Dorchester Bears post impressive season as rebuilding continues

Big year for Bears: The Dorchester Bears prepared to face off against Milton in a state tournament quarter-final game on Saturday. The Dorchester team, which includes students from Dorchester Academy and Tech Boston Academy, finished with a strong 14-7 record and the Boston South title, but lost this game to Milton by three points. Photo by Patrick O’ConnorBig year for Bears: The Dorchester Bears prepared to face off against Milton in a state tournament quarter-final game on Saturday. The Dorchester team, which includes students from Dorchester Academy and Tech Boston Academy, finished with a strong 14-7 record and the Boston South title, but lost this game to Milton by three points. Photo by Patrick O’Connor
Third year head basketball coach Johnnie Williams calls it Dorchester’s best basketball season in thirty years. The blended squad from Dorchester Academy and Tech Boston Academy advanced to the quarter-finals of the state tournament last weekend, losing in heartbreaking fashion to Milton by just three points.

The silver lining: The upstart Bears showed that they are ready to compete beyond city limits, notching a 14-7 season record and making their first entry in decades into the state tourney. The beat Medfield by 17 points last Thursday in first round action before getting tripped up by Milton on Saturday in front of a lopsidedly Milton-heavy crowd that packed the Reggie Lewis Center for the match-up.

“That’s the only sour note of the season,” acknowledged Coach Williams. “It was a home game that felt like an away game. Milton had 600 fans there to Dorchester’s 70. And it gave them the momentum to go up at the end. We had been leading all game.

“It was great season. These young men worked so hard, but it felt like they didn’t have the support when they needed it on Saturday.”

Williams — who has coached at city powerhouses like Jeremiah E. Burke and West Roxbury— is determined to make Dorchester a city team to be reckoned with. Despite the tough ending on Saturday, he says Dorchester has the ingredients to be a strong contender next year and in the years to come. This years’s squad was led by junior co-captains Ceejae Agnew Carter and Trey Moon— and they’ll have another four key players returning as well.

“It’s a great beginning,” said Williams , who is also the Dean of Students at Dorchester Academy. “We’re trying to build a program and we’re taking steps in the right direction.”

Even though the team is composed of students from two separate academies— and could include players from Boston International as well— the team “really gels,” Williams said. The 14-7 record this year follows an 8-9 season last year and 2-8 record in 2011.

“Basketball pulls them together,” said Williams.

In addition to co-captains Agner Carter and Moon, the Bears roster includes Langston Jeduan, Newson Khail, Michael Cleckley, Prince White, David Lovett, Dakari Wurnum, Darrius Patterson, Tavon Smallpiece, Debrien Coraperez, Dean Lee, Ronnie Jackson, and Leon Sealy.