Malden: If he was asked before the season, with a lineup featuring four new starters and the loss of his three top scorers, Malden head coach Don Nally would have gladly taken a 4-2 start to the season. That being said, Nally can be forgiven for being a bit disappointed with his team losing out on a chance to go 5-1 to start the season, after dropping a home game to Brookline 62-49 on Tuesday night. Shooting just 34% from the field, including scoring just 7 points in the 3rd quarter did in the Tornadoes on this night.
"We continue to be a work in progress." Nally said when reached for comment after the game. "I thought we had a couple opportunities tonight to close the gap but we just couldn't put the ball in the net. But, as I told the team after the game, our ultimate undoing tonight was our inability to win the one on one battles on defense."
Brookline shot 53% from the field on the night including a scintillating 15 for 19 inside the paint. When Malden did close off the lane, Brookline was equally effective from the 3pt line, sticking 5 of 11 from beyond the arc. Brookline dominated the first three quarters, leading 17-12 after one, 35-23 at the half and 51-30 entering the fourth quarter. Malden made a push in the 4th quarter, cutting the lead to 11 following junior guard Mark Rogers' corner 3 with just under 4 minutes to play. The Tornadoes would not get any closer than that.
The Tornadoes will have a lot of time to think about losing two of their last three games as the team will not return to the court until January 9th when they take on Medford at the Finn. In that time, it will be Nally's job to keep his troops ready as they prepare for the toughest stretch of their schedule.
"While I'm disappointed to lose tonight, as we all should be, I'm pleased where the team is at overall." Nally commented. "We have played together as a team and, for the most part, the ball has moved well on offense. I think we need to shore up some things defensively but we have time to do that over the next couple of weeks."
With 2014 moving into the rearview mirror, it is time for the Tornadoes to look forward feed off of their good start.