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Tide inches closer to the postseason after two more wins

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Everett boys’ basketball faces Somerville, Cambridge next week after taking on undefeated Lynn English

The Everett High School boys’ basketball team (9-2 in the GBL, 9-5 overall) is just one win away from clinching a Division 1 state tournament berth with still six games remaining on the regular season schedule. The Crimson Tide picked up their latest two wins this past week against host Chelsea (76-59, Jan. 26) and Lynn Classical at home (65-60, Jan. 31).

As of Jan. 31, the Everett boys are ranked 47th in Division 1. Lawrence (14-1), Catholic Memorial (13-2) and Central Catholic (9-3) are the top three clubs in the division. Greater Boston League member Lynn English (14-0) is listed 10th overall.

Tuesday night’s game against Lynn Classical demonstrated the Tide’s resiliency. They trailed by three at halftime, and by as many as 13 in the third quarter, before overpowering the visiting Rams with a combination of a suffocating defense and an opportunistic offense.

“We ante up the pressure to force them to play fast in order to get back into it quickly,” coach Stanley Chamblain said. “When we play defense like that, it always leads to points for us on offense.”

Kevin Ruiz was Everett’s top scorer in this game with 17 points. Steven Cordero was close behind with 16 points. Allsin Desruisseaux rounded out the double-digit scorers with 14 points. He also pulled down 11 rebounds that helped his teammates erased the huge deficit second half deficit.

Cordero was the top gun against the Red Devils with 24 points, but the all-around star of this game was senior forward Kamarri Ellerbe, who filled in nicely for Ruiz after the starting forward sustained an ankle injury in the previous contest against Malden on Jan. 24.  Ellerbe accounted for 15 points versus Chelsea.

“Ellerbe really stepped-up big time for us in this game against Chelsea,” said Chamblain. “He knows how to stay ready for all situations. He’s capable of being a sparkplug or an enforcer at any time to help us secure wins. He’s just a natural leader, who uses his football instincts as a starting quarterback to lead his teammates by example.”

After taking on undefeated Lynn English at home on Feb. 2 after press deadline, the Everett boys will get ready to go to Somerville to face the Highlanders on Tuesday night, Feb. 7. They will then return home to host non-league Cambridge on Friday night, Feb. 10, starting at 7 p.m.

Catching up with the Garden experience and much more

The Tide recently won two critical GBL games against Medford (57-52) and Malden (63-59), while also having an unforgettable experience at the TD Garden, where they lost a competitive game to Beverly, 73-59.

The Crimson Tide participated in a series of games at the Garden that was all a part of the annual Andrew James Lawson Foundation Invitational, and, according to Chamblain, “it was a wonderful experience, and it was embraced by every player on the team. Some of them have never been to the Garden before for any event, not even a Celtics game.”

Chamblain credits the entire community for making this opportunity happen from the school committee to the teachers to the students themselves. “We had to sell 400 tickets for our game, and all of these groups stepped up to make this a reality. It was a beautiful thing,” he added, “and they all used their tickets to attend the game to cheer us on.”

The Tide jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but Beverly’s ability to shoot the ball all over the court eventually caught up to them. The Panthers led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, but the Everett boys did stage a comeback to trim the deficit to just four in the final period, before the Northeastern Conference team widen the gap, once again.

Cordero led all Everett scorers with 22 points. Kevin Ruiz was next in line with 13. Desruisseaux accounted for 10. Cleevance Erilus chipped in with eight. David De Souza ended up with five.

Prior to the Garden game, the Tide got a wakeup call, when the Mustangs came to Everett, and gave the home team all they could handle, before an explosive second half put them in front for good.

“We were trailing at halftime, 32-24 after a very slow, lackadaisical start on our part,” said Chamblain. “But after a halftime speech, we exploded in the third quarter by applying the pressure early on with a full-court press.”

It didn’t take Chamblain’s players long to wipe out the halftime deficit. They tied up the game within the first three minutes of the third quarter, and never looked back after that.

Senior forward Kevin Ruiz turned in his best game of the season to lead his teammates in scoring with 19 points, 15 of them in the second half alone. “(Ruiz) got the game ball afterwards for his exceptional performance to lead the comeback effort,” said Chamblain.

Cordero, who was in foul trouble throughout most of this game, still came through with 12 points, eight of them in the fourth quarter. Erilus produced six points. De Souza had five. Leison Ruiz was close behind with four. Freshman Christian Vasquez tallied three times.

Against Malden, the Tide took a 15-5 lead, but foul trouble (two fouled out) coupled with Kevin Ruiz leaving the game in the third quarter with the aforementioned high ankle sprain allowed the Golden Tornadoes to get back into it.

“We were able to stay composed to pullout the victory, while avenging an earlier loss to (Malden),” said Chamblain.

Cordero was Everett’s top scorer against the Golden Tornadoes with 19 points.  Anderson Joseph came through with 12. Kevin Ruiz, Erilus and Vasquez scored five apiece.  De Souza netted four. Desruisseaux ended up with three. Junior Steve Nunes got in the scorebook with one bucket for two points.

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