Londonderry Lancers Girls Basketball '07-'08

Sun, Mar 09, 2008 04:00 AM @ Manchester Central
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Playoff Game
Londonderry 4 3 11 14 32
Manchester Central 9 11 10 11 41

Cold-shooting Londonderry ousted by Little Green

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Monday, March, 10 By Hector Longo
Staff writer

DURHAM, N.H. | Defend, grind, rebound, defend, grind some more.

Londonderry rolled to a 14-5 mark in Class L play with that simple formula.

All that came to a screeching halt in yesterday's Class L quarterfinal against No. 4 Manchester Central. Seven-point halves tend to have that effect on teams.

The fifth-seeded Lancers, outscored 20-7 over the first two quarters, scrapped and battled for 32 minutes, but the early hole was simply too deep. Londonderry closed on an 8-1 run to make the final tally, 41-32.

Six turnovers and only 3-of-21 shooting in the first half, was it just "one of those days" for the Lancers?

"I haven't seen one of those days, with seven points in a half," said a frustrated coach Jim Zorbas, whose Lancers finished at 14-6 in Class L and 15-8 overall. "So I can't describe what that was.

"There's no secret, you just have to show up and play with confidence. I don't have any answers. I just know we couldn't buy a basket in the first half."

Both teams opt for a deliberate style of play, but that can be problematic, as the Lancers found out, when you get behind.

Down 9-4 after a quarter, the hole quickly became 15-5.

"Just a few possessions here or there, and it's a diffe rent game," said Zorbas. "Central's real good at being patient with the ball. When you're not making plays and they're executing, it puts a lot of pressure on offense. A 10-point lead is like 20."

Only two players had much offensive success, and both of them | Michael Stys (7 of 13, 17 points) and Will Bayliss (5 of 10, 12 points) | were wearing Manchester Central colors. Londonderry only hit 11 baskets out of 35 attempts.

The Little Green collapsed around Lancer big men Ryan Griffin and Bobby Wunsch, clogging the passing lanes and choking off any sort of attack.

"We sagged off a couple guys, because we really respect Griffin and Wunsch," said Central coach Dave "Doc" Wheeler. "We tried to have a third guy go and cover those two. You have to be fortunate (to hold a team to seven points in a half). You have to make almost all the right plays."

The lead expanded to as many as 16 at 40-24, before Londonderry's late scramble yielded some easy buckets. Wunsch and Matt Travalini, both seniors, combined to lead the Lancers with 21 points.

"I thought our defense was fine, we didn't give up many points, we just couldn't score," said Zorbas. "My kids played hard, though. I'm proud of them for that effort."

Zorbas, who loses four key seniors in Griffin, Wunsch, Travalini and Desmond Lumpkins, has now seen his club fall in four straight Class L quarterfinals.

It's a fact that had the coach shaking his head.

"We just can't get going," he said. "We just get here and … I don't know."

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