Tenaglia, Redmen Blow Out Chelmsford, 79-48
Dec 16, 2014 11:18PM ● Published by Rick Spencer
Junior guard Nate Tenaglia flies to the basket for two of his career-high 33 points against Chelmsford.
Gallery: Chelsmford at Tewksbury [8 Images] Click any image to expand.
Tenaglia, the team's lightning quick point guard, hit 11-of-13 shots from the floor and three-of-five from three-point range as he scored a career-high 33 points in what might just stand as the best individual performance from a Tewksbury High basketball player in well over a decade.
"Nate is just a testament to what you can do when you play year round, every day," said THMS coach Phil Conners. "He just never comes out of the gym. He's a gym rat and an absolute joy to coach. Nate put in more hours than anyone (in the off-season). He shot probably a million more shots from last year to now.
"There's a simple formula for basketball which is why I love it," Conners added. "You can make yourself such a better basketball player if you work hard enough, and he’s made himself into one of the best guys in the Merrimack Valley Conference, if not the best."
Tenaglia set the tone for the game when he stole the ball and sprinted the length of the court for an uncontested lay-up just 15 seconds after the opening tip-off. He scored 12 first-quarter points as the Redmen jumped out to a commanding 25-8 lead after just one period. Tenaglia tossed in eight more points in the second quarter as TMHS pulled away to a 45-21 halftime lead, then added another dozen points in the third quarter before sitting out the fourth period while Tewksbury's bench handled mop-up duty.
When the dust had settled, Tenaglia had finished with 33 points, five assists, five rebounds and two steals.
"That was a really, really good effort," Conners said. "He's just that much better (than last year). He's a little more stronger and a little more physical as he’s getting older, but his skill level is just off the charts."
Tenaglia, who stands just 5-foot-7 and couldn't make the scale say 150 even if he was carrying a back-pack full of schoolbooks, was as unassuming as his physical stature after the game.
"It's all on my teammates, they got me the ball," he said. "We just got out in transition and got lay-ups. They really couldn't cover us in transition, so we just pushed it."
Conners, who scouted the Lions in their season-opening 13-point win over Tyngsboro last weekend, knew that the transition game was going to be the key against the much larger CHS team.
"We knew they were big and we were fast, and one of those things was going to win out," Conners said. "And we knew there was a mis-match between the guards, going our way."
Making matters worse for Chelmsford was the fact that Tenaglia's stellar effort was only one of many for Tewksbury on Tuesday. Junior forward Adam Gajjaoui lent a new definition to the word "hustle" with his all-around effort, which included nine points, three rebounds, two assists and a least half a dozen floor burns from diving after loose balls. More importantly, he completely neutralized Chelmsford super-athlete Jack Campsmith, holding the Lions' leading scorer to just two first quarter points and nine in the first half as Tewksbury built an insurmountable lead .
Senior forward Justin Derrah was unstoppable on the fast break and relentless on defense, scoring 16 points and grabbing five rebounds. Senior guard Alex DiRocco scored just five points but added three assists, four rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Senior forward Henry Roberts tossed in seven points and senior forward Joe Coskmay added five assists and three points.
Overall, it was not just the team's best game of the young season, but a clear signal that MVC opponents should expect a new level of basketball out of the Tewksbury High Redmen this winter.
"I’m always finding the reverse silver lining," Conners said afterward. "I try to look for the things we can improve on and get better. But that was damn near perfect tonight. I loved Adam's defense and Alex's hustle. Adam did a great job taking their best guy away.
"They did every single thing we asked of them, game-plan wise."Connors added. "That's the best game they've played since I've been here."
Tewksbury, now 2-0 overall and 2-0 in MVC Division 2 play, visits Lawrence High Friday night.