Pembroke boys make themselves at home against Bishop Brady
Kafani Williams of Pembroke (left) goes up to prevent Joe Bell (right) of Bishop Brady from scoring; Friday, February 22, 2013.
(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)
Patrick Welch of Pembroke charges toward the basket with Aaron Svendson of Bishop Brady trying to stop him on defense; Friday, February 22, 2013.
(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)
It’s been at least five years since both sets of bleachers were needed at a Bishop Brady home basketball game. But with undefeated Pembroke traveling across town to take on the Green Giants last night, the stands were all in use and all full.
The action lived up to the packed-house hype for the first half, but the Spartans proved too much in the end. They dominated the glass on both ends, got 22 points from Patrick Welch and won, 63-44, to push their unblemished record to 16-0 and drop Brady to 9-7.
“The first time we played Brady (a 48-41 win in the Capital Area Holiday Tournament on Dec. 28) we gave up 16 offensive rebounds because they’re so active slashing to the boards,” Pembroke Coach Matt Alosa said. “Tonight, we controlled the backboards, so we controlled the game.”
Sophomore Dominic Timbas (14 points, 15 rebounds) and junior Jordan Williams (four points, 13 rebounds) did most of that controlling. In the first half, they went to work on the offensive glass. Timbas even scored the first and last points of the half on putbacks as the Spartans totalled 12 second-chance points and took a 31-22 lead into the break.
“You can’t give a really good team that many more shots, but that’s what we did,” Brady Coach Mark Yeaton said. “I kept telling the kids if you had rebounded in that first half, you would have been tied or up by two or three at halftime.”
Instead, it was the Spartans feeling good at halftime. Three-pointers from Welch and Matt Persons (eight points, five rebounds), a breakaway dunk from Welch and the final putback from Timbas keyed a 12-4 Pembroke run to close the first half and give the Spartans that nine-point intermission lead.
“That definitely boosted the momentum,” said senior point guard Rene Maher, who finished with 12 points, three rebounds and three assists. “Got us pumped up.”
Maher stayed pumped up to start the second half, scoring Pembroke’s first four points to spark a 9-2 run and force the Giants to call a timeout with 5:06 left in the third and the score 40-24.
“I was just taking what they were giving me,” Maher said. “We have shooters like Matt and Pat, so the defense has to stay out on them, and that opens it up to drive, so I was just trying to take advantage of it.”
The Spartans didn’t add much to that lead for the rest of the quarter (they led 49-32 going into the fourth), but it didn’t matter. The damage had already been done.
“They’re not a team you want to be behind 15 in the fourth,” Yeaton said. “We tried to pressure, but the bottom line is they’re really good and it’s hard to come back against them.”
That didn’t stop Jourdain Bell from trying. The Brady sophomore scored nine of his 20 in the fourth. He also finished with 10 rebounds, five assists, three steals and at least three highlight plays that showcased his blend of skill, athleticism and hustle.
Brendan Johnson added nine points and three rebounds for the Giants, who close out the regular season at home against Con-Val (1-15) on Tuesday and at Kingswood (2-14) on Thursday.
“Two weeks ago we were in a slump, but over the last three games we’ve played pretty well, so I feel good,” Yeaton said. “We have two games next week where we need to take care of business, and if we do that it will give us 11 wins, which should give us a good shot at a home playoff game, and that’s really what we’re looking for.”
There’s no question the Spartans are feeling good after the win. They bounced off the floor after celebrating with all the Pembroke students and fans who traveled to the game, and they feel ready for the final two regular season games – at Oyster River (13-4) on Tuesday and home with Lebanon (13-3) on Thursday.
“We got the wins in our last two games (43-37 against Coe-Brown and 52-48 at Windham), but the intensity was a little low and our spirits were kind of down,” Maher said. “So I think this game is definitely a confidence booster. After this, guys should feel like we’re ready to get on a roll.”
(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3371 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @timosullivan20.)