The Celtics completed an undefeated 11-0 season with a championship by defeating the Magic 23-20 in the Green Hornets 12U boys basketball club final at Severn School on February 23.
League-leading scorer Devlan Collier had a team-high 13 points in the victory as the Celtics rallied from an 11-10 halftime deficit and got clutch free throws from Collier, Stevie Degnan and Reese Davis in the closing moments to earn the win.
The team of Collier, Degnan, Davis, Tom Brockett, Harrison Sudano, Merric Warren, Andrew Rutherford and John Caswell capped a memorable season with their final win.
“I’m extremely proud of this group of boys,” said head coach Sean Degnan, who coached the team with assistant coaches Jerry Collier and Mark Davis. “They came together as a team, had a ton of fun, were willing and able to learn some pretty advanced concepts and sets, and everyone had a unique role to play on this team.”
The Celtics had earned their spot in the final with a 22-13 win over the Bulls in the semifinals behind Caswell’s 12 points. That was preceded by 36-10 first-round win over the Clippers in which Rutherford, Brockett, Sudano and defensive MVP Warren dominated defensively.
There were also many memorable and close wins during the regular season. In Week 2, the Celtics rallied from five points down for a two-point win over the Lakers. The following week, the Celtics rallied for a one-point win over the Cavaliers. Two weeks later they survived a grueling and physical battle with Pelicans to win, 15-11. The next week, Rutherford led the attack and defense as the Celtics closed their game with the Spurs on a 12-0 run to win, 26-14.
Collier led the entire league in scoring, but the Celtics were balanced offensively, with Caswell, Reese Davis and Stevie Degnan all scoring at least 30 points total. No other team had four such scorers. The Celtics also excelled on defense, allowing only 12.2 points per game, second only to the Bucks, who gave up just 11.9 points per game.
Said assistant coach Collier, “I feel honored and privileged to be a part of something this special. Not everyone bought in 100 percent initially to what we were trying to do. But these boys sacrificed and put the work in and became a cohesive unit, a close-knit family. I’ll never forget them. What a blast it was to coach these kids.”
Assistant coach Davis said, “The individual development of each and every player was remarkable to watch as the season progressed. Learning such things as a motion offense, drop steps, proper footwork on layups, free-throw technique, breaking a press, ball/deny/help defense, was not easy. Kudos to these eight boys for buying in, putting in the work and executing. It was a pleasure to be part of this experience.”
Coach Degnan said the team embodied its rallying cry.
“We broke every timeout huddle, post-game talk and practice by chanting ‘Together,’” said Degnan. “And they really lived it. We won together, we learned together and we enjoyed and savored our success together. I hope these memories and lessons last a lifetime for them. They earned it.”