LYNN — A dominant first half set the tone for the English boys basketball team and the Bulldogs never looked back in a 71-42 win over Northeastern Conference opponent Salem Tuesday night at Paul Cavanagh Field House.
“I think the boys just came ready to play tonight,” English coach Antonio Anderson said. “At the end of the day Salem is Salem. They’re always going to come into these games and they’re going to fight. It’s one of those teams that whenever they play a Lynn school it’s always a little bit of a rivalry game. The kids were fired up to play tonight. They came to play right from the jump to the final whistle.”
Alonzo Linton led the way for English, putting up another double-double performance with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Jarnel Guzman (12 points) and Mason Jean-Baptiste (eight) also hit key shots in the win.
“Alonzo played like a man tonight,” Anderson said. “We knew that he had the size advantage a little bit and he took advantage of that from the start.”
The Witches looked like they may be able to keep pace with the Bulldogs early on. An offensive rebound and a few turnovers gave Salem plenty of early chances, but the Witches couldn’t capitalize managing just two points in the first few minutes.
Linton converted an and-one a few possessions later to help get the Bulldogs rolling. The Bulldogs stretched their lead to 15-2 before Salem’s Guillermo Pimentel hit a 3-pointer to break the run. But English wasn’t done. Linton added 11 points in the first quarter, and he and Guzman each netted a late 3-pointer to push the Bulldogs’ lead to 23-5 after the first.
English didn’t let up in the second quarter. The Bulldogs’ press defense forced several key turnovers and Linton dominated in the paint on the other end of the court. The senior forward scored 15 points in the second quarter to help lift the Bulldogs to a 40-14 lead at the half.
Salem’s offense looked better in the third quarter with Tommy Beauregard (eight points, four rebounds) adding eight points in the period and Isaiah Williamson (11 points, nine rebounds) pouring in another seven, but it wasn’t enough to get the Witches back in the game. Justin Fitzpatrick hit a pair of 3-pointers late in the third quarter to keep the game well in hand for the Bulldogs.
With a 31-point lead and five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs’ bench finished the win.
“Maybe they were a little more fired up for this game because it was Salem, I don’t know,” Anderson said. “Whatever it was it worked. Whatever got them going in this one I don’t mind. A lot of these guys are friends on both teams, so maybe a little trash talking back and forth. It was good to see them get out there, get each other going tonight and get this win.”
English (14-2) remains undefeated in the NEC. The Bulldogs travel to Everett Friday night (7).
“It’s on the road so already you know it’s going to be a tough one,” Anderson said. “We have to come ready to play again. Everett isn’t going to lay down and let us run over them so we have to show up ready.”