Cambridge Team Loses Tournament Game

The high school that spawned the careers of pro-basketball greats Patrick Ewing and Rumeal Robinson closed another season in the Massachusetts state tournament at UMass-Boston last Saturday.

Before a packed house of 3,000 fans, Cambridge Rindge and Latin's varsity boys basketball team (20-4 and ranked No. 7 in a Boston Globe poll) dropped a 76-74 decision to No. 2 South Boston High School (22-1) in the Division I North finals.

Trailing by two points with 12 seconds remaining, Cambridge rebounded a missed South Boston free throw and fired off three short-range jump shots, but none of the tries found the mark.

"It's a tough loss," said Cambridge coach Kevin Moore. "We were right where we wanted to be, but the ball didn't bounce our way."

Fans were treated to a seesaw battle in which neither team put together more than a four point lead after the opening minutes. During the course of the game, the lead changed hands nine times.


South Boston broke out to an early 12-4 lead, but Cambridge's use of full court man to-man coverage paid off. South Boston turnovers and Cambridge forward Donnie Joseph's 17 points helped the Rindge and Latin to a 37-33 halftime lead.

The game closed in dramatic fashion. South Boston guard Monty Mack, who scored all ten of his points in the second half, hit a jump shot in the paint to put South Boston up 74-70 with 1:31 remaining.

But two free throws by Cambridge's Swayne Blackmon left the score at 74-72, when South Boston went into a stall, holding the ball for nearly one minute. The teams then quickly traded baskets before Rindge and Latin fouled Mack with 12 seconds remaining, sending him to the free throw line.

Cambridge rebounded Mack's errant attempt and drove the length of the floor, but the team missed an eighteen-foot shot from the left side of the floor as well as three attempted tip-ins underneath the basket.

"It took an almost superhuman effort on the part of our team to get the job done," said South Boston coach William Loughane, who guided his team to the 1993 Division II state Championship.

In the second half, South Boston held Joseph (19 points, 5-5 from the line) to justtwo points. At the same time, South Boston guardRoger Roberts exploded for ten points on nearlyperfect shooting.

"That was one of the keys to the game," Mooresaid. "[Roberts] stepped it up a notch."

Cambridge, which missed four consecutive freethrows during a crucial stretch midway through thesecond half, found itself confronted with abalanced scoring attack. All five South Bostonstarters scored in the double digits.

"We'd shut down one guy, and then someone elsewould pick up the slack," Moore said.

Rindge and Latin, which has won six statetitles since the 1977 merger of Rindge Tech andCambridge Latin schools, will return startersJoseph and Frank Wilkins next year.

"I'm proud of these kids," Moore said. "[Thisseason was] cut short, but we're hopeful aboutnext year."

South Boston will play tomorrow at the BostonGarden in the state semifinals against CatholicMemorial High School. The winner will advance tothe Massachusetts stat