Special night for a special kid on Pelham basketball court
by Mike Bourk from the Lowell Sun: PELHAM -- Like a lot of the other games in the course of an outstanding Pelham High boys basketball season, this one was never in doubt. Ryan Cloutier scored 19 points and the Pythons finished 18-0 in New Hampshire (20-1 overall) with a 70-30 dismantling of Prospect Mountain of Alton on Friday night. It was Senior Night for Pelham and coach Matt Regan added some nice touches. He started the fourth quarter with his five seniors and replaced them as a group at the first whistle for their final regular season time together. The move got the packed house cheering. And the loudest ovation at the "Snake Pit" was reserved for senior Bryan Doherty. Bryan has been the team manager for Pelham High School basketball and football for the last four years.
He has Down syndrome. While Bryan loves going to every game, tonight was special, tonight he played, tonight he scored a basket. He talked about his opportunity to play in the varsity contest: "This was the greatest day of my life. I love practicing and training," he said. "Tonight I got to play and it was an awesome feeling." PHS Athletic Director Todd Kress, speaking earlier about Bryan, said, "He's been a mainstay here at Pelham throughout his four years. He's at all our games. He goes to the practices and gives 100 percent effort. He definitely deserves the recognition." Coach Regan agreed: "He really tries hard at every practice and will do whatever's asked of him. He has a terrific work ethic and a positive attitude."
Parents and players echo the same sentiment. "He and Keith have been friends since sixth grade," said Christine Brown, mother of junior star Keith Brown. "Bryan always seems to know just what to say to Keith if he's having a bad game to get him back on track." "Bryan's whole time here in Pelham has been wonderful," said Bryan's mother, Christine. "From the rec league, to the middle school, to high school he's had great support from coaches, teachers, administrators, and of course players.
There are teachers and aids at the game tonight that had Bryan as a student 10 years ago. He loves basketball."
And football. And he has plans for the spring season as well: "Track and baseball this year, Dad," he said to his father, Joe. "Track and baseball!" Dylan Silvestri scored 13 points for Pelham while Brown, Kyle Frank and Cam Deloreto all played well. Doherty & Co. will host a first-round game in the NHIAA Division 3 Tournament next Thursday.