Pembroke boys stay unbeaten
LEBANON - Pembroke took its unbeaten boys' basketball record on the road Tuesday and extended its win streak to 11 games by limiting Lebanon to 17 points in the second half on the way to a convincing 66-43 victory.
Senior forward Matt Persons led the Spartans with a game-high 19 points that included four 3-pointers on 4 of 5 shooting from beyond the arc. Patrick Welch and Rene Maher scored 13 and 12 points respectively as part of a balanced attack helped by the Spartans' dominance on the boards.
Pembroke enjoyed a 10-2 edge on the offensive glass and turned the ball over only four times. The visitors had a 25-12 overall rebounding advantage.
Dominic Merrill led Lebanon with 13 points, 11 in the first half. Raider sharpshooter David Hampton, who began the night averaging 21.6 points-per-game, was held to eight points.
Pembroke jumped on Lebanon early. The Spartans opened with a 9-0 run and led 16-5 after one quarter. Pembroke bothered Lebanon at the outset with a 1-2-2 press that morphed into man-to-man defense with Welch glued to Hampton.
Position by position, the Spartans were an inch taller, a half-step quicker and stronger with ball. Persons and Welch got Pembroke out of the gate with long threes. Kafani Williams added four first-quarter points with power moves to the rim.
Lebanon got nine second-quarter points by Morrill and four points off the bench by Kalin Sou to claw its way back into contention and trailed 32-26 at halftime.
A corner trey by Vinnie Guerin and Hampton's 3-point swish off a kickout from Nic Shepherd cut Pembroke's lead to 38-34. Then the roof caved in on the Raiders.
Pembroke went on a 15-0 run to put the game away. Maher sank a 3-point shot and on the next possession went into the paint for an offensive rebound and hoop in heavy traffic. Two all-net threes by Persons on the next two trips up the floor and the Spartans were in command.
"Tonight was the first night in a while we've had everybody somewhat healthy," Pembroke coach Matt Alosa said. "We've had three guys hurt or sick and have been short on numbers for about two weeks. We had some energy tonight and made a couple of plays right off to get a lead. We don't turn the ball over much. Our guards handle the ball pretty well. If we rebound well, which we did tonight, it becomes a scoring contest and we're OK with that."
Alosa admitted that focusing on Houston was key. "He's a great high school player. You can't stop him. You just try to limit him."
"We battled, we did what we could," Lebanon coach Keith Matte said. "They killed us on the boards. They get a rebound and kick it out for an open three. They are a very skilled team."
Lebanon dipped to 7-3.