LYNN — The Callahan boys and the Harrington girls basketball teams were crowned city champions Friday night as the 42nd annual Lynn Elementary Basketball Tournament came to a close at Pickering Middle School.
The Harrington girls kicked things off with a dominant defensive performance, defeating Lincoln-Thompson 20-7.
“We are unbelievably proud,” Harrington coach Amanda Stevens said. “We have a great group of girls. They have come so far this season. Every game they bring their all and they work so hard. They deserve this so much. They have earned this themselves with the hard work.”
Jayleen Novas led the way for the Hornets with eight points while Camilla Rufinos added six. Nyda Rivera, Neveah Rivera and Bryanna McCarthy each added two points for Harrington.
But it was the overall defensive effort that led Harrington to a win, as the Hornets allowed just one point in the second half.
“Defense is key for us,” Stevens said. “We had to stop them from shooting and control the game.”
Lincoln-Thompson’s Dayana Hios Edwards (team-high seven points) got things started early for the Tigers with a basket to go ahead 2-0. But Novas tied things up for the Hornets before the end of the first quarter.
Both teams fought to a 4-4 tie in the second quarter before Rufinos hauled in a steal and went right down the court for a layup to give the Hornets their first lead at 6-4. Hios Edwards tied the game at 6-6 before the half.
After the break, Harrington looked like a new team. Novas put back a rebound and Rufinos netted a basket to give the Hornets the largest lead of the game at 10-6.
And the Hornets didn’t stop there. Nyda Rivera, Neveah Rivera and McCarthy each added a basket in the fourth quarter to help Harrington put the game out of reach with a 13-point lead and earn the city championship.
Next up was the boys city championship between Callahan and Drewicz. Callahan got off to an early lead and held on after a late Dolphins comeback for a narrow 43-42 win.
“I think we just have a team that also plays well together off the court,” Callahan co-coach Sandra Lewis said. “They’re a good group of friends and because of that they gel well together. They are always working well together.
“They stay humble too,” Lewis said. “They know that they can be beat at anytime and they keep working hard.”
Kameron Rucker and Farhuan Abukar led the way for Callahan, each scoring 10 points. Daryll Reynolds (eight points) and Eddie Lewis (six) also played well for Callahan.
Javihan Martinez had a phenomenal game for the Dolphins with a game-high 36 points.
“He played phenomenal,” Callahan co-coach Alicia Burnett said of Martinez. “He is a great kid. Even on the court he is a team player. I don’t have anything but good things to say about that kid. He’s exciting to watch.”
Callahan’s offense got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 4-0 lead with baskets from Rucker and Abukar. Late in the first, Jason Perry hit a key 3-pointer and Reynolds added two baskets to push the Callahan lead to 13-2.
But Martinez willed Drewicz back into the game, converting an and-one and scoring seven straight points to cut the lead to 13-9.
The Callahan offense stepped up in the second quarter and Deshawn Rucker scored a pair of baskets to help Callahan take a 21-11 lead into the half.
Both teams kept pace to start the third before Callahan eventually pulled away to a 31-19 lead. Martinez scored eight points in the third but a balanced Callahan attack kept the lead at 12 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins finally climbed back into the game with an 11-2 run to start the fourth. Martinez hit a key 3-pointer and then added a pair of baskets to help cut the Callahan lead to 35-32. Callahan was able responded with a six-point run of its own led by Abukar to stretch its lead back out to nine points with just a few minutes remaining.
Martinez was dominant in the final few minutes, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers but his final layup at the buzzer was too little too late for the Dolphins and Callahan was able to hold on for its second straight city championship
“It just shows our teams character,” Burnett said. “We finished undefeated but at the same time we have played games that are really close. They have shown how they can push through that and still come out on top.”