WHITINSVILLE, Mass. -- Charlestown jumped out to an early 10-2 lead less than three minutes into the game and never looked back, defeating the Whitinsville Christian School 78-67 last night in front of a packed house.
“I told the guys that we need to continue to run our transition offense,” Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso said. “I told the guys to get the ball up, push it, find an open man, get [a shot], get back on defense. That’s the style we play at Charlestown.”
The player who caused the most problems for the Townies (13-1) was 6-foot-9 center Hans Miersma, who was able to tally 18 points and 14 rebounds despite fouling out with more than six minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
“I told Tyrik [Jackson, Charlestown’s tallest player at 6 foot-5] to get some rest because he’s going against a big boy,” said Cardoso. “Pretty skilled kid and he’s strong. I told Tyrik just play the game that you’ve been playing.”
Unfortunately for Jackson, Miersma won the battle, out-hustling Jackson on the boards (three rebounds), but Jackson was still tenacious on the defensive end, blocking four shots and two steals while producing decent offense numbers with 11 points.
Charlestown's two leading scorers on the day were juniors Rony Fernandes and Akosa Maduegbunam, with 17 each. Maduegbanum scored first by knocking down a three-pointer, one of three for him on the game, in the game's opening minute. He felt that he turned on the offensive machine because they were keying on him, as the team did not forget what he did last year in their matchup.
“I think I had seven 3’s or something like that last year,” said Maduegbunam. “They put their best defender on me and he made me work for my points. All over the court I could hear, ‘Guard him’, ‘Don’t leave him’… My defender did a good job of [calling for help], he didn’t give me breathing space.”
Fernandes contributed two steals and a block on the defensive end, acknowledging his the team’s scoring capabilities, but maintaining that the capacity to score is largely based on the defensive pressure that he and the Townies kept on the Crusaders (11-2).
“Defense, defense, pressure all of the time,” said Fernandes. “We knew it was a hostile environment, and this is a big game for them, so we wanted to lock them down on defense.” The point guard said that Cardoso has been guiding the team on playing under pressure with their new success in knocking off formerly undefeated St. John’s Prep by 16 points last week.
“We’re every team’s big game,” Fernandes said. “We just have to calm down and run our sets. Everybody contributed… we as a team rebounded and played d[efense].”
Omar Orriols (14 points, three steals) also credited the Townies’ defense in his early scoring, with two 3-pointers in the first quarter.
“Defense is our number one thing,” Orriols said. The junior also said that being aggressive and challenging Miersma in the paint was a calculated move after analyzing Whitinsville’s game plan at halftime.
“The second half was mostly attacking the hole,” added Orriols. “We found out that he was their main option so we had to attack him and try to get him into foul trouble and get him out of the game.”