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Battle for The Border: National Conference Championship (8/24/21)

By Kevin McCaskill Jr.

SPRINGFIELD (South End) - The National Conference Championship Game was played last night, at the South End Community Center.

The game was scheduled for Sunday. The contest was postponed because of a storm.

Thankfully, most people in this area survived the storm.

The championship game pitted Granby HS (CT) against one of the toughest teams in Western MA, Paulo Freire.

(John Bell, Granby; Alex Barber, Paulo Freire)

In the first half, Paulo Freire got out to an early lead. They were up 23-11 at the 8 minute mark in the 1st. With Will Johnson not playing, Alex Barber and Emmanuel Cruz once again had to lead Paulo Freire. Barber is a Sophomore this season; Cruz is a Junior. They have two of the brightest futures, in regards to basketball, that I’ve seen in awhile in this area 📈📈📈📈📈📈📈📈.

Granby narrowed the lead towards the end of the first; Paulo Freire was ahead 29-22 at half. Granby’s offense in the 1st half wasn’t fluid. They weren’t passing the ball effectively on offense. Paulo Freire played well but their defensive intensity waned at the end of the 1st, giving Granby some hope.

Early in the 2nd half, the two teams went back and forth, basket for basket. Neither team could get consistent defensive stops. At the 12 minute mark, Paulo Freire was ahead 40-34.

Paulo Freire started to extend their lead deeper in the second half. In 6 minutes, they pushed the lead to 51-40.

Granby finally got their offense together and made their last push for the 🏆.

Granby went on a 12-2 run over the next 4 minutes to cut the lead to one, 53-52.

Granby had to commit multiple fouls to save time and get the ball back.

Over the last minute of the game, Paulo Freire hit two FTs to put them up 55-52.

Here is the last play of the game:

Paulo Freire won the National conference Championship 55-52. Congratulations to Paulo Freire on a great summer league season!

The MIAA season is coming 🔜 ⏳.

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