MEMBERS of the MHS boy’s basketball team have all the reason to celebrate. They’re going to the playoffs after earning their 10th win. (photo by Raj Das



After press time: Melrose defeats Stoneham 63-62 (OT) on Senior Night – Feb 9



MELROSE—The Melrose High boys’ basketball team are returning to playoffs after clinching a spot in the Div. 2 playoff field with their tenth victory of the season, a resounding 61-43 win over Wilmington at home on Tuesday, Feb. 6, to improve to 10-6 with 4 games left in the regular season and Senior Night this evening at the start of their game against Stoneham.

Melrose was simply dominant from tip off, jumping out to an eye-popping 30-9 lead at the end of the first. Leading scoring was junior Owen Mujalli, who may have had the game of his season, with 17 points, 13 of them in the first half. Junior John Arens had a sharp performance with 14 points and senior captain Connor Brophy and Miles Nzui were equally potent with 11 and 9 points a piece.

Melrose simply couldn’t miss against an (at times) overwhelmed Wildcat defense. They also dropped at least nine three pointers that helped Melrose maintain leads of 38-29 at the half and 48-38 at the end of the fourth.

“The effort was fantastic,” said Melrose head coach Dan Burns after the game. “I thought that we moved the ball against their zone which allowed to us to get open looks. Our defense (full court pressure) also allowed for us to get easy transition baskets and shots.”

Melrose started the game with a hot Mujalli posted back to back three pointers followed by a Brophy trey. Brophy would drop in a layup with an and-one to put Melrose up 12-0 early. More three pointers from John Arens and Owen Mujalli and a great block from John Lamas helped set up an Arens layoup that stretched that lead to 19-3. Miles Nzui and Ben Perella closed the quarter out to a 30-9 lead. Nzui had a strong second quarter with back-to- back threes and Melrose took a 38-19 lead into halftime. John Arens and Owen Mujalli took over in the third, with Arens showing an impressive reverse layup, and their collective efforts helped Melrose take a 48-28 lead into the end of the third.

The fourth was similarly productive with Ben Perella opening with a three, John Lamas adding a basket, and threes from Brophy and Arens. The game would end with Miles Nzui feeding the ball to Nolan Natale for a finale and final score of 61-43.

Now the fun part begins. Melrose will finish out their schedule, including two more Freedom games, including Stoneham tonight (Friday) at home at 5:00 p.m. for Senior Night. They will close to with non-league games against Malden and Arlington. They hope a few more wins will give them a generous ranking come bracket release time in approximately two weeks.