Panthers had the pace, just not the win vs. Lancers

Telegraph photo by TOM KING Nashua South's Jason Compoh battles Londonderry's James Buttafuoco (20) and Ethan May fora rebound during the Panthers' 49-40 Division I prelim loss Tuesday night at LHS

LONDONDERRY – It was their pace. Their helter-skelter tempo. Just not their night.

And thus, the Nashua High School South Panthers team saw their season end in Tuesday night’s Division I boys basketball prelim via a 49-40 loss at the hands of No. 4 Londonderry.

“We were OK with (no rhythm),” South coach Nate Mazerolle said. “We haven’t had rhythm all year. We wanted slow it down, sloppy, we won ugly when we have won. … They fed off our endless turnovers (16 in total), but their poise, and their offensive rebounding won them the game.”

Still, it was anybody’s game after South’s Ivan Nyantenji hit a 3-pointer with 5:19 left in the third quarter to bring the No. 13 Panthers (8-11) within 25-24. But then the Lancers went on a 11-2 run to close out the quarter, keyed by a big Max DesRosiers 3-pointer and a James Buttafuoco layup.

The Panthers never got closer than the final thereafter.

“I thought we kind of picked up the pace a little bit, we got our defensive intensity back,” said Lancers coach Nate Stanton, his 15-4 team set to host No. 5 Winnacunnet in Friday’s quarterfinals. “Kudos to Nashua, I think they adjusted well, compared to the first time we played them. It definitely wasn’t our best game.”

It may have been one of South’s Andres Hulfachor’s best, though, as he pumped in 17 points, but was held to just four in the second half. Londonderry got 15 from Ethan May and 12 from Jackson Cox, whose layup early in the fourth made it a 40-26 game. Ivan Nyantenji added 11 for the Panthers.

Hulfachor kept South in it in the first half, as the Lancers led 12-7 and 21-16 at the stops.

“He’s as tough a kid as we’ve had in the program for a long time,” Mazerolle said. “Thankfully he’s only a junior. … He gave everything he had.”

But the Panthers just couldn’t get back in the game once the Lancers made their run.

“We got a little tired,” Mazerolle said. “Little tired, our rotation was, well, this is our 19th real game and I’m not sure what our rotation is. They’re a very well-coached, disciplined team.”

For nine Lancers, it was their first varsity tournament game, but the way they closed it out, you wouldn’t have known it.

“We adjusted well in the second half,” Stanton said, “and went back to our defensive philosophy in the second half and created turnovers.”

Mazerolle is thrilled to have Hulfachor, Nyantenji and eight others from the roster back, losing five.

“I’m very excited about next year,” he said.

But he certainly would’ve liked one more game for this year.