Three straight victories in eight days lifts Tornados to 6-3, best start in six years
No such thing as a “boring win” for the Malden High Golden Tornado boys’ basketball squad THIS year!
Last Saturday night, Jan. 7, Malden went right down to the wire with visiting Melrose in a 38-34 win.
It took a “Havlicek Stole the Ball!” moment — a midcourt “strip-6” by Tornado freshman guard Ethan Phejarasai— to seal the deal.
Malden also went down-to-the-wire again in a Greater Boston League (GBL) game, also at home, Tuesday night versus Lynn Classical.
Tornado senior Justin Bell (18) points and junior 3-man Zeke Noelsaint (15 points) had plenty to with that win, but the freshman Phejarasai had his say once again near the end when he swished a corner “three” to just about seal the 53-48 win.
Throw in a 57-45 win over Chelsea on Jan. 3 that saw Malden floor the gas pedal in the second half and head coach Don Nally and his squad had fashioned a solid, three-game win streak,
After a 3-3 start, it was just what Malden needed as its quest for a GBL crown and MIAA postseason berth were buoyed, bigtime as the Tornado boys rose to 6-3 overall, 4-1 GBL. Malden is now in second-place by itself in the GBL standings, trailing only unbeaten Lynn English (8-0, 6-0 GBL).
The Tornados have no rest this week, as they were scheduled to take on GBLer Revere on the road last night at 7:00 p.m.
“We played tough when we had to on both ends of the court when we had to in all three games,” said Coach Nally, who is in the midst of his 18th season at the helm. “We have been relying on our core guys with the most experience every night, but we are also getting some big contributions from our younger and inexperienced players.”
Nally said the senior captains are “leading the way”. Senior captain Justin Bell was the leading scorer in all three wins: 23 against Chelsea; 14 versus Melrose; and 18 Tuesday against Classical.
Tri-captain Jonald Joseph had turned up the intensity noticeably beginning with the Chelsea win, and is working to stay out of foul trouble, an issue earlier on.
“(Senior captain) Peyton Carron has played very well,” Coach Nally said. “He’s been a stabilizing force on both ends of the court and has also gotten some big rebounds and made some big shots for us.”
The freshman Phejarasai made the biggest play of the game against Melrose, picking up his fourth steal of the game— but the biggest one with 10.4 seconds left to play. A basket by Melrose would have tied the game, or given them a lead if it was a “three”. But the Tornado 9th grade point guard ended that hope.
He close-guarded the Melrose guard just over halfcourt and when Raider faked going right, Pherjarasai reached into his dribble, poked the ball free, sped past him, secured the ball and drove in for an untouched layup.
The packed stands went wild and Malden had a huge victory,