The Medfield High School boys' basketball team is playing for the Foxboro Winter Classic Championship at Foxborough High School today after a 77-65 victory over O'Bryant in the tournament's opening round Monday.
The Warriors overcame a game full of foul trouble and turnovers to beat the Tigers handedly and advance to the championship round against a Dedham team that defeated tournament host Foxborough, 52-42 Monday.
Medfield was led by the sharpshooting of sophomore guard Johnny McCarthy, who's plethora of three-pointers consistently thwarted any momentum O'Bryant tried to build in the second half. Ben Coutinho and Drew Shea also played well for the Warriors in the victory. The Warriors led in every quarter, 23-14 after one, 41-32 at halftime, 62-50 after three and ended with the 77-65 victory.
McCarthy finished with 25 points, Coutinho netted 18 and Shea added 17 in a balanced scoring attack for the Warriors.
"Johnny was huge throughout the game. It was a good win," said Medfield head coach Herb Grace.
A key to Medfield's victory was its ability to regularly beat O'Bryant's full-court press for fastbreak buckets and capitalizing on its defensive effort and advantage in size to out-rebound the Tigers and force O'Bryant into making careless mistakes with the basketball. Now, it all comes down to beating Dedham for the tournament title.
Dedham (10-8, 5-5) vs. Medfield (11-8, 10-8)
Foxborough High School, Foxboro, 4:30 p.m.
The Warriors proved they could handle the challenges of facing out-of-conference teams just fine Monday, when they beat O'Bryant of Roxbury by 12 and maintained control of the game through 32 minutes. Monday's game may not have been the prettiest or most fundamental of victories for Medfield, but it was a victory nonetheless and earned the team a spot in today's Foxboro Winter Classic Tournament.
Dedham will look to limit Medfield's shooters that torched O'Bryant for 77 points by playing physical defense and challenging every shot Medfield looks to take.
Johnny McCarthy led Big Blue with several clutch shots down the stretch in the second half Monday and knocked down almost every 3-pointer he took. Ben Coutinho found a rhythm from atop the key, near the free-throw line, knocking down several jumpers and Drew Shea consistently found good looks at the corners of the floor near the baseline, holding his arm up as to pose, watching his shot find the bottom of the net. Dedham was able to watch the majority of Medfield's game from the stands before heading for the locker rooms to prep for its game against Foxborough, and as a result picked up some free scouting in the process.
Prediction: Playing in the Tri-Valley League, Medfield is battle-tested against talented basketball teams in the area and around the state. The Warriors proved to be superior to O'Bryant in a game that wasn't short of mistakes from either side and while the turnovers, mental errors and foul troubles should be cause for concern in the state tournament, Herb Grace's squad has one more game to improve on those errors and several practices to go through before it's tourney time. Look for a much cleaner effort tonight.
Expect this game to be closer than the 12-point victory Medfield had over O'Bryant and the 10-point victory Dedham had over Foxborough as the winner will be the team that limits its mistakes and plays smart basketball for the better part of 32 minutes. Expect that team to be Medfield. Warriors to win the Foxboro Winter Classic.
Dighton-Rehoboth Regional (6-13, 5-11) vs. Medfield (19-1, 18-0)
Walpole High School, Walpole, 6 p.m.
The Medfield High School girls' basketball team opens its Rebel Hoop Classic Tournament play against Dighton-Rehoboth Regional of North Dighton tonight at 6 p.m. at Walpole High.
The Warriors have dominated its schedule this season, losing just once this year in 20 games and will look to fine-tune some aspects of their game before the start of the state tournament. Medfield is 1-1 in out-of-conference games, both against Fontbonne Academy, and will look to improve on that throughout the two-day tournament in Walpole.
Prediction: On paper, Medfield appears to be the better team on several fronts: Overall record, points scored and points against averages. Dighton-Rehoboth averages 38 points per game while giving up 48. Medfield averages 55 points per game while giving up just 33 per contest. There is little doubt that Medfield's defense is the strength of its team and going up a team that struggles to score points bodes well for the Warriors. Expect Medfield to win and advance to Wednesday's Rebel Hoop Classic title game.
Smith's season prediction record: 53-13