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January 04. 2013 11:50PM

NHIAA Boys' Basketball: Welch stars as Pembroke tips Goffstown

GOFFSTOWN - After guiding his team to another easy run through the Capital Area Holiday boys' basketball tournament, then a relatively easy 18-point win over Division II rival Merrimack Valley on Wednesday, Pembroke Academy coach Matt Alosa was expecting things to change Friday when the Spartans played Goffstown.

He was right on the money.

The Grizzlies, who played three tough games in the Queen City Invitational, came the closest of anyone to giving Pembroke its first loss of the season by draining 16 3-pointers.

Ultimately, however, the Spartans had an answer. His name is Pat Welch.

The junior guard, with some help from senior Matt Persons and a couple of young big men, scored 29 points as Pembroke held on for an entertaining 69-66 win.

A pair of free throws by Welch gave the Spartans (5-0) a 64-61 lead with 4:06 left, but the Grizzlies (2-2) pulled even on Robert White's fourth 3-pointer of the game.

Sophomore forward Cameron Taylor put the Spartans ahead for good with a pair of free throws and set up Pembroke's other young big man, sophomore Dominic Timbas, for a basket to make it 68-64 with 1:02 left.

Goffstown's Pat Kelsey cut the lead to two with 46 seconds left, but the Grizzlies could come no closer, missing their final two 3s of the night.

"When a team makes 16 3s and you win, it's not easy," Alosa said. "I have to give our kids some credit."

Goffstown was 16-for-36 on 3-point attempts as six different players hit from long range, but the Grizzlies committed 13 turnovers, including a couple of late ones that coach Justin Gorham called "goofy," and were outscored 15-0 at the foul line, managing just two attempts at the line.

Freshman Michael Bailey (12 points) knocked down his first three 3s to help Goffstown take a 17-9 lead, but Pembroke put on a press when the Grizzlies went with their second unit to spark a 16-0 run.

Welch had 11 points and fed junior center Kafani Williams for an alley-oop during the run. "He's probably the best we'll see," Gorham said of Welch.

When Goffstown's White (16 points) opened up the third quarter with a pair of 3s to put the Grizzlies ahead 46-43, it was Persons who had the response, scoring eight of his 18 points in the quarter.

There were 18 ties or lead changes throughout the game, seven in the third quarter.

Gorham said his team did what it wanted to do - wear Pembroke down with its depth and shoot the ball - but "they're a big, physical team and we got beat up."

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