Redmen Knock Off Windham, 70-48, In K of C Tournament
Dec 27, 2014 10:39PM
By Rick Spencer
Joe Coskmay (35) sparked Tewksbury to a 70-48 win over Windham on Saturday evening.
If there is one thing that Tewksbury High basketball coach Phil Conners ought to be thankful for, it’s the fact that his team does not possess a collective conscience.
Hot or cold, ahead or behind, it does not matter. If the quick-strike Redmen have the ball within 30 feet of the basket, they will fire it at the rim.
Such was the case Saturday night as Tewksbury quickly forgot about an icy cold first half and swished five-of-six three-point field goal attempts in the first four minutes of the third quarter to break open a closely-contested game against Windham N.H. High School. Four different Redmen connected from beyond the three-point line during that outburst, as TMHS turned a precarious three-point lead into a 14-point advantage and steamed away to a 70-48 victory in the first round of the Wilmington Knights of Columbus Holiday Tournament held temporarily at the Tewksbury High gym.
Senior captain Alex DiRocco led all scorers with 25 points, while junior point guard NateTenaglia added 19 to spark Tewksbury to its fifth win in as many tries this season. At 5-0 overall, the Redmen are off to the best start the program has seen in more than a decade.
“We didn’t shoot well in the first half but we came out in the third quarter and made up for it,” Conners said. “We shot them out of that zone. I just kept telling them, ‘Just get a shot every time down the floor and eventually we’ll get something out of it.’ I don’t think we’ve played well for an entire game yet this season, at least not offensively. But we’re probably still one of the top scoring teams in the state so far.”
The Redmen have averaged just under 72 points per game in this impressive five-game win streak, led by the back court tandem of Tenaglia and DiRocco. Tenaglia, who has averaged 21 points per game and shown a propensity for getting hot at exactly the right moment, accounted for two of the five long-range bombs in the third period Saturday. But it was DiRocco, perhaps the streakiest of Tewksbury’s streak shooters, who drove the most nails into Windham’s coffin, scoring 12 of his game-high 25 in the fourth quarter.
DiRocco also bailed the Redmen out in the first quarter, with a run of eight straight points over the final two minutes of the period. DiRocco’s outburst breathed some much-needed life into the Tewksbury offense, which had only scored five points in the first six minutes of the game.
“We came out flat, that’s for sure,” Conners said. “Thankfully, Alex got us going. I thought he played a great game.”
While DiRocco’s 25-point performance resuscitated the Redmen on more than one occasion, much of Tewksbury’s offensive success against Windham can be attributed to the stellar all-around effort turned in by senior captain Joe Coskmay. Under-sized for a forward at 6-feet-0, Coskmay makes up for his lack of height with a five-tool skill set that was the main catalyst behind the TMHS victory on Saturday. Coskmay scored a season’s-best 10 points, while grabbing eight rebounds. He also recorded five assists, had four steals and blocked two shots.
“Joe played a great game,” Conners said. “I was glad to see him being more aggressive offensively. He’s done a great job defensively all year but he hasn’t been as aggressive offensively, so I was glad to see that. He doesn’t realize how good of an offensive player he can be.
“If he played like that every night, we’d be a tough team to beat,” Conners added. “We put him in the back of our pressure (defense) and he does a great job creating things. He’s a great anticipator.”
Junior forward Justin Derrah followed up his career-high 23-point night on Tuesday with another strong effort, tossing in 12 points, while sixth man Henry Roberts added four.
The win earns Tewksbury the right to face neighboring rival Wilmington High in the tournament’s championship game Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. at the Tewksbury High gymnasium. Wilmington took a double-digit victory over Littleton in the other opening round game of the tournament Saturday evening.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve won this tournament,” Conners said. “And there’s still a pretty good rivalry between us and (Wilmington), so hopefully we’ll come out and play a more complete game.”