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Redmen Go Cold, Fall To Billerica 65-58

Feb 09, 2016 10:41PM ● By Rick Spencer

Justin Derrah (42) scored 16 points, but Tewksbury fell to Billerica, 65-58.

The only good news regarding Tewksbury High’s disappointing 65-58 loss at Billerica High Tuesday night is the fact that the Redmen won’t have much time to pout about letting a chance to secure their third straight Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2 championship slip through their fingers.

Due to a scheduling conflict with a gymnastics tournament, Tewksbury’s next game, which was originally scheduled for Friday night, was moved up to Wednesday night, at home against Dracut. So the Redmen will have less than 24 hours to forget about Tuesday night’s ice cold shooting night, which let Billerica stay mathematically alive in the MVC Division 2 title chase.

The win pulls Billerica, at 6-5 in league play, to within two games of the Redmen, who fell to 8-4 in league play and 11-4 overall with the loss. But the Redmen can still win the MVC Division 2 championship outright with wins against Dracut and Haverhill in their final two league games.

TMHS head coach Phil Conners is happy that he won’t have time to rehash Tuesday night’s game for two or three days in practice.

“We missed layups, we played bad offensively,” Conners said. “When they made their run we answered with quick, terrible shots. We weren’t moving the ball. It was just …disappointing.”

The Redmen once again suffered a woeful shooting night on the road, hitting on just 20 of the 58 field goal attempts they took, for a paltry 34.5 percent shooting average.

“Part of it is we’re not playing with enough guts,” Conners said. “Someone’s gotta step up and be the best shooter in the gym. This is a great shooting gym. It’s the best shooting gym in the MVC, so there’s no excuse. You gotta step up and make it. You wanna play, you gotta make shots. That’s what we are, you know. We don’t have a guy over six feet, we don’t have a guy like (6-6 Billerica forward Josh) Bradanese you can just give the ball to. We gotta make shots.”

The lone bright spot of the game was a spirited fourth quarter comeback attempt sparked by senior captain Nate Tenaglia, who led all scorers with 26 points in the game. Tenaglia tossed in 14 of his 26 points in the final period, as Tewksbury stormed back from a 19-point deficit with 6:54 to play in the game, pulling within six points, at 60-54, with 1:20 to play.

The Redmen were forced to foul Billerica, and the Indians hit 5-of-6 free throws in the game’s final minute to secure the win, but Conners took some consolation in the TMHS comeback effort.

“We didn’t quit, that’s the only good thing you can take away from it,” Conners said. “We fought really hard. Even though we were terrible offensively during that (stretch), we still fought hard.”

Senior forward Justin Derrah finished with 16 points on the night while senior forward Sean Moose and senior guard Devan Bere had six each. Senior forward Adam Gajjaoui added four points.

So it’s back to work right away for the Redmen, who can clinch at least a share of the MVC Division 2 title Wednesday night at home against Dracut. Tewksbury beat the Middies, 69-60, in Dracut in December. TMHS also travels to Malden Thursday night for a make-up of last Friday’s contest that was postponed due to snow.

”We’ve got games upon games,” Conners said.  "No time to feel bad for yourself, You gotta suck it up and play better.”


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