GLOUCESTER — The Gloucester boys basketball team got itself on track Tuesday night, grabbing its first win of the season with an impressive road showing in Winthrop.
But for a squad that lacks both experience and depth, a quick turnaround can be a coach’s worst fear.
Fishermen coach Bill Cahill went through that last night, as a tired Gloucester team welcomed a strong Malden Catholic team to Gloucester High.
With the Lancers depth and experience coupled with Gloucester’s fatigue, the result was as expected.
Malden Catholic used its aggressive trap defense to mount a 9-0 run late in the second quarter, building a 16-point halftime lead, and never looked back, as the Lancers improved to 3-0 on the young season with a decisive 73-50 victory.
“We were just a step behind tonight,” Cahill said. “It was a struggle. Obviously, they were fresher than we were. We just had an off night.”
It was clear from the opening tip that the Lancers presented Gloucester with a tough matchup. Malden Catholic coach Jim McCune has a senior-laden roster at his disposal, and with the depth of talent on his bench, ran a 10-man rotation from the start.
With that kind of depth, the Lancers were able to push the tempo. They put full-court pressure on the Fishermen, forcing inbounds passes to the sidelines and instantly trapping the pass’s recipient.
At times, the Fishermen were able to break through that trap, which gained them some easy buckets in the early going. But more often than not, the trap did its job, forcing a slew of turnovers — travels, steals, errant passes — that allowed the Lancers to slowly build a lead through the first half.
And as the Fishermen wore down toward the end of the second quarter, Malden Catholic pounced. Over the final three minutes of the first half, the Fishermen were hardly able to gain halfcourt and Malden Catholic turned those turnovers into points, rattling off nine-straight before the halftime buzzer.