CRLS Falcons celebrate as the clock runs out in the State Championship game. Photo by Mutsuko Ward.
CRLS Falcons Win State Boys Basketball
by Larry Ward and Jonathan King
The Cambridge Rindge and Latin boys basketball Falcons, playing in Springfield on March 19th for the State Championship, defeated St. Johns Prep of Shrewsbury, 66-51. Both Cambridge, at 23-1, and St. Johns were coming off outstanding seasons.
Early on, 6’8” junior Dimon Carrigan established the Falcons’ defensive strength, blocking four shots. Nonetheless, the match was closely contested in the first half, which ended with the Falcons down by one, 27–26. In the second half, junior Jakigh Dottin (league MVP), junior Kareem Octavien and senior Jaelen George-Belitti started hitting their shots, helped by sophomore Aidan Keefer and junior Malik Correia coming in off the bench. Under the rim, sophomore Jonathan Cenescar, junior Daniel Rymer, and Carrigan patrolled the paint. Cambridge was in control at the end, winning 66-51.
The 2016 Falcons joined the list of outstanding CRLS basketball teams, including those led by Patrick Ewing and Rumeal Robinson, who went on to NBA careers, and the 2001 state champions, led by Louis Ford.
The team dedicated the game to their former teammate Davonte “Sweets” Neal who died of cancer last year. Davonte was a regular at the Area 4 Moses Youth Center, where a memorial plaque now hangs with his picture (shown in photo on right).
With only one graduating senior, the team should continue to be a force to be reckoned with next season. The current team has been proud to represent the Cambridge community, where they developed their skills and teamwork.
In the state semi-final, the Falcons played the talented Catholic Memorial Knights at the Boston TD Garden. This was a rematch of last year’s semi-final, won by CM, who went on to win the championship. Though the Falcons led much of the way, the Monday night game was close all the way, with CM star senior Brandon Twitty tying the score with three pointers in the last two minutes. With two fast break layups by Jaelen George-Belitti and Kareem Octavien, Cambridge pulled away to win 77-73. Jakigh Dottin had 15 points, 5 rebounds and five assists, while Carrigan had a triple double of 12 points, 10 rebounds and 11 blocks.
In the Division I North championship Cambridge faced Lowell’s Red Raiders, playing in their neighborhood at North Andover. With Jakigh Dottin driving and Malik Correia shooting 3 pointers, both contributed 14 points each to a 54-38 victory. Dimon Carrigan’s defense in the paint was a key contributor to holding the Lowell offense in check. Daniel Rymer and Corrigan grabbed 25 rebounds between them.
Larry Ward, former Cambridge city councilor, works with youth throughout the Cambridge Public Schools. He is referee coordinator for Cambridge Youth Soccer and co-founder of the Cambridge Jazz Festival. Jonathan King, a resident of Area 4/The Port, is a vice-president of the Cambridge Residents Alliance. Both authors are fathers of former CRLS students and avid basketball fans.
Photo of authors at the semi-finals by Mutsuko Ward
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