Thursday, January 9, 2014

Londonderry Runs West Out of Own Gym

First-year head coach Nate Stanton had to be pleased with his team's play on Thursday night. They got after it on defense, they rebounded well and on defense they moved the ball, attacked the basket and hit shots. They dominated for all four quarters and ran Manchester West out of their own gym, winning 66-34.

6-foot senior shooting guard Drew Coveney poured in a game-high 18 points, while 6-foot-1 junior guard Cody Ball scored 10 of his 12 points in the 1st half. The Lancers hit 7 threes on the night, and with Coveney, Ball, the Coleman brothers Jacob and Max, Caleb Green and Mark Corey this team has 6 kids who can shoot the basketball well from the outside. They start 2 freshman in Green and Jacob Coleman but they don't play like freshman. Both can not only hit shots but are even better at creating off the dribble.

West came out in the 1st quarter with a lot of energy on their home court, and quickly went up 3-0. But from that point on it was all Londonderry, as the Lancers went on an 18-2 run. Ball made a great look, hitting Corey in stride with a pass for a layup. Then the 5-foot-10 Green made a strong take, exploding to the rim for 2. Ball hit an open baseline jumper from 15 feet, then on the next time down the floor he made a crossover dribble and a smooth pull-up jumper from the elbow. Then it was again Ball, as this time he stepped outside and drilled a 3-pointer off the catch. It was 7 straight points for Ball and a 15-2 run for Londonderry. Coveney finished the run with a 3 of his own from the corner off the catch.

West finally ends the run, but then Max Coleman comes off a screen, pops out and catches the ball 5 feet beyond the arc. He shoots it from there with 2 seconds left, nothing but net and it's 21-8 Lancers after 1 quarter.

In the 2nd quarter Londonderry wasn't happy with their lead so they kept on attacking the rim. Green and Coveney both had quick slashes to the rim and finishes with defenders all over them. Then it was 25-8 LHS. West was pressing full court to try and get back in it, but Londonderry broke the press easily, getting the ball to Coveney who drained another 3. Londonderry was now on a 10-0 run and led 29-8 with 6:18 left in the 1st half.

West finally got another bucket, but then the Lancers came right back with 5 quick points of their own. Londonderry kept moving the ball well, freeing up Ball for another 3 from the corner which he hit. Senior forward Grant Peters came off the bench and had 2 quick inside hoops, one off a flex cut and the second off a pick and roll. The Lancers were really rolling now, up 37-12 with 2:30 to play in the 2nd quarter.

West though kept fighting, and went on a 10-2 run to end the half. Junior wing Alfred Nyonee (team-high 12 points) hit a 3, then Green made another explosive drive and finish in traffic before Nyonee connected on another 3. It was 39-22 Londonderry at halftime.

The Lancers again came out pressuring on 'D' and attacking on offense to start the 3rd quarter. Ball made a slash to the rim and smooth finger roll. Then Londonderry got a steal and Coveney took it to the rim for a lefty finish. Then another Lancers steal, and this time Coveney buried another 3-pointer for a quick 7-0 run to make it 46-22 LHS with 5:25 left in the 3rd.

Then Coveney drove, drew a second defender and making a nice dish to Corey who went up strong and got to the line. It was 50-28 Londonderry after 3.

The starters didn't see much action in the 4th quarter with the game out of reach. Max Coleman made a strong drive and nice scoop shot for 2. Then Londonderry got another steal which lead to a layup for Coveney as the rout continued. Then Coveney added the icing on the cake, another 3-pointer off a baseline out of bounds play to give LHS their largest lead 57-28 and complete a 7-0 run. The starters came out, and Londonderry cruised to the 66-34 win.

I was definitely impressed with Londonderry. They're fast, they play hard, they have some lethal shooters and kids who can make plays off the dribble. They don't have much size but with Corey, Peters and Brendan Enwright they do have 3 kids who can go inside, play physical and grab boards. This team will certainly be in the mix for a top 8 seed and possibly even a Final Four berth.

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