Those were the words of Pelham Head Coach Todd Kress following his team's 44-36 win at Souhegan tonight. "The rest of us are just beating up on each other" he went on.
Tonight I went to Amherst to see Pelham play Souhegan. I went in thinking that these were two teams that were still a work in progress. That's exactly what I saw.
It was a very slopping game, especially for Souhegan. There was a ton of missed free throws, turnovers, poor shot selection and silly fouls on both sides. Souhegan played decent basketball in the third quarter, and Pelham played well for most of the first half. But overall this was not either team's best game.
It was just one of those games. Pelham's Steve Spirou had a game-high 13 points, but even he didn't have his best game. He missed a couple easy ones in the paint and went 6/13 from the free throw line. For Souhegan, Ryan Redmond only scored 2, Seth Cordts went scoreless in the first half. And Devin Gilligan started off very slow, with turnovers and forced shots before playing better as the game went on to finish with a team-high 11.
Souhegan is a team with good size and strength at all five positions on the floor, but they still allowed Pelham to get 11 offensive rebounds. They need to work on their defensive rebounding and discipline. They also need to play better team basketball. Oh yeah and then there's the free throw shooting.
"In our last three games, we've shot 43%, 36% and 42% from the line" explained Souhegan Head Coach Mike Heaney.
In the Sabers locker room on the chalkboard is another telling stat. In Souhegan's 9 games so far this season (Including the Keene Holiday Tournament) they have shot above 50% from the line just once. Ouch. But the talent is there. They have size, strength and skill. They have a lot of potential. If they can put it all together late in the year they'll be very tough to play. But they have to work on discipline, free throw shooting, defensive rebounding, and getting more of a rhythm offensively.
"I keep telling these guys that it's a marathon not a sprint" said Heaney. "We want to be playing our best basketball at the end of the year."
As for Pelham, They were up 24-9 late in the second quarter. They were playing good team basketball on both ends of the floor. Souhegan was looking very bad, and it looked like it was going to be a blowout. But for the rest of the second and into the beginning of the third, Souhegan chipped away at the lead. They went on a 14-2 run, and with 4:48 left in the third quarter it was only a three point ballgame, with Pelham up 26-23.
I think what happened was Pelham got complacent, and they started playing down to their competition. Also, Souhegan got a couple baskets in a row, started to feel good about themselves and got a little momentum. Overall, the Pythons got a solid team effort. Josh Boissonault played about as well as I've seen him play, with some big rebounds and buckets. Michael Lombard, like usual, complimented Spirou well. Also, Sean Sweeney and Dean Joyce both hit some big shots and Derek DeFranzo played a solid all around game, especially defensively.
The two things that really hurt Pelham was free throws and turnovers. For the most part though it was just the free throws. But early in the third quarter when Souhegan made their run, Pelham made two bad passes on back to back plays, both were stolen away by Cordts.
These are two good basketball teams, and both clearly have things to work on. But like Coach Kress said, everyone in this Class is just chasing Milford right now.