Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pinkerton Punches Final Four Ticket

By: Tuesday and Friday
Pinkerton went 13 – 17 from the FT line in the 4th quarter to secure a 57 to 50 victory over Pembroke in the quarterfinals. Geo Baker handled the ball under Spartan pressure in the final quarter and went 6 – 7 from the line in helping to send the Astros to the Final Four to meet the Cinderella #15 seeded Titans of North Tuesday night at 6:00 pm. For Pembroke this loss marked the end of the longest season in NH high school basketball history (more on that later).

Pembroke was involved in a totally different type of game and competing against a different type of team than the Memorial team and game they played in the prelim game. Long possessions with deliberateness were the norm in the first half. Pinkerton took a 20 to 18 lead in at halftime. In Pembroke’s prelim game that was a normal amount of scoring for one quarter. The cavernous shooting background of the Hackler Gym probably had something to do with this and the completely different style of play that was dictated by Pinkerton. The Astros are very comfortable setting up in deliberate offense, looking for a good shot and if they miss having their numerous tall Redwoods clean up on the offensive boards.

After scoring 44 points in the prelim Pembroke senior Max Curran had 3 going into halftime. Dominic Timbas kept Pembroke in the game scoring 12 first half points. Pinkerton had 6 players score in the first half. This would become the theme of the game. Pinkerton would just have more players who would score.

Junior Matt Rizzo came up big for the Astros scoring 7 points in the 3rd and he also lent a hand to ball handling duties to Geo and senior Drew Green. Only 2 players scored for Pembroke in the 3rd: Their Big 2 of Max and Dom combined for the 12 Pembroke 3rd period points. Pinkerton had a rotation of 8 while Pembroke played 6. This started to wear physically on the Spartans. With 5:03 left in the game 2 Geo FTs gave Pinkerton their largest lead of the game at 44 – 35. Pembroke struggled to find points and answers from this point on. The Pinkerton game plan was to run time off the clock while keeping the ball in the capable hands of Green, Geo and Rizzo.

The 3 Pinkerton guards handled the final minutes nicely securing the rock and hitting 12 – 15 from the charity stripe. This put the game away for Pinkerton and sent them to Durham for the Final Four. Pinkerton’s rims weren’t as kind to the Spartans as their cozy rims back in Pembroke. Pinkerton would hit 1 or 2 FTs and Pembroke would miss 1 or 2 outside shots. Basically, a losing mixture for Pembroke. Dominic Timbas scored 31 points in his last game. He was tremendous with an inside/out scoring mix. Timbas had a great playoff season and a great year. Max Curran finished with 12 points. These 2 seniors spearheaded the Spartan movement all season. Both of them deserve either 1st or 2nd team all-state honors.

Pinkerton put 8 players in the scorebook, while Pembroke only put 3 players in the scorebook: Game, set and match. Pinkerton has a date with Cinderella from Nashua on Tuesday. If Pinkerton plays with the overall team effort like they did in this quarterfinal they might find their way to the Ship. If Pinkerton lets their guard down against Cinderella Titan, then they could find themselves looking at the rear taillights of the Nashua Cinderella-Bus as the titans head to the ship with one of THE stories in HS basketball in this century in NH.

Every HS basketball team had a 4 month season, except for Pembroke. They just concluded their 1 year season. This season actually started the week after their back to back championships. It started with a social media storm. Then, the scheduling nightmare ensued with the Spartans not even knowing if they were going to be playing games in 2014/2015. An eligibility issue became front and center in the news. Coach Alosa was suspended for 2 games at the start of the year. No team carried more baggage into the season than Pembroke did. They had to carry this baggage all while competing in D1 for the first time.

So, how will this season be looked upon for Pembroke? They finished 6th. They had some marquee victories. They won the game of the year vs Memorial in the prelims. They had a team that was talked about constantly from start to end. EVERYBODY talks about Pembroke. A thread on Pembroke on the NH Sports Forum has over 11,000 views. Yes, 11,00 views!! NH high school fans will ALWAYS want to know what’s going on at Pembroke as long as Matt Alosa is knotting his ties in the Spartans’ coach’s box.

It will be interesting to see what Pembroke brings to the table next season. In their 2 playoff games seniors Curran, Timbas and Wilson combined for 132 of their combined team total of 141 points. Next year will not be like this year for Pembroke. The Big 2 of Welch and Williams was replaced by this year’s Big 2 of Curran and Timbas. Pembroke has no Big 2 on the horizon for next season. The Pembroke team has a lot of work to do if they want to finish in the Top 8 in D1 next season. Who knows though? D1 was down this season and may be down even further next season. If Coach Alosa works some magic and some players step up then the often discussed Pembroke basketball team could once again receive a lot of discussion next season.

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