PHS guard Derek DeFranzo (#22) prepares to drive by Oyster River’s Christopher Walker
DeFranzo was highlighted with a conventional three-pointer followed by an old-fashioned, three- point play, giving the home team a 16-15 lead after eight minutes of play. Through the first five minutes of the second
Python Brian Finney (#24) puts in two with just over one minute left in the game en route to a Python victory
by Marc Ayotte The Pelham High School (PHS) boys’ varsity basketball team hosted a red-hot Bobcat team from Oyster River this past Tuesday night at the Snake Pit in Pelham and emerged with a grinding 66-62 victory. After losing their first game of the season, the Bobcats of Oyster River High School (ORHS) had reeled off six straight wins and were tied with the Pythons in boys’ Division II hoops. The Pythons cooled off the Bobcats with overall team speed and perseverance as they advanced to 7-1, moving them into sole possession of second place behind Milford in the standings. With a lot at stake for the two teams, surprisingly, the hometown Pythons came out sluggishly and found themselves down 8-2 with just under three minutes gone in the opening stanza. A quick 30-second timeout by Python head coach Matt Regan saw junior Erik Nystrom come out of the huddle and drain a three to cut the Bobcat lead in half. As play continued, a strong first period by Python guard Derek
quarter, there was a combined total of four points scored by the two teams. After administering ‘No-Doz’ to the less-than-enthusiastic spectators, back-to-back triples by Pythons Stephen Spirou and Nystrom perked up the Pelham faithful and allowed them to witness a 24-18 lead. With just under a minute left to play in the second quarter, Pelham’s Jesse Vaiknoras’ lay-up gave the Pythons a 28-26 lead. However, good defense by the visitors causing late-quarter turnovers resulted in the Bobcats pulling to within three at the half, 29-26. As was the case in the second quarter, third- quarter action began slowly with Pelham holding on to a 33-28 lead two and a half minutes in. Then, just outside of two minutes remaining in the quarter, a pretty three-quarter court pass from Python Brian Finney to teammate DeFranzo gave Pelham a 40-32 advantage. While being substituted for a cheap-shot push in the back by one of the Oyster River players levied on a Python player stirred up Coach Regan as well as his bench, no call was made. Action continued to be feisty as players contested nearly every call made by the referees for the remainder of the quarter. And although an Adam Goodwin put-back for two pulled the Bobcats to within four at 44-40, a Pelham hoop and a pair of Spirou free throws at the end of the quarter upped the Python lead to 48-40 with eight minutes of action remaining. In early fourth-quarter play, an apparent missed call on a free-throw line violation allowed Oyster River’s Alexander Hennessy to pick up the rebound on his own missed attempt, which
Area Gymnasts Compete in Brestyan’s Invitational Meet
around; Delaney Cunningham scored third on vault and bars and fourth in the all-around; Sydney Baldridge scored fourth on vault; and Chrissy DePhamphilis scored fifth on bars, beam, and the all-around. From Salem, Caitlin McLaughlin scored 8.9 on vault; Mary Gallo of Salem a 9.15 on bars; Kiana Roy scored 8.75 on beam; and Kylee Tommasi scored 9.2 on floor. Level 5: Paige Butler of Windham won second place all-around in her age division with an 8.95 on beam and floor. Level 8: From Salem, Sarah Hale scored 8.70 on beam and 8.4 on floor, and Kadianne Tommasi scored 8.475 on vault and 8.9 on floor. The girls’ teams are coached by Amberlynn Gifford,
Jennifer Corsetto, Nate Hicks, and Head Coach Ruth Licata.
January 28, 2011 - 9 Sports
Stephen Spirou (center) of Pelham alters a shot attempt from Oyster River’s Adam Goodwin (#24)
led to the visitor’s Christopher Walker draining a ‘tres.’ Another quick Bobcat hoop saw them pull to within three at 48-45. In response, back- to-back hoops by stalwart senior Spirou gave the Pythons a 52-45 lead with 6:24 left to play in the contest. As the quarter approached the halfway mark, Pelham held onto a 57-51 lead. In a late Bobcat gasp, back-to-back hoops by Goodwin brought his team to within two of the Pythons’ lead. The defensive play of the night ensued as Python junior Brian Finney stripped Oyster River’s Goodwin of the ball as he went in for a game-tying lay-up with 1:38 left on the clock, keeping the Pythons on top, 59-57. Showing his versatility, Finney then scored a big hoop with a minute and 10 seconds left in the game, making it 61-57. “Finney made a huge lay-up; he used his five-foot, nine-inch body and made a nice finish” was how Pelham coach Regan described his wide- bodied junior’s late-game efforts. Another great defensive play by captain Spirou with :44 left to play led to an up-court pass to teammate Dean Joyce for an easy two, cementing the win for the hometown Pythons. “We battled to the end” was how Regan described the victory. In recognizing one of the key ingredients to his team’s victory against the division rivals, Coach Regan was quick to praise senior Vaiknoras: “He was phenomenal defensively on Walker—he didn’t allow him anything.” For the Pythons, Spirou recorded nine fourth- quarter points in a routine 23-point performance while teammates Nystrom and DeFranzo chipped in with 11 and eight points, respectively. In a pre-game concession, Oyster River coach Stuart Mitchell acknowledged, “You know, Stephen is going to get
Pythons Defeat Oyster River on Battle of 6-1 Teams
Jesse Vaiknoras (#15) lays in two points, giving the Pythons a 28-22 lead during second-quarter action
his 20, 25 points; we have to stop everyone else.” For the Bobcats of Oyster River, Chris Walker led the way with 20 points, followed by Goodwin with 17.
In preliminary action, the ORHS JVs opened up a huge third-quarter lead and were able to hold off a gutsy Python effort with a 56-49 road win. Down 7-2 in the first quarter, Pelham went on an 8-0 run to lead 10-7 after one quarter. Holding the Pythons to two second-quarter points vaulted the visitors to a 21-12 halftime lead. The junior Bobcats ran their lead to 17 with 3:30 left in the third quarter after a ‘tres’ by guard Zachary Jones. But a buzzer-beating triple by Python freshman Jake Vaiknoras cut the Oyster River third-period lead to 11 at 41-30. Inside of four minutes left to play in the game, the Pythons were able to get to within three points at 46-43 when ‘sharp-shooter’ Zack Conway drained one of his two fourth- quarter threes. The visitors, however, proceeded to go on a 5-1 run to put the game out of reach for the Pythons. The Pythons’ next home game is on Tuesday,
February 1, when they go up against the Cavaliers of Hollis-Brookline.
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submitted by Ruth Licata The Brestyan’s Invitational is well known throughout the country, attracting many gyms in the New England area and beyond. Deciding to compete at this Invitational means sending in your fees and rosters to compete six months in advance. Brestyan’s Gymnastics is the home of Olympian and Winchester, MA native Alicia Sacramone, who visited Gym-Ken a few years ago just before the Olympics. The Level 4 team took home the third-place banner. From Windham, Hanna Monahan took fifth on vault, beam, and floor, and fourth in the all-around; Taylor Maffeo took second on vault and sixth in the all-
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