Gammon, Yak, Tropnas lead way for Tornados in win streak to start the season
An early season win streak is a welcome holiday for Malden High School varsity girls basketball coach Scott Marino. He is quick to point out a common thread linking up the three straight victories for his Golden Tornados, who knocked off visiting non-leaguer Whittier Tech on Wednesday, December 21, 51-41, Malden’s third straight win. Malden added a fourth straight win, 44-24, on the road at Somerville High on Tuesday, January 2, to improve to 4-3 overall, 1-2 Greater Boston League (GBL).
“It’s the leadership of our captains, number one,” Coach Marino told The Advocate after the December 21 win. “Tori [Gammon], Maritza [Ramos-Perez] and Angie [Colon] have done a phenomenal job in keeping us playing together. That’s the real strength of our team.”
In addition to the Jan. 2 win at Somerville and Dec. 20 win over visiting Whittier, Malden also chalked up victories against Salem (Mass.) High, 35-15, and Greater Boston League rival Everett, 53-39.
“We have a very young team overall – four ninth graders and three sophomores are on the roster. We only have two seniors. Two of our captains [Gammon, Colon] are juniors,” Marino added. “This is the youngest team I have ever had here.”
Marino said one of the major keys to success is that all of the players, particularly the young ones, are playing less as individuals and more in step with the team concept. “It is not easy to learn all that we need them to learn in such a short time and expect them to be able to perform right away,” the longtime Malden coach said, “but we are getting there.”
Against Whittier, Malden was led by 6-2 senior center Anna Yak and junior captain Tori Gammon. Yak led all scorers with a career-high 18 points and could have had 25+ if a couple more layups did not roll around the rim and out. Gammon chipped in with 15 points, 12 coming in the first half.
Malden got a scare midway through the third quarter when there was a collision on the court and Gammon went down in obvious pain. She left the game at that point and left the gym on crutches after the game. “We are hoping it’s nothing serious for [Gammon],” Coach Marino said. “She’s our captain and our leading scorer.” Marino said it appeared Gammon may have knocked knees with a Whittier player and then fell to the gym floor.
Malden rolled out to big leads against Whittier on Wednesday, up 17 after the third quarter. But the visitors refused to go away and kept within shouting distance in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 7 points with 4:51 left. But there was a big “three” from freshman Jenesa Perez-Sims and some big buckets by sophomore Kimberly Tropnas.
Malden’s defense locks down Salem in a 35-15 win
Malden played what will be recalled as one of its finest defensive games of the year, holding Salem High to just five field goals and 15 points. Malden’s offense was not exactly percolating itself, but shutting down Salem nearly completely gave the Tornados lots of breathing room as they rolled to the 35-15 win on the road, their second straight win of the three wins in a row.
Malden led at halftime, 18-8, and never looked back. Junior captain Tori Gammon led all scorers with 14 points. No one else broke double digits scoring, but three other players scored 5 points: junior Angie Colon, Anna Yak and Mafitza Ramos-Perez.
Malden wins first GBL game, 53-39, over Everett
Tori Gammon scored 14 points and Colon added eight points to lead the way. Japhnee led Everett with eight points. Malden swarmed the court and built leads of 15-8 after the first quarter and 29-14 at halftime.
In the second half, it was exactly even point-wise, as Malden led, 42-27, after three quarters and Everett battled it out to the wire. Statistically, Malden and Everett both scored exactly 13 points in each of the last two quarters.