CHELSEA, Mass. – Two big men are better than one.
While Haverhill’s Noah Vonleh might have been the marked man entering the Hillies’ BABC Holiday Classic tilt with Everett on Tuesday, it was the Crimson Tide’s bigs who carried the day. Senior captain Erno Deshommes and junior forward Alain Jeanty combined for more than half of Everett’s offensive output in a 61-44 win.
Deshommes led all scorers with 22, while Jeanty put in 15. However, it might have been the pair’s defensive mettle in containing the 6-foot-8 Vonleh on the post that was most crucial to the Crimson Tide.
“That was our game plan,” said Everett head coach Bippy Manuel, who is filling in this season for John DiBiaso (who’s in the shop attending to a couple of medical procedures). “When they went to the low post, we’d front [Vonleh] and double-team him from the back. We tried to bother him on every shot.”
Meanwhile, the Everett duo also created some early foul trouble for Vonleh, who spent a good portion of the second quarter on the bench. Without their shot-blocking presence inside, the Crimson Tide feasted early and often as Everett lead throughout the entirety of the game.
“Noah got in some foul trouble early, so it made them harder to defend,” Haverhill head coach Mike Trovato said. “But I don’t think we really came to play today. There were a lot of loose balls, a lot of things we could have cleaned up.”
Junior guard Edwin Valentin led Haverhill with 13 points while knocking down 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
Manuel was glad to see his team’s performance, considering he is without his best player, senior captain Matt Costello. The ESPN Boston Massachusetts Mr. Football honoree has been out since the first game of the basketball season with a high ankle sprain. Manuel said he hopes to have Costello back in the lineup in time for the Crimson Tide’s Greater Boston League battle with No. 10 Cambridge on Jan. 11.
But with Deshommes and Jeanty firing on all cylinders, there is some good news for the Tide.
“They complement each other well,” Manuel said of Deshommes and Jeanty. “They played together all of last year and through the summer. They know each other well, they worked well together, they look for each other. When one of them gets the double-team, they look for the other person. And they’ve played well for us in our first couple of games.”