Pelham completes run to D-II state title

By: KJ Cardinal

DURHAM – Fifth-seeded Pelham completed its impressive run to the 2023 NHIAA Division II Boys Basketball State Championship as the Pythons defeated No. 2 Pembroke, 57-54, on Sunday morning at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

It was the first close playoff game Pelham participated in this postseason as the Pythons run to the title included a 31-point win over No. 12 Kingswood (78-47), a 20-point victory against No. 4 Manchester West (77-57) and a 38-point defeat of top-seeded Laconia (69-31).

The final was close throughout, however, as the game featured 10 lead changes and four ties. Halfway through the second quarter, the Pythons were faced with their biggest deficit of the postseason as they trailed Pembroke by eight with 4:44 left in the half. The Pythons chipped away to cut the lead to one at the break, 31-30.

The Spartans took the third quarter, 13-12, and a two-point bulge to the final frame. The Pythons responded over the last eight minutes to complete the comeback.

The victory marks the fourth Pelham title in school history, the second in Division II and the first since 2016.

Pelham (18-4) was led by 20 points from Zach James and 16 from Dom Herrling. The Spartans (18-3) were paced by a game-high 22 points from Mike Strazzeri and 13 from Joe Fitzgerald.

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