NORTHWOOD – Maybe the season-opening loss to Hollis-Brookline was a wake-up call. Maybe they simply needed a game to shake off the rust. Whatever the case, the Coe-Brown Northwood Academy boys’ basketball program has certainly been a different team since then.
“I think we’re just reaching our level right now,” Coe-Brown guard Brody Ashley said. “We still have a long way to go, obviously. We got smacked our first game but it’s been uphill since then and I think everyday we’re getting better in practice. We’re pushing ourselves so it’s a good situation and hopefully we can make a good year out of it.”
Monday’s result is sure to help the cause.
Ashley poured in 17 points and was among three Bears who scored in double-figures as Coe-Brown continued to display its offensive efficiency, scoring 22 points in the first quarter to cruise past Pembroke Academy, 71-48.
The victory was the fourth straight for the Bears (4-1), who’ve averaged 65 points per game over the streak and have topped 70 or more points in their last two after scoring 49 in the opener.
“I would say, obviously, a lot of it stems from our defense, not necessarily turnovers, but good stops, good clean stops … that kind of sets the tone,” longtime Coe-Brown Coach David Smith said of the offensive output. “Whenever we move the ball pretty well, whether we’re playing a zone or man, then good things happen.”
That was evident in the first quarter where each starter registered a bucket and the Bears were up by 10 before five minutes even ticked off the clock. The ball movement aided by a handful of first-half turnovers for Pembroke allowed the Bears to get whatever they wanted on offense as they comfortably climbed to a 43-25 lead at halftime.
“It definitely relieves us a little bit on the defensive end,” Ashley said of getting a lead early on. “It doesn’t put so much on our defense and rebounding because that’s a little bit of our weak area. But if we can push the pace like we’ve been doing and score like we have, that puts us in a good spot to win a bunch of games.”
Despite being in a huge hole early, the Spartans (2-3) never packed it in and gave up, instead firing off a 7-2 run in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Led by Noah Cummings (12 points) and Sean Menard (game-high 21 points), Pembroke trimmed the deficit to 13 at 45-32, but never inched any closer.
Coe-Brown’s Scott Spenard (19 points) buried a 3-pointer to raise the lead back to 16 and the Bears went on to extend the lead in the final quarter, outscoring Pembroke 16-7 in the frame.
Spenard, along with Ashley and Sam Lupinacci (19 points) were the catalysts for the Bears in the victory, constantly providing buckets and generating steals on the defensive end. Ashley said with a team like this, coming to the court everyday is a lot of fun.
“It’s great. It can be anybody’s night at any given time,” Ashley said. “We’re becoming more of an unselfish team as well. We’re not doing as much one-on-one and we’re looking for the open man.”
His head coach would agree.
“We had a lot of nice assists and a lot of nice passes tonight,” Smith added. “We managed the ball well, and our half-court offense – I thought they were finding the open seams pretty well.”
Coe-Brown won’t have to leave home for the next two games as it prepares for its next test against Merrimack Valley on Thursday. Pembroke visits Oyster River on Friday.
(Jay McAree can be reached at 369-3340, email@example.com or on Twitter @JayMcAree.)BOYS’ BASKETBALL
Pittsfield 51, Farmington 41
Key players: Pittsfield – Cam Darrah (23 points, 11 rebounds), Garrett Guerrero-Hadley (10 points), Josh Whittier (8 points, 6 rebounds)
Highlights/key moments: Pittsfield jumped out to a 14-5 first quarter lead, but were outscored 26-24 in the middle quarters. Farmington took a one-point lead in the fourth, but the Panthers regrouped and closed the game on a 13-3 run. Darrah went 8-for-10 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Coach’s quote: “After not defending well in the middle quarters, we did just enough not to lose the game in the fourth. We did not shoot well in the first three quarters, but we managed to knock down our free throws when it mattered most.” – Pittsfield’s Jay Darrah
Records: Pittsfield 6-1; Farmington 3-3GIRLS’ BASKETBALL
Hopkinton 36, Winnisquam 23
Key players: Hopkinton – Abby Houston (8 points, 10 rebounds), Amelia Thomas (11 points, 7 rebounds); Winnisquam – Shannon Goodwin (7 points)
Highlights/key moments: The Hawks’ pressure defense forced numerous Winnisquam turnovers to hold the Bears to 23 points.
Coach’s quote: “We pulled out a gutsy win on the road and had a great defensive effort. We battled on the boards all night against a much bigger opponent.” – Hopkinton’s Pat Roye
Records: Hopkinton 3-5; Winnisquam 1-7
Concord Christian 30,
Key players: Concord Christian – Becca Johnson and (8 points), Kara Jarvis (8 points), Jasmine Bell (7 points, 12 rebounds), Jade Bell (7 points)
Highlights/key moments: The Lady Kingsmen came from behind to win a tight game against a strong Mules squad. After a tied first half, Newmarket pulled ahead by two after the third quarter, before the Lady Kingsmen pulled ahead in the fourth.
Coach’s quote: “Another tough, to the wire game where our free throws gave us the win. The girls shot 75 percent from the line. I'm pleased with their work and staying mentally tough.” – Concord Christian’s Shelby Purtell
Records: Concord Christian 3-2; Newmarket 6-2
Farmington 55, Pittsfield 39
Key players: Pittsfield – Alyssa Sullivan (15 points, 9 rebounds), Lindsey Massey (11 points, 7 rebounds), Katie Rollins (11 points, 7 rebounds)
Highlights/key moments: The Panthers played even with the Tigers through three and a half quarters, but the Tigers took the lead for good with four minutes left in the game.
Coach’s quote: “We played really well against a team that had beaten us by 33 points just two weeks ago. We were aggressive offensively and held their top scorers in check through three quarters.” – Pittsfield’s Heidi Hall
Records: Farmington 2-3; Pittsfield 0-7BOYS’ ICE HOCKEY
Key players: Kearsarge-Plymouth – Alex Swords (goal), Carter McLean (assist), Cody Rowe (31 saves), Doug Breault, Adam Means and Gordie Hoyt (defense)
Highlights/key moments: Swords scored his first goal of the season to give the Cats a 1-0 lead, but ConVal-Conant claimed the win.
Coach’s quote: “Hats off to ConVal-Conant for hustling and working hard right to the very end in a game they could easily have gone either way.” – Kearsarge-Plymouth’s Dave McKenney
Records: ConVal-Conant 2-4; Kearsarge-Plymouth 1-4
Key players: Belmont-Gilford – Harrison Parent (4 goals, assist), James Buckley (goal, 4 assists), Alex Muthersbaugh (goal, 3 assists), Bailey Defosie (18 saves)
Highlights/key moments: The Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead early with goals from Buckley and Ethan Becker, but Pembroke-Campbell was able to cut the lead in half by the end of the first period. Any hopes of a comeback were dashed when Parent potted four goals himself in the second period. Belmont-Gilford had a 6-3 lead heading into the third and topped the game with two more goals in the final period.
Coach’s quote: “We’ve had a couple good games in a row and are beginning to get our legs back under us.” – Belmont-Gilford’s Dave Saball
Records: Belmont-Gilford 4-1; Pembroke-Campbell 2-4