Defeats over two visiting opponents to the Hackler Gymnasium last week left coach Peter Rosinski and his Pinkerton Academy boys’ basketball squad contemplating a Division I record of 4-0.
The Astros upped their divisional mark to a perfect 3-0 – and had no trouble with a struggling Winnacunnet High Warriors’ team from Hampton – in a 64-33 blowout in Derry Tuesday, Jan. 6.
Rosinski’s roster ran out to a 19-13 lead in the first quarter, and the hosts were up by a full 14 points (32-18) at halftime, with Matt Rizzo having led the way by netting eight points.
The academy cagers also won the third and fourth quarters in driving to the 31-point throttling of their winless guests.
The long-range bomber Brennan Morris netted 18 points to pace the victors, Rizzo was good for 16, Tom Olson tallied nine, and Tom Romick and Geo Baker-Occeus each collected eight.
Among the most noteworthy facets of the PA victory were the great connection between sophomore court general Baker-Occeus and versatile junior Rizzo, and the impressive ball-handling and dishing of Baker-Occeus in general.
“We knew this team, with experience from last year and getting bigger and stronger from last year, would improve greatly,” said Rosinski of his crew. “The key is our perimeter play. Every returning player has improved dramatically, and Geo also adds to the group of six strong perimeter players. Now we have more players that can create and are strong enough to contest any opponent. But it’s early yet. The only game that counts is the one we are playing.”
The Astros then received a bit of a scare from an unbeaten Pembroke Academy bunch in Derry last Friday night, Jan. 9, before claiming a 58-51 victory.
The now 3-1 visitors had their deficit down to a mere three points at 54-51 with 30 seconds left in regulation time, but Pinkerton managed to sink some clutch free throws to push the final decision its way.
The Astro side sprinted out to a 22-6 lead in quarter one and it had a 13-point advantage of 31-18 when halftime rolled around.
But Pinkerton’s lead was down to a significantly more tenuous six points (41-35) at the close of three quarters.
Baker-Occeus led the Pinkerton offensive attack with 15 points while Caleb Godin snagged nine and Drew Green and Morris each collected eight. Green and Morris each buried a pair of three-pointers for the winning side.