He was simply awesome.
Alonzo Linton, Lynn English’s 6-foot-5-inch senior, scored a game-high 27 points and had 12 rebounds to help the Budllogs set down Putnam 64-57, in the Division 1 state championship game Saturday at the Hart Center on the campus of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.
Linton was a force from start to finish as the scorebook backed up. He had seven points in the first quarter and eight in the fourth, including four clutch free throws (5-of-5 for the game). In the middle quarters, he had 12 points.
Included in the Zo Show was a dunk, a moment that drew a smile from the personable athlete when reporters asked him about it after the game.
“It feels really good to end the season this way with my team and my coaches,” Linton told reporters. “It means a lot. We all wanted at the beginning of the year to win a state championship.”
Though he did most of his damage around the basket, turning Jarnel Guzman no-look passes into baskets, Linton is actually a guard himself.
“Jarnel finds me on the pick-and-roll during the game, but that style is really not my style,” explained Linton. “I’m really a guard. But I’m one of the tallest on the team and Coach Anderson told me to get used to playing there, because we have Jack (Rodriguez), Jarnel (Guzman) and Mason (Jean-Baptiste) to bring the ball upcourt. So I switched roles.”
Linton brought to the court the refuse-to-lose attitude that all of English’s players had throughout the tournament.
“When I was in the game, it was like, ‘I didn’t make it here this far – I didn’t work this hard to come here and lose,” said Linton.
Linton felt a big season was percolating as far back as last fall.
“To be honest, I knew we that we were going to be something special and that we could win the state championship back when we were playing fall league,” said Linton. “We wanted to give back a championship to the city for all their support. Our school hadn’t won a state championship in 80 years. So we said, ‘let’s make history’ and that’s what we did.”
Linton said Anderson did a tremendous job motivating all the players all season.
“Coach Anderson was a great coach for me,” said Linton. “He believes in me a lot. He pushes us to the limit every single day and I thank him for that.”
Junior guard Mason Jean-Baptiste said Linton’s presence in the paint was a key to victory.
“No one can stop him – he’s 6-6, big, strong, can finish at the rim,” said Jean-Baptiste. “He makes the game so much easier. He knows how to use his body to get the ball. He knows how to use his body to finish. So once he gets the basketball, we know he’s going to get a bucket.”