Scuffling Lancer Boy Cagers Continue to Struggle

The Londonderry High School boys’ basketball squad’s 2015-16 season continued to be a pretty bumpy ride. And the unsettled haul continued last week as the locals absorbed a tough loss before winning a tight battle to enter this week with a 5-4 record in Division I.

The Lancers fell to the struggling Salem High School Blue Devils by 21 points on that team’s home court Wednesday, Jan. 27. But LHS rebounded for a hard-fought, two-point win over a tough Winnacunnet Warrior crew at home two nights later.

With that success fresh in mind the Lancers made the short trip to Derry on Monday to take on the rival Pinkerton Astros.

In the loss to Salem, that is now 3-7 and had lost three consecutive decisions going into that game, LHS was outscored in every period but the third.

The Blue Devils led 14-8 after one quarter, 36-18 at the half, and 49-35 rolling into the last stanza. Salem then put the win away by outscoring LHS by 19-12 in the fourth.

Matt Corey – whose dad, Andy, is a former Salem High varsity boys’ hoop coach – paced the lackluster Lancer effort with 19 points, and Jake Coleman was good for 11.

The LHS squad knew that they’d have their hands full with the Winnacunnet team that came into the Friday night game having won three of its last four and boasting a  6-2 record in Division I. The locals got the battle they expected, and won in a 51-49 decision.

The Warriors looked like a defensive machine in the first quarter, bouncing in and out of zone and man-to-man defenses and holding LHS to one outside shot virtually every time down the court. And the LHS shots weren’t falling.

The Lancers, whose first basket of each of the four quarters was a three-pointer, started out with a 3-0 lead on a Coleman trey. But Winnacunnet then netted 12 of the next 14 points in the period to carry a 12-5 advantage into the second stanza.

But Londonderry junior guard Cam MacDonald’s exceptional second quarter sparked his crew, and the hosts outscored their guests by a 20-8 margin to carry a 25-20 advantage to the half. MacDonald threw down 13 of the 20 LHS points in that period and also played some strong defense.

The Lancers’ lead wobbled between one and five points throughout the third quarter, with Winnacunnet knotting the score at 34-34 late before Londonderry regained the upper hand at 36-34 to head into the fourth up by two.

The hosts began the fourth quarter looking like they had fire in their bellies, and their lead grew to seven points at 41-34 before the Warriors put together an 8-0 run and grabbed a 42-41 lead with 3:40 showing on the game clock.

After calling a time-out, Londonderry went on to outscore its opponent by a 10-7 margin the rest of the way. Cam Reddy hit a couple of big buckets and Corey sank a vital three down the stretch in helping their team succeed.

“We needed this one,” said a relieved coach Nate  Stanton after the game. “We went through a little tough patch, but I’m glad it happened in late January instead of early March. We got the chance to play our kind of basketball tonight, and this was a big one for us to get.”

MacDonald led the victors with 19 points, while Coleman contributed nine and Corey and Reddy each had six.

It was then on to rivalry action against a blistering-hot Pinkerton Academy Astro squad, which began play with an 8-1 record and six consecutive divisional wins.

And in that first of two meetings between the rival squads this week – they’ll play again this Saturday afternoon at LHS – the academy bunch remained impressive, bagging a 74-51 victory on their home court despite the absence of scorer Brennan Morris due to a case of food poisoning.

The game was still very much in question at halftime after the streaking Astros grasped relatively modest advantages of 16-13 after one period and 31-24 at the half.

But Pinkerton busted the contest open in the second half, outscoring the Lancers by a 43-27.

Pinkerton had 20 points in the third quarter while Londonderry only managed eight, so PA grasped a 19-point lead of 51-32 rolling into the last stanza.

Lancers’ star junior guard Jake Coleman had a frustrating night, scoring just two points during the first three quarters as his shots simply wouldn’t fall.

Coleman managed 11 points in the fourth period, but they didn’t come until Pinkerton already had the win sewn up.

Jake Coleman ended up leading the now 4-5 Lancers with his 13 points, Nate Gaw bagged 10, and Cam Reddy contributed eight.

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