Merrimack Valley Boys Basketball '13-'14

Pelham takes solid first step

PELHAM — Ryan Frank has buried a plethora of 3-pointers in his Pelham High career. None has ever been so emancipating.
"He hit that and it was like it took this giant weight of our shoulders," said Python coach Matt Regan of the third-quarter triple. "I think the rest of our guys saw that one go and immediately relaxed."
No. 13 Merrimack Valley's upset chances were officially doused, and No. 4 Pelham, which trailed 21-20 at the half, would ride that momentum to a 20-7 barrage and ultimately a 57-41 Division 2 playoff-opening victory.
The Pythons will now host No. 5 Bishop Brady here at the Snake Pit, Saturday night at 7 p.m.
"I think we all relaxed after that," said junior big man Ryan Cloutier. "We started running and that's when we got going."
To that point, middle of the third quarter, Pelham had clearly been pressing, relying on Keith Brown and Jake Vaiknoras to shoulder the load. To that point, Pelham had one non-Vaiknoras/Brown hoop, a laying by Mike Pelletier that came off a sweet Vaiknoras' dish.
But Valley had slowly adjusted in an attempt to choke out the two big guns. Somebody had to crack the ice, and when Frank did — pushing Pelham's advantage to 32-23, it was Cloutier who rocked the rim and closed the deal.
At 6-foot-4, Cloutier flaunted how nasty he can be, taking off and pounding home a right-handed slam. On the next Pelham trip, the big fella spotted up outside the arc and exhibited his range, splashing a trey for an 11-point lead.
He finished with eight in the second half, proving to be the perfect complement to Brown up front.
"I think all night long we knew if we kept running they would tire," said Cloutier.
When the Pride did, Brown made them pay. Continuing a monster sophomore campaign, the 6-foot-1 forward looked straight up at his foes and chopped them down to size in a 29-point, 11-rebound effort. He was a mighty efficient 12 of 20 from the field.
Vaiknoras, his nose seemingly on the basketball all night long, finished with 10 points, five assists and three steals.
"We told them at halftime, we played poorly and were down by one," said Regan. "I thought we were in pretty good shape, and once we started to play defense, that was it."

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Boys Basketball, 03/05/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars