by Marc Ayotte The Division II defending boys&#x2019; basketball champions Milford High School Spartans marched into the Snake Pit this past Friday night and, in an extremely hard-fought game, staved off a gallant PHS effort and emerged with 61-51 victory. The Python home opener saw the gymnasium packed with both Milford and Pelham fans who were treated to a stellar battle between the two previously unbeaten powerhouses. But after 32 minutes of intense action, the experience and depth of the Spartan squad proved to be the determining factor in the game. Milford head coach Dan Murray after the game acknowledged a tremendous effort by Pelham, but noted, &#x201C;I don&#x2019;t think they are as deep or as well experienced on the bench as we are.&#x201D; &#x201C;We have two of our top six not dressed [due to injury] and we are 10 deep to begin with,&#x201D; said Coach Murray. With Pelham opening up their season with four consecutive road games, the enthusiasm in the bleachers was matched only by the intensity on the floor, as both teams came out strong and fast. Milford owned a slim 9-6 lead midway through the quarter, before Python senior sensation Stephen Spirou went on his own mini scoring feast with five straight points and eight of his team&#x2019;s 10 during that stretch. As a result, the home team found themselves taking the lead by three points. Dean Choice of Pelham then connected from downtown Pelham center for &#x201C;three,&#x201D; giving the Snakes their biggest lead of the night at 19- 14. Demanding some R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the lane, Pelham&#x2019;s Spirou, on a great defensive play, R-E-J-E-C-T-E-D Jamie Holder&#x2019;s attempt inside the paint to tie the game and allowed the Pythons to
keep their 19-17 lead at quarter&#x2019;s end. Milford tied things up to begin the second quarter, but Pelham junior
January 14, 2011 - 9 Sports
guard Derek DeFranzo quickly answered by draining a &#x201C;tres&#x201D; putting the Pythons back on top, 22-19.
However, spectacular play by the Spartan senior guard tandem of Mike O&#x2019;Loughlin and Jamie Holder momentarily changed the &#x2018;back-and-forth&#x2019; flow of the game. A sleek, left-handed bank shot off the glass for two by O&#x2019;Loughlin and an acrobatic hoop by Holder were catalysts in a 12 to four Spartan spurt, putting them on top by five at 31- 26. Pelham was able to score the remaining three points of the half and went to intermission trailing by only two points. Cutting the lead to
a bucket just before the half left the Pelham faithful enthusiastic for the second half to begin. Unfortunately, the Pythons got caught napping just 10 seconds in on a beautiful back-door feed from MHS&#x2019;s Mike Mitchell to teammate O&#x2019;Loughlin. A long- distance jumper for three on the next trip up the floor by O&#x2019;Loughlin gave him five unanswered points to open up the half and gave Milford a 36-29 lead, seemingly deflating the enthusiasm on the Pelham side of the stands. The teams continued to display high
Spartans Spoil Pythons&#x2019; Hoop Home Opener
Pelham&#x2019;s Erik Nystrom #32 gets the ball dumped into him as prepares to make a low post move
Stephen Spirou drives to the hoop in second-half action against the Milford Spartans, who held off the Pythons 61-51 in Pelham&#x2019;s home opener
levels of intensity at a break-neck pace in this highly anticipated confrontation. Included in the two teams trading jabs was a put-back offensive rebound for two points by Python captain Spirou that cut the MHS lead to five at 38-33 halfway through the third. Despite the incredible team effort by Pelham, the deep Spartan bench and continuous
Third-Period Feast Leads Wolf Pack over Cavs
by Marc Ayotte Just 24 hours before the opening face-off, athletes from both genders and from both Pelham and Windham high schools were battling it out on the basketball court against each other. The Windham Jaguars hosted the Pelham Pythons in a newly created basketball cross-town rivalry. Emotions were high and adrenaline was flowing. However, throw in a different sport, turn adversaries into allies, mix a few Jaguars with some Pythons, and voil&#xE0;&#x2014;a joint effort known as the Wolf Pack. The same Wolf
Pack that took to the Olympic-size sheet of ice at the Icenter in Salem on January 5 and erupted for four third-period goals en route to a 5-3, come- from-behind victory over division three rivals, the Cavaliers of Hollis-Brookline. The Cavs entered the contest undefeated in their first two games of the season and with a potent offense that saw them outscore their opponents by a 17 to 3 margin. The first half of the opening period saw both teams skating tentatively and, as a result, there were few scoring opportunities at either end of the ice. The best Wolf Pack opportunities came near the end of the period when forward Alec Paradis, after a nice rush down the left wing, was stopped by H-B goalie Jake Hahnl. Moments later, Paradis&#x2019; centering pass to linemate Korey Lubinger just hopped over his stick as he was driving to the net. The last minute of play showed W-P exhibiting a little bit of life when Nick Morin had a quality scoring chance, as did Paradis again, as his wrist shot just went wide of the visitor&#x2019;s net. As a result, goose-eggs prevailed and the first period ended scoreless.
Second-period play began with much of the same leisurely style of play until Cavalier Zack Rotkiewicz drew first blood by beating W-P netminder Caitlin Re. Just 50 seconds later at 6:34 of the period, H-B&#x2019;s Tom Kyrias gave his team a two-goal lead and concern set in on the home team bench. The loose and lackluster play by the Pack saw them plant themselves in a 2-0 hole and in need of a jump start. At 8:09 of the middle
lead at the time. Under siege, the Cavaliers called a time-out to regroup with just over eight minutes left in regulation. After a couple of key
saves by goalie Re on H-B&#x2019;s Rotkiewicz and Tim Birch, Cavalier senior captain Matt Firmani was finally able to beat Re, bringing his team back to within a goal with just under five minutes left to play in the game. However, with 1:52 left on the clock, Paradis registered his second dinger of the night with a roofer, beating Hahnl to the glove side just under the cross bar and sealing the solid, come- from-behind 5-3 victory for the Wolf Pack. &#x201C;We want to make a name for ourselves in our division. This was a good
statement, a good come from behind win, continued to page 15 - Feast
rotation of players started to take its toll. A Spartan run gave the visitors a 10-point bulge and despite the second three-pointer on the night by Dean Choice of Pelham, Milford held a 48- 39 lead after three quarters of play. The effort and intensity did not diminish during the final stanza. Pelham, with one last burst, went on a 6-0 run, cutting the Spartan lead to five at 51-46 with 5:15 left to play. Two and a half minutes later, Python guard A. Spirou, on a feed from his brother, knocked down a &#x201C;three&#x201D; to make it continued to page 15 - Home Opener
Wolf Pack goalie Caitlin Re (#30) keeps the Cavs off the board with a right-pad save in first-period action
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Captain Nick Morin (#8) starts his celebration after scoring to put the Wolfpack up 3-2 in third-period action
frame, it came as Wolf Pack forward Porter Carelli, with a nice shot from the slot, beat Cav goalie Jake Hahnl, cutting the lead in half.
Prior to getting on the scoreboard, H-B net minder Jake Hahnl was sensational, coming up with numerous big saves in keeping the Wolf Pack at bay. The remainder of the period saw an energetic and aggressive W-P attack continue as their fore-checking and back-checking created several outstanding scoring opportunities. However, H-B netminder Hahnl continued his heroics between the pipes, stifling the W-P skaters and silencing the Pack student cheering section, and after two periods of action, the Cavaliers held on to a slim, 2-1 lead. The third period puck drop saw an almost- frenetic Pack attack continue. With their team in complete control of the flow, the W-P fans soon were on their feet. The final 15 minutes featured juniors Nick Morin (2) and Alec Paradis (2) exploding for four goals as they conducted their own personal scoring seminar. The onslaught was highlighted by the duo&#x2019;s three-goal outburst in a less than a three-minute span, giving W-P a 4-2
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