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NHIAA Basketball: Bedford pulls away from Portsmouth

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 20. 2018 3:00AM

BEDFORD — The Bedford High boys’ basketball team had Friday’s Division I title game rematch against Portsmouth circled on the calendar months ago.

It certainly looked as though the Bulldogs were trying to prove something with their 58-44 victory over the Clippers at Bulldog Gymnasium. In stark contrast to its 23-point title game loss last March, Bedford (4-2) never let Portsmouth (4-2) get too far ahead early before the Bulldogs eventually ended up pulling away in the end. A 19-6 third quarter propelled the Bulldogs, who held the Clippers to 25 points over the final three quarters.

“I talked earlier in the week about needing a signature win pretty badly,” Bedford coach mark Elmendorf said. “The win against Winnacunnet (last Friday) was great, but the kids wanted this one badly. They’re ecstatic right now.”

The third-quarter separation that decided things for Bedford didn’t take anything more than an uptick in energy. The majority of Bedford’s points in the third came off Portsmouth turnovers or misses that resulted in quick transitions.

“We came into this saying that if we could get out on a break then great. If not, we could run the offense a little bit,” Elmendorf said.

Bedford hit just one 3-pointer in the second half while getting many of its points on layups. Max Chartier scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, including eight points on all close-range buckets in the third. Connor Crowley and Nick Mokas also hit double figures for Bedford with 13 and 10.

Portsmouth coach Jim Mulvey was well aware that Bedford found his club’s weakness on the break.

“They do a nice job of moving the ball down the floor,” Mulvey said. “That was the difference because they just ran it down our throat. ... It just wasn’t five guys running up and down the floor.”

Visions of last March sprouted early for Portsmouth as they stuck four 3-pointers in the first quarter to go up 19-13. The tone changed quickly when the Clippers’ drive-and-kick offense began to stall midway through the second quarter and continued to fail the rest of the game.

Portsmouth ended up hitting just five 3-pointers in the game, with four coming from Mike Sanborn (14 points). Cody Graham paced the Clippers with a team-high 15 points.

Keeping Graham, Sanborn and Alex Tavares (four points) at bay was Bedford’s priority from the onset.

“We were going to play them man-to-man to stop their shooting,” Elmendorf said. “We then switched to zone so they’d take a little more time off the clock offensively. The kids really just played a great game.”

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