By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
1/21/21 * 11:13 AM
(SPRINGFIELD) - The Paulo Freire Panthers hosted the Longmeadow Lancers on Thursday night in Springfield, at The South End Community Center. Paulo Freire won a close game yesterday, at home, against Putnam. Longmeadow entered the game coming off a win against South Hadley.
Paulo Freire controlled the first half. They made baskets in transition and from their halfcourt offense. Longmeadow missed a lot of easy shots in the first half.
One of those transition opportunities for Paulo Freire was a dunk in the 2nd quarter by Emmanuel Cruz.
Paulo Freire led at halftime 25-17.
The Panthers pounced on the Lancers early in the 3rd quarter. The Lancers weathered that run and fought their way back into the game. At the end of the third quarter, Paulo Freire led 35-32.
In the 4th quarter, the Lancers finally tied the game, evening the score @ 39. Paulo Freire’s DJ Daniels hit a three, which was answered on the other end by Longmeadow’s Michael Sadowski. The game was tied again at 42.
Paulo Freire got the lead back, 46-44. Longmeadow’s AJ Miles drained a three to give Longmeadow the lead 47-46.
On the next Paulo Freire possession, Sandro Diaz scored a layup on a pass from Chris Fontanez. Paulo led 48-47.
Longmeadow responded with a corner three by Tommy O’Donnell. That basket put Longmeadow up 50-48.
On Paulo Freire’s next possession, DJ Daniels got the ball and got to basket. He made a layup that tied the game at 50.
There was about 10 seconds left in the game. AJ Miles brought the ball up the court. He was being defended by Bryan Jimenez. Miles lost the ball. Jimenez and Miles were tangled up for a second when Jimenez broke free and got to the ball. He picked it up, took a couple of dribbles and threw up a floater off glass, into the net. The game clock buzzer went off and Paulo Freire beat Longmeadow on a game winning shot, again.
DJ Daniels scored a game-high 21 points. Cruz, Jimenez and Diaz scored 8 points each.
Ryan Mulderig scored a team-high 14 points for Longmeadow. AJ Miles had 9 points; Tommy McMahon and Griffin Collins scored 7 points each.
After the game I talked to Bryan Jimenez:
Can you tell us about the last play?
“Coach [Davila] told us to play man-to-man…I ended up switching [on to AJ Miles]. I stripped [him], took the ball to the rim and got the bucket”.
How did it feel to hit that shot?
“It felt great, it felt great. The crowd was in to it. It felt good”.
How do you feel about the rest of the season, moving forward?
“We started off slow, but we are slowly picking it up. We haven’t really practiced a lot. I think we are coming together as a group”.