Honestly, Pelham High boys hoop coach Matt Regan was looking to land a warning shot in the season finale at Portsmouth.
Instead, he and the Pythons will have to make their noise when it matters for real as the New Hampshire Division 1 and 2 State Tournament pairings were announced yesterday.
“We’ve got a lot of guys with little experience in the tournament who have to show up for us,” said Regan, whose No. 8 Pythons host No. 9 Plymouth in the Division 2 opener tomorrow night. “But hey, the best thing you can do is go out and play well your first time around.”
To earn the Cinderella tag, Pelham will need its top guns, junior Jake Vaiknoras and freshmen Keith Brown to compete at top levels. They could also use a break or two, as an opening round win would yield a quarterfinal trip to undefeated top seed Pembroke.
Pembroke features Pat Welch, who is a junior on pace to score 2,000 career points. But, he is one of three first team All-state Division 2 first-teamers on the squad.
“First things first, though. We have to deal with Plymouth,” said Regan, whose club pummeled the Bobcats, 56-22, in the regular season finale Thursday night. “They were in foul trouble, and we played an absolute complete game. This one is not going to be a walk in the park.”
The Pythons are the only area team in Divisions 1 or 2 to open at home, as Salem, Londonderry and Pinkerton are giant underdogs on the road in Division 1, while Windham High is in tough at Oyster River.
The Jags dropped both regular season meetings between the two, by a hoop at home and 10 in Durham.
Here’s an inside look at the two tourneys:
Top Seeds: 1. Trinity, 2. Manchester Central, 3. Spaulding, 4. Nashua South
Power Players: Jack Preston, South, 18.4 ppg.; Troy Pelletier, Manchester Central, 17.7; Dominic Paradis, Spaulding, 17.2 ppg.; Tyler Livingston, Alvirne, 16.6; Tim Preston, South, 16.2; Mabor Gabriel, Trinity, 16.1; Carmen Giampetruzzi, Trinity, 15.8; Tong Akot, Memorial, 15.1; Billy Carroll, Dover, 13.7