Redmen Bounce Back With 67-50 Win Over Bedford
Jan 07, 2015 11:34PM
By Rick Spencer
Alex DiRocco (3) makes a leaping pass to Adam Gajjaoui (23) in Tewksbury's 67-50 win over Bedford.
As legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi once said, it’s not how many times you get knocked down that counts, it’s how many times you get back up. And that’s just what the Tewksbury High basketball team did on Wednesday night, as junior forward Adam Gajjaoui poured in a career-high 19 points to lead the Redmen to a 67-50 victory over Bedford High School.
Gajjaoui scored most of his points from inside the paint, many on second-chance efforts, as TMHS rebounded from a disappointing double-digit loss to Merrimack Valley Conference powerhouse Central Catholic that had knocked the Redmen from the ranks of the unbeaten just 24 hours earlier.
“It’s good to get right back on the winning track,” Tewksbury head coach Phil Conners said. “It’s good to get a win between us and that Central game. We don’t want to forget that Central game, we want to learn from it. But I was glad we were able to get right back out there and get a win.”
The Redmen appeared to still be reeling from the shock of having their seven-game win streak broken in the early going of this game, as TMHS connected on only 6-of-16 field goal attempts in the first quarter and led by just three, 16-13, at the end of one period.
The second period wasn’t any better, as Tewksbury again shot under 40 percent from the field and scored only nine points. A strong defensive effort kept the Redmen on top, 25-22 at the half.
“I thought we came out with a lot of energy, but we just missed every shot we took in the first half,” Conners said.
Worse, the Redmen allowed Bedford to control the backboards, and the Buccaneers scored off of numerous offensive rebounds in the first two quarters.
“That’s a major concern of ours, turnovers and offensive rebounds,” Conners said. “(Tuesday) night it was turnovers. Tonight it was offensive rebounds. How those things go is how our games go. Until we fix that, we’ve got issues.”
The second half, however, was a different story as Tewksbury found its shooting touch in the third period, and did a better job on the boards. Guards Alex DiRocco and Nate Tenaglia tossed in five points each in the quarter and the Redmen extended their lead to eight points at 41-22 heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was all Tewksbury, thanks in large part to Gajjaoui, who had eight points and four rebounds in the final eight minutes of the game. The Redmen steadily increased their lead, and were ahead by 20 at one point, before settling for the 17-point win.
DiRocco finished with 13 points on the night, junior forward Justin Derrah had 12, Tenaglia ended up with 11 and senior forward Joe Csokmay had 10, as all five Tewksbury starters scored in double figures.
“Adam had a good game finishing and we had a really balanced attack,” Conners said. “That fourth quarter was really good. When it was time to turn it on, we turned it on. But I want us to turn it on for 32 minutes.”
The win improves Tewksbury’s overall record to 8-1.
“I’m happy with 8-1, but we’re still shooting to win the big games,” Conners said. “We’re operating at 60 percent of our ability right now. We’re not clicking and we’ve got to figure it out. It’s still early though. We’re always better in February, so we just have to keep working.”
Tewksbury gets back to Merrimack Valley Conference action with an important MVC Division 2 home game against Dracut Friday night. The Redmen host these same Bedford Buccaneers next Monday before facing their stiffest test of the season at Andover next Tuesday.