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Division 1 Final: Londonderry downs Pinkerton in thriller

DURHAM ­­— After his team’s semifinal win on Tuesday night, Pinkerton Academy coach Pete Rosinski wondered aloud what would happen in the finals if the Londonderry High shooters went cold.
The answer? A wild, defensive classic would evolve.
In the end, It was Londonderry overcoming that tough night from the floor to make history, edging the Astros, 47-46, before a full house of 3,500 here yesterday at UNH’s Lundholm Gymnasium.
The Lancers, playing in the first state boys hoop title game in the school’s 37-year history, finished the campaign perfect in New Hampshire Division 1 at 22-0 and 24-1 overall.
“We’ve talked so much about how resilient this team is,” said Lancers coach Nate Stanton. “We have so many guys who are willing to step up when it counts. I think we saw that tonight and all season. Tonight, this was awesome.”
Nothing came easy for either team. In a fourth quarter that saw six lead changes and a pair of ties, the winning hoop came from the least likely of sources, Lancer sophomore Brandon Radford, off a wild defensive scramble with 50 seconds to go.
The hoop, a semi-breakaway lay-in – left-handed – came on a heady outlet from fellow sophomore Jake Coleman, who had just picked up the steal.
“As soon as I got the ball, I looked up,” said Coleman. “We talk about getting out and running, and getting it up the floor all the time. He was there.”
Radford, who had missed his previous two shots from the field, sent it up with a lot of guts, from the left.
“I just ran downcourt. I’ve been struggling all year with my lay-ups, and all I could see is winning and this moment right now. It’s amazing,” said Radford, who calmly banked in the game-winner under pressure with his off hand. “It was instinct. I’m righty. I caught the ball on that left side, so I put it up.”
Pinkerton would have its chances late. The best was an off-the-dribble three-point try by Matt Rizzo which just rimmed out as the final buzzer sounded.
“I’m proud of the way we played defense tonight,” said Rosinski. “We were right there, and we had a shot at it. It just didn’t go in. Go back to 2010 when we won it. Sometimes, they go in. This time it didn’t.”
After a feeling-out first quarter, each team took its swings with Londonderry dominating the second (26-12) and Pinkerton owning the third (13-5).
In the fourth, Stanton brought his leader, Cody Ball, back with four fouls and the Lancers holding a 37-35 advantage.
“I know he’s smart. He’s very smart,” said Stanton. “That’s why he’s scholarship player (St. Anselm). I put him on the side of the zone, and he played very well when we needed him there.”
Ball stayed on the floor and it was huge as each team swung with nothing but haymakers in the final eight minutes.
Geo Baker-Occeus’ sidestep three gave the Astros their first lead of the fourth at 42-41. The incomparable Coleman’s steal and lay-in made it 43-42.
Drew Green had the Astro answer with a baseline 15-footer, and the teams swapped two free throws each, setting up the final minute at 46-45 Pinkerton.
Marc Corey (6 of 7 from the field) paced the Lancers on a night when Ball (2 of 12) struggled. The St. Joseph’s of Maine-bound senior tossed in 17 points before fouling out in the final minute. The sophomore Coleman added 16 points and grabbed 11 huge defensive rebounds.
Rizzo led the Astros with a dozen points. Thomas Romick came off the bench to chip in 11 points in 22 minutes. Baker-Occeus, who had 30 in the semifinal win, added 10 on 4 of 12 shooting.

Londonderry 47, Pinkerton 46
N.H. Division 1 Final
Londonderry (47): Cody Ball 2 0-0 5, Joseph Kwiatkowski 2 1-3 6, Marc Corey 6 3-5 17, Nate Gaw 0 0-0 0, Jake Coleman 6 2-3 16, Cole Britting 0 0-0 0, Brandon Radford 1 1-2 3, Totals 17 7-13 47
Pinkerton (46): Drew Green 3 0-0 7, Caleb Godin 1 0-0 2, David Faulks 1 0-0 2, Matt Rizzo 4 2-3 12, Geo Baker-Occeus 4 0-0 9, Thomas Romick 4 1-3 11, Brennan Morris 0 0-0 0, Ben Olson 0 0-0 0, Thomas Olson 1 0-1 2, Totals 18 3-7 46
3-pointers: Londonderry (6-20) — Ball 1-8, Kwiatkowski 1-2, Corey 2-3, Gaw 0-1, Coleman 2-6; Pinkerton (7-27) — Green 1-8, Godin 0-1, Rizzo 2-5, Baker 2-4, 2-5, Morris 0-4
Londonderry (24-1):      6 26  5 10 — 47
Pinkerton (20-4):     10 12 13 11 — 46

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Boys Basketball, 03/21/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Pelham barely hangs on in semis

HOOKSETT, N.H. — Pelham outscored its 18 New Hampshire regular-season opponents by an average of 28 points.

So how unexpected yet appropriate that the top-seeded Pythons squeaked out a 40-39 victory over fifth-seeded Campbell here in the Division 3 semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Wednesday.

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Boys Basketball, 03/20/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Londonderry rallies again, nips Spaulding in semis

All the points Cody Ball has piled up in his Londonderry High career. All the jumpers knocked down. All the physical rebounds.

And the biggest play of his life might end up being a dive on the floor.

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Boys Basketball, 03/18/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Baker-Occeus scores 30 (7 3's), Pinkerton storms back in semis thriller

DURHAM, N.H. – The calm, poised, contented look on Pete Rosinski's face wasn't fooling anyone.

Down 11 at half after absorbing a vicious 18-0 North barrage into halftime, Pinkerton sophomore point guard Geo Baker-Occeus summed his feelings up succinctly, “Of course, I was worried … But we came in here, coach just said we had to keep fighting. Keep shooting and the shots will keep falling.”

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Boys Basketball, 03/18/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Brown, Pelham win D3 state title

HOOKSETT — When the going got tough, junior standout Keith Brown got the ball Saturday afternoon.

And, in front of a crowd of 2,000 fans, Brown and the No. 1 seed Pelham boys basketball team responded by defeating defending two-time champ Conant 51-42 at Southern New Hampshire University for the Division 3 state title.

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Boys Basketball, 03/16/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Baker-Occeus lifts Astros into semis

DERRY — After trading baskets during the first three quarters, which featured 11 lead changes, Pinkerton took control in the final period last night to earn the program's first semifinal berth since winning the 2010 Division 1 state title.

The third-seeded Astros picked up the pace on defense and nailed their free throws down the stretch, running away with a 57-50 victory over sixth-seeded Pembroke. Pinkerton (19-3) will take a seven-game winning streak into Tuesday's 6 p.m. semifinal against 15th-seeded Nashua North at the University of New Hampshire.

Pembroke (11-7) committed just five first-half turnovers, but a more concerted defensive effort after intermission forced the Spartans into coughing up the ball 10 times.

"That's what we wanted to do against them," said Geo Baker-Occeus, who had three of Pinkerton's six fourth-quarter steals. "We knew they didn't have a real point guard, so we wanted to get out and pressure them a lot more."

With the defense setting the pace, Pinkerton took the 34-30 advantage it took into the fourth and quickly opened it a game-best nine with 5:03 left when Baker-Occeus' two free throws provided a 44-37 lead.

"We were a lot more aggressive on the ball," said Pinkerton assistant coach Glenn Neagle, who subbed for head coach Peter Rosinski in the post-game interviews. "We started trapping, and forced them to give up the ball quicker so we could get some deflections and steals."

Pembroke, however, didn't go quietly as Dominic Timbas scored 14 of his game-high 31 in the fourth to keep the Spartans within shouting distance.

But the Astros salted away the victory by making 11 of 12 free throws in one stretch and 13 of 17 overall in the fourth.

"You work on it all year, and you tell the kids that 60 percent is not going to do it for you," Neagle said. "And we shoot and shoot free throw in practice and it really paid off tonight."

Baker-Occeus, who finished with 18, was the only Astro in double digits.

Both Pinkerton and Pembroke struggled the first half from the floor — especially from distance. The teams combined to make only 13 of 48 shots, including six of 27 from three-point range.

"We like to drive to the hoop," said Neagle, whose squad finished eight of 27 from three. "We like to go inside-out basketball. We were settling in the first half and not shooting the ball very well, but defensively we held our own because we held them to 18 points at halftime."

Last night marked the 13th time this season, the Astros held an opponent to 50 or fewer. One of those was their semifinal opponent.

In a Jan. 30 game against Nashua North, Pinkerton held the Titans to 25 points while scoring 74, one of six games in which the Astros tallied 70 or more. Nashua North, however, knocked off second-seeded and defending champion Manchester Central 74-71 before eking out a one-point quarterfinal win over 10th-seeded Trinity last night.

"Our confidence is great," Baker-Occeus said. "I think we're playing real well right now. We're playing as a team, and everyone in the locker room is great picking each other up. We can go as high as we want."

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Boys Basketball, 03/15/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Londonderry in semis for first time since '99

LONDONDERRY, N.H. — Cody Ball's steal and breakaway dunk with 3:02 remaining was rather cool and meaningful at the same time.

1). It put Londonderry up three points over Merrimack.

2). Ball was in the midst of a scoring frenzy after Merrimack's triangle-and-two defense held him without a single point until 3:58 remaining in the third period.

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Boys Basketball, 03/15/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Windham knocked out

 

Windham's boys fell behind early and couldn't recover Friday night, losing to Bishop Brady 71-47 in the quarterfinals of the Division 2 tournament. Cole Gill led the Jaguars (14-6) with 15 points and David Carbonello added 13.

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Boys Basketball, 03/13/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Ball, Lancers cruise in opener

Top seeded Londonderry ripped No. 16 Winnacunnet 71-44 in its Division 1 tourney opener.

Cody Ball scored a game-high 21 points, Jake Coleman had 15, Marc Corey 14 and Brandon Radford 11. Coleman also had six steals for the Lancers (21-1, 19-0 D1) and Joey Kwiatkowski pulled down eight rebounds.

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Boys Basketball, 03/11/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Sachems lose to Old Rochester in state semis at Garden

BOSTON — Set the defense and suffocate the opposition in the halfcourt. Pentucket Regional rode that gritty personality on a sensational spin to the Division 3 North title. The will to smother was again present here last night in the Eastern Mass. title game at TD Garden. The opposition simply wasn’t cooperating. In the end, Old Rochester Regional was simply too fast, running past Pentucket, 63-49, to end the Sachems’ season two wins shy of a state championship. “We’re an athletic team, and we’re going to get out in the open floor and try to get the ball to our point guard,” said Old Rochester coach Steve Carvalho. “Athleticism, speed and some mental toughness got us home.” Simply put, just when Pentucket was ready to pounce, the ball was up and gone. Freshman flash Noah Fernandes of Old Rochester feasted on the open floor, blazing up and down and setting a frenzied tone. “They’re athletic, long, quick and got their hands on the ball, just players making plays,” said Sachems coach Ed Hickey. “In our playoff run, we shot the ball unbelievably, especially when we needed them. Tonight, it’s just wasn’t our night.” The defeat covered up a Herculean effort out of Pentucket sophomore Patrick Freiermuth. The 6-foot-3 bruiser was all over the stat sheet, leading the Sachems with 18 points, 18 rebounds, three blocks and three assists. About the only thing Freiermuth struggled with, like all his teammates (17 for 54 from the field) was his shooting. He was just 6 of 20. The pace of the game clearly favored the South champs and it forced a slew of early, uncharacteristic, unforced errors out of Pentucket. Down 12-2 after one quarter and 22-17 at the half, Pentucket hung around because of its defense. Even into the fourth, they clawed and battled, slicing the margin down to six at 42-36 with six minutes to play. Momentum was on their side, and the Sachems’ huge student section looked ready to erupt when Freiermuth leaped skyward on a steal attempt. But as he was soaring out of bounds near halfcourt, his desperation heave back into play found the wrong hands. A quick OR pass and bang, Ryan Beatty buried a three. It could have been a four-point margin, instead it was nine, a hole that was simply too deep. “They were fast, we didn’t get used to it as quick as we would have liked to,” said Freiermuth. “That hurt us. Our defense has kept us in a lot of games. We always thought we would get back in it.” Added Hickey: “I thought we were going to make an exciting finish. We’ve had a lot of crazy comeback wins this year. I was hoping this could be one of them. Unfortunately, (Freiermuth) was trying to make a great effort. He just threw it to the wrong guy. We got caught out of position and they made a huge shot. “It could have been four-point game, a two-possession game with a lot of time on the clock, and we were finally developing some confidence.” Pentucket finishes out greatest boys hoop season in history at 17-6. Seniors Pat Beaton (7 points) and Brendan Sullivan (8 points) ended their careers on the Garden parquet by combining for 15 points.

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Boys Basketball, 03/10/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
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