Haverhill Hands Redmen Second Straight Loss, 60-56
Feb 12, 2015 09:56PM
By Rick Spencer
Alex DiRocco (3) led Tewksbury with 22 points against Haverhill.
HAVERHILL -- If you live by the sword you die by the sword and such was the fate of the Tewksbury High basketball team Thursday night as the normally sharp-shooting Redmen connected on just seven of 22 second half shots and dropped a gut-wrenching, 60-56 decision to Haverhill High.
It was the second loss in three days for the Redmen, who won 13 of their first 14 games but are now just 3-3 over the last two weeks. Worse, it was the second time in three nights that Tewksbury High saw a chance to clinch its second consecutive Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2 championship slip between its fingers.
The Redmen, who two weeks ago needed only one more MVC victory in their last four league games to wrap up the MVC Div. 2 title, have now lost three straight conference matches and face a do-or-die situation tomorrow night. TMHS must beat last-place Dracut in the team's 2014 MVC finale in order to prevent Billerica from grabbing a share of the MVC championship away from them.
At Haverhill on Thursday, the Redmen never seemed to get organized, as they off-set every good run of play with a string of sloppiness that kept the Hillies in the contest. Seniors Alex DiRocco and Joe Csokmay hit back-to-back three pointers to ignite a 10-0 first period run that put Tewksbury ahead, 19-9. But a pair of turnovers and some uninspired defense helped Haverhill answer with an 8-0 charge that cut Tewksbury’s lead to 19-17 at the end of one period.
A three-for-10 shooting effort in the second quarter added up to just nine Tewksbury points in that period, and although Haverhill matched Tewksbury mistake-for-mistake in the second, the Hillies were still able to grab a 30-28 halftime lead.
Tewksbury never led in the second half, as the Redmen shot just four-for-12 in the third quarter while committing six turnovers in the period, and Haverhill took a 43-39 lead into the fourth quarter. TMHS battled courageously down to the wire, but missed numerous open looks from beyond the arc, and connected on just three-of-10 field goal attempts when it counted the most.
The Redmen trailed by 11 with 1:45 to play and battled back to within four thanks to an 8-1 stretch run, but time ran out before they could climb all the way out of the hole.
DiRocco, who is closing in on 1,000 career points, led Tewksbury with 22 points, while junior forward Justin Derrah scored 11 and junior forward Adam Gajjaoui added nine. Csokmay and junior guard Nate Tenaglia finished with six points each and senior guard henry Roberts had two.
The Redmen are now 9-4 in MVC play, and second place Billerica stands at 8-5 with one league game – at home against Chelmsford Friday night – left to play.
Tewksbury wraps up MVC play at Dracut Friday night (7:00 p.m. start). The Middies are just 4-12 overall and 4-12 overall and 2-9 in league games. Tewksbury beat Dracut, 84-46, at home on January 9th.