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16 - January 14, 2011 Hudson~Litchfield Sports Pythons and Cougars Exchange Routs in Varsity Hoops


Python’s Anthony Spirou applies the defensive pressure on Cougar guard #22 Andrew Lepine


by Marc Ayotte The Pelham boys and girls varsity hoopsters traveled to The Den this past Tuesday for an inter-division basketball double header against the Cougars of Campbell High. Head coach Shawn Flynn’s red hot D-3 Campbell varsity girls in the early attraction built a comfortable first quarter lead en route to a 67-49 pummeling of the Pelham High School (PHS) girls squad. With retribution in order, the Division II Pelham boys’ quintet was able to return the gesture in the nightcap as a strong second half tamed the Cougars on the way to a 64-44 shellacking of the hosts. The Lady Cougars brought a 5-1 record into this contest and were coming off what Flynn called his team’s “best game of the year” one week earlier versus Bow High School. The first quarter saw the young Lady Pythons get off to another slow start falling behind 6-0 just two minutes after the opening tip-off. A trade mark Cougar full court press allowed Campbell High School (CHS) to capitalize on Python turnovers for several easy baskets. As well, a deliberate set offense featured


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numerous exhibitions of interior passing and scoring in the paint led by junior Rebecca Arnone. At one point, a tremendous no-look pass by Cougar Liz Pettis to Arnone drew ‘oooohs‘ from the crowd. Although the Cougars were ice cold from the outside, their dominance inside the bucket allowed them to establish a 14-point lead after one at 22-8. Liz Pettis drained a ‘tres’ to open up the second quarter but a steal by Pelham’s Rebecca Debaldo for a hoop AND 1 gave the Pythons a 5-0 spurt cutting the Cougar lead to a dozen at 25-13. However, a quick 7-1 turn around by CHS gave them their biggest lead of the half at 32-14 causing the visitors to take a time out. Despite Pelham’s adjustments, Campbell continued to score inside as Arnone again was the recipient of another text book interior bounce pass by teammate Pettis as well as a nice feed from senior guard Kristen Hrubowchak pushing the Cougar lead to 22. A six to nothing gasp by the Pythons was refuted with a Campbell 7-1 run and at the half CHS held a commanding 45-23 lead. Although Alicia Gendron netted six of her team high 12 points with two long range jumpers in the third quarter, the Cougars still outscored the Pythons 18-10 and pushed their half time lead to a staggering 30 points after three quarters of play. In typical fashion, as Python head coach Kyle Tave has alluded to in past games, his varsity girls didn’t show any quit and outscored the Cougars in the final stanza 16-4. For the Lady Cougars, Liz Pettis had a game high 17 points leading the way. Inside force Rebecca Arnone was right behind with 16, while Kristen Hrubowchak and Ally Framarini each chipped in with 11. For Pelham, behind Gendron’s dozen were Grimes with nine points and Debaldo and Catalano with eight each. The boys’ game featured numerous major runs by each team, but when all was said and done the bigger and


more frequent runs belonged to the Pythons. Coming off a hard fought home court defeat at the hands of Milford last Friday night, coach Matt Regan surely expected his team to be ready for tonight’s action. Although the Pythons ran off the first 11 points of the contest and held the Cougars scoreless for the first five and half minutes, their intensity seemed to be lacking. Accordingly, the Cougars highlighted by Josh Morgan’s back-to-back hoops had a major run of their own scoring the game’s next dozen points, taking the lead by one. Pelham’s Kevin Cheam was able to stop the bleeding with a late hoop giving the Pythons a 13-12 lead after one quarter. An extremely slow and ragged pace


was the theme for the first half of the next quarter as both teams combined for a mere six points after four minutes. Then ‘Mr. Tres,’ Pelham’s senior sharp shooter Dean Joyce, hit back-to-back jumpers from behind the stripe to cap off another big run and give his Pythons a 23-14 lead. Another three- pointer by 20 - this time Campbell’s Jacob Morgan - with :30 left in the half followed by his two free throws cut the Python lead to 27-23 at the intermission.


During the half time break, the Python coach pointed out to his team that Campbell had fought back the Python’s major runs thus far. “They’ve given you three major runs, they’re not going to give you four,” cited Regan, alluding to the concern that one more failed attempt by Pelham to take control of the game may allow CHS to sneak out a win. “We need to put the game out of reach,” offered Regan. As senior standout Stephen Spirou noted, “he (coach) told us to turn up the intensity, to quicken the pace of the game.” The combined defensive effort of


Python’s Bailey and Cheam on Cougar standout Josh Morgan was a big factor throughout the game. Although Morgan was able to drain two third


Cougar guard Liz Pettis takes a baseline jumper during a 67-49 win over Pelham this past Tuesday


quarter triples, Pelham’s increased intensity at both ends of the court was too much for the Cougars to handle. Pelham steadily increased their lead throughout the quarter when Stephen Spirou converted an AND 1 propelling the Pythons to their biggest lead of the night. And when the quarter came to an end it saw the 22-point Python outburst result in a comfortable 49-33 lead.


A strong fourth quarter by Cougar


senior Tyler Syphers with six points (10 overall) wasn’t quite enough. The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the fourth quarter and Campbell was never able to make another serious charge to get back in the game. As a result, Pelham coasted to its fifth consecutive road win. For the Pythons, Dean Joyce with four three-pointers, finished with 14. In addition to his superb defensive effort, Bailey pitched in offensively with nine points. But once again leading the Pelham attack was Stephen Spirou pouring in 24. In the fall,


Cougar Josh Morgan brings the ball up the court with full court pressure from Pelham’s #23 Brett Bailey


Spirou will be attending Trinity College in Hartford, CT. After considering other schools such as Tufts, Williams and WPI and even Ivy League Dartmouth, Spirou gave Trinity the nod because of as he put it “ the combined package that they offered - sports and education.” On the sports side of things, it was mainly the recruiting efforts of Trinity basketball coach Jamie Cosgrove along with anticipated playing time that swayed the Python star. The Pelham boys play the first of three consecutive home games this Friday night, January 14, as they suit up against St. Thomas Aquinas. The varsity girls on the same night will be in Dover versus the same Saints. The Campbell boys’ varsity hit the road and play at Conant on January 14 while the varsity girls will have capped off a three game home stand (pre-press time) against Conant a night earlier-catch the game summary in next week’s Hudson~Litchfield News.


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