Redmen Bounce Bedford, 83-58
Jan 12, 2015 10:11PM
By Rick Spencer
Nate Tenaglia (4) scored 22 points to lead Tewksbury to its 10th win of the season, 83-58 over Bedford.
It was déjà vu all over again for Bedford High School as the Tewksbury High boys’ basketball team once again put together a spirited second-half effort and turned aside the visiting Buccaneers for the second time in five days, this time by a score of 83-58, Monday night at the TMHS gym.
Senior guard Alex DiRocco led all scorers with 26 points while junior guard Nate Tenaglia buried six-of-nine three-point attempts and finished with 22 points. Nineteen of DiRocco’s 26 and 12 of Tenaglia’s 22 came in the second half, as the Redmen blew open a fairly close game (it was 37-30 at half) with another explosive third quarter effort, and finished with their second highest point total so far this season.
After leading by just seven at half time, DiRocco (nine points in the third) and Tenaglia (12 points, all one three-pointers) sparked Tewksbury to a 24-point third period outburst, and by the time the fourth quarter started, this game was all but out of reach.
“That’s a really good back court we’ve got,” TMHS head coach Phil Conner’s said. “We have a ‘keep shooting’ mentality and Alex kept shooting and ended up being our leading scorer...They’re skilled, they can shoot, they’re quick, they’re good defensively. As they go we go.”
Tenaglia and DiRocco got a lot of help in this one from junior forward Justin Derrah, who elbowed, dove, leaped, bumped and bruised his way to 16 points and 11 rebounds on the night, including a pure-hustle four-point play in the fourth quarter that slammed the door on Bedford.
“Justin is just a load underneath. He’s an animal under there,” Conners said. “That’s his game. He gets a lot of our junk points. We’re not a good rebounding team but he’s our best rebounder.”
Tewksbury played consistently on offense for four quarters Monday but the TMHS defensive effort was sporadic. Bedford’s 6-3 sophomore center Thomas Greaney scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, as the Redmen at times looked like a team that had already beaten Bedford once this week and that might have been thinking ahead to Tuesday night’s big Merrimack Valley Conference challenge at Andover High.
“I think there was an aspect of maybe looking ahead a little bit to tomorrow’s game,” Conners said. “But I thought they took care of business in the second half.”
Tenaglia was the catalyst in the third quarter when he went on a personal 9-0 run hitting three straight three-pointers to increase Tewksbury’s lead from 10 points to 19 points in a stretch of just 42 seconds. DiRocco did likewise in the fourth quarter scoring 10 points and adding an assist as a 12-2 Tewksbury run stretched the lead to 25 and persuaded both coaches to empty their benches for the final four minutes of the game.
DiRocco added five steals and five assists to his impressive stat line, while Tenaglia picked up six assists. Junior forward Adam Gajjaoui scored eight points and senior forward Joe Csokmay added five points, seven rebounds and six assists. Henry Roberts and Petros Nacopoulos each buried a three-pointer.
The win was Tewksbury’s third in a row after suffering its lone loss a week ago against Central Catholic. The Redmen are now 10-1 overall this season, and 5-1 in MVC play. They need just one more victory to qualify for the 2015 MIAA state tournament.
That could happen Tuesday night when TMHS visits MVC super-power Andover High, which is currently ranked No. 2 in the state. But Conners has other goals in mind for Tuesday night.
“We’ve taken care of business these last three games, but those games are not really exciting to us right now,” Conners said. “We want to go out and win one we’re not supposed to, or at least have a better showing in a game against higher level competition. That’s what we put in all the time for. That’s why we work all year ‘round, to be good in the big games. And they don’t get bigger than (Tuesday’s) game. I’m not so much concerned with the result tomorrow as with our fight.”
Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday at Andover High.