In the moments following his now 11-0 team’s 74-61 defeat of Manchester Central on that opponent’s home court last Friday night, Londonderry High boys’ basketball coach Nate Stanton was asked if the other Division I hoop teams should receive a message from the Lancers’ performance.
A grin formed on the second-year LHS basketball coach’s face and he said, “Statement. This was a statement game. They played confident, they played loose, and they played the kind of basketball I’ve known they were capable of.”
Not only did Stanton’s Lancers win the battle of the last two undefeated squads in the division – both entered play with unblemished, 10-0 marks – but the locals ended the defending Division I Central crew’s 38-game undefeated streak as well.
The host Little Green only held one lead all evening – at 8-7 with three minutes to go in the first period – with the Lancers grasping advantages of 12-8 after one quarter, 33-25 at halftime, and 58-43 rolling into the fourth quarter.
Senior big man Marc Corey led the Lancers’ offensive charge with 22 points, with star guard Cody Ball contributing 18, hard-driving senior forward Joey Kwiatkowski collecting 11, standout sophomore guard Jake Coleman tallying 10, and hard-nosed young forward Brandon Radford netting nine.
All in all, the unbeaten Londonderry bunch bagged 10 three-point buckets, with Ball nailing four and Kwiatkowski and Corey each connecting for three.
But while his charges gave him plenty to be proud of regarding their offensive efforts, Stanton was even more pleased with the intense and steady defensive work they did in the big victory.
“It came down to discipline and defense and who was going to get the most stops, and we won that battle,” said Stanton, with that smile still lingering on his face.
The Lancers had bounced its divisional record up to 10-0 Tuesday night, Feb. 10, by winning a highly-anticipated rematch with the tough Merrimack High Tomahawks at LHS.
Stanton’s squad dealt veteran Merrimack coach Tim Goodrich’s crew – which fell to Manchester Central in the D-I championship contest last winter – a 56-48 defeat.
The Lancers had narrowly edged the Tomahawks by a 52-51 tally in Merrimack on Jan. 23, and there wasn’t any reason to expect anything but another nail-biter in the rematch.
The score was all knotted up at 16-16 at the completion of one period, but Londonderry outscored its guest by a 13-5 tally during quarter two to grasp a 29-21 advantage at halftime.
The hosts were up by double digits after three quarters (40-30), and they wound up walking away with the solid eight-point win.
Cody Ball (20 points), Jake Coleman (14), and Marc Corey (10) combined for 44 of their side’s 56 points. Ball sank a trio of three-pointers in the victory, with his squad nailing a total of five treys on the evening.
Then on Monday, Feb. 16, the Lancers were able to push their record up to 12-0 with a 65-56 defeat of the struggling Winnacunnet High Warriors in Hampton.
Powered by sophomore guard Coleman and his 17 first-half points – which included five, three-point buckets – Londonderry sprinted out to first half leads of 18-7 (at the end of one period) and 34-17 (at the half).
But the host Warriors, who came into the evening with a 4-8 record and having lost four of their previous five D-I contests – showed plenty of fight in the second half. They outscored the Lancers by 17-10 in the third and 22-21 in period four to make their guests sweat some before the final buzzer sounded.
Senior big man Corey led the LHS charge with 20 points, Coleman finished the night with the 17 he bagged in the first half, and Ball was good for 15 on a night when LHS cagers got scoring from seven players.