Redmen Honor Romano With 72-42 Trouncing Of Methuen
Feb 03, 2015 11:47PM
By Rick Spencer
Tony Romano would have been proud.
On the night when the basketball court at Tewksbury High School was named in honor of the former TMHS coach and school administrator, the team Romano once coached came up with its best defensive effort of the season and simply over-powered Methuen, 72-42.
The win, Tewksbury’s 14th of the season against just two losses, tied the school record for most regular season wins, and left a satisfied smile on the face TMHS head coach Phil Conners afterward.
“I was really happy, that was our best effort of the year,” Conners said. “We took them out of everything they wanted to do offensively. I thought we did a really good job defensively, especially in the first half. No pass was easy, and we got a ton of blocks.”
The start of the game was pushed back 30 minutes to allow for a pre-game ceremony in which the new "Tony Romano Court" logos were unveiled, but the delay didn't slow down the Redmen as they held Methuen to just eight points in the first quarter and led 23-8 after one period. Tewksbury did even better in the second, holding Methuen to just six points, and stretching the lead to 40-14 at the half. Those totals represent both the least amount of points allowed by TMHS in a half this year, and the fewest points scored in one half by Methuen.
Tewksbury came up with seven steals and blocked seven shots in the first half of this game alone, creating multiple fast break opportunities for the Redmen.
“We got a ton of blocks because we were in front of guys and they were making desperate drives,” Conners said. “And we always talk about making that first pass hard…it’s like a trigger for most offenses. If you can get in that passing lane then they don’t know where the next guy comes from. And we did that tonight…And the more stops we get the more up tempo we are. If we can get ourselves into transition, we’re going to be good.”
Senior guard Alex DiRocco scored all 13 of his points in the first half, while junior forward Justin Derrah had 10 of his 15 in the first two quarters. And if the game wasn’t well in hand by halftime, it was after junior guard Nate Tenaglia scored 13 of his game-high 22 points in the third quarter as Tewksbury doubled up on Methuen, 64-32, at the end of three periods.
Senior forward Joe Csokmay had one of his best all-around games with eight points, six blocks, six rebounds and two steals on the night.
“Joe was awesome,” Conners said. “He was all over the place defensively. Joe fills every stats column. He plays the entire game. He’s super valuable for us.”
Junior forward Adam Gajjaoui added nine points, senior sixth man Henry Roberts had four, senior forward Petros Nacopoulos had three and senior guard Derek McGaffigan added one. Both coaches cleared their benches early in the fourth quarter and the Redmen walked out of their newly-named gym one giant step closer to clinching their second consecutive Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2 championship. Tewksbury stands 14-2 overall, 9-2 in MVC play, and sits two games ahead of second place Billerica in the MVC Div. 2 standings.
The win also represented a huge bounce back from last Friday night’s disappointing four-point loss at North Andover.
“I thought that (North Andover) game re-focused us. It showed us that anyone can catch you if you’re not doing the right things,” Conners said. “But overall I was just really, really happy. I thought tonight was one of our best efforts ever.”
Tewksbury now steps away from MVC play for two non-conference games, at home Thursday against Tyngsboro followed by a re-match with Malden, at home on Friday. If Billerica hasn’t stumbled in games against Central Catholic, Haverhill and Dracut over the next five days, the Redmen will have an opportunity to clinch the MVC Division 2 title next Tuesday night in a home game against the Indians.