Dorchester is growing and poised to take another step

DORCHESTER, Mass. – The Boston City League has had a few prominent teams in recent years atop its standings. New Mission and Brighton have won state titles, Charlestown won a few not all that long ago and Madison Park has been in the mix for one. Quietly, Dorchester High School has been building up, and in Johnny Williams’ fourth season, they are hoping to repeat as Central Division champions and then make a run in the state tournament.

Last year, Dorchester went 13-4 in league play and 14-9 overall. Only Brighton had a better league record, and of note, the Bears led the league in scoring defense. Repeating the defensive performance will go a long way towards winning again, and they will attempt to do so with a team that isn’t loaded with size but appears to have some depth, especially on the perimeter.

The perimeter starts with senior Kahlil Newson (6’1″ Sr. SG), who has a mature body and is the team captain. Williams will look to him as their best player and for leadership. Justin Clarke (Jr. PG) will run the show alongside Newson. He has some speed with the ball and can hit the occasional jumper, and Williams feels comfortable with the ball in his hands.

The designated shooter on this team is Dean Lee (Sr. SG), who moves well without the ball and has a good release. He got hot from long range after a while, especially from the corners, so opponents will leave him open at their own peril.

Williams recently added more depth on the perimeter with Markus Neale (6’1″ Sr. SG), who transferred in from West Roxbury due to off-court issues at the school. The issues were not his, as character has never been a problem for him, and this will be an adjustment on the court as well as he’ll go from being a featured player to a reserve. His high school career has had some ups and downs since he was thought to have good potential when it began, and this is his last hurrah.

Prince White will back up Clark at the point. He’s a small left-handed floor leader who has some quickness. They also have Johnny Mims (Jr. SG-SF) available on the perimeter to round out a good unit.

The player who might have as much upside as anyone on the team is Tevon Smallpiece (Sr. SF-PF). One of the team’s co-captains, he’s very vocal, has some length and is athletic. He really goes to work more than anyone else in defensive and conditioning drills and his body still has a ways to go.

Leon Sealy (Sr. SF-PF) is undersized for the power forward spot but is athletic and can get stickbacks. Tyson Thompson is the “potential” player among the frontcourt, as he has a good body, but his motor seems questionable. He needs to upgrade the ball skills, but that’s not unusual at his age. Tristen Perry (So. PF-C) is a wide-bodied post who has a relatively mature body and can finish with both hands and junior Karan Richardson will also play his share of minutes.

Williams has more size in the program with his young players on the JV squad, which means he has plenty waiting in the wings. He feels that a few players on that team are talented enough to play on the varsity team but too good to sit for many minutes, so he’s making the pragmatic decision to put them on a team where they will play right now in preparation for next year.

For now, though, he will head into the season without a great deal of size. That’s not a necessity, though, and if he gets serviceable play from his inside players to go with his many perimeter options, Dorchester could come out on top in the Central Division again this season.

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