Div. II Boys' Basketball Championship: It's back-to-back for Pembroke
DURHAM - In a game where points were like 60-degree New England days in March, Pembroke Academy's Kafani Williams was the difference.
Williams, a 6-foot-4 senior forward, scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to lead Pembroke to a 49-40 triumph over Portsmouth in Saturday's Division II championship game at the University of New Hampshire's Lundholm Gymnasium.
"He had a great game," Portsmouth coach Jim Mulvey said. "We had trouble with him. I've seen him 20 times in the last two years and he's a great player."
Senior guard Pat Welch added 15 points for Pembroke, which finished its season with a 21-1 record and won its second title in as many years. Pembroke's only loss this season was a 53-49 setback against Portsmouth during the regular season.
Williams made eight of his 16 field goal attempts, and sank six of his eight shots from the free throw line. Seven of his 11 rebounds came at the defensive end.
"I try to approach every game as calm as possible, because I know if I get too hyped I won't be able to do what I have to do," Williams said. "I came into this game like any other game. I wasn't nervous. It was just like any game."
Top-seeded Pembroke had a comfortable lead for most of the contest, but second-seeded Portsmouth made things interesting when it began to press late in the third quarter. The Clippers were within five, 41-36, midway through the fourth, but the Spartans pulled away with an 8-3 run that began with 1:55 to play.
"Our players made a couple big plays that kind of got us that cushion at the end of the game," Pembroke coach Matt Alosa said. "It's either us or Portsmouth when it comes to the best defensive team in the state. That's why we're here."
Portsmouth completed its season with a 19-3 record. Senior guard Donovan Phanor led Portsmouth with 15 points, which included three 3-pointers. Senior forward/center Pat Glynn added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers.
Phanor and teammate Nick Mackey each had four steals.
The Spartans led 20-11 after one quarter, 28-19 at halftime and 37-27 after three.
"After that (first quarter) I thought we played them at our tempo," Mulvey said. "The way we wanted to play - more physical. We just couldn't make shots."
Portsmouth shot 31.4 percent from the field (16 of 51) and missed 17 of its 22 3-point attempts. Pembroke made 18 of its 40 shots from the field (45 percent).
Williams entered the game averaging 19.1 points per game, and 13.4 rebounds per game.
"He's a man," Alosa said. "He's going to help somebody out in college tremendously."