By: Tuesday and Friday
Seniors Max Curran and Dominic Timbas combined for 76 points to help lead the Spartans past the Crusaders in the D1 Prelim game of the night. Why was it the game of the night? Well, there were a lot of people just known by one name. You had Max and Dominic for Pembroke. You had Trevon and Kabongo for Memorial. You had Quirk and Alosa coaching. Putting the icing on the best prelim cake were the 2 officials known as Moe and Greenie. How many games can be stamped with this many 1 word names? Only this one NH high school basketball fans. Believe me, the Pembroke gym was THE ONLY PLACE to be on prelim night in NH. This game had great hype and it lived up to every shred of it.
Trevon Maughn was on fire to start the 1st period. He canned four 3’s in the initial stanza and every one of them was good on the release. He could’ve done the Steph Curry turn around and walk away on all 4 of the 3’s. Dom Timbas had an exceptional 1st period scoring 12 points on a mixture of 3’s and strong finishes to the hole. Even though Memorial led 22 to 18 after 1 it easily could’ve been a 10 point lead if they finished some layups on Pembroke turnovers.
Both teams had a torrid pace in the 2nd period running, shooting and making. Kabongo slashed finished. Trevon pumped in a couple more 3’s. Max and Dom combined for four 3’s. This was now being played like a semifinal at UNH. The players and the crowd could feel it. Heck, even the missed shots in this game were probably better than most of the made shots in all the other prelim games. Trevon would hit a 3 from 8 feet beyond the arc then attempt one from next to the popcorn stand which would just miss. Kabongo would dribble drive by the 5 Spartan starters and the 9 Spartan subs on the bench and would come up just short. Max had a breakaway dunk which hit the back of the rim and soared 40 feet up in the air bouncing between the metal support beams of the gym roof……… Spectacular missed shots!!! That’s how good this game was turning into.
Trevon’s 1st half was almost similar to the one he hung on Central in the semis last season at UNH. He had 23. Dom kept pace with 22. Both teams came out more deliberate or more tired in the 2nd half. Pembroke made a defense switch going with Connor Boucher on Trevon instead of the taller Dom. It worked as Trevon’s shot got more tired. He only hit one 3 in the 3rd. Now I say slow down and deliberate, but both teams still managed to score 18 points each in the 3rd. 18 points on deliberate offense!! That’s how good this game was. A FT by Kabongo with 4:25 left in the 3rd gave memorial a 54 to 43 lead. I was told by a Pembroke fan the Spartans never came back from a double digit deficit in the 2nd half all season.
With 5:10 left in the 4th Max does a put back to give Pembroke its first lead of the game at 66 to 65. The next 5 minutes becomes a basketball thrill ride with lead changes, tie scores and great shots. The drama was palpable with each possession. Players from both teams were grasping for air because the pace was heightened and quickened. The fans of each team hung on every shot, dribble, pass and call by a referee. Moe and Greenie were up to the moment managing the play and personalities on the court while managing the BIG personalities in the coach’s box. This game was not for a faint whistle or faint referee mind. These 2 seasoned ref veterans were spot on.
With 1 minute left in regulation a Kabongo runner made it 76 to 74 Pembroke. Timbas misses the front end of a 1 and 1. With 35 seconds left Kabongo uses every ounce of athleticism he has in his varied arsenal to muscle up a runner in traffic to tie the game at 76. Pembroke calls a TO with 20 seconds left. They try to execute a play with Max. He stumbles receiving the ball and travels with 8 seconds left. Memorial calls TO and has to go 84 feet. They do so with Kabongo who misses a 10 foot floater in traffic at the end of regulation. OVERTIME!!!!
This game deserved OT. This game demanded OT. This game was pre-ordained by the Basketball Gods to go OT.
From 3:41 to 2:39 Pembroke went on a 7 – 0 run. The run was capped by a serious physical struggle, with no advantage gained, so says Moe and Greenie…. Between Trevon and Max. The 6 ‘8 99 pound Max wins the battle and drives to the hoop with a thunderous SLAM to give Pembroke their largest lead of the game at 83 to 76. TO for Memorial as the Spartan legions of Alosa-Ville are rocking and rolling. (Okay Max weighs a little more than 99 pounds, but you get the Max picture).
One would think it’s Ova as they say, but enter Lee Corso Time as in “not so fast my friend”: A Preston 3 makes it 83 to 79 with 2:25. A Trevon floater with 1:56 cuts the Pembroke lead to 83 to 81. A Trevon 3 with 1;25 left gives Memorial a breath taking 84 to 83 lead. We are now in religious basketball time my friends. Memorial down by 7 showed complete resolve with this 8 – 0 run. Curran hits a 3 with 1:05 left to give Pembroke an 86 to 84 lead. It is deafening in the Spartan Gym.
Did I happen to mention this was THE ONLY PLACE to be tonight in NH?
Two separate FTs with 34 and 19 seconds left give PA an 88 to 84 advantage. With 12 seconds left Trevon appropriately hits the last shot of his career: A Looooooongggg 3 to cut the Memorial deficit to 1 at 88 to 87. The strategy for the Spartans was simple in the last 12 seconds. Keep the ball in Max’s hands, let him get fouled and have him make the FTs. He makes 1 FT with 11 seconds left….. 89 to 87 PA. Trevon attempts a shot near the 3 point line with 3.7 left. He’s fouled. Trevon pleads to Moe and Greenie it was a 3 attempt. The 2 vets confer and determine it’s a 2 attempt.
Trevon misses the first FT…… a short arm and tired leg front of the rim miss. Time out. A lot of things could be done here. Trevon opts to miss the 2nd FT intentionally and tosses the ball excruciatingly, for Memorial, at the net and out of bounds. Curran is then fouled and cans the 2 FTs to give Pembroke the final 91 to 87 victory.
The players are spent. The coaches have been through the playoff grind. The fans are witness to a prelim game for the ages. Thank You Basketball Gods. Thank You for Dominic and Max. Thank You for Trevon and Kabongo. Thank You for Quirk and Alosa. Thank You for Moe and Greenie. For nearly 2 hours, trust me, this was THE ONLY PLACE to be in NH for one magical basketball night.