Wilmington High junior sharp-shooter Tim McCarthy fired in three straight three-pointers to spark the Wildcats to a 28-point outburst in the third quarter, and the host team went on to claim an easy, 69-41 victory over in the championship game of the Larry McGrath/Knights of Columbus Christmas Tournament, Tuesday night.
McCarthy scored 11 of his game-high 22 points in the third quarter as Wilmington turned a 28-19 halftime lead into a 56-30 blowout after three quarters.
"Unfortunately for us, the difference between tonight and the last two nights (both wins) was defense," said Tewksbury coach Jim Sullivan. "They got hot and we didn't seem to have an answer."
Fresh off a on Monday night, TMHS came out fast and took a 10-8 lead halfway through the first period. Tewksbury got the ball inside to senior center Sean Gorman (eight points) and senior forward Craig Semenza (11 points) found the range from outside.
But the Redmen lost their shooting touch and failed to score a basket from the 3:00 minute mark of the first quarter until the 4:00 minute mark of the second quarter, and Wilmington took a nine-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
Tewksbury came out strong in the third quarter and cut the lead to five on baskets from Semenza and junior forward Mike Petrowski, but that's when McCarthy and the Wildcats caught fire. Wilmington went on a 20-5 run to blow the game open and cruised to the championship from there.
"Tewksbury played tough defensively in the first half," Wilmington coach Joe Maiella said. "No other team has pressured us like that this year and we struggled with it for a while. But Timmy (McCarthy) is a good shooter and you can't give him open looks like they did in the third quarter. The difference tonight was (McCarthy) stepping up and making three straight three's and breaking the game open."
Sullivan had no complaints with his team's effort in the game.
"Our goals were to defend well, take care of the basketball and pound the ball inside, which we did in the first half," he said. "Our effort was terrific. The kids were into it and they played hard. But when push came to shove in the third quarter, they (Wilmington) got red hot and we couldn't get a stop."
Petrowski and freshman Kevin Dick each scored six points for Tewksbury in the game, while Anthony Chiccarelli had three, and Joe Hulme, Mike Doucette and Chris Fandel had two each.
Gorman grabbed 10 rebounds and came within two points of recording his third straight double-double. Gorman and Semenza were named to the all-tournament team.
Tewksbury falls to 2-3 overall with the loss. The Redmen return to Merrimack Valley Conference action when they host Haverhill next Tuesday night.