By PHILLIP MONTEZUMA As the last buzzer went off during the previous season, this marked the beginning of a new era for the Malden High School boys basketball team. This year’s team is now being led by seven seniors two of which are the captains, Rodney Morton and Tommy Steele. Head coach Don Nally is returning for his twelfth year as a basketball coach for MHS, ninth year as varsity and three years for JV.

Nally sees last season's team as a group of students who were able to accomplish some goals they had set. That team had fallen short of winning the Greater Boston League but had made the state tournament, suffering a sad final loss for some seniors against Methuen High School. Nally feels that the team would have done better if the players had more experience in the varsity level.

Steele and Morton were nominated and chosen as captains due to their leadership skills alongside that they have both showed their consistent hard work. Nally did not chose them, the team had picked them to be their captains for the same reason.

The other five seniors on the team include Willy Mentellus, Jason Surpris, Terrance Massineuve, Ljay Long, and Michael Astaw. The seven seniors are a close group of friends. “They know how to encourage and push each other and to still continue greatly like they have,” stated Nally.

New additions to the team are juniors Lovenge Francois, Stephen Leon, and Kevin Noel. During the off season the team had bonded throughout several basketball team camps and weight room conditioning practices. The team plans on working hard to face their competitors in the GBL: Everett, Medford, Cambridge, and Somerville.

Nally’s goals for the season is to qualify for the state tournament like last season however, he wants the team to become GBL  champs in addition. MHS has qualified for the state tournament five times in the last eight years and now sets a goal of returning there for the sixth time in nine years. Nally said for in order for the team to be qualified for state tournaments  “they need to keep working hard everyday, winning will follow that.” The team is going into this season with a “winning attitude,” Nally added.

Nally sees Morton, Junior Bryan Mitchell and Sophomore Anthony Gilardi as the main contributors to the season due to their performances last season. He also expects input from Massineuve because he had been the team's highest scorer last season: scoring 43 points himself in just one game.

Nally agreed that the support from the student body helps the team succeed throughout the year. “Absolutely, home games are terrific. The crowd and cheering gives us a huge advantage” After having two scrimmages, the team is looking forward to their first game on Dec. 11 against Winthrop.

 

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