Sports January 13, 2012 - 11 Pelham~Windham Sports Young Pythons Fall to Cougars
Freshman Katelyn Surprenant, #44 in white, battles for a rebound against Becca Arnone of Campbell
Hannah Paitchel and Campbell’s Becca Arnone trade hoops as the two teams were tied at deuces, two minutes into play. Arnone’s triple with 4:18 left in the half was matched by Hannah Neild’s ‘tres’ just thirty seconds later and just like that the Cougars had doubled up the Pythons at 10-5. A strong drive to the hoop by Pelham’s Rebecca DeBaldo brought the Pythons to within one, at 10-9 with 1:38 remaining in the opening quarter. An ‘excuse me’ triple by Cougar’s Hannah Neild which banked in off the glass from just to the left of the top of the key with under ten seconds to go, gave Campbell a 17-10 lead at the end of one. After Campbell’s Arnone increased the Cougar lead to nine, Pelham went on a 5-0 spurt compliments of hoops by Gina Grimes and Jordan Parece to pull within four, at 19-15 after the first two minutes. Strong interior play by the Cougars was matched by opportunistic fast break points by the Pythons and with 3:00 remaining, the heavily favored D-3 defending champs held a nervous six point advantage. An easy bucket by the Cougar’s Aly O’Donnell on an inbounds play gave Campbell a seven point lead. But a great individual effort by Pelham’s Grimes, snaring down two offensive rebounds and converting one of them into a bucket, brought the Pythons to within a nickel at the half, 27-22. Once again, the two teams came out tentatively to start the third. The lone basket in the first two minutes of play was by Pelham’s Grimes which narrowed the gap to three. In a somewhat uneventful third quarter, Pelham inched closer by outscoring the Cougars nine to eight, due in large part to a six point effort by Grimes. Heading into the final quarter of play, the
Cougars held a 35-31 lead. Through
the first three quarters, the Pythons had given Campbell more
Python Becca DeBaldo, #21 in white, attempts to deny an entry pass from Campbell’s Liz Pettis into center Becca Arnone
expected and consequently had taken away most of their low post play. A solid interior defensive effort by Pelham was giving star Cougar center Becca Arnone more difficulty in the paint than she had been accustomed to facing in regular divisional play. Coach Shawn Flynn acknowledged that although the Division II Pelham
squad did not have much individual height per se, their collective size,
Pelham’s Gina Grimes goes up for two of her team high 17 points against Campbell in the Snake Pit
by Marc Ayotte Normally, high school inter-division matchups
don’t muster up a whole lot of fan-fare. But then there are always exceptions. Such was the case on Tuesday, January 10, when D-3 powerhouse and defending state champions Campbell from Litchfield meandered their way into the friendly confines of nearby Pelham’s Snake Pit for a girls’ basketball confrontation. And that was only the first game of the scheduled double header. The night cap, with top billing rights of their own, pitted the eleven deep, 4-1 Cougar boys against a hot Python boys’ squad who were also 4-1; winners of four straight. In the opening act, the Lady Cougars brought an unblemished 6-0 record to the table. With a potent offense that is averaging nearly 70 points per game, it is second in ‘fright factor’ possibly only to a defense that has surrendered 31 or fewer points in three of their games, yielding to an astounding average margin of victory of 35 points. The Pythons though getting out to a slower than expected 1-4 start, are young and full of potential. With a sole senior adding to two sophomores and two freshmen who see a lot of playing time, the Python’s have a promising future. Unfortunately for the Lady Pythons the future has not yet arrived. After staying with the run and gun style offense of the Cougars for three periods, Pelham eventually succumbed to Campbell pounding the ball inside during the final eight minutes. Resultant from that change in x’s and o’s strategy, the Cougars conducted a virtual parade to the charity stripe and turned a four-point lead after three quarters of play into a convincing 55- 37 pasting of the Pythons in the Snake Pit. A tentative start to the game along with several uncharacteristic Cougar turnovers saw Pelham’s
aggressiveness and physical play proved to be effective on Arnone; “she struggled
in this game, where(as) going inside is our bread and butter in our division” noted Flynn. Just 10 seconds into the final frame, Liz Pettis
knocked down a triple from the wing. A little over a minute later, after continuously pounding the ball into the paint, four Arnone free throws had subtly increased the Cougar lead to double digits. With the Cougars leading 48-34, after going on a 13-3 run through the first five minutes of the final quarter, Katelyn Surprenant’s three-pointer inside of 3:00 remaining in the game proved to be too little, too late. With the exception of Pettis’s long range ‘J’, Campbell made the fourth quarter nothing short of a parade to the charity stripe. The Cougars attempted an astounding 18 foul shots of which Pettis (7) and Arnone (6) converted on thirteen of them, leading the way to a convincing twenty point, final eight minutes and the victory.
Leading the Pythons in scoring
was Gina Grimes. Her aggressive play and drives to the hoop paved the way to her 17 point performance. Sophomore point guard Jordan Parece chipped in with a half dozen. Despite seeing a tough defense from the Pythons, Arnone led the Cougars in scoring with 23; she is now just 19 points shy of reaching the coveted 1,000 career point mark at Campbell. In adding 20 rebounds to her game stats,
Arnone continued her streak of posting double- doubles in leading the Cougar attack. Liz Pettis and Hannah Neild each dropped in 13 points, with Pettis dishing out four assists and Neild picking up four boards as well as three helpers. Sophomore Brianna Hardy chipped in with five rebounds. The victory was a sweet trip down memory lane for Cougar Coach Flynn, who for three years (1998-2000), coached the Pelham JV girls’ basketball team. The win improved Campbell’s record to 7-0 and put them on top in the ratings category of the girls’ D-3 basketball standings. Pelham fell to 1-5.
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