Sabers boys hang on for big victory over Spartans

In the middle of an up and down season, the Souhegan High School boys basketball team was hoping for a major win.

The Sabers got just that on Friday night when they defeated Milford, 61-51 in a Division II matchup that was a see-saw of momentum.

The intensity never dwindled, but both teams took about a quarter to get into their offensive forms. Each team made quick scampers down the floor, but could not get shots to fall initially.

Souhegan (4-6) broke the mold by cranking out a 14-point scoring stretch from the end of the opening quarter into the second putting themselves in a comfortable 11-point cushion.

“We’ve improved and we’re better defensively than we were,” Souhegan coach Peter Pierce said. “We don’t execute as well as I would like at times, but we’re playing with more passion and energy on the defensive side of the ball. That makes things easier. If you pay the price on defense, you’ll be rewarded on the offensive end.”

When Daniel Murray hit an electrifying 3-pointer, the Spartans (5-4) found an offensive groove of their own by forcing some turnovers and capitalizing on quality shots. The 13-point Milford spurt was enough to knot the score at 18 shortly before the half.

“That’s when we’re driving the ball and moving,” Milford coach Dan Murray said. “A lot of our scoring slumps are when we settle and take shots instead of attacking.”

The Sabers pulled out to another ten point lead, 30-20, in the third quarter only to have it closed to two. The Spartans were able to stay resilient by mounting aggressive drives through the Sabers man to man defense to the hoop.

To open the final quarter, Jerrell Webster drained a field goal and Alexander Hill added a lengthy 3-pointer that inflated the Souhegan lead to nine and broke the back and forth battle for good. The Sabers’ defense tightened up under the hoop while the offense was able to make the most of nearly every possession.

Murray piled up 14 points for the Spartans, Kirk Palladino contributed for 13 and Jack Briggs tossed in 10.

For Souhegan, Webster tallied 16 points, Hill had 13 and Isaac Nevrla added nine.