By Steve Freker
Last-minute wins are commonplace in high school sports; so are last-second victories.
On Friday, Peabody delivered a big, old lump of coal in Malden High boys’ basketball’s stocking with a whole different category: a win featuring the winning basket scored with under one second left to play in the game.
That’s right. With just 0.7 seconds left on the clock and the score tied at 66-all, Peabody’s Chris Canela found himself with a wide-open baseline and an easy layup as time expired, and when the horn blew, the Tanners had a 68-66 victory on the books.
With the loss Malden went to 1-3 overall (0-2 Northeastern Conference) while Peabody evened off at 2-2 heading into the break. Peabody was off until last night when it hosted Masconomet Regional, while Malden was also idle until last night when it hosted the Revere Patriots in the semifinal of its own Tornado Holiday Classic. See below.
The Tanners took full advantage of some downright sluggish play by the host Malden team to race to leads of 15-12 after one quarter, 35-30 at halftime and then, after a 23-3 run in the third quarter, a 58-35 lead with three quarters played. Leading the way were Canela and Joe O’Neill, each scored 15 points for the night. O’Neill scored 10 of his points in the third quarter. Malden could not find a way to get the lid off the basket in that quarter, scoring only one basket and one free throw in the entire quarter while missing most of the shots the Golden Tornadoes took, layups or jumpers.
For the last six minutes of the game; however, it was all Malden all the time. Playing its best basketball of the year, it seemed as if a switch turned on and ignited the Golden Tornadoes, who went fast and furious the rest of the way, going on a wild, 29-6 run of their own to tie it all up at 64-64 on Malden senior Ritho Montuna’s three-point shot (his only points of the game). Senior captain Christian Monahan-DaSilva, senior Billy Stickney and junior Cameron Lloyd all hit big baskets in the run, with Lloyd burying a trio of three-pointers in the fourth-quarter onslaught.
Tied at 66, Malden had the ball with 10 seconds left on the clock, but Lloyd was whistled for traveling while trying to drive through the key, and Peabody had its chance with five second left and possession. The game seemed destined for overtime when Malden senior Rashaud Moore knocked the ball out of bounds with under one second to play with 0.7 seconds showing on the game clock. But Canela ran through two quick screens and was wide open underneath, taking a pass from O’Neill and laying it in at the buzzer to start a raucous Tanners celebration.
“We made a great comeback and the effort was there for most of that fourth quarter, but you have to play four quarters in this league [NEC] to get a win,” Malden head coach Don Nally said. “We need a whole game and that’s what we will be working on again.”
Golden Tornadoes Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament is here
Malden High 15-year head coach Don Nally has brought back the Golden Tornadoes Holiday Basketball Classic with a four-team roster, including Malden High School, Revere High School, Medford High School and Snowden International School in Boston.
The Golden Tornadoes tourney began last night in the Finn Gym at Malden High and continues Saturday, December 29. On opening night Medford played Snowden at 6:00 p.m. and host Malden took on head coach Dave Leary’s Revere boys at 7:30 p.m. The consolation game will be played at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 29, and the two semifinal winners will play for the tourney championship at 6:30 that night.
Malden drops pair of games to St. John’s Prep & #10 Lynn English
In previous action, after winning its opener over Tewksbury, Malden High boys’ basketball dropped a pair of games to two of the top teams in the region.
Malden fell to the Prep, 77-63. The Golden Tornadoes stayed close within 12-14 points most of the night after St. John’s raced out to a 21-10 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. Junior Cameron Lloyd (12) and senior Christian Monahan-DaSilva (11) led Malden while Will Batchelder lit it up for the visiting Eagles with 30 points.
Malden ran into a buzz saw against #10-ranked Lynn English on the road in a one-sided loss. Lynn English ran a full-court press defense from opening tap to the final whistle and built a 45-point lead during the game.
Malden returns to its NEC league schedule on Friday, January 4, when it plays on the road versus Swampscott with a 7:00 p.m. tap-off.