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English boys hoop falls to Malden

LYNN – All season long, the English boys basketball team lived by the pressure it put on its opponents. Night after night, the boys from Goodridge Street would harass opponents into bad passes, pounce on the loose balls, and swoop in with layups.But last night, in their own gym, the Bulldogs got a good look at themselves in the mirror in the form of the Malden Golden Tornadoes. And everything English did, Malden did just a little better. The result was a 58-55 win by Malden in the first round of the Division 1 North state tournament.Malden goes on to play at Central Catholic Friday in a quarterfinal game.”We couldn’t overcome a slow start, and it just seemed that we were playing catch-up all night long,” said English coach Buzzy Barton. “They play almost the same kind of game we do, but tonight, they did it better, and they got the win.””We just played defense,” said Malden coach Don Nally. “We put pressure on them.”It helped that we came here two years ago and won a tight one,” said Nally, referring to a first-round game in 2006 in which the Golden Tornadoes led the whole way, but had to hang on for dear life to win. “Tonight, I think we were a little more prepared for them. We knew how English played because they were in our summer league. And I also think it helped that our two captains were on that team two years ago.”Although the final margin was only three points, Malden held a much bigger lead throughout the game. It was only close at the end because after Marcus Armstrong scored Malden’s 58th point with well over 3:00 to go in the game, the Tornadoes never scored another point. Even dicier – for them, anyway – the Tornadoes missed their last six free throws and only hit eight of 19 for the night.Not that English sank them any better, but sophomore Ryan Woumn (game-high 22 points) was one of the few players on either side who sank them consistently. He hit 12 of them, many in the second half, as English tried desperately to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit (29-19).Malden scored the first eight points, and Jeremy Subervi’s three-pointer with 3:50 to go in the first quarter constituted English’s first points of the game. The Bulldogs recovered to close Malden’s lead to three (16-13) at the end of the quarter.But immediately in the second quarter, Malden resumed control. Matt Urban sank a three, and Steve Siuda got another one, followed by Armstrong’s basket, and it was 24-13 ? and Malden never really looked back.After English closed the deficit to seven on a Woumn bucket, Nathan Freni hit a two-point basket and followed it up with a three to make it 29-17.English tried valiantly to get back into the game, but the Bulldogs could only chop two points off that halftime lead by the end of the third quarter. Every time English looked as if it would make a run, Mark Williams (nine points in the quarter; 14 in the game) was there with a big hoop to restore order. Armstrong, who led the Golden Tornadoes with 17 points, also had a strong period.The final eight minutes were bizarre, because once Malden got its lead back up to 11 (58-47), the Tornados went stone-cold – both from the field and the line. English scored the last eight points – six of them by Woumn. But the Dogs had the same problem Malden did ? they couldn’t hit anything from the floor. It wasn’t so much that either team made bad decisions, but the defense in that last four minutes was intense.”We have a young team, and we’re only losing one senior (Subervi),” Barton said. “We can just hope that we learn from this, and that these kids remember what it feels like (to lose in the tournament).”

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