By: Ross Laorenza
The Pelham Pythons start their season with a 44-38 win over Portsmouth. The Pythons led a majority of the game, but a late fourth quarter push made things interesting down the stretch. Ryan Frank (#21) led the way offensively for Pelham with 18 points. He and fellow senior Jake Vaiknoras (#10) were the only two players in double figures for the game. Vaiknoras finished with 11 points.
With the game tied 6-6 in the first quarter Pelham pulled ahead with a shot from Frank. It was then two free throws from Ryan Cloutier (#34) and two from Vaiknoras to give Pelham a 12-6 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the quarter. That started a 9-3 run to end the quarter, with the lone three-pointer coming from Donovan Phanor (#10) for Portsmouth. After the first quarter Pelham leads 15-9.
After a flurry of travels to start the 2nd Pelham’s lead slowly swelled to 24-9 before a pair of free throws from De’vonn Wilson-Miles cut the lead to 13. Vaiknoras nailed a three with 1:30 left in the half and Frank added a free throw a minute later giving Pelham a 28-13 lead at the half.
Portsmouth started to creep their way back into the game in the second half lead by Phanor and Pat Glynn (#33). They trailed by 15 points at the half, but cut the lead to 6 with 2:50 left in the game 30-36. Glynn got the game to 38-40 with a three pointers minutes later giving the Clippers some hope, but Pelham hit their free throws down the stretch to squash the comeback.
Final score, Pelham: 42, Portsmouth 38. It was an excellent start to the basketball season. Portsmouth will play its next game at home against Kennett, while Pelham will travel to Milford. I can’t wait to see how these teams develop as the season progresses. Best of luck to you.
From Pelham High School. Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook