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High schools: Inter-Lakes defends home court, fends off red-hot Gilford

  • Inter-Lakes forward Eli Swanson divides the Gilford defense on the way to the basket on Wednesday during a 53-51 win in Meredith. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Inter-Lakes forward Eli Swanson barrels through a group of Gilford players on his way to the basket during the second half on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 in Meredith. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Inter-Lakes forward Eli Swanson shoots over a group of Gilford players as he scores to begin the second half on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 in Meredith. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Inter-Lakes forward Eli Swanson drives past Gilford’s David Hart during second half action on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 in Meredith. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Inter-Lakes guard Eli Dupigny drives past Gilford’€™s Nate Hudson during second-half action on Wednesday in Meredith. The Lakers won, 53-51. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Thursday, January 25, 2018

MEREDITH – There’s a reason the Inter-Lakes boys’ basketball team entered Wednesday’s contest 19-2 at home in regular-season play since the start of the 2015-16 season: It’s an uncomfortable environment for opposing teams.

The gym is one of the smallest in Division III – if not the entire state – and its compact design seats players and coaches right on the playing surface with virtually no room to spare between the stands and the court.

“Nobody has these tight sidelines. It really is weird and we’re used to it, but I couldn’t imagine coming in here and playing,” Inter-Lakes forward Eli Swanson said after the Lakers collected yet another home victory with a narrow 53-51 win over Lakes Region rival Gilford. “It’s even different in practice because we have all of these bleachers in so it feels bigger. But the game is just a unique experience.”

It’s an experience Chip Veazey has dealt with many times in his 32 years as the Golden Eagles head coach, and it never gets easier, especially when Inter-Lakes has players the caliber of Swanson.

“We had a real good last week or two and we’ve made progress,” Veazey said after Gilford’s five-game winning streak was snapped. “Tonight would have been a very, very nice win here, but you have to give Inter-Lakes credit. Swanson played very well, he shot well and his shots were pretty contested most of the time and he stepped up.

“So it’s tough, but we fought and it’s a tough place to play in here. It’s very different.”

If the Swanson name sounds familiar, that’s because Eli has taken over where his brother and 1,000-point scorer, Zach, left off a season ago.

The sophomore co-captain has transitioned from sixth man to leading man this season and proved why against the Golden Eagles (6-3). Swanson scored 19 of his game-high 28 points in the second half and iced the contest at the free-throw line in the final seconds to carry the Lakers (6-3).

“I told (Swanson) in the third quarter, ‘This is your time. You’ve got to carry us,’ and he did. So it was a good win for us. We needed that,” Inter-Lakes coach Mike Rathgeber said. “It’s a major transition from being the fourth option to the first option. He prepared himself by playing AAU all summer and he’s still going to have hiccups. But I’ll roll the dice with him on any given night.”

With the game tied at 48-all and 1:43 remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter, Gilford grabbed a one-point lead on a Gregory Madore (team-high 17 points) free throw before Inter-Lakes senior guard Davis Jollimore raced the other way for a tough layup to make it, 50-49.

Gilford’s attempt to regain the lead moments later was rejected when Swanson swatted away sophomore Logan Hughes’s layup attempt and hit two free throws on the other end. Jonathan Nelson responded by banking in a floater for the Golden Eagles with 2.7 seconds left, but Swanson went back to the line following an intentional foul and buried the first free throw before missing the second on purpose to run the clock down to the final buzzer.

“I was just trying to do everything I can to win the game,” Swanson said. “If it’s going to be pass to a layup, that’s fine, whatever I can do to win basically.”

“We needed a signature win,” Rathgeber said. “We didn’t have one all year and we talked about it before the game. I said, ‘The season is over in five weeks. When are we getting our signature win? We’re either in the top eight or we’re not and this week is going to decide it.’ ”

The Golden Eagles entered the contest on fire with marquee wins over Somersworth and Berlin, and that carried over into the first quarter on Wednesday with a 9-0 run to start the game.

Inter-Lakes, though, weathered the storm, chipped away at the lead and went up 30-28 at the half.

The third quarter was a frame of runs. Inter-Lakes opened with buckets from Jollimore (11 points) and Swanson for a 37-30 advantage, but Gilford fired back, using a 3-pointer from senior guard David Hart (10 points) and three field goals inside from Madore to trim the lead to 42-41.

The two teams hit a lull in the fourth, combining for just 13 points in the first six-plus minutes of the period before the Lakers were able to execute and hold on down the stretch.

“It would have been a nice win,” Veazey said. “It was there for the taking and they made a play or two at the end and we didn’t.”

Both teams return to the hardwood on Friday. Gilford visits Prospect Mountain, while Inter-Lakes is scheduled to host White Mountains.

(Jay McAree can be reached at 369-3371, jmcaree@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JayMcAree.)

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Souhegan 69, Coe-Brown 57

Key players: Coe-Brown – Kyshaun Rowell (21 points, 4 assists), Scott Spenard (12 points), Luke McCusker (11 points), Brendan Eaton (6 points)

Highlights/key moments: The Bears struggled on the defensive glass, giving Souhegan too many second-chance points. Still, Coe-Brown was within four points in the fourth quarter before fouling at the end increased the final margin. After starting the season 4-0, the Bears have lost three of their last four.

Coach’s quote: “This was not a defensive gem for us.” – Coe-Brown’s Dave Smith

Records: Coe-Brown 5-3; Souhegan 5-4

Oyster River 49, Pembroke Academy 47

Key players: Pembroke – Noah Cummings (14 points, 5 rebounds, steal), Jake Sherman (!4 points, 3 rebounds, 6 steals), Brandon Linscott (5 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals), Jack Lehoullier (15 rebounds, 4 points)

Highlights/key moments: The game was tight from start to finish, but the Spartans couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch to pull out the win at home and snap Oyster River’s five-game winning streak.

Coach’s quote: “The effort was outstanding, but we’ve just got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball and finding ways to get to the basket, and doing all the little things it takes to win basketball games.” – Pembroke’s Rich Otis

Records: Pembroke 4-3; Oyster River 7-1

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Coe-Brown 76, Plymouth 34

Key players: Ahna McCusker (17 points, 13 rebounds),Val White (17 points), Mary Thoms (9 points)

Highlights/key moments: The Bears led by six points after the first quarter before going on a 28-9 run in the second quarter to take total control.

Coach’s quote: “The girls are playing with confidence and are really starting to believe in themselves. We still have plenty to work on, but it’s nice to see their hard work pay off.” – Coe-Brown’s Joe Vachon

Records: Coe-Brown 5-6; Plymouth 0-10

Franklin 53, Winnisquam 38

Key players: Franklin – Lauren Marsh (26 points), Hannah Hicks (12 points)

Highlights/key moments: Marsh scored 18 of her 26 points in the second half to propel the Golden Tornadoes to a home win over their rivals from Tilton.

Coach’s quote: “The best thing tonight for us is that we made the extra pass and it us got us a couple of easy baskets. That unselfishness will be needed as we close the season trying to make a playoff push.” – Franklin’s JJ Winters

Records: Franklin 3-8; Winnisquam 1-11

Epping 54, Pittsfield 34

Key players: Pittsfield – Katie Rollins (14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals), Haylee Gilleney (10 points), Meredith Smith (9 rebounds)

Highlights/key moments: On Tuesday, the Panthers started strong, taking a 9-8 lead after the first quarter against a very good Epping team that came back behind 20 points from Oakley Lustenberger.

Coach’s quote: “We had a great first half being aggressive on the boards and going to the basket, and if we could have kept that intensity in the second half we would of had a shot to win.” – Pittsfield’s Heidi Hall

Records: Pittsfield 8-2; Epping 2-8

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Concord 9, Manchester Memorial 1

Key players: Concord – Mike Stoddard (2 goals, 2 assists), Shane Riley (2 goals), Andrew Paquette (goal), Devin Philbrick (goal), Derek Kelleher (goal), Alex Forward (goal), Jake Sullivan (first career goal), Matt Hauschild (3 assists), Kyle McKinnon (3 assists)

Highlights/key moments: The Crimson Tide continued their winning, and goal-scoring, ways with this home win. Concord scored at least six goals for the fifth time this season, upped its scoring average to 5.9 goals per game and pushed its winning streak to four straight.

Records: Concord 7-1; Manchester Memorial 2-7

John Stark–Hopkinton 7,
Moultonborough-Inter-Lakes 2

Key players:John Stark – Nolan Sauer (2 goals, assist), Noah Chapman (goal, 2 assists), Jake Cole (goal, assist), Brett Patnode (goal, assist), Paul Molnar (goal), Benny Madden (goal), Noah Lewis (assist); Moult.-I-L– Brett Burns (2 assists), Garrett McCarthy (goal), Alexandr Sorokin (goal)

Highlights/key moments: Stark-Hopkinton took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from Cole and Madden, Second-period goals from Molnar and Sauer made it 4-0, and Patnode pushed that lead to 5-0 early in the third.

Coach’s quote: “Well-rounded scoring tonight with six different scorers. The majority of the game we were able to win the small battles for the pucks and we were able to get the puck to the net.” – John Stark-Hopkinton’s Denis Kolehmainen

Records: John Stark-Hopkinton 8-1-1; Moltonborough-Inter-Lakes 4-4-1

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Concord 11,
Keene-Monadnock-Fall Mountain 2

Key players: Concord – Lillian Vezina (4 goals), Maggie Connolly (first goal of the year), Jaden Morin (first goal of the year)

Coach’s quote: “Our effort finally got us the result we were looking for. There are still some points in our game we can certainly improve on, but today we were able to handle what was thrown at us and create positives from it. Great to see consistent contributions on the score sheet, as well as some newcomers who’ve worked all year to be rewarded.” – Concord’s Patrick McDonough

Records: Concord 4-6; Keene-Monadnock-Fall Mountain 2-6

WRESTLING

Concord 51, Bedford 12

Key players: Concord – Ethan Comeau (win by pin at 120 pounds), Liddon Ling (14-7 decision at 145), Hugh Gunnison (pin at 182)

Highlights/key moments: The Crimson Tide improved to 13-0 in dual meets with this win. The majority of Concord’s points came by forfeit against an undermanned Bedford squad.

Campbell 42, John Stark 17

Key players: John Stark – Thomas Johnston (technical fall win at 160 pounds), Joshua Albert (win by pin at 170), Jeffrey Johnston (pin at 195)

Coach’s quote: “We won three out of six (contested) matches. We may have lost the dual by forfeits, but the kids who wrestled, wrestled tough.” – John Stark’s Tim Capen

Bow 51, White Mountains 21

Key players: Bow – Wyatt Rheinhardt (win by pin at 106 pounds), Anna Krause (9-3 decision at 132), Mark Borak (pin at 152), Zack Anderson (pin at 126), Andrew Bliss (pin at 138), Ben Boufford (win by forfeit at 145), Jonathan Sutera (9-3 win at 182), Aidan Hyslop (pin at 170), Chris Wheeler (8-3 win at 220), William Zachistal (pin at 285)

Highlights/key moments: Senior captain Borak continued his season-long path of excellence, and the Falcons got more big points from their freshmen as they improved to 6-0 in dual meets.

BOYS’ NORDIC

Concord first

Key players: Concord – Nathaniel Nichols (1st overall), Cameron Brochu (2nd), Eben Bragg (3rd), Gavin Graham (4th), Jordan Blanchard (8th)

Highlights/key moments: Concord emerged as the top team at the Bedford Classic at Waterville Valley, besting runner-up Bedford, 394-369. The Tide swept the top four spots in the race, with Nichols breezing through the course in 10:14. Aaron Russell finished 18th.

GIRLS’ NORDIC

Concord first

Key players: Concord – Heather Deacon (3rd overall), Brenna McNamara (5th), Johanne Nichols (6th), Julie Deacon (7th), Kaitlyn Watt (8th)

Highlights/key moments: With four skiers inside the top 10, Concord won the Bedford Classic at Waterville Valley with a team score of 383. Bishop Guertin finished second at 373. Heather Deacon nearly claimed the top spot with a final time of 13:27, but she was 17 seconds behind overall winner Morgan Nault from Manchester Memorial.