Milford boys beat Pelham; Spartans endure first loss of season Tuesday at Lebanon

MILFORD – Scoring proved to a precious commodity in Milford on Friday night, but the Spartans still found a way to keep their bid for a perfect season alive – until Tuesday, anyway.

Milford defeated Pelham 47-43 in a contest where stifling defense on both sides led to an evening of turnovers and poor shooting all around.

However, the Spartans (15-1) suffered their first loss of the season Tuesday with a 47-42 setback at Lebanon.

On Friday, with the lack of offensive spurts, the game remained close through its entirety, with Milford’s lead never reaching double digits.

However, Milford did retain the lead for the entire game, although this too was in doubt on various occasions, particularly late.

Most notably, the Pythons brought the game back within one score with just under two minutes left, but that would be as close as they came. Four free-throw conversions in the final 10 seconds by Milford’s Weston Pare and Jamie Pare put the game out of reach once and for all.

Pelham head coach Mike Larson was still pleased with his team’s defensive performance despite the loss, calling it the best he’s seen from his team all season. If there is a silver lining for the Pythons from this game, one could point the fact that Milford won this matchup by twice as many points in January.

“Last time was a learning experience for us, we had a couple of situations where we panicked and gave up 10-0 runs and made poor decisions,” Larson said. “We did a lot better job this time around. We still had a couple of questionable things that we did, but overall our effort was pretty good.”

For Milford head coach Dan Murray, the outcome was close to expectations given Pelham’s proximity to Milford near the top of the Division II standings and a lack of practice time over the past two weeks.

Indeed, in the past week Goffstown and Windham also came close to ending the Spartans’ perfect year. But in those games, like Friday, Milford continued to find ways to win, just as the Spartans have throughout the season.

“All the teams we’ve played (lately) have played real hard defense, like Windham, really physical,” Murray said. “I’m real happy with that win, we knew it was tough coming in. We’re just playing a little bit better than our opponents right now.”

Milford’s only players in double digits on the score sheet were Ryan Banuskevich (13 points) and Jamie Pare (10 points). Shane Winnett contributed eight points along with eight rebounds.