TEWKSBURY — Before the start of the season, it was clearly evident that the boys’ basketball team at Tewksbury Memorial High School would take their pieces, because after all, the whole starting lineup was brand new and the returning players had a limited academic experience.
In the first six games, the Redmen mostly stayed in games, but a quick minute here or there or a tough quarter and suddenly games slipped away from them.
It happened again Tuesday night. After starting strong, showing great energy and hitting a few early buckets, the Redmen trailed by one point with 3:49 left in the first half, only to end up losing by 27 as North Andover fired 12 three-pointers in the upcoming game. away with an 82-55 victory played at the Romano Gymnasium.
Tewksbury have fallen to 0-6 this season, while North Andover have improved to 4-2.
“We have to play with a bit more urgency. Once we’ve let our guard down for a second or a possession, we’re in trouble. You have to value the ball. I have to do a better job coaching and we have to do a better job of playing,” said first-year head coach Steve Boudreau.
The teams traded leads ten times and were also tied seven times until the Scarlet Knights opened up that one-point lead by finishing the second quarter on a 13-5 run to move up 38-27 at the pause.
The deficit quickly reached double digits in the third quarter as NA led to 20 with 30 seconds left, before the Redmen reduced it to 16 after back-to-back baskets from Tommy Crawford. His second came with 5:52 left in the game, cutting it to 60-44, but NA then responded with three treys in 71 seconds, before hitting two more the rest of the way to put the game away.
North Andover were led by Drew Connolly and Zach Wolinski who both had 22, hitting the opposite number with 18 in the first half for the former and 18 in the second half for the latter. Jack O’Connell was the third double-digit player with ten.
For Tewksbury, Christian Marsden led with 16 points including two quick threes and four in all. Sophomore Luke Montejo finished with 13 points, Ryan Cuvier had 8, all in the first half, then AJ Seney and Crawford had 6 apiece.
“I’m really encouraged with this group in flashes. There were flashes where we had very good quarters, we had very good halves and we did well in spurts. Now it’s just a matter of learning how to maintain it,” Boudreau said.
Tewksbury’s macabre schedule continues with a home game on Friday against Lawrence, before heading to Billerica and Dracut next Tuesday and Friday.
“We have Lawrence, Billerica, Dracut, Andover and Central Catholic in our next five games. They will be tough games, but that’s how it is. We have to keep working,” Boudreau said.
GIRLS ALSO BEATEN
The Redmen girls traveled to North Andover on Tuesday night and were beaten 50-36 to fall to 2-4 on the season. Tewksbury have now lost three games in a row after beating Lowell in back-to-back games.
“We did a lot of good things tonight, but we’re still struggling to get the ball in the net,” said first-year head coach Joël Mignault. “We get looks, but we don’t knock down shots and finish. Then we see rotations that have cost us dearly. We do some things well, defensively, we’ve been blocked every game which has helped us stay in games, but we’re shooting ourselves in the foot (with the lack of execution on offense).
Vicki Lavargna led the attack with ten points.
“She did some good things and hit a few shots. We were able to get turnovers late in the game to get easy baskets, but we’re really struggling with our half-court offense,” said Mignault.
Tewksbury will stay on the road to face Billerica on Friday before heading home to face Lawrence and then the scorching Dracut Middies in a week from Friday. The schedule will continue to get very tough after that with games against Andover, Central Catholic and Chelmsford.