Souhegan boys fall at Pelham

PELHAM – A matchup with 7-2 Souhegan traveling to 9-2 Pelham, at least on paper, certainly could have or should have made for one of those special late January nights.

The Souhegan boys just didn’t see it that way. The Sabers struggled early then got rocked to sleep in a sluggish third, ultimately falling, 58-41, to coach Mike Larson’s Pythons here at the “Snake Pit.”

“That’s absolutely fair to say,” said Sabers coach Peter Pierce when presented with the notion that his team did not match Pelham’s intensity.

“I thought we had everything in place. I thought we understood what was on the line. It’s a lesson that I hope we learn from.”

Pierce’s crew kind of crept through a 29-19 first half but at least hung around. A drought of nearly 4:25 to open the third quarter smothered any notion of a comeback, though.

By the time Jeff Kiesewetter finally broke the ice with a 3-pointer at the 3:35 mark, the carnage had been inflicted with Pelham owning a 41-22 lead.

“We knew we needed to dig into that lead by at least a possession or two in the third quarter, and we didn’t do that at all,” said Pierce, whose club would not get closer than 15 the rest of the night. “We were just unable to stop them or score.”

Now 7-3, Souhegan tumbles precariously into a tie for sixth in the Division II standings with more than a handful of four-loss teams clumped around the Sabers looking to carve their way into the top half of the playoff draw, which carries a home postseason game along with it. One of those teams, 5-4 Kearsarge, will host the Sabers in a key tussle on Thursday night.

“We just have to be better everywhere,” said Pierce.

“Our main focus now has to be solely on getting ready to play at Kearsarge, and that’s it.”

Derek Crowley paced Pelham, which has now ripped off eight straight wins, with 20 points. Sophomore Jake Dumont tossed in a dozen.

Jeff Boehm led Souhegan with a dozen points, and Trey Johnson had nine. The big sophomore, Matt McCool, was held to eight.

“We really didn’t do anything special with him, but defense is our forte,” said Larson, whose club KO’d Division I unbeaten Campbell last Tuesday night in Litchfield. “We felt like we have the guys who could slow him down, and the other guys were there to help.”

For Pierce, it’s a matter of turning the page. Souhegan has beaten good teams along the way to this solid start. The Sabers belong in the Division II discussion, at least they should, when tourney time approaches next month.

“That locker room is pretty down right now,” said Pierce.

“But everyone in there understands where we are at, and what we have to do to be where we want to be.”