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New Mission Pulls Away Late to Upend Hoosac Valley

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Sports - Print
04:45PM / Saturday, March 16, 2024


LOWELL, Mass. – The New Mission boys basketball team Saturday scored the game’s last six points to earn the school’s sixth state championship.
 
The Titans put on a 6-0 run in the last 46 seconds to take a 57-49 win over Hoosac Valley at Tsongas Arena in the Division 5 state final.
 
Jamari Toney-Simmons scored a game-high 17 points, and Lawrence Davis scored eight second-half points, grabbed 10 rebounds and threw down a dunk at the buzzer to punctuate the win for New Mission, which took home its first state crown since 2016.
 
“We got beat,” Hoosac Valley coach Bill Robinson said. “We were right there. We had a chance. We just lost our heads a little bit at the end, and they got us.
 
“Good game, good game. It’s a lot better than our three previous games we’ve been around here. It was an exciting game, back and forth. A lot of good out of it. We just lost our heads in the key moments down the stretch.”
 
Hoosac Valley went to the finals three times under Robinson, in 2003, ‘09 and ‘15. The closest margin in those three losses was a 14-point loss to Old Rochester in 2015.
 
On Saturday, neither team had a double-digit lead at any point, and top-seeded Hoosac Valley led by as many as seven and as late as early in the third quarter.
 
Frank Field led the Hurricanes with 15 points. Qwanell Bradley finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
 
“Qwanell stepped up his game,” Robinson said. “He had to because of their size. We just didn’t really do anything offensively. We didn’t really run anything, and that kind of hurt us.”
 
A lot of the credit goes to New Mission’s defense, which made the Hurricanes as uncomfortable as they’ve been all season in their half court offense.
 
“This is inner city Boston, right?” Robinson said of the Titans. “I just told our guys, we’re a bunch of country bumpkins. There’s a cow farm right in back of our school. These guys [from New Mission] have never seen a cow. OUr guys have never seen glass skyscrapers.
 
“But I think we did OK for a bunch of cowboys. I think we showed our metal and, again, we were right there until the last two minutes. We lost our heads a little bit, took some questionable shots and nobody there to rebound – just lost our head.”
 
The Hurricanes showed they belonged right from the jump, getting seven points from Bradley in a first quarter that ended with Hoosac Valley ahead, 15-10.
 
Early in the second, Field tipped in his own miss to give the Hurricanes a seven-point lead at 19-12.
 
The Titans answered with a 10-0 that featured six points, including two putbacks, from Toney-Simmons to take a 22-19 lead with three minutes left in the half.
 
But Hoosac Valley got off the mat and scored the last eight points of the half to go into the break with the lead.
 
First, Trevor Moynihan (nine points) hit a scoop shot under the basket. Then Bradley scored four straight on assists from Joey McGovern (eight points). Finally, Adan Wicks (eight points) scored with 48 seconds left to give the Hurricanes a 27-22 lead in the locker room.
 
New Mission started the second half with a 13-4 run to take a four-point lead at 35-31, but Hoosac Valley again answered, this time with an 8-2 spurt that spanned the third and fourth quarters.
 
Bradley scored with an assist from McGovern to make it a one-point deficit going to the fourth..
 
And after a Solis Blue dunk for the Titans to open the final stanza, Wicks scored four points in a 5-0 spurt that gave Hoosac Valley its last lead of the afternoon at 39-37.
 
“They played, they wanted to win,” Robinson said of Wicks, a sophomore and Moynihan, an eighth-grader. “The young kids wanted to win. … But that’s what we did. We did a lot of one-on-one stuff, and that’s not us. We made a couple of baskets to keep it close.”
 
Toney-Simmons got an and-one in transition to give New Mission a 40-39 lead it never relinquished.
 
A bucket by Blue in transition pushed the margin to 47-41, but Field scored four straight for the Hurricanes to make it a one-possession game with 3:20 on the clock.
 
And that’s pretty much where things stayed until the wheels came off for Hoosac Valley in the final minute.
 
Even though the closing seconds were hard to take, the Hurricanes have a lot to be proud of.
 
“There’s a lot of happiness in the season,” Robinson said. “It hurts right now. This moment hurts. But we had a terrific year. Winning another Western Mass title, being the No. 1-ranked team in the state for so long, for almost the entire year. Those things are important to us.
 
“It puts our program at a level where people are going to respect it. I’ve been around for 30 years now doing this, and I’ve been to four of these. None of them turned out our way, but we’ll keep on battling. Hopefully, there will be another one some day. But these aren’t easy to get to.”
 

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