
Toward the end of the 4th, the Anchormen offense went flat and the Cougars took advantage and closed the gap. With 2:43 left in the game, Pena hit a critical 3 point shot. Pena hit another field goal with just seconds left on the shot clock that gave them a critical 6 point lead. Pena’s remarkable 3 point shooting won the game for the Anchormen.
“My coach tells me to keep shooting,” Pena said. “The key to games like this is defense. We knew that if the made enough stops, the shots would become available. I felt good all night.”
The St Clement Anchormen are coached by 12th year Head Coach Leo Boucher, third year coach Larry Washington and second year Matt O’Donnell. The team enjoyed a 19-1 regular season and was the number 1 seed in the State Tournament. The team won the Catholic Central League title for the second year in a row. Their hard work did not go unnoticed as they received five league all star selections: Junior Guard Brandon Williams (Dorchester), Junior Guard Jack Hartnett (Medford), Junior Guard Emaru Pena (Roxbury), Senior Forward Khaniel Brunce (Cambridge) and Junior Center Eamonn Joyce (Medford). Senior Khaniel Bruce was also named Catholic Central League Co-MVP.