WOBURN — The Woburn High boys' basketball team bounced back from a tough loss to Lexington, Friday night, with an impressive, 58-43 victory over Melrose, last night at Torrice Gym.
Senior co-captain Joe Gattuso was the catalyst for the Tanners, last night, scoring 17 of his 21 points in the second half, including 12 in the fourth quarter.
It was a five-point game after three quarters with Woburn on top, 36-31. Gattuso took charge from the start of the fourth, scoring the first eight points to expand the lead to 13 points, 44-31.
The Red Raiders got the lead down to nine before Gattuso ignited another 8-0 run, this one including four points from senior co-captain Michael Chiodo, to put the contest away, 52-35.
"I'm so proud of how we responded as a group in the second half," said Woburn first-year coach Randy Parker, whose team is now 2-1 on the season. "Our kids should be very proud of themselves."
Woburn was up early in the first quarter, 5-2, on a Liam Dillon 3-pointer and two free throws from Josh Freeman, when Melrose embarked on a 12-0 run to take a 14-5 lead. The run included five points each from Dan Lippie and Owen Dewey, each knocking down a three and sinking two free throws.
"The first half I thought the mojo, the momentum, the intensity wasn't there, it seemed like we were just hanging around, the energy wasn't there," said Parker. "We were getting OK looks but we weren't making shots."
It was 14-7 after one quarter when the Tanners began to chip away at the lead in the second quarter. The rally included treys from Brett Tuzzolo (13 pts.) and Dillon, and two inside buckets by Anthony Travers off the bench, each coming off nice feeds from Gattuso and Chiodo.
By the time the game reached halftime, the teams had become deadlocked in a 19-19 tie.
"Defensively we only let up 19 points in the first half," said Parker. "Like I've said before, it starts there, our offense comes from our defense."
The Woburn mojo started to show in the third quarter, when the Tanners got hot from the perimeter on an 11-0 run. Gattuso got it started with a bucket, and then Tuzzzolo sandwiched two 3-pointers around one from Gattuso.
"Halftime I told my guys we're not hitting shots, they're going to start falling," said Parker. "We started pushing in transition in the second half, we were starting to get good looks against the zone, and we started making shots. The momentum started shifting towards us."
This time it was the Red Raiders who began chipping away at the deficit, and a pair of 3-pointers from Zach Federico got the lead down to five going into the fourth quarter.
Gattuso came out guns blazing in the fourth quarter, converting a basket and one and knocking down a triple in the first minute. Chiodo found him for another basket and it was 44-31, putting Melrose back on its heels.
"I thought our other senior captain didn't have the best first half, but he had a heckuva second half, what a way to respond," said Parker, of Gattuso. "We tried to open up the floor for him."
Gattuso and Chiodo kept the great play going with a second 8-0 run of the fourth quarter. That included Chiodo hitting both ends of a one-and-one, to keep the run going
The teams emptied the benches with less than two minutes to play, and sophomore Evan Kolodko showed off his shooting range with a couple of treys, jacking the lead up to 19 points (58-39) before Parker told the team to back off.