The Coe-Brown boys’ basketball team played tough defense to lead the Bears to a 66-55 quarterfinal win over visiting Pelham on Saturday.
The third-seeded Bears (17-3) earned a spot in the Division II semifinals against second-seeded Milford (18-1). Coe-Brown and Milford will play at UNH on Wednesday.
The sixth-seeded Pythons (12-8) kept the score close early, tying Coe-Brown, 19-19, after the first quarter, but the Bears buckled down in the second and third.
“It all started with defense, even though it didn’t look like it would be that way after the first quarter,” Coe-Brown coach David Smith said.
The Bears held Pelham to 11 points in both the second and third quarters, opening up leads of 34-30 at halftime and 47-41 heading into the final frame.
Mike Mulligan came off the bench to spark the defense while Jake Snow (three points, four rebounds) and Dylan Andrews (nine points, four rebounds) also played well defensively.
Sam Lupinacci (19 points, eight rebounds), Brody Ashley (15 points, five rebounds, Scott Spenard (13 points, four rebounds) and Shawn Spenard (seven points, five assists) led Coe-Brown’s offense and opened up some leads, but Pelham’s Joe Pantaleo (19 points, 10 rebounds) kept the Pythons in the game.
“Everytime we opened it up, they closed the gap,” Smith said. “They hit some big shots and rebounded hard all night.”
Pelham cut the Bears’ lead to four points early in the fourth quarter, but Coe-Brown rebuilt its lead and secured its trip to the semifinals by hitting free throws down the stretch.D-II BOYS’ BASKETBALL
No. 2 Milford 60,
No. 7 John Stark 41
Key players: John Stark – Cooper Gorski (12 points), Drew McQuarrie (9 points, 10 rebounds), Parker McQuarrie (7 points, 12 rebounds)
Highlights/key moments: The Generals fell in the quarterfinals at the hands of a skilled Spartans team. Milford led 25-15 at halftime. John Stark cut the deficit to four points in the third quarter, but the Spartans went on a run to extend their lead.
Coach’s quote: “(Milford) are excellent ball handlers. They’re very hard to come back against once they get a lead on you. I’m proud of this team and what we did this season. It’s an excellent group of kids.” – John Stark’s Mike Smith
Records: Milford 18-1; John Stark 11-9