West drops early test against D-II’s best

Boys basketball team now 2-1 on young season

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West’s Tevin Edmunds slashes toward the net in the third quarter of the Blue Knights’ first setback of the season.

MANCHESTER, NH – Entering Thursday’s contest with identical 2-0 records, the Manchester West and Pelham high school varsity boys basketball players and coaches all knew they were in for a battle.

And battle they did.

The Blue Knights came out of the gate with a strong first quarter to take an early 13-9 lead, but the Pythons were able to slither back in the second quarter to take a 27-21 advantage into halftime.

Pelham then pulled away in the third and held on in a back-and-forth final frame to secure the 60-46 win and break a six-way tie atop the early Division-II standings.

“Right now, they’re number one in D-II. They’re a very good basketball team,” said second-year West head coach John Langlois of the Pythons. “I thought we played hard at the beginning, but then they started to play harder, and that was a big factor, and then we had turnovers that hurt us bad.”

The 14-point setback, however, wasn’t indicative of the competitiveness of Thursday night’s clash, said longtime Pelham head coach Michael Larson

“This was a big test, a great environment, loud in here, a tough physical game the whole way, right from the jump,” he said. “I was a little nervous about how we’d respond. We took a couple punches early, but we did a good job pulling away between the second and third quarters to put it out of reach.”

The Blue Knights entered Thursday’s game with a 2-0 record having earned road wins at Coe-Brown Northwood and Bishop Brady, 56-51 and 57-53, respectively, on Dec. 10 and 13.

Knocked down but not knocked out, the Blue Knights look to get right back on their horse tonight in the back-end of a back-to-back. They’re scheduled to travel to Sanborn, which also entered Thursday with a 2-0 record, for a 6 p.m. tipoff.

“John’s teams are always good, they always play hard, he’s always well prepared. I don’t want to see them again if I can avoid it,” said Larson. “I would expect them to win quite a few games this year.”

Jacob Plamondon is the unquestioned leader for the Blue Knights this season.

“I believe we’ll get better, every day, every week, and I think we’ll be (in the championship mix),” said Langlois. “(Our expectations are) a winning season, tournament position, try to get home court and go from there.”

Leading the charge for the Blue Knights this season is Jacob Plamondon who scored 13 points, including 11 in the first half, before being rested in the fourth quarter with the second of back-to-back games looming tonight.

“He works as hard as anybody in the state of New Hampshire,” said Langlois of his captain. “He’s a great competitor, big time effort. He may have been a little too pumped up and then lost some gas in the middle of the third quarter.”

After tonight’s Sanborn clash, West is scheduled to close its December schedule with a fourth road contest in five games when they make the short trek north to take on Bow at 7 p.m. Monday.

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ryanoconnor

Ryan O'Connor

As a longtime journalist in Southern New Hampshire, Ryan O'Connor has written for several local online and print publications covering everything from school board meetings and local high school sporting events to major crime stories and New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary (yes, the last two are mutually exclusive). In addition to spending time with his beautiful wife and four amazing children, Ryan enjoys attending and serving at church, golfing as much as possible, home brewing, playing softball and snowboarding when time allows.