LONDONDERRY — Producing points from behind the 3-point line was about the only thing the Londonderry High School boys’ basketball team did better than Manchester Central on Friday night, and that wasn’t nearly enough.
Unbeaten Central pounced on Londonderry early and never trailed in its 68-49 victory.
A 12-0 run helped Central build an 11-point lead after one quarter, and Londonderry never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
“I liked the way we came out,” Central coach Doc Wheeler said. “A lot of opponents are going to be ready to play us. Physically we’re not overwhelming, so we have to do it by playing harder, smarter and more together. If you don’t come out ready to play, you’re going to get popped. This group is really developing a businesslike attitude.”
Londonderry’s 49-point output was its second-lowest of the season — Londonderry beat Spaulding of Rochester 37-30 — and nearly half of the Lancers’ points came on their eight 3-pointers.
“We didn’t come out and set the tone,” Londonderry coach Nate Stanton said. “It’s tough to creep back against a team like that. They play tough defense.”
Londonderry played without senior guard Drew Coveney, who suffered a separated shoulder in last week’s victory over Bishop Guertin of Nashua. Stanton said he expects Coveney to be back for Friday’s home game against rival Pinkerton Academy of Derry.
Central, which raised its Division I record to 7-0, had a 39-21 edge in rebounding. Central’s Brett Hanson, a junior guard, led all scorers with 26. Senior guard Jon Martin added 20 and junior Joey Martin finished with 13.
Senior guard Max Coleman tossed in a team-high 10 for Londonderry, which fell to 5-2. Freshman guard Jake Coleman and senior forward Brendan Enwright each scored nine.
“They’re a good basketball team,” Stanton said. “They play with confidence and they play with a purpose.”
Central led 29-16 at halftime and 52-31 after three quarters. A Jake Coleman 3-pointer made it a 31-21 game early in the third, but Central responded with a 9-2 spurt that stretched the lead to 17 midway through the third.
Central will face Merrimack, the only other unbeaten team in Division I, Monday night in Manchester. Merrimack improved to 7-0 by beating Concord 59-30 on Friday.
““The thing I like about my group is they listen and they work on the things that we’re weak at,” Wheeler said. “Our guys work hard and I’m proud of the effort. I told the kids we have a tough Friday and a tough Monday.”