Golden Tornados were at 3-2 heading into Romano Classic consolation game at Tewksbury
The first-half slow starts finally caught up to the Tornados Tuesday night. Waiting for the gear shift that never came, the Malden High School Boys Basketball Team saw the opponent heat up instead of themselves, as the Burlington High Red Devils went lights out from Three-Point-Ville Tuesday night at the Romano Basketball Classic at Tewksbury High. Seven different players hit from beyond the arc for the Devils, who made more “threes” (8) than Malden even attempted (4) in a 51-40 victory in first-round action.
Burlington (4-1) advanced to the Championship Game versus host Tewksbury Wednesday night. Tewksbury handled Chelmsford (68-62) in the nightcap Tuesday. Malden was scheduled to take on Chelmsford in the consolation game (after Advocate deadline).
Head Coach Don Nally’s squad dropped to 3-2 overall (2-1 Greater Boston League [GBL]) with the loss, seeking to avoid back-to-back losses for what would have been a first time this year.
In its previous game before the Christmas weekend, Malden had overcome that slowpoke first half and used a second-half pick-me-up to race to a 65-52 non-league win over host Woburn High on December 22.
On Tuesday, Coach Nally said he, also, was waiting for the offensive fireworks that failed to arrive. “We have started slowly in all but one game – the first one – this year,” the Malden coach said after the loss to Burlington. “We have been able to come out quicker and better in the second half of games before, but not in this one.”
Malden did get a solid game out of junior three-man Zeke Noelsaint, who scored 11 of his game-high 15 points in the first half, but was held without a bucket in the second half – only four free throws. Noelsaint was also Malden’s leading rebounder (12), shot-blocker (4) and defensive steal (4) leader on this night.
Malden’s two senior captains, guard Justin Bell and 6-6 center Jonald Joseph, were each held to season lows in the loss to Burlington on Tuesday. Bell, who came into the game among the GBL and Eastern Mass. scoring leaders at 24.3 points per game through four games, scored the first two baskets of the game for Malden, including a “three,” but then scored only one field goal the entire remainder of the game. Bell finished with 8 points.
Joseph, who had hit double digits in each of the previous games, scored a season low 4 points, both in the first quarter, not scoring another point for the rest of the game.
“We have to get back to what brought us to a decent start this season: getting the ball to Jonald [Joseph] on the block and having Justin [Bell] take his shots,” Coach Nally said. “It was a frustrating night, but our guys want to win, and we are expecting to break out again when we face Chelmsford [in the consolation game on Wednesday].”
Malden comeback handles Woburn in 65-52 win
Malden shook off a plodding first half and used some sharpshooting by senior guard Justin Bell and a bunch of team defense to take a 65-52 win over host Woburn on December 22. Bell led all scorers with 23 points, including 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line to lead Malden to the win.
Malden also got solid games out of its frontcourt guys to complement the hot shooting of Bell in the second half, where they outscored Woburn, 39-23. Junior forward Zeke Noelsaint scored 12 points and had 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. Senior 6-6 captain and center Jonald Joseph scored season-high points (8 in the second half, including two 3s), blocked 5 shots and pulled 10 rebounds. Freshman starting point guard Ethan Phejarasai chipped in with 5 points and also had 4 steals, all of which led to Malden fastbreak buckets.
Head Coach Don Nally was pleased with the end result. “It was a team effort, offensively and defensively,” he said. “We made some adjustments at halftime and cut off some of the reasons they [Woburn] had taken a lead.”
“They are not a fast team, but they had a lot of their points off fastbreaks. We stopped that part of their game in the second half and picked up the tempo ourselves, that was the difference,” Coach Nally said.
GOING OVERTIME: Malden freshman guard Ethan Phejarasai made one steal against Woburn that was more like a defensive back in football in a tip drill. Late in the third quarter in the midst of a Malden comeback, Woburn guard David Merlain (16 points to lead the Tanners) was trying to squeeze down the left sideline. Phejarasai cut him off and Merlain turned toward the court, the Tornados freshman went airborne and tipped the ball loose. He then crawled quickly on all fours and tipped the ball again, this time to a running Justin Bell, who laid it in for a then 11-point Malden lead… Looking ahead on the schedule, Malden’s previously schedule home game with Somerville for Tuesday, January 3 has been rescheduled for Monday, February 13 at 6:00 in Malden. That means Malden boys do not play again until next Thursday, Jan. 5, when they travel to play at Chelsea High in a rare 5:30 p.m. start… This will be the first time Malden will play against Chelsea without former Everett High three-sport star Judah Jackson at the helm for the Red Devils in almost a decade. Jackson left Chelsea High’s bench to become an assistant coach at Nichols College this season on the staff of Head Coach Brock Erickson… Malden then plays a rare Saturday game, hosting non-leaguer Melrose on Saturday, Jan. 7 at the Malden High Finn Gym at 5:30 p.m. – followed by another home GBL game on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 6:00 p.m…. Malden senior captain Justin Bell came into Tuesday’s game as one of the leaders in the GBL and Eastern Mass. in scoring at 24.3 ppg after 4 games. His scoring dropped to 21.0 ppg after Tuesday’s 8 points in the loss to Burlington. Bell has scored 105 points in 5 outings, including 35 points in the season-opening win over Medford.
Malden 65, Woburn 52
Woburn: 14, 15, 7, 17-52
Player FG FT PTs
Doughty 0 0 0
Dillon 4 4 8
Koaldko 1 0 3
Sullivan 1 0 3
Merlain 5 4 15
Tuzzolo 3 4 10
Caferella 4 2 10
TOTALS 18 14 52
Koladko, Merlain, Sullivan
Player FG FT PTs
Bell 6 8 23
Carron 0 0 0
Phejarasai 2 1 5
Noelsaint 6 0 12
Joseph 5 3 15
Saint-Jean 2 0 5
Huynh 0 0 0
Tham 0 0 0
Ferreira 0 0 0
Tsige 0 0 0
TOTALS 21 12 65
Bell (3), Joseph (2), Saint-Jean