ROXBURY — Fenway coach John Rice and the Panthers are familiar with the climb to the top of the Boston City League.
And they found a way to reach the summit again Thursday.
Fenway captured its third straight BCL championship with a 49-40 victory over New Mission at Madison Park as Omariah Ashley, Kayana Armbrister and Janyah Gulley all played critical factors in helping Rice obtain his 20th city crown as a coach.
“This ranks right up at the top, if not the best,” said Rice, who previously won 13 BCL titles with Burke. “Just the battle it took. … That’s our rival. The more you achieve, the tougher the mountain gets.”
Tied 15-15 midway through the second quarter, Fenway (13-7), who split the regular season series with New Mission (15-4), relied on is big three to gain separation.
Gulley (11 points, 16 rebounds) and Armbrister (13 points, 16 rebounds), who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, couldn’t be contained down low and hit shots from the perimeter to be even bigger offensive threats.
Fenway found its shooting touch after the break, knocking down five 3-pointers in the third quarter with Ashley, who netted a game-high 17 points, and Armbrister hitting two each to open up a 42-28 advantage with under a minute left in the stanza.
“We had to encourage our guards to shoot,” Gulley said. “As a team, we needed to keep on scoring, put them away in the third quarter.”
Fenway couldn’t close the door completely as Armbrister fouled out early in the fourth quarter and Jalya Gonzalez (16 points) along with Jasharee Greene (14 points) got the Titans within 42-35 midway through the frame.
Gulley also fouled out with under a minute left, and even though the Panthers didn’t make a field goal in the quarter, they made seven free throws to hold off New Mission.
“Our kids just fought defensively,” Rice said. “They buckled down and just had to get through the adversity.”