NHIAA Boys' Basketball: Hollis/Brookline stays hot in win over PelhamBy MICHAEL ABELSON
Special to the Union Leader
February 20. 2018 11:31PM
PELHAM — It was a mess, a slog, an ugly game from start to finish between Pelham and Hollis/Brookline.
The teams combined for 32 turnovers and shot 6-for-29 from 3-point range.
Even with the basketball gods turning a blind eye to both teams, it was the Hollis/Brookline Cavaliers, led by senior Matt Simco, who led wire to wire to win their ninth straight, 46-30.
“They really packed it in on us, which made it difficult for our offense,” Simco said. “At halftime, we talked about shot selection, which is really important for us. In the second half we got better shots, which led to more buckets for us.”
Hollis led 17-12 at halftime and opened it up in the second half behind Simco, who had 13 points and seven rebounds after halftime. He finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, both game highs.
Simco was helped from the backcourt by Grant Snyder. The sophomore guard chipped in 14 points and six rebounds.
Hollis/Brookline, which improved to a Division II-leading 13-2, outrebounded Pelham 32-20.
“They shoot a lot of threes so we (couldn’t) let them get extra opportunities off that,” Simco said. “Cleaning up the misses always leads to more opportunities for us.”
The Cavaliers scored the first nine points of the game and never looked back. Pelham (7-8) tried to reel the Cavs in throughout the rest of the first half but couldn’t get closer than four points.
The Pythons held onto in the third quarter, and trailed 21-17 early in the period, but a 14-2 run by Hollis put the game to bed early in the fourth quarter. Hollis made 13 of 15 free throws in the final quarter to seal it up.
Defensively, the Cavaliers kept Pelham off balance all game. The dominance of the glass was key as was the defensive game plan on Drew Brown. The sophomore sharpshooter had a team-high 11 points but was held to just five through the first three quarters.
“Drew’s a great player,” Hollis/Brookline coach Cole Etten said. “In our first game he got some open looks and was able to hit them. It was important for us to minimize his shot.”
“It’s close, but we need to take it one game at a time,” Simco said of the coming state tournament. “We have three games left in the regular season. We’ve got to take each one one at time to make sure we’re there at the end.”
Hollis-Brookline plays at Bishop Brady on Friday and Pelham, which has lost its last five, is at Manchester West on Thursday night.