Posted On: 02/26/20 3:34 PM

The Curley Friars capped off their 2019-20 season with the MIAA B Conference title last Sunday as they upended St. John’s Catholic Prep. A big reason for their success not only in the championship game, but throughout the season has been the play they’ve received from 2021 guard Dinari Boykin. 

Boykin showcased significant improvement since I last saw him as a sophomore. His versatility, added strength and energy on both ends make him a tough match up and it proved to be true once again as indicated by his 18 points. He succeeded in isolation situations where he broke his man down off the dribble and used his athleticism to finish around the rim.

His improvement over the summer was a major reason for an increase in his role this past season.

“Last year I was more of just a guy who needed to be scrappy, but this year I had to step up more and look to be more of a scorer,” Boykin said. “It’s all I focused on this summer just getting in the gym and getting my handles right so I could be more confident to get a bucket when I had to.”

The win over St. John’s Catholic marked Curley’s first MIAA B Conference title since 2001. They came close in 2018-19, but ultimately lost to Gerstell Academy. That loss stuck with Boykin and his teammates.

“That loss really hurt us last year. We all just looked at each other and knew that come this season, that wouldn’t happen again. It was what motivated us since the first day of the season.We took on a mindset of getting better and wanting to dominate whoever steps on the court with us and that’s what we did.”

It’s become natural to expect juniors to become cornerstones of their team the following year as a senior. Curley experienced this with 2020 guard Caleb Johnson, who became Curley’s all-time leading scorer by recording more than 500 points this season alone. For Boykin, he’s prepared to take on more responsibility and protect the Friars’ title in 2020-21.

“For next year I have to be ready to be more of a leader for the team because I’ll be one of the lone seniors and that’s what is expected,” Boykin said. “I need to step up and take over what Caleb did this year. I really looked up to that and saw how he was able to score and pick us up when we were down. He was always encouraging us and that’s what I feel like I need to do.”