By Jerry DiStefano
Everyone on the floor, bench, and stands knew exactly what was on the line last week against Cambridge. John DiBiaso was attempting to record his 400th career victory as Everett head coach. His team wasted no time in helping Coach “Dibs” reach this milestone—the Crimson Tide defeated the Falcons, 78–69, at War Memorial Gymnasium.
There was 1:37 left on the clock, and the Tide was nursing a seven-point lead. The Falcons cut the Tide lead to just four (68–64) with 1:24 left in the game. Everett’s Ridley Renois scored on an uncontested layup after the Tide broke the Falcons press. The lead grew to 70–64, and the Falcons turned over the ball on their next possession, and the Tide took advantage. Everett’s Tyree Gregory saw an opportunity on a two-on-one fast break off the Falcons turnover and connected on a slam that propelled his coach to his 400th career win.
Coach DiBiaso could only stand and watch the clock tick away, because any big moment such as this one you just want to get it over with. He commented: “My team knew what this moment meant for me, and they responded so well. They came out of the gates a little slow, but once they got over their nerves, they just started playing the basketball they play. We had a tough year last year…we went 5–15. It’s is so nice to see these young kids from last year grow up so much over a year and see such great results. I am so proud of how my boys played.”
Cambridge got off to a fast start; they led (15–6) five minutes into the first quarter. The Crimson Tide dominated the game the rest of the way—they outscored Cambridge (72–54) for the next three and a half quarters. A big part of this huge turnaround was the Tide’s defense. Everett utilized a 1-3-1 pressing defense that Cambridge had all sorts of trouble figuring out. From the second quarter on, Everett was able to create turnovers and easy opportunities at the goal for themselves.
“That was really they key to the game. It didn’t work at the beginning, but it seemed to wear down Cambridge as the game went on. We had spurts where it worked so well and others where it didn’t, but that’s the way we play basketball,” DiBiaso said.
Leading the way for the Crimson Tide was the trio of Timmace McKinney (20 points), Gary Clark (11 points), and Marquis Holman (10 points). The Tide had a great night from the charity stripe, as they shot 24–33 as a team and 15–19 in the fourth quarter.
Everett is now 11–8.