en English
en Englishes Spanishpt Portuguesear Arabicht Haitian Creolezh-TW Chinese (Traditional)


Your Local Online News Source for Over 3 Decades

Malden High boys’ basketball team comeback falls just short to Lowell, 61-52

Tourney Timeout
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tornado season ends despite late 4th-quarter burst in State Tournament opener

  Mr. Murphy himself might very well have been in attendance at Tuesday night’s state tournament game at Lowell High. If he was, he was sitting near Malden High’s bench. Murphy’s Law #1 opines, “Anything that could go wrong, will go wrong.”

  Enough said for the Golden Tornados boys’ basketball squad in the first half, as it was a tough stretch, to say the least. Turnovers, missed layups, a swinging door defense – all of the above – led to a gigantic lead for the home team Lowell High Raiders.

  “We could have packed it in at halftime, but instead we came out and played like we had prepared to play,” Malden Head Coach Don Nally said, of what was almost an epic comeback effort.

  Down a whopping 30 points after the third quarter (57-27), Malden went on a hellacious tear, nearly doubling their score with a furious 26-5 fourth quarter advantage. It was too late to fully recover, as Lowell (11-10) held on to a 61-52 win.

  Lowell now advances to play on the road at BC High Friday night at 6:00. With the loss, Malden ends with a 12-9 overall record, but recouping a lot of respect around town and the Greater Boston League (GBL) after a one-win season last year.

  For Malden, the fourth quarter was easily their highest-scoring quarter of the season, in addition to holding Lowell to just one basket the entire span. “I just wish we could have done a better job and cut down on our mistakes in the first half, so we did not have such a big number to come back from,” Coach Nally said, “but we make it respectable and give our kids credit for never giving up.”

  Malden could not get anything done in the first quarter, while Lowell did plenty, capitalizing on a bunch of Tornado turnovers and making both high-percentage, fastbreak layups as well as burying several “threes” from deep. Lowell raced to a 26-7 first quarter lead and were not much better hosts in the second quarter. Malden stayed ice-cold on their scoring end of the court and Lowell kept it up, running it up to a 43-14 lead at halftime. The third quarter started the same way for Lowell, and the Raiders had a seemingly insurmountable 50-18 lead three minutes into the second half, before Malden evened it out the rest of the quarter, trailing 57-27 after three.

  There was one more quarter to play, though, and Malden was not finished just yet. Two guards off the bench ignited the improbable, fourth quarter burst. Malden senior Aidan Tham and sophomore Jose Ferreira both scored baskets to start the rally. Tham actually ended up with a season-high 7 points – scoring them all in a row with a jump shot, a driving layup and a swish three-pointer to cut the Lowell lead to 57-34. Ferreira had a steal, a pass off, a return pass and a layup to make it 57-36.

  Then the rest of the Tornado calvary arrived. Senior guard Justin Bell took senior teammate Tham’s cue and began a furious scoring frenzy that recalled Detroit Piston legend Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson from the 1980s. Bell, Malden’s leading scorer, was held to just three points, one basket and one free throw –both in the first half – exploded for 15 fourth-quarter points, including two “threes” to fuel the rally. Meanwhile, fellow senior captain, 6-6 center Jonald Joseph, was controlling the defense for Malden, which held Lowell to just one basket and three free throws in the fourth quarter during the 26-5 Malden run. Joseph had four blocked shots and three assists in the rally.

  Malden kept taking bites out of the lead and was down 60-50 with 1:02 left to play, but a pair of Tornado turnovers made the red-hot comeback fizzle. Still, it was a bright spot on what could have been a much bigger final score had the Tornados not fought until the end.

  “We have a lot to be proud of this year and our senior leadership of Justin Bell, Peyton Carron, Jonald Joseph, Andrew Louis and Aidan Tham was very impressive this year,” Coach Nally said. “We had one-win last year and this year we have 12. That’s saying something and we battled to the end against a very good Lowell team.”

  Nally said there are some solid returnees for next season and that he’s looking forward to continued success. “Zeke Noelsaint [junior forward] had an excellent season and Ethan Phejarasai [point guard] is just a freshman. He exceeded all our expectations. Those two and several other guys coming back will give us a good foundation.

  “We wish our seniors best of luck and are proud of their achievements this season and through their careers here,” Nally added. “They had to live through the worst of the COVID pandemic and they stayed strong. They will be fine in whatever life brings them after battling through that adversity.”

Malden High Boys Comeback Falls Just Short
The Malden High School Boys Basketball Team fell to host Lowell High, 61-52, on Tuesday night in the preliminary round of the MIAA Division 1 State Tournament, despite outscoring the Raiders, 26-5, in the fourth quarter. (Advocate Photo)
Tourney Timeout
TOURNEY TIMEOUT: Malden High took a quick timeout after a big scoring blast by host Lowell in the State Tournament on Tuesday night. (Advocate Photo)

Contact Advocate Newspapers