Lynn English’s Tyrese Melo Garcia finished with 20 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in a win over Lynn Classical Thursday night. (Item Photo: Jakob Menendez)

Lynn English boys basketball explodes past Lynn Classical

LYNN — Playing the Lynn English boys basketball team is a little bit like that fable about pushing the rock up the hill. You really feel like you're making progress and all of a sudden the rock rolls back down again.

In this case, the rock was English guard Tyrese Melo Garcia, whose 20 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds led the Bulldogs. Citing his scoring numbers in Thursday's 67-46 win at rival Lynn Classical's gym doesn't do justice to the way he took over and dominated in the second half.

Garcia brought the ball up, took long-range shots and snuck in for layups and putbacks. Not only that, he was all over the place on defense. 

"He is a special talent," said English coach Alvin Abreu, who, for the first time as a head coach, returned to the gym where he scored more than 1,000 points during his career with Classical.

Classical coach Marvin Avery could only agree. 

"He's one of the best players in the (Greater Boston) League," said Avery. 

Garcia was particularly effective during the second half of the third quarter. Though English had built a 10-point lead at the half (32-22), the Bulldogs and Rams held serve for the early part of the quarter. But when Tyler Wilson hit a three and Almani Medina followed it up with a bucket, Classical had cut the lead to six (38-32). 

However, those were the last points Classical would score. English scored the next 18 points before Classical could break the run with back-to-back threes by Jadden Gonzalez (game-high 21 points). But even with the six points, English still led by 18 (56-38).

"That was a critical point in the game," Abreu said. "It was nice to see us respond like that. Our defense was really strong. Our mantra is defense-to-offense. You don't make a run like that without playing good defense. Tonight I think we played one of our best games of the year."

Avery noted that English is "a very explosive team." But, he said, he wasn't completely unhappy with the game, despite the score. 

"Give or take one or two spots in the game when they made runs, I thought we played hard," Avery said. "I think our pressure bothered them a little bit in the first half, and again in the third quarter when we were looking to make a run.

"Rivalry game," Avery said. "You never know what's going to happen."

For a game that ended up as the track meet it did, the first quarter started slowly. Wilson (six points) didn't score Classical's first basket until there was 2:26 left in the quarter. Not that English was off to a better start. That basket made it 7-2, Bulldogs.

Classical closed to within two (15-13) on an odd sequence of events when an English player accidentally shot the ball into his own basket. Brady Warren (9 points), who had just hit two free throws, got credit for the hoop.

By the time Classical scored again, on a Wilson basket where goaltending by English was called, it was 24-15 as English had gone on a 9-0 run prior to the basket.

Classical (3-3) travels to Somerville Tuesday night (7).

English (5-2) plays on the road at Chelsea Tuesday (5:30).

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