Somerville: For much of the night, it appeared that Malden Head Coach's personal house of horrors, the Somerville high School Gymnasium, would once again get the best of him. However, after surviving a waived off regulation basket and a missed 10ft jump shot at the end of the first overtime, Nally's Tornadoes were able to hang on and earn a hard fought GBL victory, 60-57 over the Highlanders in double overtime. The win evens the Tornadoes league record at 1-1 as they get set for Tuesday night's GBL showdown with undefeated Everett at the Finn Gym.
"This was a typical GBL basketball game." an exhausted Nally said after the win. "We've not done too well here in my ten years, for whatever reason, so I'm thankful to get the win and all the credit goes to the effort of our guys, especially our captains, Loveng (Francois) and Anthony (Gilardi)."
Malden held a lead early, 10-7 after one period but the Tornadoes never really seemed to be in control. After allowing Somerville 15 points in the second period, the game was knotted at 22 apiece at halftime. Malden was particularly frustrated at the free throw line, making just 6-20 free passes in a game that featured a whopping 48 fouls between the two teams.
"We were really sluggish in that first half." Nally noted. "I'm not sure if it was a hangover from the Cambridge game or just overall sluggishness but we really needed to pick up the pace. I challenged our captains, and, for the most part, they came through."
After being held without a point in the first half, senior guard Loveng Francois earned his captain's striped by pouring in 18 points in the second half and two overtimes. Francois saved much of his heroics for the 4th quarter, combining with Gilardi to score 26 of the team's final 28 points. Gilardi, for his part, continued his banner play on the season, scoring 22 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Gilardi hit two huge free throws with 20 seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 47 after the Tornadoes had fallen behind by six points with under 2 minutes to play. On the ensuing possession, the Highlanders held the ball for much of the game's final 20 seconds before hurrying a desperation corner jumper as the buzzer sounds. The ball sailed through the net but the officials quickly waved the shot off, sending the Somerville fandom into brief hysterics.
Malden briefly held the lead in the first overtime, before Somerville tied it and regained possession with under a minute to play. A missed shot seemed to set the Tornadoes up with one final shot but the team was whistled for a traveling violation in the backcourt with under 10 seconds left. Somerville nearly stole the game with a wide open 10 foot shot that rimmed out, forcing a second overtime. In the second frame, behind Gilardi's 4 free throws, senior forward Niko Delucian's 3 blocked shots and Francois' free throw with under 10 seconds to play, the Tornadoes survived one last 3pt shot attempt to hang on for the win.
Malden returns to the court Tuesday with a chance to knot the GBL into a 3-way tie for first place with a win over Everett. Everett comes in to the game undefeated after dispatching of Cambridge on their home floor Friday night. Game time is set for 7:00pm.