The Portsmouth High boys basketball team showed why they are one of the teams to beat in Division II, jumping out to a big early lead on Timberlane and never looking back in a 77-43 win. The Clippers were too fast, too good on the offensive boards and too tough on defense for the Owls. The game was tied 5-5 but then Portsmouth went on a 16-4 run to end the 1st quarter. The lead only grew from there, as they led 39-18 at halftime and 61-28 after 3 quarters.
"The pace of the game was definitely in our favor" said sophomore point guard Shon Parham, who was the catalyst on both ends of the floor Portsmouth. "We want to push the ball more now. That's what we worked on in practice."
Parham controlled the tempo on offense and set the tone on defense as well with his pressure. Parham had 7 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals. Freshman guard Cody Graham dropped a game-high 17 points, while sophomore forward Joey Glynn posted 10 points and 9 rebounds.
"A key was definitely running the floor and rebounding" said Glynn, who was a menace on the boards all game. "We're getting better at talking and boxing out."
Portsmouth played in the BABC Holiday Tournament in Boston against some elite competition from Mass, and as a result of that experience the Clippers are hitting on all cylinders.
"We saw some things at that tournament that have helped us" said Portsmouth head coach Jim Mulvey. "Now we're trying to push the ball more and press. Down in Boston we faced East Boston High School. Their point guard scored 30 points the game before they played us but then Shon held him to just 4. Then tonight Shon changed the complexion of the game with his defense on #11 (Tommy Johnston) because he's the one who makes them go. Our defense was good tonight."
Graham had a quick layup off a back door cut and then Portsmouth set up their press. Chad Ripley made a nice double-crossover move for Timberlane to drive into the lane, but Glynn was there to draw the charge. Portsmouth took four charges in the 1st quarter alone. Graham then hit a 3 to make it 5-0 Clippers, but moments later Johnston hit a 3 to tie it up 5-5.
Seniors Charlie Lehoux and Devonn Wilson-Miles then checked into the lineup and that's when Portsmouth really started rolling. Right after they went into the game Lehoux dished it to Wilson-Miles on a pick-and-roll for a layup. Then Lehoux drew a charge on Timberlane junior Kyle Faucher. Portsmouth senior wing Loden Formichelli hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key and then Lehoux drew yet another charge to make it 3 offensive fouls for the Owls in less than 5 minutes.
Glynn crashed the offensive boards, grabbing the rebound and then used a power dribble, turned and hit a fade-away jumper along the baseline. Lehoux made a strong drive and finish through contact. It was 16-7 Portsmouth, they were on an 11-2 run. Then Lehoux hit a 3 and Glynn converted another put-back.
In the 2nd quarter it was more Clippers dominance. Christian Peete mad a nice move, driving and then spinning into the lane before hitting a floater. Then Glynn stole the ball near mid-court and took it hard to the rim for an and-1 finish to make it 25-9 Clippers. Portsmouth was speeding up the pace of the game and Timberlane couldn't keep up. The Owls were having trouble moving the basketball on offense due to the tenacious Clippers defense and they were also having trouble keeping Portsmouth off the offensive boards.
Graham drove the lane for an and-1 finger roll, and then hustled for a steal in front of the PHS bench, quickly passed it ahead to Parham who pushed it hard to the rim for an and-1 finger roll of his own. Portsmouth buckets were coming at a rapid rate, as they now led 33-13. It's scary to think the Clippers are this good yet they started 3 sophomores (Glynn, Peete, Parham) and 1 freshman (Graham).
The good ball movement and fast-breaking continued for Portsmouth, as they made a transition basket in the blink of an eye without the ball ever touching the floor. Graham zipped a pass from mid-court over to Glynn in the paint for the layup to make it 37-15 Clippers. This is a fun team to watch. Cam Donnelly hit a 3 from the corner before halftime for Timberlane.
"We came down from Division I this year and they (Portsmouth) would do well in Division I" said Timberlane head coach Jeff Bauman. "We're more athletic than we have been and a little better than we have been. The culture is moving in the right direction for us."
In the 3rd quarter Peete hit a 3 and then threw a nice lob pass up to Formichelli for an alley-oop. Then Parham made a good hustle play, going in hard for an offensive rebound and put-back. It's nice to see the smallest kid on the court grabbing boards. The Portsmouth lead grew to 55-25. Then a scary moment as Owls senior Kyle DiBurro left the game with a head injury. We certainly hope he's okay.
Lehoux continued to play well in the 4th quarter, with a 3-pointer and then a strong take to the rim on the fast-break. He scored 7 points in the first minute of the 4th quarter. Then Coach Mulvey started pulling his starters, and the Clippers cruised to the 77-43 win.
Johnston led Timberlane with 10 points, while Ripley and Donnelly chipped in with 8 points each.
It looks like Portsmouth and Bishop Brady are the teams to beat right now in D-II. And in case you're wondering they play against each other on February 24 in Concord.