Burlington: After dropping a game in which they led throughout on Sunday, Malden must have felt like a painful case of deja vu on Monday night as the Tornadoes saw a 66-59 lead evaporate in a two minute span and trailed 68-66 with 2 minutes left in the game. On this night, however, Malden was able to right the ship and hung on for a 73-72 victory in the consolation game of the Burlington Holiday Tournament. Junior forward Nate Ilebode led the Tornadoes with 21 points and earned a tournament all-star berth with his 17 second half points sparking the win.
"We were in control for much of the night again tonight and almost let it slip away." Coach Don Nally said after the win. "But, as I've said before, we are a young team and will learn from games like last night. Apparently we are quick learners."
The Tornadoes led after each of the first three quarters, outscoring the tournament hosts 20-18, 20-19 and 18-15 through each of the first three quarters. Burlington bounced back in the 4th quarter and nearly stole the win. However, Malden was able to use its size and strength to pound the glass to victory. Ilebode has 21 points and 6 rebounds, all on the offensive glass. Junior forward Louie LoConte had a career-high 14 points to go along with a career high 18 rebounds. LoConte had 10 rebounds on the offensive glass himself.
"I thought we really inserted our will tonight." Nally said. "Nate had a strong second half and I thought Louie played his best game for us this year. They both pounded the glass and kept possessions alive."
Malden's swingmen also got into the act on this night. Senior captain Mark Rogers scored 17 points, all in the first half to keep the Tornadoes in the lead. He also had six rebounds and three assists. Sophomore forward Isaiah Likely was all over the stat chart. The sophomore lefty contributed 9 points, 9 rebounds, 6 steals, 3 blocks and a career high 10 assists off the bench for Malden.
Malden will close 2015 at 3-3 as they prepare to begin battle in the GBL starting on January 8th at home vs. Somerville.
Malden Boxscore: Ilebode 21pts, Rogers 17pts, LoConte 14pts, Likely 9pts, Fern Berard 5pts, Danny Perez 5pts and Danny Fuentes 1pt.