Cambridge Clinches GBL, Holds Off Tornadoes 64-55.
"I don't often take a lot from a loss, but this loss might really elevate this team." Malden head man Don Nally said after the game. "We split two games with the league champion this year and had a chance to take both games. I'm very proud of the effort the kids gave out their tonight."
Malden fell behind early, 19-13, after one quarter thanks to the shooting of Correia and the tight man to man defense the Falcons put on the Tornadoes. Malden would close the gap to 29-25 at the break. The team was led at the half by juniors Rodney Morton and Jason Surpris' six points apiece. Cambridge had effectively taken Maisonneuve out of the game up until that point, holding the sharp shooter to just four first half points.
"At halftime I basically challenged Terrance to step up for us and, to his credit, he did just that." Nally said.
In fact, as Maisonneuve poured in shot after shot in the second half, the Tornadoes briefly held the lead, 50-49 with under 4 minutes to play. Malden trailed 54-50 with 2 minutes to play when a key call swung the game in the Falcons favor. A driving shot by Cambridge guard Carl Graham appeared to be blocked cleanly by Surpris and recovered by the junior forward. The referee, however, saw the play differently and whistled a foul. The huge swing gave Cambridge two free throws and a commanding six point lead that they would not relinquish.
"I rarely, if ever, point to an official's call as a turning point in a game." Nally noted. "They have a tough job to do out there but, in that instance, I think he missed the call and really took the momentum away from us."
Malden will now travel to Westfield in a rematch with their opening night opponent, Westfield High School, this Saturday afternoon. The Tornadoes know that each game is precious now as they head down the season's final stretch.
"We have a very tough game on Saturday." Nally acknowledged. "They gave us all we could handle in the first game this season and I'm sure they're thinking payback in their home gym. It will be a challenge but I feel much better about our guys after tonight's effort."