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FutureStarrNew Mission Turns a Big-Time Half to Rally Past Latin Academy
At Boston Latin School, a new admissions policy has brought in an unprecedented diversity of students - more diverse than what had been seen at the school for at least a generation.
This fall, Black and Latino students made up a larger share of the incoming seventh grade class than ever before. This shift is directly due to the school's new policy which tiers students according to their neighborhoods instead of citywide rankings based on grades or test scores.
No matter the defense or shooting night, the reigning BCL champs made a run for the title with an epic 68-65 time beyond regulation win. Freshmen Jaylen Hunter-Coleman and Ricky Cabral led an energetic squad while senior star Victor Soto scored 16 points to lead all scorers. These talented individuals will face off against Xaverian in Saturday's BCL championship match at Fenway; they are unbeatable this winter in Boston!
Cabral, a sophomore center, has been named to the watch list for the Rimington Award - presented annually to America's top center. Additionally, he serves as one of the Sun Devils' team captains.
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound junior has adjusted well to his new position since switching from tackle in the spring. He's helped anchor the offensive line and is a formidable presence at the point of attack.
He's an integral part of Colorado State University's offense that averages 419 yards per game. The Buffs have run for 162.1 yards on the ground this season, thanks to a wealth of talented running backs led by sophomore Eno Benjamin.
Cabral, a native of Southern California and passionate USC Trojans fan since childhood, still sports his Brian Cushing jersey from when he played for them.
On Saturday night at Boulder High School, the formidable center scored a game-high 16 factors to lead the New Mission to an exciting victory over Latin Academy. He drained five shots in the fourth quarter and added two more baskets during the final two minutes for New Mission to take a commanding lead for good.
Cabral's work at Homeboy Industries, a gang rehabilitation program headquartered in Los Angeles, helps break the cycle of crime and gang life. When not on camera, Cabral dedicates himself to breaking this cycle by offering services for former gang members.
Cabral was raised without a father and spent years in a gang environment. He got involved with drugs and violence, eventually facing life imprisonment at 20. Despite this difficult start to life, Cabral was determined to make changes that would benefit his future.
Cabral met Father Greg while in prison and became aware of Homeboy Industries. After visiting the facility, Cabral decided to volunteer his services.
His involvement with this organization, which promotes rehabilitation of young gang members, has had a tremendous impact on him and his life. Now an Emmy-nominated actor, community volunteer and role model for other former gang members alike, his experiences at this facility are invaluable.
His intense look and powerful acting have earned him several TV roles, but the road to Hollywood wasn't always smooth. Not long ago, Cabral faced the possibility of serving a 35-year prison term. His most recent role is as an ex-gangbanger implicated in a drug-related murder on ABC's American Crime.
This winter has seen the Boston City League experience an exciting surge of high school basketball action. There have been buzzer-beaters and thrilling finishes to every game this season - and on Wednesday night it all came to a head in the Boston City League semis between Charlestown and Latin Academy.
For much of the game, Charlestown and Latin Academy were locked in a virtual tango. Trading baskets from the start, Charlestown built an early 31-26 lead before halftime. But Charlestown took control in the second with 17-4 run to take an impressive 43-34 advantage. The Townies held that advantage until 4:37 left in third when Latin Academy rallied with 16-5 scoring burst.
After that, it was a fiercely fought battle. With just seconds remaining in the game, freshman Jaylen Hunter-Coleman hit two foul photographs for an 18-3 lead that secured them the Boston City League boys basketball title with an 18-3 record. Following those free throws, he added another three free throws and made 22 points as his teammates celebrated with him.
On Wednesday, the Townies relied on another "big-time half" to secure a thrilling 68-65 overtime victory against Latin Academy. Sophomore Victor Soto contributed 16 factors towards their impressive showing, providing the difference in the outcome.
In addition to Soto, the Townies relied on a trio of freshmen for their big games: Jaylen Hunter-Coleman, Ricky Cabral and Brennan Shapiro. All three finished with a combined 28 points.
Soto had a prolific second half, collecting 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in 23 minutes of action. He was especially effective from distance during that period - hitting five shots from beyond the arc.
His ability to track pitches, which he attributes to God-given talent, was also instrumental. He drew walks at an impressive clip while striking out at a low rate.
But Soto wasn't perfect even as he achieved success in the minor leagues. His fastball hitting style needed to be adjusted and he had to learn how to hit off-speed and breaking balls for balance. Additionally, Soto needed to perfect his swing that had been inherited, as well as develop mental toughness so he could handle major-league pitching pressures with ease.
A win in the city playoffs is always a momentous achievement, but for New Mission it was even more so after their 68-65 overtime victory against archrival Latin Academy on Friday night at Madison Park. After spending most of this season on the sidelines due to COVID restrictions, Friday's performance was no small feat. Led by senior Ricky Cabral (16 points), junior Jaylen Hunter-Coleman (22) and sophomore Hassan Jenkins (12 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists), the Titans received plenty of support from their supporting cast for such an impressive accomplishment.
New Mission hasn't lost a game since January and appears poised for their first-ever trip to the state tournament. With 13-8 record and playoff spot secured, they now focus on facing off against reigning BCL champs next week in what should be one of the most entertaining semifinals yet - but getting there requires another stellar halftime performance.