Two Dot teams advance to state basketball semis

The Tech Boston Academy boys basketball team is gearing up for its next game against North Andover. Image courtesy Tech Boston Academy.

The boys basketball teams from Tech Boston Academy and Jeremiah E. Burke High School booked their tickets to the Division 2 and Division 3 state semifinal games by winning their regional championship matchups over the weekend. The teams are the only two from Boston remaining in their respective tournament fields.

The games were to be played on Tuesday, but were re-scheduled for Wednesday evening in Burlington due to the forecast of stormy weather.

The Tech Boston Bears cruised to a 69-44 win over Hingham on Saturday, led by a 22-point performance from senior guard Maurice Works. They will play North Andover in the Division 2 state semifinal on Wednesday (March 14) at 7:30 at Burlington High School.

The Burke Bulldogs launched an 11-2 run in the last two minutes of the game on Friday in Taunton to beat undefeated Apponequet, 70-62. They capitalized on a few key rebounds and turnovers to seal the result of a game that that saw 14 lead changes. The win was the first Burke regional crown since 1998. The Dot boys will take on Watertown in the Division 3 state semifinal at 5:30 on Wednesday at Burlington High.
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Tech Boston head coach Johnny Williams pointed to his team’s play without the ball as the cornerstone of the championship run. “Our defense has definitely been the key to our success,” he said. “It’s great to have a group of guys who are brothers both on and off the court. They have level of chemistry that’s not something you see every day.” The team’s motto is "We Rise and Fall Together,” he said, adding that the boys have adopted another slogan over the course of the season – “We all we got.” Said Williams: "Our players have each other’s backs. It’s a brotherhood.”

When asked how it felt for his kids to be representing Dorchester, in addition to Boston, at the state level, Williams described it as “amazing. When you hear about Dorchester, you hear about violence, negativity, poverty,” he said. “These young men are making a positive difference. And you don’t always hear that spin. I’m glad basketball is [shining] a different light on Dorchester, and on those kids.”

For his part, Burke coach Sean Ryan credited senior leadership as the driving force behind the Bulldogs’ impressive 25-2 record. “I have six seniors on this team, and anytime you have an older group, it tends to be easier because they’ve been through the highs and lows,” he said. “Veteran leadership from them has really been the difference; our experience is what sets us apart.”

Ryan also spoke to the level of “utmost trust” he has in his players to perform when called on. Against Apponequet, one of Burke’s most dangerous offensive weapons was neutralized in sharpshooter Levar Williams. “He has had a fantastic year,” Ryan said. “But Apponequet played a diamond-and-one to stop him.” When that happened, he said, other players like Bryan Desir and McCarthy Akinkouye stepped up.

Ryan hope his team will repeat that performance against Watertown on Wednesday in Burlington. “Throughout the season, we haven’t changed and we’ve had a lot of success...I don’t think the opponent is gonna change what we do.” … “To play for the school and the front of the jersey...there’s a lot of pride that goes into that.”
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In a game last Tuesday, Burke held off Bishop Stang, 67-64, led by an 11-point fourth quarter from junior guard Levar Williams, arguably one of the best shooters in the state. … Tech Boston advanced thanks to a clutch fourth-quarter performance from junior forward and team captain Shamar Moore, who dropped in 12 points in the final four minutes to lead the Bulldogs past Hanover, 58-47, in last Wednesday’s Division 2 South semifinal. … Tech Boston ended the regular season as City League champions with a 65-47 win over Brighton on Feb. 22.

The Bears, coached by Johnny Williams, ended their regular season at 19-1. Walter Dew-Hollis, a senior, surpassed 1,000 points in the win over Brighton and was awarded the Most Valuable Player award after the game.
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Tech Boston head coach Johnny Williams pointed to his team’s play without the ball as the cornerstone of the championship run.

“Our defense has definitely been the key to our success,” he said. “It’s great to have a group of guys who are brothers both on and off the court. They have level of chemistry that’s not something you see every day.” The team’s motto is "We Rise and Fall Together,” he said, adding that the boys have adopted another slogan over the course of the season – “We all we got.”

Said Williams: Our players have each other’s backs. It’s a brotherhood.”

Look to DotNews.com for more coverage of the Dorchester teams’ tournament play.