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NHIAA Boys' Basketball: Memorial cold in setback

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 03. 2018 5:54AM

MANCHESTER — Tuesday night would have been a good time to challenge any member of the Manchester Memorial boys’ basketball team to a game of H-O-R-S-E, because the Crusaders suffered through a team-wide shooting slump in their 50-41 loss to Portsmouth.

Memorial missed 17 of its 19 3-point attempts in the loss. Some of that undoubtedly had to do with Portsmouth’s defense, but Memorial also missed six consecutive free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter and the Clippers weren’t playing defense when the Crusaders were at the free-throw line.

“We just didn’t shoot the ball well tonight, but you have to attribute that to their defense as well,” Memorial coach Danny Bryson said. “Like I told the team, that’s not a team that’s going to beat itself. You’re going to have to go win this game. Some of it was us not hitting shots and a lot of it had to do with their defense as well.”

Portsmouth controlled the pace from start to finish and outscored the Crusaders (1-1) by 10 in the second half. The Clippers (3-1) took control with a 12-2 run early in the third and stretched their lead to 12 late in the fourth quarter.

Jim Mulvey called the victory one of the best regular-season wins in his 12 seasons as Portsmouth’s head coach.

“I liked the effort from beginning to end,” Mulvey said. “I was worried about our toughness, but the kids really stepped up, It’s as good a (win) as you can have during the regular season. One of the top wins I’ve had here during the regular season.”

Portsmouth, last year’s Division I champion, opened the season with a loss to Manchester Central, but has won three Division I games in a row since then. Senior guard Cody Graham led Portsmouth with 16 points. The Clippers received 12 points from junior forward Alex Tavares and 11 from senior guard Mike Sanborn, who tossed in three 3-pointers.

Manny Alisandro scored a team-high 15 for Memorial, which made its second — and final — 3-pointer with 6:42 left in the second quarter. Jake Santiago scored 11 and was the only other Memorial player to reach double figures.

“We just weren’t patient overall,” Bryson said. “We were rushing shots, missing free throws and they did a good job running their stuff and getting looks. I’m not sure why but we weren’t pushing the ball like we have in the last couple games, and that’s the style we have to play.”

Memorial held an 11-7 lead after one quarter and was up by one, 21-20, at halftime. Portsmouth had a 32-25 lead in the third following its 12-2 spurt and had a 32-29 advantage entering the final eight minutes.

“We’re were thinking we were going to have to play mostly zone tonight, but that’s the best man-to-man (defense) we’ve played,” Mulvey said. “This is going to be a good win for us. This is going to get us going.”

NHIAA Manchester Portsmouth