The Everett High School boys basketball team answered every challenge in a frantic fourth quarter to earn a thrilling 79-77 victory over Lynn English in the MIAA Tournament quarterfinals Friday night at the Paul Cavanagh Fieldhouse in Lynn.
Jonathan Casseus and Jordan McAfee each swished two free throws in the final eight seconds to increase the lead to five points before English’s Stevie Collins swished a long three-pointer at the buzzer.
Senior forward Gary Clark, who reached the 1,000-point milestone this season, was immense down the stretch, finishing with a game-high 24 points. Clark made his presence felt inside the lane and on the boards against English’s taller frontcourt.
English guard Erick Rosario scored 10 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to help the Bulldogs tie the game at 70-70 and 72-72.
But Everett also had a guard making big plays – super freshman Ghared Boyce – who finished off a driving hoop with his left hand in the fourth quarter as part of an outstanding 21-point-10-rebound performance.
Boyce showed all phases of his skills in the third quarter as Everett went head-to-head with English in a fast-paced game. Clark also stood tall at the offensive end in the third quarter.
Cassesus, McAfee, and Shawn Chappell also turned in key performances for Everett, co-champion of the Greater Boston League.
Head coach John DiBiaso was pleased with his team’s overall effort and the poise it showed before a large crowd.
“It was a great team win for us,” said DiBiaso. “Gary Clark and our freshman, Ghared Boyce came up big for us. It was a team win.”
DiBiaso said his team responded well when English deadlocked the game in the fourth quarter,
“We were able to respond when it became a tie game – we bounced right back. We didn’t get nervous. We kept scoring baskets.”
Everett was set to play St. John’s Prep in the semifinals Tuesday night. The winner advances to the Division 1 North sectional finals Saturday