Cambridge: In what was their final league game at Cambridge High School, the Malden High Golden Tornadoes gave the #17 Falcons all they could handle before dropping a thrilling 54-53 contest. Junior guard Isaiah McCloud nailed a jumper from the top of the key with 10 seconds left to give Cambridge the lead for good with 10 seconds left. Junior Anthony Gilardi, who finished the game with 25 points and 15 rebounds drove the lane as time expired but his layup spun out to preserve the win for Cambridge.
"We had a tremendous opportunity to beat a quality opponent on the road but it slipped through our fingers." Malden Head Coach Don "Gipper" Nally said after the hard fought loss. "Our kids played their hearts out and they deserved a better fate."
Cambridge jumped out early on Malden, using an 8-0 run to close out the first quarter leading 18-9. Malden stayed with the Falcons in the second quarter, trading baskets to close the half trailing by 7 points, 31-24. In the 3rd quarter, Malden's defense took over, holding the Falcons to just 11 points while scoring 19 points of their own to get a 1 point lead, 43-42 heading into the 4th quarter. Malden employed an aggressive zone defense that kept Cambridge from penetrating, forcing a number of 3 pt field goal attempts. Senior Forward Niko Delucian had 5 blocks, as the Tornadoes constantly kept the Falcons at bay inside the paint.
"Our defense tonight was just outstanding. That team came into the game averaging nearly 80 points per game (78.9PPG) and we just would not let them get anything going. I thought Niko and Anthony were strong inside and our guards, particularly Jensen (Ayuk) off the bench really made it difficult for them on the perimeter." Nally noted.
The fourth quarter saw the two teams exchanging the lead on a number of occasions. The Falcons took a 2pt lead on a long 3 pt field goal with under 2 minutes to play before sophomore guard Mark Rogers tied the score with a floater along the left baseline. After a Cambridge missed opportunity, Gilardi was fouled with 25 seconds left, making one of two free throws to set up the games final heroics.
Malden returns to the court and GBL action this Friday night as they take on the Somerville Highlanders in Somerville. Game time is set for 7:00pm.