By: Ross Laorenza
The Spaulding Red Raiders are now 5-0 after an impressive 59-54 win, on the road against Pembroke Academy. Led by seniors Darian Berry (#5), Brock Paquette (#23), Anthony Ciccotelli (#33) and Christopher States (#3) Spaulding was able to slow down the Pembroke offense and limit their second chance opportunities with excellent rebounding. Berry had a hot hand in the second half knocking down three three-pointers that helped the Red Raiders hold onto the lead. Here’s how it all played out.
Max Curran (#1) opened the scoring with a drive to the rim drawing contact. At 6’8’’ his length would be a challenge for the Spaulding defense. Brock Paquette drew the tough task of guarding Curran for a majority of the game. Berry tied the game at 2 on a fast break opportunity with a great finish at the basket. Early on Pembroke seemed to have control of the tempo. Dominic Timbas (#21) scored next to give the Spartans a lead and Max Curran added to it as he rose over everyone for a jumper.
Berry would provide an answer for the Red Raiders as we wove his way through the Spartan zone for a score. “This is what he does. He can score inside and outside,” said Berry’s coach, Tim Cronin postgame.
The same can be said of Max Curran. He showed his range drilling a three-pointer on Pembroke’s next possession and he drew contact. He made the free throw converting a rare four point play. After a block by Rob Wilson (#50), Connor Boucher took the ball the length of the floor for a fast break bucket. Pembroke leads 12-4.
Brock Paquette connected from down town followed by a nice tear drop shot from sophomore Cal Connelly (#21) as Spaulding responded with a 5-0 run of their own. Timeout, Pembroke.
The Spartans looked strong out of the timeout. The ball found its way into the hands of co-captain Dominic Timbas who knocked down a jumper. After a turnover by Spaulding, Timbas rose up from beyond the arch for a three. Timeout Spaulding.
Out of the timeout Blake Barbin (#2) a junior guard for the Red Raiders came up with an aggressive steal, but as he drove to the rim it would cost him. Barbin’s shot off glass was good but he collided with Timbas out of bounds and landed hard on the court. When he sat up, blood streamed from his nose. Fans cried foul but none was given. Barbin was sent off to get some medical attention. He would return later. At the end of the 1st quarter Pembroke: 17, Spaulding: 11.
Spaulding opened the 2nd quarter with a 10-2 run that gave them their first lead of the night. First, a floater by Matthew Roy (#25), then Berry weaved his way to the rim for another lay-in. Wilson scored for Pembroke, but Connelly countered with a three-pointer, bringing Spaulding within one. They would take the lead on a three from Paquette who found himself open after Boucher blocked a shot from Berry.
Max Curran was fouled down at the other end; hitting one of two he drew Pembroke back within one point. The teams would them engage in an intense two minutes that featured five lead changes! Curran, again at the line, put Pembroke up one. Paquette drilled another three-pointer to give Spaulding a two point edge. Dominic Timbas connected from down town to put the Spartans back on top. Berry fed the ball inside to Ciccotelli who finished with a nice spin move to get to the rim over Wilson, putting the Red Raiders up one. Curran answered for Pembroke with a corner three followed by a shot from Timbas to end the crazy back and forth.
With time winding down Darian Berry drove down the court and knocked down a step back three-pointer to pull Spaulding within one as the teams headed into the half. Pembroke held a slim 30-29 at the intermission.
Max Curran led all scorers in the first half with 14 points. His teammate Dom Timbas was closed behind with 12. Brock Paquette led Spaulding with 9 points.
The second half started off with a splash from Darian Berry putting Spaulding up 2 points. Pembroke showed some solid ball movement their next time down the floor, but the possession resulted in nothing after Curran lost a pass out of bounds. Christopher States expanded the Red Raider lead to 4 points with a pull up jumper. Rob Wilson cut the lead down to two with a basket of his own.
Connor Boucher gave Pembroke a brief lead with a three pointer, but Berry took it right back spinning to the hoop for a score. Max Curran got his first breather of the game with three minutes to go in the third. Coach Matt Alosa used Dante Timbas and Collin Justin to give his big men a reprieve, also sitting Rob Wilson.
Berry found himself at the line shortly thereafter converting 1 of 2 shots. On the next trip down the floor Matt Roy got to the line for Spaulding. He was tripped by a Pembroke player diving for a loose ball. Roy hit 1 of 2 foul shots and Spaulding kept possession. Darian Berry would score 5 straight points to push the Red Raider lead to 43-35. The points came both times as he drove towards the hoop. He was fouled the first time and converted the three point play. The second drive he looked like no one could guard him, darting in and out around Pembroke defenders. Curran, back in, would add two foul shots to close out scoring in the third. Heading into the fourth quarter Spaulding leads 43-37.
Max Curran did his best to keep Pembroke in the game in the fourth. He scored 6 straight points to open the final frame. Two of those came after a hard foul by Mitchell Cyr. Cyr chopped down on Curran’s arms as he went up for a shot. After Curran pulled the teams even at 43 apiece, Darian Berry would answer with 6 points of his own. Two three pointers had the Spaulding fans erupting into cheers as their team regained the lead. A feed down low to Anthony Ciccotelli gave Spaulding a 51-43 lead. Timeout Pembroke.
The lead gained another point after Cal Connelly was fouled by Curran. Cal made 1 of 2 shots. Blake Barbin seeing his first action since being taken out for medical precaution fouled Boucher, but Boucher missed both free throws to the delight of the Red Raider fans. With 4:00 remaining the Spartans went on a 5-0 to cut the lead down to 4 points. Cameron Taylor connected for three and Curran rose up again over the defense to knock down a jumper. 52-48, Spaulding.
Christopher States pushed the lead back to 6 points and then big man Ciccotelli bulled his way to the basket drawing contact, swelling the lead back up to 9 points. Brock Paquette fouled out with 1:24 remaining in the game, sending Boucher to the line. Paquette at 5’11’’ proved a stout defender giving 6’8’’ Curran a solid battle all game. Dominic Timbas hit a shot to pull Pembroke within 5 points and Pembroke called their final timeout with 55 second remaining.
Deploying Curran to press Cyr and States, Pembroke forced Spaulding into a 10 second violation, but couldn’t come away with points as an errant pass flew out of bounds. Spaulding got the ball to Connelly on a deep pass into the zone. He was fouled by Curran, and made both free throws. Collin Justin, into the game for Wilson, made the last basket of the game. Spaulding almost committed another 10 second violation but quick thinking by the coaching staff prevented it with a timeout. With only 4.6 second remaining it was clear Spaulding would come away victorious. Dom Timbas took one final heave at the hoop, but trailing by 5 it wouldn’t have mattered even if it went in. The Red Raiders bench emptied onto the floor at the final horn. Final score Spaulding: 59, Pembroke Academy: 54.
“We made the big plays when he had to,” said Coach Cronin. He also emphasized how crucial the team’s ability to rebound the ball was. In doing so, they limited Pembroke’s second chance opportunities.
Darian Berry led the Spaulding with 22 points on the night. He was the only Red Raider in double figures. Brock Paquette and Anthony Ciccotelli both finished with 9 points. Max Curran led all scorers with 24 points, including 10 of 12 from the free throw line. Dominic Timbas was the only other player in double figures. He finished the 14 points.
Spaulding outscored Pembroke 30-24 in the second half, with a crucial 14-7 edge in the third quarter. The Red Raiders will look to advance to 6-0 this Friday at home against Alvirne. Pembroke will look to rebound after back to back losses, but they’ll have to do it against Bedford.
From Pembroke Academy, Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook