By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
SPRINGFIELD (South End) - The Battle for The Border Playoffs continued on Saturday. There were multiple games at the The Court and at The South End Community Center.
Since early July, I have been following the Boys National conference of the BfTB HS division.
There were two games on Saturday: Paulo Freire vs. Longmeadow and Granby Memorial (CT) vs. Baystate Academy.
I also got to see the American conference Championship Game. As I’m typing this, a storm is headed for New England. Sundays games have been postponed [The storm was weak].
Paulo Freire vs. Longmeadow
Paulo Freire was without Will Johnson Jr. and Chris Fontanez.
(Emmanuel Cruz dunks [from 8/20/21 against Amherst])
Alex Barber and Emmanuel Cruz would have to do the heavy lifting.
Early in the 1st half, Longmeadow got out to a 7-2 lead. Longmeadow got easy baskets; Paulo Freire came out “the blocks” slow.
Paulo Freire found their stride and narrowed the early Longmeadow lead to one, 11-10.
Halfway through the 1st quarter, Paulo Freire gained the lead, 13-11.
After a slow start, Paulo Freire was ahead at halftime 21-15.
Longmeadow stayed close in the second half. They made a run at the end but didn’t have enough to get to the championship game.
Paulo Freire won 50-47.
Baystate vs. Granby
Granby controlled the game from the opening tip. They were quicker to the ball, attacked the offensive “glass” and hit timely 3s.
Baystate didn’t play at their pace. Their offense wasn’t clicking.
Baystate made a rally in the second half and tied the game at 31.
(Travis Jordan, Baystate Academy)
Granby weathered Baystate’s run and regained control of the game
Granby beat Baystate 54-44.
(Granby in a timeout)
American Championship Game 🏆
East Longmeadow vs. Rockville
The last game before the storm was a very evenly contested matchup.
Both teams played earlier in the day. The two winning teams decided to play on Saturday instead of waiting for a postponement date.
East Longmeadow was ahead at halftime 23-17. Rockville couldn’t string consistent hoops together. East Longmeadow, led by Ray Carter, hit multiple 3s.
Early in the 2nd half, Rockville made a 11-6 run. They were only down by one, 29-28.
Both teams went back and forth for the rest of the game.
East Longmeadow pulled through and beat Rockville 45-40.
East Longmeadow won the inaugural American conference Championship in the BfTB League! Congratulations to East Longmeadow 🔛🔝
The Paulo Freire/Granby game will be played sometime this week.