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Serrano goes for 29 as Bears claw Gilford

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Winnisquam's Torrey Martinez goes to the basket for a layup with just five seconds left in the first half last week. The host Bears picked up a big 57-50 win over Gilford. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
January 20, 2014
TILTON My, how things can change in a week.

Just six days after a frustrating loss on the road at Gilford High School, the Winnisquam Regional High School boys' basketball team bounced back in a big way on Jan. 14. Sophomore point guard Christian Serrano scored 29 points, and the Bears used a 13-1 run to open the fourth quarter en route to a 57-50 victory in Division III action.

"It was night and day," said Winnisquam coach Kevin Dame of the two games against Gilford. "We got absolutely killed on the boards in the first game so we did a much better job tonight. The guys knew they weren't up to par last game so they were certainly charged up for this one."

While the Eagles got second and third opportunities almost every time down the floor in the teams' first meeting, that wasn't the case the second time around. Winnisquam, led by Will Singleton and Mike Buxton in the paint, more than held their own down low, and in turn, the Bears were able to get out and run in transition, where they are particularly dangerous.

"We got beat in transition a couple of times," admitted GHS coach Chip Veazey. "We've just got to play better all around than we did today. Winnisquam is a good team and they've got some very good athletes. We didn't finish a lot around the basket but we also didn't get as many second shot chances as last time so give them credit."

The Bears, who won their third straight game, led just 40-38 entering the fourth quarter, but the hosts took off in a big way to start the final stanza. Baskets from Serrano and Singleton got things going, and a huge three-pointer from Spencer Pevine pushed the advantage to 49-39 with 2:37 remaining. That advantage eventually grew to 53-39, but the Eagles tried to close the gap late.

Gilford's Kaleb Orton scored an old-fashioned three-point play, and Josh Joyce drilled a three of his own. Coby Goodwin also knocked down a three, with that quick 9-0 run taking just 29 seconds to cut the lead to 53-48 with 43 seconds left.

But Serrano iced things at the free throw line, and he finished with 10 of his 29 points in the fourth to lead Winnisquam to the 57-50 win.

"When we control the glass, we can get up and down and we were able to do that," said Dame. "If you can have a quiet 29 (points), that just shows you the type of player (Serrano) is. How many players in the state can have a quiet 29?"

Gilford was led by Orton's team-high 19 points, while Joyce totaled 16 points including 12 in the second half.

"We haven't been shooting very well lately and that was a problem for us again," said Veazey. "But this is part of the learning process. We've lost a couple games here now but that's part of putting a season together. You're going to have times where you need to work on things and that's where we are right now. We have areas that need improvement."

Buxton chipped in eight points, including a pair of threes in the third quarter, for the Bears, while Pevine scored all eight of his points in the second half.

It was the first game of the season for Winnisquam with all three guard options (Serrano, Pevine, Tucker Normand) available at the same time.

"We have multiple guys that can perform but it's obviously nice to have all of them at your disposal," Dame explained. "This is a big win for us. In the preseason there wasn't a Lakes Region team that didn't point to Gilford as the team to beat. It shows that we can play to that level when we're on our game."

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