NHIAA Boys' Basketball: Lebanon boys give Pembroke a battleBy JIM FENNELL
New Hampshire Union Leader
February 28. 2013 9:45PM
PEMBROKE - Four games away from perfection.
That's what the Pembroke Academy boys' basketball team is after it completed an undefeated regular season Thursday with a 56-49 win over Lebanon.
Don't be surprised if these two teams meet again.
While the Spartans went 18-0 in Division II, 21-0 overall, the Raiders (14-4) proved they are capable of playing with them.
After losing by 23 points to the Spartans a month ago in Lebanon, the Raiders showed themselves much better the second time around.
"You have to give Lebanon credit, they're smart and they play hard," Pembroke coach Matt Alosa said.
Shuttling players in and out to set a frenetic pace against Pembroke's short rotation, the Raiders never led after the early moments of the first quarter, but they hung close. They were within 45-41 with 5:54 remaining after Pembroke point guard Rene Maher picked up his fifth foul.
Pembroke met the challenge by scoring the six points, the final three on a long-range shot by Matt Persons (14), his first basket since the first quarter.
While the Spartans go into the tournament as the top seed, the Raiders will be seeded third and showed a style that could play well on the big floor at the University of New Hampshire if the two teams meet again in Durham.
The up and down style is one Alosa said fits both teams.
"I relish the chance to play on the big court," Alosa said. "And I'm sure they do, too."
After falling behind by 13 early in the second quarter, the Raiders got a spark from Nic Shepherd as they went on an 11-2 to pull within 24-20 with 3:15 left in the half. Shepherd drained a 3 from the corner and knocked down an off balance jumper in the lane during that run, while David Hampton capped it with a NBA-style 3.
The momentum didn't last long.
The Spartans scored the last seven points of the half to go into the intermission with a 33-22 lead. Patrick Welch (15 points) sandwiched a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer and a fast break layup around a inside bucket from Kafani Williams.
Welch, the junior who went over 1,000 points early this year, was held scoreless in the first half, but had nine in the second quarter.
Persons and Dominic Timbas scored Pembroke's final 13 points as the Spartans ended the quarter on a 13-2 run to go up 18-8. Persons, who gave a rousing rendition of the national anthem before the game, got the run going with a rare four-point play after being fouled knocking down a 3.
Shepherd led Lebanon with 15 points. but the Spartans held 1,000-point scorer Hampton to eight.
Pembroke 56, Lebanon 49
Lebanon: David Hampton 2-0-8; Austin Whaley 1-0-3; Nic Shepherd 5-4-15; Kalin Sou 1-0-3; Vincent Guerin 1-0-2; Austin Pelletier 0-2-2; Dominck Morrill 2-0-5; Dylan Drew 4-3-11. Totals: 16-9-49 Three-pointers: Hampton 2, Whately, Shepherd, Sou, Morrill
Pembroke: Rene Maher 1-0-2; Matt Persons 4-2-14; Pat Welch 6-2-15; Dominic Timbas 3-3-9; Kafani Williams 5-1-11; Cameron Taylor 0-3-3; Mike Freeman 1-0-2. Totals: 20-11-56 Three-pointers: Person 4, Welch
Lebanon (14-4) 8-14-15-12-49
Pembroke (18-0) 18-15-12-11-56