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Whalers run their winning streak to 10 games

By Vickie Fulkerson

Publication: The Day

Published February 01. 2014 4:00AM

New London - New London coach Craig Parker figures his team came into Friday night's game averaging 10 or 11 3-point field goals per game.

Against Plainfield on Friday, the Whalers had two 3-pointers, one by 6-foot-5 center Josh Maynard. New London also played without starting forward De'Vonta Robinson, who sprained his ankle in the opening moments of the 68-54 victory.

What Parker liked about the performance, however, and what he likes about his boys' basketball team in general right now, is that it keeps manufacturing ways to win.

The Whalers are 12-1 overall, 6-0 in the Eastern Connecticut Conference Medium Division entering Monday's first-place matchup with Waterford. New London, which has won 10 straight, beat Waterford 57-55 in their previous meeting on Seth Lake's 3-pointer as time expired.

"I like the chemistry of this team," Parker said. "I believe we have some decent shooters, we have some decent inside players and we can go 5-10 players deep.

"We have 10 different kids we can put out on the floor. Our problem hasn't been scoring; we have multiple kids who have led us in scoring."

Maynard and forward Nick Barner filled that role for the Whalers against Plainfield with 16 points each. Barner added 13 rebounds and Maynard had 11. Collin Sawyer finished with 13 points for the Whalers.

Maynard, a senior who transferred from Waterford a year ago, was named one of New London's captains this year along with Sawyer and C.J. Parker.

The Whalers graduated The Day's Player of the Year from last season, Keith Porter, the team's one bona fide star.

"It's cool. Some people thought, 'New London's going to have a down year,'" Maynard said. "We want to prove everybody wrong.

"We've all got to work as a team. At halftime coach was pretty fired up. He told us we've got to work harder. We weren't working hard enough on defense. Tonight tested us a little bit because we weren't clicking in the beginning."

Ryan Pambuku finished with 30 points for Plainfield, one of the likely reasons for Parker's lecture on defense.

New London, which had seven fouls by the end of the first quarter, led just 32-26 at halftime and 32-30 after the Panthers got a pair of jump shots from Pambuku and Stevie Jankowski to start the third quarter.

The Whalers launched a 10-2 run from there, however, getting two big baskets from Maynard during that span and a 3-pointer from Nabate Metts, extending the lead to 42-32.

The closest Plainfield would get from there is five points following a drive by Pambuku to start the fourth quarter, but Sawyer responded to that threat with a basket and Maynard added a basket and a free throw as the Whalers pulled away.

"We have to defend better. We have to play with more energy. And our shooters have to make shots," said Parker of what New London needs to do to finish the season as strong as it's started.

"I told them today at halftime, 'It's a simple game.' You have to rebound. You have to defend. You have to make good decisions. And you've got to play hard."

v.fulkerson@theday.com

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