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24 hours after losing a tough game to the Western Mass Zombies, the Worcester 78s looked to bounce back on December 9, against the New England Outtatowners at East Someville Community School in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Like the night prior, the 78s were locked in a battle. This time though, they were the ones walking off the court victorious, as they knocked off New England 124-117.
Tony Gallo was the offensive hero for Worcester in the first quarter as he came out firing by scoring 15 points. The 78s had their hands full though, particularly with New England’s Eddie Tarado, who scored 11 points in the quarter.
Both teams stayed close with each other throughout the quarter. At the end of it though, it was Worcester leading 36-31.
The second quarter began very slowly for both sides. Mark Cornelius blocked a New England shot, and the ball trickled off the fingertips of the New England player, thereby turning the ball over to Worcester.
On the drive, Gallo passed the ball to Dimitri Floras. Floras drove the ball to the ride side of the court and then cut under the basket. Floras found the open man in Jose Cruz Jr., and the 6’7’’ forward used his height to his advantage, as he dropped the ball through the hoop, over the guarding defenseman, and the 78s increased their lead to 38-31.
New England struggled to score, as they missed their first four shots of the quarter. They also had two players go to the line and each of them only made one basket, making the score 41-33 Worcester.
New England finally made their first field goal of the quarter when Xavier Cruz hit a three-pointer at the 3:43 mark.
A minute later, Kamahl Walker was fouled by New England’s Noah Guity-Moore. Walker made both free throws, putting the 78s up 46-36. They’d return the favor however to New England, as Cruz Jr. fouled Cruz, who also made the layup. Cruz made the free throw, which made it 46-39.
New England however quickly stacked up the team fouls in the first half and eventually paid the price by having Maurice Horton go to the foul line. Horton made one out of the two free throws, making it 50-39 Worcester.
New England would close the gap though, and the second quarter would end with the 78s leading the way, 68-54.
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The second half began with Cornelius making one of two free throw shots. New England drove down and a field goal, but Worcester again failed to get the rebound. Fortunately, New England’s Dillon Salva missed the shot and the 78s regained possession of the ball.missed
On the Worcester possession, Cruz went for a layup, but his shot was questionably blocked by David Jacquet. It appeared that Jacquet might’ve fouled Cruz but none of the officials blew their whistles.
Worcester then intercepted a pass down the court as New England drove down. Gallo and Floras played some hot potato and Gallo went for the shot but was fouled.
Gallo made both shots, making the score 71-54. Gallo would lead the 78s in points in the third quarter with seven.
The 78s would continue to add on as Walker scored an off-balanced field goal to make it 73-54.
New England though would get some offense going and the quarter would end with Worcester leading, 87-73.
Despite the 14-point cushion, New England made things interesting in the fourth quarter. Bobby Jones was fouled three times in the quarter and made eight of the nine free throws. He’d go on to have 14 points in the quarter.
However, Floras countered and had a tremendous quarter for Worcester, scoring 18 points, to help keep the 78s ahead. Gallo scored 10 points in the quarter, and Worcester was able to overcome a late offensive attacked established by New England.
Worcester went on to win the game, 124-117. Gallo led the team with 35 points on the day. With the win, the 78s break their losing streak, and they now look ahead to December 15, when they meet the Bronx Holy Flames for the second time this year. The game is Worcester’s last game before the holiday break.