BY ABHISHEK RANA & SUBIN BASTOLA
The Malden High School boys basketball team tipped-off their season on Tuesday, December 13th against the Tewksbury Memorial High School Redmen.
The Golden Tornadoes hosted the Redmen at the MHS Finn Gym amongst a vocal home crowd. The boys wanted to start the season on positive note, and they did just that winning the home non-conference game with a comfortable margin.
The game began with MHS asserting themselves on offense as well as defense. After a quick 8-4 lead within the first two minutes, the Tornadoes never looked back. Throughout the rest of the first quarter the Tornadoes continued to play stifling defense and forced the Redmen to multiple turnovers, including two traveling violations. This tight man-to-man defense also resulted in multiple rejections on the Redmen players during their drives to the rim as well as jump shots. This resulted in the Tornadoes defense only allowing 8 points in first quarter while the offense scored 18.
The second quarter began with Golden Tornadoes leading by a double digit margin. However, a determined Tewksbury offence were able to cut their margin of deficient to 4 points within the first two minutes of the quarter.
Thanks to two back to back three pointers by Tewksbury captain and senior forward Steven Catanzano, the momentum seemed to tilt in Tewksbury's favor. However, four points was the closest the Redmen ever got within the Tornado lead.
When play resumed after a timeout by MHS head coach Don Nally, the Tornadoes reasserted themselves, and took control of the game. Senior guard, Bernard Taylor, was able make a couple of three pointers as well as continuing to go to the free throw line and converting. Taylor’s offensive clinic as well the hustle for loose balls and rebounds by his fellow teammates, helped the Tornadoes rebuild a commanding lead and go into halftime up 33-23.
The third quarter began the way the second ended, with Taylor continuing his great shooting performance. Throughout the quarter he was able to continue converting from downtown, as well drive to the rim and make contested layups. This continued into the fourth quarter as Taylor had an overall magnificent night.
The game was essentially wrapped early in the fourth as the Tornado lead seemed insurmountable for Tewksbury to overcome. A tremendous night for the Tornadoes was wrapped up when junior guard Darius Henry made a highlight play to end the game. With ten seconds left in the game and after a barrage of crossover moves on his defenders, Henry was able to convert the three point jump shot as the shot clock expired. This gave MHS a decisive 64-47 win over the Redmen.
After the game, when asked about what he thought of his debut, newcomer to the team, junior Malik Bissett, mentioned that, “it felt really good to be playing basketball with such an athletic team.” Bisset continued to say that “[he thinks] the team can go really far this season.”
Taylor added that “it was very important for the team to start off with a win” and hopes that “[they] can keep working hard hard and continue to get more wins.” Taylor credited his great scoring performance to him “[working] so hard in the offseason” and that hard work “paying off.” He continued saying that during the game, he noticed the team “stuck together and kept their intensity throughout the whole game” as well continuing to “communicate on defense”
After a winning start to the season, the boys will face the currently 0-1 Marblehead High School Magicians on Saturday, December 17th.