By: Tuesday and Friday
Going into this game I figured it would be a close one and it was. Not much separated these 2 teams for 32 minutes. The Lancers and Blue Hawks are cut from the same basketball cloth as guards control things for both teams. Junior Cody Ball led Londonderry with 21 points, including five 3’s. His biggest 3 came with 2:40 left in the game to tie the score at 54. A Ball runner made it 56 to 54 Lancers and they would not lose the lead after that.
As I entered the Lancer Gym I said here is the home of MY LANCERS. Those of you who follow the NH Sports Forum know I like to ride high on the white horse when I’m in Lancer Town. Tonight was no different. I was greeted very warmly as I entered the gym by the President of the Londonderry Booster Basketball Club, Paul Coveney. He then presented me with 2 Londonderry basketball tee shirts. One for me and one for Mrs T & F. Could history repeat itself? The last time I was given shirts by supporters of basketball teams was 3 years ago when Milford and BG supporters each gave me one of their school shirts. Those 2 teams went on to win the D2 and D1 boy’s state titles. A Londonderry double state title with girls AND boys coinciding with the T & F Family receiving tee shirts from Lancerville? Time will tell.
Both teams were cold to start and making mistakes early. Ball hit a couple of 3’s and Bryant Holmes had six 1st quarter points as Londonderry had a 12 to 11 lead after 1. Both teams settled into the game nicely in the 2nd period. Ben Swett heated up from the outside and scored 7, while Matt Vigars found the range for 5 points. The Lancers had some nice balanced scoring from Ball, Coveney, Coleman and Kwiatkowski as they took a 32 to 30 lead at halftime.
Now for some observations: This was my first time seeing Londonderry in person this season. It’s funny how underneath the Lancer Gym they have thousands of pounds of weights in a beautiful workout room. I don’t think one member of the Londonderry team has touched 1 pound of those weights since they enrolled at Lancer High. This Londonderry team wins the Skinniest Team Award for the 2013/2014 season. Don’t they sell protein powder in Londonderry? The Lancers need to go through the Wendy’s and Burger King drive thrus and keep coming back and keep coming back and….. Well, you get the point. This Lancer club will be the last one I choose to take down a dark back alley, but I’ll take them with me on a well-lit basketball court on any Tuesday or Friday…….. Or any other day of the week.
What the Lancers don’t have in bulk and strength they make up in the quickness and speed department. They can get after you defensively. They force you into turnovers. They all can run and are unselfish. The 2 freshman, Jake Coleman and Caleb Green, play with nice maturity. Green has a nice handle and is very sure with the rock. Coleman does not hesitate to drive and slither his way to the rack. Add in potential All State performer senior Drew Coveney and you have a blistering trio of guards. Cody Ball can fill it up and plays small forward/big guard. Bigs Marc Corey and Kwiatkowski, while not classic bigs, give Londonderry enough size to compete in the paint.
Drew Coveney had a 3 and a 2 to give the Lancers a quick start in the 2nd half. Exeter got hot from 3 Land as Dickenson hit 2 and Vigars and Swett each hit one each. Ball hit a 3 and the Lancers took a 49 to 46 lead heading into the 4th. Both teams tightened up the defense in the 4th. It became physical on the boards and in the paint. There were some off ball fouls with pushes to the floor as each team tried to impose their will on the other. With 4 minutes left a Jordan Dickenson basket made it 52 to 51 Exeter. That would be the last lead of the night as Cody Ball took over with the Big 3 and the runner with 1:30 left in the game which gave the Lancers the lead at 56 to 54 and they would never look back.
Potential All State Zach Holler was coming off a long sickness and it showed tonight. He finished with 3 points and didn’t have his legs under him. His shots came up short and he wasn’t his usual quick and crafty self. Darn those mid-season player sicknesses. Exeter falls into 11th place at 5 – 7. They have lost 4 of their last 5. In December this is not where you figured the Blue Hawks would be. Things don’t get any easier in their next 3 games as they play Winnacunnet, South and Memorial. Even though Exeter is going through a rough patch, I still maintain they are a team you don’t want to meet in the playoffs.
Londonderry is having a solid season so far at 10 – 2 and currently in 5th place. They play Pinkerton, Salem and Alvirne in their next 3 games. Hopes are high in Lancerville. They have a team to be noticed. The skinny kids from Londonderry can play. My 2 Lancer Basketball tee shirts are nestled safely in my closet. I expect to be wearing one at the Final Four at UNH in March, riding a white horse while drinking Londonderry apple cider.