In a highly anticipated match up between two of the preseason favorites in Division I boys basketball, Nashua South proved to just too good for Winnacunnet. Led by the thunderous dunks of Jack Preston (22 points) and the strong inside/outside game of David Dunham (22 points) the Purple Panthers outscored the Warriors 26-7 in the 3rd quarter.
Tim Preston, Trevor Knight, Dan Auger, Nick Penkala and Cam Joyal also played well for South, who went on to crush Winnacunnet 80-55.
"We've all been playing together for 10 years now" said Dunham, who was impressive in all aspects of the game in the win. "We wanted to make a statement, and we did that tonight."
Four players scored in double figures for South, as Knight and Penkala both had 11. No one scored in double digits for Winnacunnet, as Sam Knollmeyer led the team with 9 and Ben Gareau followed with 8.
"It was just one of those nights" said Winnacunnet head coach Jay McKenna. "We just couldn't get the ball to go in the net. We don't have a lot of size, so we need to shoot it. But we weren't hitting our shots, and we also weren't rotating or trapping well defensively. I also thought our energy could have bee better."
3rd Quarter Domination
Winnacunnet was still very much in the game at halftime, as they were only down 42-35...then the flood gates opened and the Purple Panthers started to score points at a fast and furious pace.
Jack Preston scored an easy layup off a good pass by Knight. Then Dunham drilled a three. Dunham then converted an easy layup inside, followed just seconds later by another dunk on the break by Jack Preston. South was then up 53-37, and began the 3rd quarter on an 11-2 run.
But they weren't done yet. Soon they increased the lead to 61-39, then Dunham hit another three. Auger then made a nice dish to Penkala for a layup, and it was South 68 Winnacunnet 42 after the 3rd quarter. What a run it was for the Purple Panthers. They were simply on a roll, on both ends of the floor.
"I never thought I'd say this, but sitting in that 2-3 zone actually helped us" said Nashua South head coach Nate Mazzerole. "It helped us with guys in foul trouble, and then we were able to get out on their shooters better, grab rebounds and get out and run."
Impressive Overall Win for South
The size, quickness and skill level of Jack Preston and Dunham were just too much for Winnacunnet to handle. Plus you had Penkala hitting shots and grabbing boards, Knight made some very strong drives and finishes inside and Joyal played solid off the bench.
"Our depth was tested in this game, especially with both of my point guards, Tim Preston and Dan Auger in foul trouble" said Coach Mazzerole. At one point Trevor Knight was my only starter not in foul trouble. But guys like Nick Penkala, Cam Joyal and Vincent Ortolano all stepped up."
On this night, South looked like a team capable of winning a championship. As for Winnacunnet...
They're still a very good team, this just was not their night. The good news for the Warriors is that overall they have very good team speed, they're extremely deep (went with a 13 man rotation and 11 of them scored) and they have a lot of kids who can shoot it. Ryan Gigliotti, Rich Ruffin and Ben Gareau are all deadly from the outside, and Knollmeyer can make plays off the dribble. These guys will be there at the end.
"We hope to get another shot at South" said Coach McKenna.