Pembroke pulls away late in 59-47 win over Hollis Brookline boys

PEMBROKE – For 29 minutes, the Hollis Brookline boys basketball team went punch for punch with Pembroke, but in the last three minutes, the Spartans showed why they won last year’s Division II title.

Pembroke scored the final 10 points of the game to squeeze by the Cavaliers 59-47.

The Spartans led from late in the first quarter until the final horn, but Hollis Brookline put together a strong effort on the defensive end, it forced 10 turnovers, to keep pace.

“I thought we executed exceptionally well on both ends of the floor,” Hollis Brookline coach Michael Soucy said. “If we play with that type of energy and enthusiasm, there’s not many teams in our division that can beat us.”

The most enthusiastic Cavalier was Shea Whalen. The 6-foot-6 senior pumped in 14 points, pulled down seven rebounds, and picked off three steals. Whalen also dealt with Pembroke’s big forwards, Kafani Williams and Max Curran, on the defensive end.

“I think he’s learned a lot over the last couple of weeks – maintaining composure – keep his emotions under check,” Soucy said of Whalen. “When he does that he’s a terrific player, and he’s going to be a force to deal with.”

Pembroke was able to use its size, the Spartans played four players taller than 6-feet 4-inches compared to HB’s one, to control the glass and outrebound the Cavaliers 37-19. Curran led the way, pulling down 10 boards himself, while Williams pulled down seven.

Pembroke’s control of the glass allowed them to put up multiple shots offensively, which doomed Hollis Brookline.

“The thing that did us in was defensive rebounding. We need to do better on the back boards,” Soucy said. “We just didn’t match the physicality. If we had done that and boxed out a little bit better maybe we get a couple of calls or secure a few more rebounds. That was the difference in the game.”

HB’s Matt Fothergill pumped in three 3-pointers in 70 seconds before halftime to cut a 10-point gap down to three. Fothergill finished with 12 points.

Defensively, Fothergill marked Pembroke star Pat Welch, but Welch solved him and get open as the to finish with a game-high 22 points.

“We held him quiet for most of the game and he got a couple of opportunities and buried them,” Soucy said of Welch. “He’s a great player.”

Hollis seniors Logan Blake and Ryan Papineau had eight and seven points, respectively.

“We don’t want to rely on just shooting threes,” Soucy said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can score in a variety of different ways. We want to make sure that everything comes through our offense. … Sometimes you force it too much and you get nothing positive out of it.”