Tewksbury Girls Top Marblehead, 47-35, Advance To Sectional Quarterfinals
Feb 23, 2015 11:05PM
By Rick Spencer
Emily Velozo (10) scored 16 points against Marblehead.
It was “Sweet 16” night for the Tewksbury High girls’ basketball team on Monday, and it all added up to a 47-35 first round state tournament victory over Marblehead for the Lady Redmen.
Junior guard Emily Velozo and junior forward Karalyn Gallella each scored 16 points while junior forward Molly Robertson hauled in a career-high 16 rebounds to help eighth seeded Tewksbury hold off several valiant comeback attempts from the visiting Magicians and advance to the MIAA Division 2 North quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.
“We’ve been battled tested. We play in a very tough league. We’ve had to fight back from being down by two, or a team making a run on us,” said TMHS head coach Mark Bradley afterward. “We left a lot of shots out there but thankfully we were able to make a few more than they did.
“Our juniors stepped up and made big plays for us tonight,” Bradley added. “Two juniors scored 32 points tonight. That’s pretty good.”
It looked like this game was going to be blow-out in favor of the home team when Velozo caught fire early and scored 10 first quarter points to spark Tewksbury to a 17-0 run. The Lady Redmen led 17-6 after one period, but Marblehead shifted into a 1-3-1 zone defense and held TMHS to just six points in the second quarter. The visitors outscored TMHS, 14-6 in the second period and closed to within three points at 23-20 at half time.
The third quarter was a defensive struggle as well, but Tewksbury’s saving grace was Robertson, the 5-9 center who cleaned house on the defensive boards and held Marblehead to just one shot on almost every possession.
“You don’t ever want to give teams second chance points, and Molly did a great job (rebounding),” Bradley said. “She’s been a force for us all year. She works really hard. Even when she’s not scoring offensively she busts her tail for us defensively. I’m glad she’s on my side.”
In spite of Robertson’s dominance under the backboard, Marblehead dug in defensively in the third quarter and held TMHS to just nine points in the period. Five of Tewksbury’s nine came from Gallella, however, and that was just a sign of things to come.
In the fourth period, with Robertson continuing to own the boards, Velozo got the TMHS fast break fired up, and Gallella took on the role of finisher. The junior forward scored nine of her 16 in the final six minutes of the game, while Velozo added four points and three assists during that stretch, and the Lady Redmen pulled away to a 12-point win.
“The times we were able to get out and run in the second half were the times we scored, and that’s Karalyn’s game,” Bradley said. “Karalyn’s got a lot of hidden talent. She has a nice outside shot, she can run the floor and she’s pretty much deadly on the baseline. What she was lacking the beginning of the year was rebounding and defensive intensity. Tonight she had a great defensive game. There was one time she got caught not in help, but other than that she played a perfect defensive game. She did a tremendous job. “
Bradley was equally as impressed with Velozo’s effort.
“When Emily can get out and run and see the floor, she does some good things,” Bradley said. “She’s crafty. ..She’s very creative as a point guard and that’s what a point guard should be. And she’s got a good outside shot. She’s done a lot for us …and she’s maturing at a good level.”
Robertson finished with seven points to go along with her 16 rebounds and seniors Shannon Smith and Amanda Brown added four points each for Tewksbury, which improves to 13-8 on the season. The Lady Redmen will take to the road for a Division 2 North Sectional quarterfinal round match-up against top-seeded Watertown on Thursday. Watertown finished the regular season undefeated at 18-0, and won the Middlesex League Freedom Division championship. Watertown ranks third in the latest Boston Globe girls basketball poll.
“It’s going to be a real challenge, but we’re looking forward to it,” Bradley said.