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Boys’ high schools: MV basketball remains undefeated with win over Souhegan



Monitor staff
Saturday, January 06, 2018

It’s hard to predict who is going to be the hero of the night, but through four games and four wins, this much is true – someone will step up for the Merrimack Valley boys’ basketball team when it matters most.

On Friday, it was a combination of Jake Hebert leading the team with 19 points in the first half and Kyle Dube knocking down key free throws in the closing minutes.

Dube finished the game with a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds), guiding the Pride (4-0) to a 63-53 win over Souhegan (1-3) in Division II action.

“Every game is a learning experience, and so far it’s always someone different (stepping up),” third-year MV coach Tim Mucher said. “So far guys have shown they’re capable of making big plays at the right time. Kyle Dube went to the line tonight and made a ton of free throws in the fourth quarter.”

The Pride have gotten off to a far better start than they did in the early weeks of last season, when they stumbled out to a 1-6 record in their first seven. That year ended in a first-round exit in the D-II tournament.

It’s far too early to begin putting postseason expectations on this team after four games, but the Pride have proven their ability to close out close contests.

Friday was the exception in that regard as MV got out to a quick start, leading 34-14 at halftime, but lifted its foot off the gas in the fourth quarter.

“We came out of the gate strong for once,” Mucher said. “We played a good first half where we’re usually sitting back. But tonight it was a reversal. We didn’t play too well in the fourth quarter.”

Already in the bonus to begin the fourth, Mucher called on his players to take care of the ball and be patient. The main objectives were to drain the clock and get to the free-throw line.

The opportunity for free points came – and Dube helped put them on the board – but the Pride coughed up more turnovers than Mucher would have liked, allowing Souhegan to creep its way back into the game.

“We were playing the clock, just trying to get to the line, but (Souhegan’s) press hurt us,” Mucher said. “We didn’t value the basketball. We weathered the storm, and we’ll look back and learn from this.”

The Pride will look to extend its season-opening streak to five games on Tuesday at Lebanon. The Raiders took their first loss on Friday against ConVal, 40-37.

“They (Lebanon) are probably going to fix whatever happened tonight,” Mucher said. “It’s a home game for them and should be a great game. Lebanon is a quality program.”

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Exeter 80, Concord 47

Key players: Concord – Tyler Blodgett (16 points), Rylan Canabano (11 points), Jacob Knowles (9 points, 7 rebounds)

Highlights/key moments: The Tide held a 16-15 lead after the first quarter, but Exeter mounted a 12-2 run in the second and led 31-21 at halftime. Concord struggled offensively, shooting 18 percent.

Coach’s quote: “We got killed on the boards tonight. It looked like some of our guys were lethargic and tired. Just no real fire out there. It’s no excuse, we just need to focus and get better tomorrow.” – Concord’s Dave Chase

Records: Exeter 4-0; Concord 2-1

Coe-Brown 51, Oyster River 49

Key players: Coe-Brown – Kyshaun Rowell (7 points, game-winning basket), Scott Spenard (22 points, 5 assists), Luke McCusker (11 points, 7 rebounds), Mitchell Wade (7 points, 5 rebounds), Brendan Eaton (4 points, 9 rebounds), Ben Watson (7 rebounds, defense), Jake Rich (defense)

Highlights/key moments: Rowell layed in two points with five seconds left to give Coe-Brown a big win at home over rival Oyster River in front of a packed house. Spenard made a key steal earlier in the fourth quarter, shaking up the back-and-forth rhythm that kept these teams close throughout the game. Coe-Brown trailed by four points at halftime and tied it up entering the fourth quarter.

Records: Coe-Brown 3-0; Oyster River 2-1

Milford 57, Kearsarge 55, OT

Key players: Kearsarge – Joe Storozuk (15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists), Noah Tremblay (20 points, 5 rebounds), Kyle Hernon (11 points, 16 rebounds), Ben Carl (5 points, 7 rebounds), Scott Bassi (4 points, 6 rebounds), Tyler Skidmore (3 rebounds, great defense)

Highlights/key moments: Milford’s Gavin Urda hit a 3 with 30 seconds left in regulation to tie the game, 51-51, and the Spartans sealed the deal in overtime. Kearsarge was down, 23-11, at the end of the first quarter, but cut the deficit to 33-32 at halftime. Kearsarge led 51-45 in the fourth quarter, but missed free throws that could have secured the victory.

Coach’s quote: “We settled in. We made shots and didn’t panic. We knew it would be a tough match up. Storozuk stepped up tonight and Tremblay made big plays throughout the game.” – Kearsarge’s Nate Camp

Records: Milford 4-1; Kearsarge 3-3

Somersworth 65, Winnisquam 36

Key players: Winnisquam – Kyle Mann (20 points)

Highlights/key moments: The Bears struggled to keep up with the undefeated squad from Somersworth, which took a 30-11 lead into halftime.

Coach’s quote: “We played with some intensity in the first half, but we need to play harder in the second. We’re young and we’ve got some work to do.” – Winnisquam’s Kevin Dame

Records: Somersworth 4-0; Winnisquam 1-4

Newmarket 66, Pittsfield 60

Key players: Pittsfield – Cam Darrah (27 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists), Dylan Bocash (12 points), Josh Whittier (8 points, 6 rebounds)

Highlights/key moments: Pittsfield trailed 11-5 after a sluggish first quarter, but a big second quarter put the Panthers up one with 36 seconds to go in the half. Newmarket went on 6-0 run to take a 28-23 halftime lead. The Mules outscored Pittsfield, 23-18, in the third and although the Panthers controlled the pace in the fourth quarter, Newmarket went 8-for-8 from the free throw line to hand Pittsfield its first loss of the season.

Coach’s quote: “For as many things as we did not do well tonight and as poorly as we shoot, we still found a way to be in the game in the last minute. We will improve on the things we didn’t do well and be ready for our next one.” – Pittsfield’s Jay Darrah

Records: Newmarket 5-0; Pittsfield 4-1