The only thing colder than the December temperatures the last couple of days was the shooting touch of the Tewksbury High boys basketball team on Tuesday night. In spite of a valiant defensive effort, the Redmen could not find the range with their outside shooting, and suffered a 50-32 loss to Methuen High at the TMHS gym.
"We held them to 17 points in the first half. Our kids did what we asked them to do defensively. But our (shooting) skills weren't there," said a disappointed Tewksbury coach Phil Conners after watching his team go 3-for-22 from three-point range. "If we had hit even a third of our shots we would have been fine. But when you only score 32 points in a high school basketball game, that's not good enough."
Tewksbury's scrappy, ball-hawking defense produced a dozen steals in the game and kept Methuen's high-powered offense in check for the first two periods. Tewksbury trailed by just one, 9-8 at the end of the first quarter, and by just two, 17-15, at halftime.
But Methuen's 6-4 senior forward Kyle Mansour caught fire in the second half and poured in 15 of his game-high 26 points over the final two periods, as the Rangers pulled away and earned their first victory of the season after opening with losses to Andover and Lawrence.
Freshman guard Alex DiRocco led the Redmen with seven points and senior forward Sean Foley chipped in six points and at least as many rebounds. Senior guards Anthony Chicarrelli, Mike Doucette and Bobby Lombard and sophomore forward Kevin Dick all played well defensively and worked hard to get open looks at the basket, but the ball just would not fall through the hoop for the Redmen.
"We got good looks," Conners said. "If we had made some shots early, their confidence would have been fine, and we would have been right there. But you can't derive your energy in a game based on whether or not your first couple of shots fall."
Chicarrelli and Dick each added five points while Doucette and Lombard each kicked in three. Junior guard Chris Crawford provided a spark off the bench, scoring four points and coming up with three steals.
"These other team's skills are built year round and that's what we've got to do," Conners said. "We have to get better (at shooting the ball).
"Rome wasn't built in a day," Conners added. "We've got a long way to go."
Tewksbury, now 1-3 overall, will participate in the Wilmington Holiday Tournament next Tuesday and Wednesday.