Holiday Hoops On Tap At Tewksbury High School This Weekend
Dec 26, 2014 05:08PM
● By Rick Spencer
Senior captain Alex DiRocco (3) will lead Tewksbury into holiday basketball tournament this weekend.
The Tewksbury High boy’s basketball team will find itself in an unusual role --- for a couple of reasons -- Saturday evening when the Redmen host the Wilmington Knights of Columbus Holiday Basketball Tournament at the TMHS gymnasium.
First off, Tewksbury will play the role of “guest host” for the second straight year, as the tournament’s traditional host, Wilmington High School, finishes building a new high school complete with a new gymnasium. In 2015, the tournament is expected to return to Wilmington.
Second, the Redmen will be considered a strong favorite to win this tournament, which includes Littleton, Wilmington and Windham, N.H. as potential opponents for TMHS, in spite of a long-standing drought of success in this tournament.
“We’re really pointing toward this tournament,” Tewksbury High coach Phil Conners said. “It’s huge for us, especially after the way things have gone over the past two years.”
In 2012, a young Tewksbury team upset tournament favorite Littleton in the first round, only to lose the championship game to Wilmington. Last year, Littleton overcame a15-point deficit to knock off Tewksbury in the championship game.
“We’ve had some disappointments,” Conners said. “We felt like we should have been 20 points better than Littleton last year but they beat us. We really feel like we’ve thrown away a couple chances to win this thing in the last couple years, so we’re focused on playing well.”
If the first two weeks of the 2014-15 season are any indication, look for the Redmen to bring their “A” game this weekend. TMHS is off to a blazing, 4-0 start, with wins over Haverhill, Chelmsford, Lawrence and Malden so far. Tewksbury is averaging 72 points per game and has enjoyed an average margin of victory of almost 16 points in its first four games.
Junior point guard Nate Tenaglia leads the Redmen in scoring with an impressive 23.0 points per game average. Tenaglia, who has not scored fewer than 16 points in any of Tewksbury’s first four games, tossed in a career-high 33 against Chelmsford last week. He is also the team's assist leader.
Senior guard Alex DiRocco is averaging 17 points per game and has been the team’s defensive sparkplug as well. Junior forward Justin Derrah is averaging just under 15 points per game and leads the team in rebounding.
The Redmen will open tournament play against Windham, N.H. high school at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night. Wilmington and Littleton play at 5:30. The winners will play Sunday night at 7:00 for the tournament championship. The consolation game is at 5:30 on Sunday.
Windham enters the tournament with a 2-0 record, scoring double digit wins over Goffstown and St. Thomas Aquinas so far. Littleton is 3-1 so far, having suffered its only loss, 69-40, to Groton-Dunstable on Tuesday.
Wilmington is 2-1 so far. The Wildcats are led by 6-9 senior Connor Bennett, who is averaging over 20 points, over 10 rebounds and 7-8 blocked shots per game.
In spite of his competition’s impressive resumes, Connor likes his team’s chances this weekend. “I’d say we’re the favorite but we have to execute. We have to go out and finish it off,” Conners said. “We had a young team the last couple years. This was the year we’ve been looking at. This year we have an opportunity to be our best.”