SALEM — Perhaps no visiting boys’ basketball coach has looked more at home inside Salem High School’s Davis Gymnasium than Londonderry’s Nate Stanton did Friday night.
Not only did Stanton play at Salem (he graduated in 2004), he spent the last two seasons as an assistant under Salem head coach Rob McLaughlin.
Stanton’s Lancers didn’t seem bothered by their surroundings either, as they held the Blue Devils to 15 points in the first half en route to a 63-50 victory.
“First time being in this locker room,” Stanton said. “It was exciting. I knew they would be pumped up to play us since I left for Londonderry. And my guys were ready too. They really wanted to beat them.”
The Lancers took control in the first quarter, when they made four consecutive 3-pointers — three by freshman Jake Coleman — and built an 18-8 lead. It was 36-15 at halftime, and despite a spirited effort by Salem in the second half, the Blue Devils never came closer than 11 points after the break.
“We actually game out very strong,” said Stanton, who still lives in Salem. “When we’re unselfish we’re very tough to guard. The disappointment was the second half. I think they beat us. Credit to them for not letting us pull away with it.”
Junior forward Marc Corey tossed in 16 points for Londonderry, which raised its Division I record to 12-2. Coleman scored 14, and freshman guard Caleb Green finished with 10.
Salem, which held Londonderry to six points in the third quarter, fell to 5-8. The Blue Devils had trouble against Londonderry’s press in the first half after point guard Michael Felix went to the bench with his second foul.
“Once he came back in the second half I thought we played with a lot more confidence,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin’s relationship with Stanton dates back to when he coached Stanton during his freshman year at Salem.
“I loved having him here and I’m glad he’s having success, but it was strange,” McLaughlin said. “I’m not going to lie to you. Once the ball goes up, though, it’s a game like any other one.”
Felix led Salem with 16 points. The Blue Devils received a 13-point performance from Timothy Dodier.
McLaughlin said he could envision Londonderry making a deep run in the Division I tournament.
“He’s got a bunch of different options and he’s using them all well,” he said. “If they’re shooting it well they can give anybody a run on any given night. I wish the best for him — as long as it’s not against us.”