Mitchell-Rodriguez FT Sinks Brighton in Opener, 63-62.
December 16, 2013
Malden: Overcoming the nervous jitters of newly revamped roster, the Malden High Boys' basketball survived a scare from reigning Division 2 state champion Brighton High School, 63-62 at the Finn Gym Monday Night. Senior forward Bryan Mitchell-Rodriguez hit one of two free throws with just .6 seconds remaining to secure the opening night win to kick off the 2013-14 season.
"We survived, that's for sure." Head Coach Don Nally, entering his 10th season as the head coach of the boys' varsity team, said after the win. "We have a lot of new players, a lot of underclassmen and opening night nerves were to be expected but we fought through it and came out with the win."
Malden won the game despite turning the ball over 22 times and missing 20 free throws in the contest. The team was led by junior forward, and the leading returning scorer from last season, Anthony Gilardi. Gilardi scored 24 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and had 7 steals in the contest. Gilardi had 9 of the team's 17 points in the deciding fourth quarter to secure the win. The team also had a huge night from two newcomers to the varsity, senior forward Niko Delucian had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks in his varsity debut and sophomore guard Mark Rogers chipped in with 6 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists making his first start at point guard for the Tornadoes.
"That was huge." Nally said of the contributions of Delucian and Rogers. "Niko was immense on the boards, particularly on the offensive end and Markie, especially for a young kid playing the point, played exceptionally well."
Malden next plays on Saturday as they travel to the MCLA college campus to take on Drury High School in the second annual East/West Tournament along with Medford High School and Westfield High School. Game time is set for 4:30pm.