Boys’ high schools: Pembroke basketball leans on stingy defense, unselfish offense in 59-43 win

  • Pembroke guard Sean Menard flips up a shot against Hollis Brookline High School on Friday, January 25, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Spartans point guard Noah Cummings shoots above Hollis Brookline forward Grant Snyder during the first half on Friday in Pembroke. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 1/26/2019 12:18:25 AM

The Pembroke Academy boys’ basketball team spends most of its practice time on defense. During Friday’s game against Hollis Brookline, Division II’s defending champion, it showed.

The Spartans didn’t give up a point for the game’s first three minutes, they never allowed the Cavaliers to find an offensive rhythm, and they held HB to 19 second-half points on their way to a 59-43 win. The win keeps PA in first place in D-II at 9-1, while the Cavaliers (6-4) have now lost four of their last six.

“Our practices are almost all defense,” Pembroke coach Rich Otis said. “I have kids that can score, so I don’t worry much about that, we put in a couple of plays and let ’em go. For the most part, for us, it’s all about playing defense.”

Not only does Otis have kids who can score, he also has kids who like to share the ball. That unselfishness may be the most important, and impressive, part of the Spartans’ offense.

“We’ve got like four or five guys who can put up 20 points in a game, so it’s easy to give up the ball in those circumstances,” said Pembroke senior Sean Menard, who finished with 15 points.

The ball sharing starts with senior point guard Noah Cummings, who could find his own shot on just about every possession but looks for teammates first. Cummings (11 points, eight assists) and Menard both set up Jack Lehoullier (eight points, five rebounds) for easy points on the first two possessions of the night, and he wound up scoring the game’s first seven points as PA opened up early leads of 7-0, 11-2 and, by the end of the first quarter, 18-8.

Hollis Brookline found some success against Pembroke’s 2-2-1 full-court zone press in the second quarter and opened the frame with an 8-0 run, cutting the deficit to two points. But the Spartans answered with a 12-2 run highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from Jarod Dupuis. The Cavaliers weren’t paying much attention to the senior sub, but when he found himself with the ball and open behind the arc, Otis called out from the bench for him to shoot it, and Dupuis obliged with a splash.

“We’ve got a ton of guys that can shoot, so Jarod’s assumed more of a defensive type of role for us,” Otis said. “But he can shoot, and when he gets rolling he can put up some numbers.”

Hollis Brookline cut the lead to eight, 32-24, by halftime, but that was as close as the Cavaliers would get. After scoring just two in the first half, Menard put up 10 of his 15 points in the third quarter.

“I felt like I was open a lot more in the second half than I was in the first,” Menard said. “They had a pretty good defender on me, I felt like, in the first half, but once we ran the offense a couple times through it got me more open.”

Cummings did a nice job running down the clock, driving into the lane and kicking out to Menard for an open 3 at the end of the third, and Menard buried it to give Pembroke a 49-33 lead. And early in the fourth PA junior Shea Shackford (15 points, seven rebounds, three steals) was all by himself behind the 3-point line and calling for the ball for a few long seconds, but when it finally came to him he quickly shoveled it to Menard, who hit another 3 to make it 54-33 and essentially put the game to bed. The play was another example of the Spartans’ generous spirit.

“That’s typical,” Menard said of Shackford’s pass. “We like to give up shots for the other person.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341 or or on Twitter @timosullivan20)

Boys’ Basketball

Manchester Central 55, Concord 50

Key players: Concord – Scott Lampron (27 points, 3 assists), Tyler Bruns (6 points, 10 rebounds), Max Van Fleet (9 points, 5 rebounds)

Highlights: The Crimson Tide was trailing by seven in the fourth quarter and battled back to tie the game, 50-50, but two straight turnovers in the last 10 seconds turned into a five-point loss for the Tide.

Coach’s quote: “Pretty proud of the effort of all 12 guys not quitting when we got down 16 points in the third quarter. We showed a lot of heart coming back and giving ourselves an opportunity to win.” – Concord’s David Chase

Records: Manchester Central 4-5; Concord 5-3

Coe-Brown 55, Stevens 38

Key players: Coe-Brown – Luke McCusker (17 points, 8 rebounds), Cayden Donoghue (10 points, 3 steals, 3 deflections), Al Lapiejko (6 points, 5 rebounds), Jacob Rich (5 points, 4 assists), Dom Cronshaw (4 points, 5 rebounds), Spencer Murphy (4 points), Keegan Paradis (5 assists)

Highlights: The Bears took a 24-5 lead at the end of the first quarter and had a stellar defensive performance throughout, holding the Cardinals to 10 points in the second quarter and five in the third.

Coach’s quote: “Solid defensive night for us.” – Coe-Brown’s Dave Smith

Records: Coe-Brown 4-4; Stevens 0-10

John Stark 64, Plymouth 57

Key players: John Stark – Christian Barr (27 points, 13 rebounds), Aaron Bergeron (11 points, 6 rebounds), Peyton Marden (9 points), Noah Gamache (6 assists, 5 rebounds), Jacob Greene (4 points)

Highlights: The contest went on some wild runs, but the Generals had the one that counted the most, outscoring the Bobcats, 30-13, in the fourth quarter. Greene went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the fourth and Barr scored 19 of his 27 points in the final frame. John Stark led 18-6 after the first quarter, but trailed 44-34 heading into the fourth.

Records: John Stark 3-7; Plymouth 1-7

Merrimack Valley 68, Hanover 65

Key players: MV – Dylan McCarthy (16 points), Griff Wheeler (14 points), Kyle Dube (11 points)

Highlights: The Pride trailed 55-47 heading into the final frame, but MV outscored the Marauders, 21-10, in the final eight minutes and sank some big free throws late to secure the win.

Records: MV 7-3; Hanover 7-3

Kearsarge 70, Manchester West 54

Key players: Kearsarge – Noah Tremblay (32 points, 7-for-7 FT, 5 rebounds, 2 assists), Ben Carl (13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists), Adrian McCarthy (12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists), Kyle Hernon (9 points, 9 rebounds), Jak Jallah (4 points, 8 rebounds)

Highlights: The Blue Knights came out on fire from beyond the arc and led the Cougars, 37-33, at halftime. But Kearsarge increased its defensive aggression and outscored West, 37-17, in the second half.

Coach’s quote: “It was a great team win. All five starters were contributors.” – Kearsarge’s Nate Camp

Records: Kearsarge 5-4; Manchester West 2-8

Oyster River 63, Bishop Brady 33

Key players: Bishop Brady – Tom Fraser (14 points, 15 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks)

Highlights: The Giants were within about 10 points for much of the game, but the Bobcats pulled away in the fourth quarter for a lopsided win.

Coach’s quote: “Tommy had another really strong game. We just have to keep working hard.” – Bishop Brady’s Keith Bergeron

Records: Oyster River 8-1; Bishop Brady 5-6

Belmont 60, Inter-Lakes 52

Key players: Belmont – Aidan Rupp (21 points, 13 rebounds), Jackson Ruelke (13 points), Matt Thurber (11 points), Griffin Embree (8 points); Inter-Lakes – Eli Swanson (19 points), Tae Miller (17 points)

Highlights: Belmont used patient offense and quality execution to lead throughout and earn a hard-fought win. Inter-Lakes’ Swanson, one of the best players in D-III who just scored his 1,000th point, may have finished with 19 points, but the Raiders made him work for it by throwing multiple defenders his way all game long.

Coach’s quote: “I thought our defensive effort and our willingness to share the ball was very good tonight. Nate Sottak, Griff (Embree) and Jack (Ruelke) really controlled tempo, and Aidan was very good on the offensive end and the glass to get us a win against a good team. Happy with the whole roster who contributed. Bench was great tonight and very spirited.” – Belmont’s Jim Cilley

Records: Belmont 7-3; Inter-Lakes 5-5

White Mountains 77, Franklin 63

Key players: Franklin – Ben Lafrance (26 points), TJ Laramie (23 points); White Mtns. – Zeke Pribbenow (29 points), Buddy Lachance (17 points)

Highlights: The Golden Tornadoes stayed close most of the way, but White Mountains was tougher on the glass, and rebounding proved to be the difference.

Coach’s quote: “We battled throughout the game. Their game plan was to slow down Lafrance, who had to work his butt off with 26 points, and Laramie was battled constantly but had 23.” – Franklin’s Michael Donnell

Records: White Mtns. 8-3; Franklin 5-6

Winnisquam 68, Monadnock 48

Key players: Winnisquam– Gunnar Horman (20 points), Phil Nichols (16 points), Kyle Mann (15 points)

Highlights: The Bears led 21-13 and gradually increased that margin the rest of the way.

Coach’s quote: “We shared the ball incredibly well and we hit shots. In the second quarter, we clamped down defensively and our offense did well in transition. We had good patience to extend the lead.” – Winnisquam’s Kevin Dame

Records: Winnisquam 5-5; Monadnock 5-5

Newmarket 67, Pittsfield 59

Key players: Pittsfield – Devin Bedell (19 points, 5 assists), Dylan Bocash (14 points, 7 rebounds), Tyler Prentice (10 points)

Highlights: The Panthers played the Newmarket even in the first half (36-36), mostly due to Bedell’s 19 first-half points. But the Mules made some adjustments at halftime and outscored Pittsfield in the third quarter, 16-6, to take a 54-42 lead into the fourth. Pittsfield battled back and made it a six-point game with under two minutes to go, but couldn’t capitalize on opportunities as Newmarket exacted some revenge against the Panthers, who beat last the Mules in year’s D-IV title game.

Coach’s quote: “The boys did well and followed the game plan. Newmarket is one of the top teams in the division. Their length gave us issues. Down the stretch we got to the rim like we wanted to but just couldn’t convert. We’ll build on this and get at the second half of the season.” – Pittsfield’s Jay Darrah

Records: Newmarket 9-1; Pittsfield 8-4

Boys’ Alpine skiing

Concord tied 1st

Key players: Concord – Kevin McDonough (1st), Neil Shea (4th), Sean McDonough (6th), Liam Devanny (7th)

Highlights: Kevin McDonough had the two fastest runs of the day on the slalom course at Mount Sunapee, clocking a combined 54.49 seconds to finish first in a four-team meet. He finished nearly two seconds faster than the runner-up, helping Concord tie for first with Bishop Guertin with 386 points each. Winnacunnet (362) finished third and Londonderry (346) finished fourth.

Pembroke 4th GS, 5th slalom

Key players: Pembroke – Jackson Frazier (4th slalom, 4th GS), Logan Raymond (11th GS), Harry Army (21st GS, 36th slalom), Ben Sporcic (23rd slalom), Owen Thomas (24th GS), Ryan Sporcic (27th slalom)

Highlights: Frazier had a pair of fourth-place finishes to lead the Spartans in a five-team meet at King Pine. Kennett dominated the slalom portion of the meet, topping the field with 392 points, followed by Oyster River (369), Kingswood (364), Portsmouth (347) and Pembroke (338). In the GS race, Oyster River won with 366 points, ahead of Kingswood (361), Portsmouth (361), Pembroke (354) and Kennett (287).

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