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TMHS Basketball Stars To Miss Remainder Of Regular Season Due To Suspensions

Feb 11, 2016 01:56PM ● By Bill Gilman

Justin Derrah (42) muscles up for two of his 13 points against Haverhill.

the Tewksbury High boys basketball team will be forced to play the remainder of the regular season without two of its top players.
Seniors Justin Derrah and Nate Tenaglia, both captains, were hit with five-game suspensions, beginning with Wednesday night's game against Dracut.
Tenaglia, a pre-season First Team All-State selection, has been averaging close to 25 points a game for the Redmen. Derrah has been a force in the frontcourt.
Coach Phil Connors declined to comment on the reason for the suspensions, except to confirm they were mandated under MIAA rules. Athletic Director Ron Drouin also declined to comment, citing school policy to to reveal details of student disciplinary matters.
Deputy Police Chief John Voto confirmed Derrah and Tenaglia were involved in some type of incident last month involving multiple Tewksbury High students. Some of those students were adults according to the law (17 and over), while others were minors. 
According to the MIAA handbook, the standard punishment for a first-time offender of the MIAA Chemical Health/Drugs/Tobacco/Alcohol Policy is a suspension equal to 25 percent of the regular season games for the team that athlete is playing for at the time of the offense. As the TMHS boys basketball team plays a 20-game schedule, it would equal five games.
The Redmen are presently 12-4, following Wednesday night's 75-43 drubbing of Dracut, their first game without Derrah and Tenaglia. The team has already clinched a return trip to the State Tournament and clinched at least a share of the MVC D-2 Championship with the win over Dracut.
Tewksbury closes out its regular season with games against Malden, Wilmington, Tyngsborough and Haverhill. 
With Tenaglia and Derrah on the shelf, the leadership responsibility now rests squarely on the shoulders of the third Tri-Captain,  Adam Gajjoui, as well as fellow senior Ryan Briggs. After the win over Dracut, Connors said he was proud of the way his seniors and the rest of the team responded in the face of adversity.
"When I heard about the suspensions, I felt the hurt of what (Derrah and Tengalia) did, but I felt excited for those other kids and I’m really excited for those kids," said Connors. "We didn’t hang our heads. We didn’t question authority. We took accountability. We did everything a high character team is supposed to do and the result comes out on the scoreboard.”

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