Off the mark
Friday, January 25, 2013
By JOE MARCHILENA
For the first four minutes of Tuesday’s game, the Nashua High School South boys basketball team played the best that coach Nate Mazzerolle has seen it play all season.
After that, the Panthers offense dropped off, but the defense kept right on clicking.
South held Bedford to 25 points through the first three and a half quarters and picked up its third straight win, beating the Bulldogs 54-43. The win improved the Panthers to 7-1 in Division I.
Jack Preston scored 18 points and Nick Penkala came off the bench to add 10 more, as the Panthers led by as many as 24 in the final quarter.
With 4:27 left in the game, both teams began emptying their benches, as South led 49-25.
“That was one of our better efforts defensively,” Mazzerolle said. “Dan Auger sets the tone for us. He’s a one-man press and he makes life difficult for the opposing point guard.”
On the other side, South’s point guard, Tim Preston, had eight points for the Panthers and gave the Bulldogs (3-5) problems in the transition game, according to coach Mike Fitzpatrick.
“The Prestons, they both were terrific (Tuesday),” Fitzpatrick said. “They shoot well and they run their stuff well. We just had a lot of mental breakdowns.”
Bedford also had a lot of missed shots, particularly in the first half. As the Bulldogs were missing layups, the Panthers were taking advantage on the other end, jumping out to leads of 13-4 and 19-8 in the opening quarter.
“The first four minutes was the best we’ve played all year,” Mazzerolle said. “But then we started settling for jump shots. Through the first seven minutes of the second quarter, we had four points.”
But while South wasn’t scoring neither was Bedford, and the Panthers led 28-17 at halftime, thanks to another buzzer-beating, half-court 3-pointer by Tim Preston.
South’s defense continued to dominate in the third quarter, as the Panthers held Bedford to just eight points.
“We’ve got to try to keep our confidence and stay positive,” Fitzpatrick said of what he told his team during the second half.
“They’re good players, they’re just getting down what we want them to run.”
Bedford got 12 points off the bench from Ryan Brown, nine of which came in the second half.