LHS Boys’ Basketball Splits Big Games With Seacoast Squads

CAPTION: Shane McNamara makes an aggressive drive to the hoop during his LHS squad’s momentous win over tough Merrimack recently. Photo by Chris Pantazis. Full image below.

When the boys’ basketball teams from Londonderry High School and Winnacunnet High of Hampton met in the LHS gymnasium on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 6, they were two contingents seemingly going in opposite directions.

The host Lancers were a decent 6-4 in Division I, but they had gone a poor 1-4 in their previous five contests and still had a stinging loss to the arch-rival Pinkerton Academy Astros on Jan. 26 in mind.

The visiting Warriors, however, were a D-I-leading 10-1 with six consecutive victories directly behind them. So it’s certainly safe to say that the Winnacunnet crew was favored to win the Feb. 6 battle.

But the Lancers played arguably their best game of the 2017-18 season that evening and showed, without doubt, that they expect to be a real player in the league tournament in early March.

Londonderry won every quarter but the second in tallying a deeply-pleasing 58-44 victory over the stunned Warriors, who certainly didn’t play like the top-ranked team in a very strong division.

“I’ve been telling them all season that they’re a great team, and they finally put together a full 32 minutes of basketball here tonight,” said coach Nate Stanton of his squad.

The intense and determined hosts led 15-9 after one period, by four points at 23-19 at the half, and by double digits at 44-33 rolling into the final stanza.

After leading his team with a dozen points in the first half, LHS sophomore standout Jack Anderson sank his fourth three-point shot of the night mere seconds into the third quarter to give his side a 26-19 advantage.

Londonderry wound up sinking five of its first six shots from the floor in that period while the Warriors hit just one of their first eight, and the Lancers’ 12-3 run during that span gave them a 35-22 lead and forced Winnacunnet into a timeout with 4:17 left in the stanza. And LHS wound up going 9-14 from the floor in the third while the Warriors were a dismal 3-11.

Coach Stanton’s squad led by 11 rolling into the fourth quarter, and the LHS lead never fell below seven points – bulging to as many as 16 – during that closing period.

Young Anderson, who has absolutely played like a seasoned upper-classman in picking up some vital scoring lost by the pre-season/season-ending injury of junior stalwart Ethan Garofalo, finished up with 22 points and no less than five of the nine three-pointers sunk by the victorious locals in the big win. Senior forward Dakota Bertrand finished with three of the treys and 17 points, and his fellow 12th grader Shane McNamara contributed a dozen points and the one other LHS three.

Coach Stanton readily admits that he is one of many folks who have been highly-impressed with the glittering play of sharp-shooting sophomore Anderson.

“He’s really confident, and he has that edge to his game,” said the coach. “He’s a true basketball player, just like a (former LHS hoop star) Cody Ball. And he’s one of our captains as a sophomore. That says a lot.”

But the Lancers didn’t have as much success against a seacoast opponent over on the seacoast on the night of Friday, Feb. 9, when they dropped a 53-48 decision to the red-hot Portsmouth High Clippers in that opponent’s own gym.

The Clippers moved to 11-2 that night with their sixth consecutive win, with Londonderry slipping to 7-5.

The Lancers were right with Portsmouth, step for step, through the first three quarters. The locals led 11-10 after one period, and they were also up by a single point at 24-23 at the half.

Londonderry outscored its host by a 16-6 tally in period three to carry a 40-29 advantage into the final stanza, but Portsmouth turned on the jets in quarter four and outscored its guest by a 24-8 margin to win going away.

Anderson tossed home 20 points to lead his side once again, Bertrand was good for 13, and Ethan May contributed eight for the locals, who stepped into this week facing a short road trip to play Alvirne in Hudson this Tuesday the 13th – after Londonderry Times press time – followed by a home game against Manchester Central Friday.

This would be a great time for the Lancers to go on a roll.

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