By Jean DePlacido
---- — PEABODY — On a team with a lot of newcomers, the Peabody High boys basketball team got some key performances from senior Brian Onessimo and junior Matt Correale to earn a win on opening night.
Both Onessimo and Correale scored 17 points as the Tanners knocked off Northeastern Conference rival Revere, 69-53, last night at the Peabody High Fieldhouse.
“The first game is always tough — and that’s especially true for us this season,” said head coach Thad Broughton. “This is the first time a lot of these guys have played together. We have only been practicing for 10 or 12 days and we don’t have many returnees.
“I was happy with the effort; Revere played hard and it was a good physical game. We made a lot of mistakes and some mental errors that we have to correct, but the more we practice together the better we will be.”
The Tanners played two freshmen last night: Matt D’Amato started at point guard and Moisee Irizarry came off the bench and contributed to the victory.
“D’Amato has a lot of responsibilities at point guard, and he handled himself well,” Broughton said.
It took a while for Peabody to find its rhythm as the Patriots enjoyed an early lead, but the hosts roared back after D’Amato and Correale hit back-to-back three-pointers to put them ahead, 8-7. It was tied up two more times before Peabody went on an 8-0 run early in the second quarter to take a 20-14 lead, one in which they never relinquished.
By halftime Peabody had a 28-23 lead and had opened up a 15-point cushion heading into the fourth quarter.
“This was a good learning experience for us,” said Onessimo, one of four seniors on the team. “We have to work on some things and not get into foul trouble like we did tonight; we’ll tie up any loose ends in practice.
“Tonight I was able to score, but on another night it might be somebody else. We know we have to play as a team and win together.”
Peabody went up by 19 points in the fourth quarter after Aaron Loredo hit a pair of foul shots before Revere cut into the lead, taking advantage of the bonus situation at the foul line. Peabody’s Jared McCarron (9 points) fouled out with just over three minutes remaining.
The Patriots cut it to eight points after Ravi Ryland (12 points) hit a three-pointer with two minutes remaining. The Tanners were a little sloppy, missing free throws and turning the ball over in the late going before Brendan Morrison gave Onessimo a perfect pass for an easy layup to get it back to 10 points with just over a minute left. From that point Revere was forced to foul, and the Tanners made 6-of-8 freebies in the final minute.
“We didn’t hit enough shots,” said Revere coach Adam Rizzo. “Defensively I thought we played great, but we weren’t knocking down our shots. Our offense got a little stale. We try to play up tempo, but we didn’t have many chances to run tonight. “We don’t have a lot of height, but in Revere we’re never blessed with height so we have to make up for it.”
Michael Ciambelli (11) and Jason Seigal (10) were in double figures for the Patriots.
Onessimo, D’Amato, McCarron, Morrison and Loredo all had steals for the Tanners, who used their speed to create problems for the visitors. Correale was the playmaker, setting up his teammates for easy baskets.
“We’re a work in progress with so many new faces,” said Broughton. “What I’m trying to do is get everybody to jell, and it’s going to take time. This year we’ll get offense from a variety of people.”