Pelham Locks Down Bedford (NH)
by. Julia Maldonado
PELHAM, NH --- On Thursday evening, the Pelham Pythons defeated the Bedford Bulldogs 64-25 in what was a high intensity game from the tip-off. Senior guard Brett Bailey led the Pythons with 18 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal while senior Trevor Fahmy led the Bulldogs with nine points, seven rebounds and one block.
Pythons’ senior guard Derek DeFranzo was involved in the action on both ends early on in the game and showed his ability to play aggressive defense and distribute the ball to his teammates on the offensive end. DeFranzo had four steals in the first quarter alone, as the Pythons played a consistent full court press defense against their taller opponents.
The key to the game, according to Pelham Head Coach Matt Regan, was to disrupt the passing lanes and pressure the ball handlers early and often to prevent the ball from ever reaching Bedford’s post players, including senior Trevor Fahmy (6-foot-8), sophomore forward Roger Larrivee (6-foot-7) and sophomore center Collin McManus (6-foot-10).
Pelham executed their plan successfully, and held Bedford to only one basket in the first quarter.
“We lacked in size, and they’re a big team,” said DeFranzo. “But when we pressured up top, they couldn’t get the ball inside, and when they got the ball in (to the post) we used help side (defense) and got there every time.”
On the other end of the floor, Pelham was organized and effectively moved the ball around until they found a good look at the basket.
“On offense, we were a lot more patient than we have been so far this year,” noted Coach Regan. “Generally we want to try and get as many threes up as we possibly can, but tonight we knew we would be one-and-done if we did that. We tried to get the best available shot.”
The Pythons used their quickness to drive past defenders and pass to open players when the defense collapsed. DeFranzo and senior guard Anthony Spirou were integral in the flow of the offense, and were able to find Bailey, who scored 9 of the team’s 14 points in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs’ Fahmy responded with 6 points and senior guard Trevor Glassman made a three pointer to cut the lead to 14. However, the Pythons went on a brief run to solidify a 32-13 lead going into halftime, and continued the defensive and scoring trends in the second.
The Bulldogs’ intensity never dropped off, but they simply were unable to finish shots on their end. Pelham also forced Bedford to make numerous turnovers, and converted on the other end to extend the lead to 25 at the end of the third quarter.
A collective effort from the Pythons in the final stretch, including seven different scorers in five minutes, built up a comfortable enough lead that allowed nearly every member of the Pelham team to see minutes in the fourth quarter.
It was imperative for Pelham to gain and maintain a large lead, that reached 41 at one point, given the fact that they had surrendered a lead in a game earlier this season.
“We were going to keep our foot down on the gas as long as we had to, until the end of the game,” said Bailey. “We were up 17 points (against Merrimack Valley) in the first game and we ended up losing the game.”
Pelham applied the lesson learned from that disappointing loss and concentrated on shutting down Bedford until the final whistle. With an impressive 19 steals on the night, Pelham was able to do so, and came away with a 64-25 win over Bedford to improve their season record to 2-1. Bedford falls to 1-2.
“We played hard, physical, fast,” explained Coach Regan. “(We held) a team that’s averaging 72 points a game to 25. That’s why we won the game, because we played defense.”
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