PEABODY — Ask Peabody High boys basketball coach Thad Broughton to sum up his team’s opening-night loss to Somerville, and the first thing he would mention was the turnovers.
The Tanners failed to protect the ball and turned the ball over 30 times in a 60-49 loss to the speedy Highlanders last night at the Peabody High gymnasium.
“As a team, we had way too many turnovers,” Broughton said. “You can’t expect to win when you do that. I’m happy with how hard my guys played, but we have to find a way to cut down on turnovers.”
Sloppy ball protection proved costly all game for the hosts. Peabody trailed by 11 points at halftime (29-18) after being torched by Somerville’s John Lubin, who had a game-high 18 points. He was especially deadly in the first half, scoring 15 of those points.
“Coach Broughton does a terrific job with the Peabody program,” said Somerville coach Mark Antonelli. “At halftime, he made a great adjustment, going to a box-and-1 to take away Lubin. We had practiced it a little, but we definitely weren’t prepared for it.
“Peabody always gives us a tough game up here. Fortunately, our offense is more balanced this year and we have to share the ball. We’re definitely going to practice how to play against that defense, though.”
Jarrod McCarron was the lone Tanner in double figures with 15 points, including two treys. A dozen of his points came in the second half to lead the comeback. He keyed his team’s 7-2 run late in the third quarter with a basket and three free throws.
Ben Martinez had eight points, and Steve Leavitt finished with six.
“That Lubin is a fantastic player, and he really hurt us in the first half,” Broughton said. “We did a much better job on him in the second half, but Somerville was able to spread the floor. They were tough because every time we made a run they answered with a big shot. We threw everything at them because that’s a very tough team to stop.”
For the Highlanders, Gustavo Demoura had 14 points (10 in the last two quarters), while Rayoni Matos chipped in with 10.
The game was close until late in the fourth quarter, when the Highlanders put it out of reach. Peabody opened the final frame with a 6-2 run when McCarron hit two from the line, and Martinez added a basket and two foul shots to pull the Tanners within one, 45-44.
Matos drained a three for Somerville, but Brian Onessimo answered with a baseline jumper to make it 48-46 with four minutes left. That was as close as Peabody could get, though, as the Highlanders took advantage of foul-shot opportunities and turnovers to open up a big lead.
Peabody did a good job on the boards led by Yardley Taveras with 9. Andrew Preshong, Wheeler, Leavitt and McCarron all helped out rebounding.
“We have to do a better job cleaning things up,” Broughton said. “You can’t keep turning the ball over and win games.”