It's hard enough to beat your rival on their home floor once, the East Boston Jets (15-4, 10-1 Boston North) will look to beat their rivals the Madison Park Cardinal (16-2, 15-2 Boston North) for a second time on their home floor and third time overall, Friday night at Madison Park High School at 6:30 p.m. EDT.
The Boston City League Boy's Championship Game pits the winners of three of the past four championships, with East Boston winning in 2008 and Madison Park taking the title in 2009 and 2010. Last season, the Jets had a chance for their second title in four years, but fell just short against Charlestown 63-56.
In Thursday semifinals, Madison Park went down to the wire with Boston South Division winner Brighton, before claiming a 67-64 victory, and East Boston had no problems with an undermanned New Mission squad in their 62-43 win. Cardinals point guard Rayshawn Matthews hit a runner in the lane to give Madison Park a 67-64 lead and then pulled down a huge rebound with under 10 seconds to go to help the Cardinals hold on. East Boston used 17 points from Kyle Jimenez-Fox off the bench and 11 steals from junior guard Pat Santos to roll over New Mission.
Madison Park has been able to overcome every obstacle they've faced, including perennial contender Charlestown twice, except for the Jets. The Cardinals only losses of the season have come against East Boston, including their lone home loss (8-1) of the season in a 61-59 defeat on January 5. Dennis Wilson's squad has been one of the best offensive teams in the league all season, averaging a Boston City North division high 68.8 points per game.
Senior guard O'Shea Joy and Matthews have led the way offensively for Madison Park. Joy is a lefty sharpshooter who can score in bunches and Matthews not only serve as the team's primary ball-handler, but also their most aggressive slasher. Forward Dakim Murray and David Stewart give Madison Park a size advantage over the Jets, with both players serving as above-average rebounders.
East Boston has been the best team in the Boston North Division all season long, beating Madison Park twice and splitting a pair of games with third place Charlestown. The Jets have won six in a row since their loss to Charlestown, with a winning margin of more than 16 points per game in those games. Defense has been the Jets strength all season long, as they lead all Boston City League teams with just 52.1 points allowed per game.
Forwards Will March and Kenny Ramos lead the team with more than 10 points per game each, while Elgino Jean has been in charge of running the offense from the point guard position. Head coach Malcolm Smith doesn't rely on one or two scorers, but instead has more than a half dozen players who pitch in consistently. Smith's focus on defensive pressure and attacking the basket has been effective all season long, as the Jets have been been solid in creating a lot of turnovers and forcing opponents into foul trouble.