I said it before the season started and I'll say it again. Portsmouth is the second best Division II boys basketball team in NH, and if any D-II team can beat Milford it is them. Tonight they showed exactly why that is the case.
Sophomore guard Terrance Herbert scored a game-high 19 points (11 in the 2nd quarter along) and junior guard Kamahl Walker poured in 17, as their Clippers starting back court nearly outscored Souhegan by themselves. The defensive end was where this game was really won, and the Portsmouth High boys basketball team blew out Souhegan 62-41 on Wednesday night in Portsmouth.
"Every guy has been contributing" said Portsmouth head coach Jim Mulvey. "Our practices have been getting better and when that happens you play better in games. Our defense was very good tonight."
This game was actually very close early on in the game. Souhegan senior forward Ryan Redmond had 7 points in the 1st quarter, and the Sabers actually took an 11-9 lead. But from there it was all Portsmouth. Souhegan was playing without one of the better players in Devin Gilligan was was out sick. But the Clippers led by as many as 24 in this game, so the result wouldn't have likely been much different.
Another factor was that Souhegan was playing games on back-to-back nights, having just defeated Oyster River on Tuesday night. Portsmouth meanwhile, hasn't played since Friday so they had plenty of time to prepare for this contest.
"We were a little drained after a tough win last night" said Souhegan head coach Mike Heaney. "But that's no excuse, they just outplayed us tonight on both ends of the floor. We just didn't show up tonight."
And Portsmouth did show up, that's for sure. Herbert was on fire in the 2nd quarter, when he scored 11 of his 19 points. ate in the 1st half the Clippers had the ball and Herbert was the only Clippers starter on the floor. He had just hit a couple other shots. Everyone in the gym knew that Portsmouth was going to try and get him an open look for the last shot of the half. But he was still able to get open on the right wing, and drilled a three-pointer through the net at the buzzer.
"Coach said not not play at their level, but instead to rise up and play above their level" said Herbert, a 5'11" sophomore guard who is having a breakout year.
Defensively Portsmouth suffocated Souhegan, not letting them get any open looks inside. They gave them some looks from the outside, but for the most part they weren't falling for the Sabers.
"We went zone in the 2nd quarter and that worked pretty well" said Coach Mulvey. "We let them drive on us, and then we would just collapse and they had nowhere to go with it."
Also playing well for Portsmouth were Kyle DiCesare, Riley McCarthy and Gregg Tsougranis. DiCesare had 9 points as he was in foul trouble, but he is a player who is capable of dropping 20 on any night. McCarthy was a strong inside presence, and Tsougranis was the consummate role player, doing a little bit of everything to help out the team.
Seth Cordts had a solid game for the Sabers, with a team-high 14 points and some tough defense. But he jsut didn't have a lot of help. Frustrations with the way the game was going and the officials boiled over for Coach Heaney, and he was ejected from the game early in the 4th quarter. He was actually given 3 technical fouls. You don't see that everyday!