By Mike Stoller
It’s too early in the season to even predict the possible finish, but the Somerville High boys basketball team can only hope to have the same results with its Greater Boston League schedule as it’s had with its non-league games.
Somerville defeated Malden Catholic, 59-47, last week, to improve its record to 3-0. The Highlanders play their first GBL tilt tonight at Arlington.
“They’re working hard, they’re drinking the Kool-Aid right now,” Highlanders head coach Mark Antonelli said of his troops, who halted the Lancers after a somewhat subpar first quarter.
Somerville led, 20-18, after one frame, but Antonelli thought his team’s defense in that quarter was a bit weak.
“We hang our hat on our defense,” the coach said. “We have a very athletic team this season, and we think we can play man-to-man defense. To give up 18 points is a lot for us in one quarter. But we buckled down on defense. We dug down in after that.”
Richard Guerrier continued his terrific defensive play. Antonelli said Guerrier always guards the other team’s point guard because of his strong “on-the-ball defense,” adding, “he’s very solid and wears the other team down.”
The coach also noted the solid defense turned in by Rayoni Matos. “He played a great game defensively,” Antonelli said.
Meanwhile, offensively, the Highlanders got a pair of explosive performances from senior forward John Lubin and senior guard Gustavo DeMoura.
Lubin poured in 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
“He’s on a roll right now,” Antonelli said of Lubin, who’s led the team in scoring in all three outings.
DeMoura continued his stellar campaign with 20 points and nine boards.
“Both of them accounted for most of our offense, but the rest of the guys played very good defense and attacked the offensive glass,” Antonelli said.
Antonelli, meanwhile, praised the opponents for playing excellent zone defense.
“I give them credit. They made us take long shots,” Antonelli said of the Lancers. “They weren’t high percentage shots, and we had a lot of turnovers.”
But Antonelli is still very impressed with his squad’s resilience and overall performance. While the coach knows it will be tough to finish first in the competitive five-team GBL, he’s confident the Highlanders can stay in the battle with the league’s other four foes: archrival Cambridge Rindge and Latin, Arlington, Everett, and Medford.
“It’s a short league schedule, so every game is going to be tooth and nail,” Antonelli said. “It’s going well right now. Our goal is to get the league title. We’d love to have it.”