Tornadoes Bounce Back, Drop Cambridge 62-57

January 20, 2012
Malden: The most surprising thing about Friday night's game at the Finn Gym between the Malden High School Boys' basketball team and Cambridge R&L High School, was the crowd reaction. After dropping an 18 point decision at home to Somerville and then falling behind GBL powerhouse Cambridge 18-12 after one quarter, it seemed as though most of the Tornado faithful were expecting another blowout. As the Tornadoes took the game over, even up until the final few moments, the faithful remained relatively subdued, as though they were waiting for failure. Instead, what they witnessed was perhaps the Tornadoes' most complete victory in three or four seasons as Malden stormed back to take control of the game for each of the final three quarters to beat previously undefeated in the GBL Cambridge, 62-57.

"That was a special, special win for the kids." Said Coach Don Nally following his 78th victory as Tornadoes head coach, and fifth over Cambridge. "We really controlled the tempo from the end of the first quarter on and never really let them force their will on us. This was really a disciplined victory."

Defense and discipline were the name of the game for Malden. After a few quick turnovers got the Falcons up early, Malden settled down, broke the Cambridge press and ran their half court offense. Continuously through the night, the Tornadoes ran the shot clock down to the final ten seconds before making their move. On defense, Malden combined a full court trapping press with a tight, 1-2-2 zone defense that kept Cambridge off balance and unsure on offense for most of the night. After spotting Cambridge a six point lead after one quarter, the Tornadoes held the Falcons to just 2 field goals and nine points in the second quarter to take a 29-26 lead at the break. In the first half, the Tornadoes were led by freshmen Anthony Gilardi's 10 points and 4 rebounds. The Falcons were able to contain Malden's scoring machine, junior guard Terrance Maisonneuve, to just 4 points at the half but the second half would be a different story.

With Gilardi in foul trouble, the Tornadoes went from an inside game to an outside game in the second half, and they turned to their top scorer to take control. Maisonneuve pumped in 22 of his game-high 28 points in the second half including five 3pt field goals. The highlight of the second half and the back breaker for Cambridge was a Maisonneuve pull-up 3 point field goal on a 2 on 1 fast break to grow the Tornado lead to 9 points with under four minutes to play. Cambridge would not get closer than five points the rest of the way as the Tornadoes improved to 6-4 on the season and 2-2 in the GBL. Cambridge dropped to 6-4 and 2-1 in the league after the loss. With Everett's loss to Medford on Friday night, the GBL race is tightening up.

"We are right where we want to be right now." Nally said. "I really feel like the team is starting to embrace their roles individually now. Tonight, Anthony and Rodney (Morton, 11 points) helped us get the lead in the first half and Terrance was our closer in the second half. On defense, we got great production out of Witche (Exilhomme, 3 steals) and Hiago (DeSena, 3 steals to go along with a career-high 8 assists). We also got a great game out of Jason Surpris (6pts, 8 rebounds) off the bench. It was a complete team effort."

Malden returns to the court on Tuesday night with a big rematch against Medford at Medford High School. Game time is 7:00pm.