SHIRLEY -- All season long the No. 3 Parker Charter boys' basketball team has been racking up the wins. On Friday night inside a packed Ron and Judi Dokus Court, the Panthers defeated No. 6 Douglas to advance to its first Division 4 CMass. semifinals in school history. Parker Charter was nipped by the turnover bug in the first half, but a fourth-quarter comeback from seven points down pushed it past Douglas, 54-50.
"As soon as I think they have something to hang their hat on, they take another piece of it, and they surprise me again," an elated Scott Wick said after the win. "It's one of those things where you think 'how long can this last?' I'd like it to last until March 16 -- that would be nice, but playing in a State Championship ... that really is a dream thing."
Junior guard Kyle McNamara paced the Panthers with 19 points, 15 of which came from behind the three-point arc.
McNamara gave the Panthers a one-point lead, 41-40, with two-minutes remaining in the game, and that was the turning point.
"We got some great buckets out inn transition," McNamara said. "We also got some luck with my shots falling tonight -- and, other people shot well, too. Everything just went our way today. It's amazing, I have always come from schools that are lower down in the division. No one ever expected this of us. We doubled the most number of wins that any Parker team has ever had -- we are making history.
Douglas opened the first-quarter on a 10-4 run behind timely shooting by Tyler Barsamian and Brandon Baril (14 points). Baril netted a contested spinning layup to put the Tigers up by six. McNamara knocked down back-to-back three-pointers from the left corner to tie the game at 10-10. Douglas ended the half on a 4-0 run behind baskets from Barsamian and Baril.
With a 14-10 lead heading into the first quarter, Douglas continued its hot shooting-stretch. The Tigers went on an 8-2 run to start the second following a basket by John Maguire to push the deficit to 8, 20-12. Douglas outscored Parker Charter, 17-13, in the second quarter. Douglas's Teddy George flushed a three-pointer at the half-time horn to put the Tigers out in front, 31-23, after two.
Parker Charter started to thread the needle inside to its center Kyle Dokus (14 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks), which in turn helped free-up McNamara on the perimeter. Late in the quarter, Parker Charter went on an 8-0 run to take its first lead since the early stages of the first quarter.
McNamara sunk a three from the top of the key off a skip-pass by senior captain Jesse Levines, which brought Parker Charter back within four, 37-33, with 3:15 remaining in the third. Levines then swiped the ball under the Douglas basket and hit McNamara on the fly for a breakaway layup.
Two-minutes later, McNamara linked up with Levines, who potted a three from the middle of the arc to give Parker Charter a slim one-point lead, 38-37. Douglas, however, took its own one-point lead late in the third following a jumper by George made it, 41-40.
Douglas made a run late at Parker Charter, but its defense weathered the storm. McNamara converted both of his free-throws late to send Parker Charter to its first CMass. semifinal in the program's 17-year history.
"When they went to the 3-2 and made an adjustment, we switched to another zone offense," the coach said. "The turnovers was what was giving them points. We held them to 18 points in the second half. Douglas is a good team who feeds off of (Brandon)Baril inside. Dokus had 14 points and then McNamara stepped in and had 19 -- we had that combination of the inside out. When they sank in on Dokus, McNamara knocked down the three."
Parker Charter will meet No. 7 Hopedale (16-6) in the semifinals on Monday at 6 p.m. at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.