LYNN — English boys basketball coach Antonio Anderson was brutally blunt Friday night after the Bulldogs got bounced out of their own gym by Everett, 72-45.
“We were punked,” he said. “There’s no other way to put it. We were punked.”
Each time he was asked to elaborate, he elaborated. But not to sugar coat anything. His elaboration was strictly for emphasis.
“We were punched in the mouth,” he said. “We were bullied. And we couldn’t fight back.”
His last say on the matter was just as frank.
“They’re a good team,” he said. “But you have to be tough to beat a team like Everett. And we weren’t tough tonight.”
Everett, 15-1 (15-0 in the Northeastern Conference to English’s 14-1), got stellar games from Ghared Boyce (26 points) and Isaiah Likely (16). For English, Alonzo Linton finished with 18 and Javonte Edwards 11. But the name of the game was defense.
“I thought we were the best we’ve been all year on defense,” said Everett’s John DiBiaso. “English is a good team, and this is a tough place to play.
“We didn’t want to take any gambles tonight,” said DiBiaso. “We just wanted to play good, solid defense.”
Everett didn’t get fancy. The Crimson Tide played a man-to-man defense from stem to stern, packing it in down low and daring English to beat them from the outside. The ‘Dogs couldn’t.
Meanwhile, Boyce — especially in the first half — was everywhere.
“He makes everyone around him better,” said DiBiaso. “He distributes the ball, plays defense … everything.”
Same with Likely, who was just as valuable on the football field last fall as he is on the court, said DiBiaso, who coached the Crimson Tide to the Division 1 state title in last December’s Super Bowl.
“I’ll tell you one thing,” said DiBiaso with a big smile on is face. “That coach over there (in Everett) was one darn lucky guy to have him for two sports.”
Everett started creating separation as early as the first quarter, after which the Crimson Tide led by nine (20-11). It didn’t help English’s cause that the Bulldogs, at one point, were only 2-of-8 from the free throw line while Everett couldn’t miss. Especially hot from the stripe was Boyce, who was 8-for-8 in the first half.
“But I’m not going to say free throws beat us,” said Anderson. “We just didn’t come ready to play, and they did.”
By halftime, Everett had stretched its lead to 13 (36-23), and by the middle of the third quarter the Tide had stretched it 19 (54-35).
English could get nothing going. Even switching from zone to man-to-man, in an effort to slow Everett down and cool off the Crimson Tide, did not work. Everett was too quick with the ball. And during the latter stages of the game, when English tried a press to create turnovers, Everett just passed it way around it.
There will be no rest for the Bulldogs next week either. They will be at Classical Tuesday, where they’ll face a Rams team smarting from a 2-point loss to Marblehead tonight and then travel to Medford next Friday.
“Everett beat us,” said Anderson. “Now we have to move on and get ready for Tuesday. We can’t be worried about the tournament yet. We still have games left.”