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Contigiani’s steady hand lifts Belmont girls’ basketball over Franklin

After trailing the entire game, the Belmont girls’ basketball team’s fate rested on the foul shooting skills of junior Cassie Contigiani last night.

Down by one, 46-45, Contigiani stepped to the line with five seconds left and buried both free throws, lifting the Red Raiders to a 47-46 upset victory over visiting Franklin and pulling them to within a game of .500 at 7-8. The Golden Tornadoes dropped their second in three games to fall to 9-6.

“This is a big step for the program,” Belmont Coach Mark Dawalga said. “We’re showing a big difference from last year.”

Contigiani wouldn’t have had the chance to win the game if not for the efforts of her teammates, namely junior Chayleigh Cadarette and freshman Shannon Davies, both of whom came up with double-doubles. Cadarette had team highs with 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Davis added 12 points and 12 rebounds. Contigiani finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

Franklin led 6-5 after the first quarter, 22-18 at halftime and 34-30 after three quarters. The Tornadoes upped their lead to as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter, but Courtney Clairmont and Makayla Donovan helped tighten Belmont’s defense, making some key defensive stops and causing numerous of turnovers.

Then finally, a pair of free throws put the Raiders over the hump for the first time.

“Coach does a great job with the team,” Dawalga said of Franklin’s J.J. Winters. “We’re happy to come away with a win.”

Belmont will try to reach .500 when it faces Laconia on the road on Friday night. Franklin will try to get back on the winning track when it plays host to Berlin.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

KEENE 59, CONCORD 53

The Crimson Tide (1-12) led 29-24 at the half and by three with just over three minutes to play, but Keene (2-11) was the team that executed in the end. The Owls went 17-for-20 from the line (Concord was 9-for-13) and won for the first time since their season opener.

Cassidy Emerson led the Tide with 15 points, Peyton Osgood finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and four steals, and Sydney McClellan had seven points, two assists and a block.

Merrimack Valley 73, Kennett 31

Merrimack Valley’s press held the Eagles (5-8) to just 13 points in the first half as the Pride (10-3) won its third straight heading into Friday’s showdown with first-place Milford (12-1).

Olivia Thurber (15 points) led a balanced offensive output that saw five MV players in double figures - Thurber, Mayson Kimball (13 points), Mary Mullen (12), Cassidy Huckins (11) and Emily Mulleavey (10). The Pride also got eight points off the bench from Sammi Osborne.

Coe-Brown 46, St. Thomas 44

Sarah Curtin drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Bears (8-5) after they had let a 27-16 halftime lead slip away.

Leading 44-43, St. Thomas (5-8) missed a free throw, allowing the Bears to go into what Coach David Hartnett calls their “structured fast break” with about 10 seconds left. An entry pass went into 6-foot forward Jen Schlim, but she didn’t have a good shot so she kicked the ball back out to Curtin beyond the arc for the final shot.

“Nothing but net,” Hartnett said.

Curtin finished with 10 points, behind only Schlim’s 12 for team high. Sydney Fisher and Debbie Peabody added eight apiece.

Manchester West 39, John Stark 29

The Generals (1-12) let an opportunity for their second win slip away as the Blue Knights (1-13) steadily built their lead to end their season-long losing streak.

“Defensively the third quarter killed us,” said Generals Coach Chris Howard, whose team was outscored 9-5 in the period and trailed 28-20. “We gave them too many easy looks and turned it over too many times to give ourselves a chance going into the fourth.

Clarissa Foote (10 points) and Hannah Nelson (seven points) led the offense, while Kylee Frink-Kendrick grabbed 12 rebounds, showed great hustle and played well defensively.

Bishop Brady 52, Sanborn 20

The Green Giants (13-2) made sure the Indians (1-14) never got a glimpse of an upset, taking leads of 12-4 after one quarter and 25-5 at halftime.

“Great defense,” Brady Coach Aaron Brochu said. “We (forced) a lot of turnovers.”

Sarah Thomas had a great all-around game, scoring 12 points, grabbing six rebounds and making six steals. Riley Bennett (12 points), Melissa Mallahan (seven points) and Emma Will (six points) also contributed to the offense.

Campbell 50, Bow 29

Campbell (15-1) avenged its only loss of the year, a 43-39 decision against the Falcons back on Jan. 28, with this win at Bow. After winning eight straight, the Falcons (11-5) have now lost two in a row.

Bow shot well to start, hitting three straight 3-pointers early in the opening quarter, but the Cougars took a 17-14 lead by the end of the first and kept building from there. Ashlie Tucker led Bow with seven points, six assists, and one steal, Kirsten Bresson had eight points, four rebounds and two steals, and Amanda Murray finished with five points, six rebounds and three steals. Campbell’s Hannah Neild had a game-high 16 points to go along with five assists, four steals and two rebounds.

Hopkinton 60, Kearsarge 47

Hopkinton (12-3) came out firing, scoring 20 points in the first quarter for a 20-15 lead, then led at every quarter mark to secure the win over a pesky Kearsarge (2-12) team.

“We’re a big team (and) we’ve got to start playing like one,” Hopkinton Coach Dave Hughes said. “I thought we did a good job of that tonight.”

Hannah Hughes had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, Brittany Marshall contributed 13 points and five rebounds, Sabrey Montore added 10 points and eight assists, and Callie Chase finished with eight points and seven rebounds.

Anna Cahill led the way for Kearsarge with 17 points, while Devi Krashaaur finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Winnisquam 45, Laconia 39

For the second straight game, the Bears played a team they had lost to earlier this season. And for the second straight game, they avenged that defeat.

“That’s always a good thing this late in the season,” said Bears Coach Amy Dutton, whose team improved to 8-8 with its fourth win in its last five games. Laconia fell to 9-6.

The Bears led 30-27 after three quarters but fell behind by four with about 31⁄2 minutes left before rallying behind the play of Hannah Chapin. The senior captain scored nine of her 11 points in the fourth, and she also finished the night with 10 rebounds.

Point guard Rachel Willcutt added eight points and ran the offense efficiently, Dallis Austin scored nine points, Kaylee Howard scored a clutch five points, and Madison Langan and Kendra Lonergan came off the bench to play scrappy pressure defense.

Fall Mountain 48, Hillsboro-Deering 15

The Hillcats (1-15) were never really in the game, as the Wildcats (13-1) jumped to a 17-2 lead after the first quarter and upped the margin to 29-5 at halftime.

“I think they’re going to win it all,” H-D Coach Bill Warnken said. “They have the whole combo.”

H-D trailed 38-7 after three before finishing strong with eight points in the fourth quarter. Taylor Borrows led the Hillcats with four points.

PITTSFIELD 37, DERRYFIELD 34

Using a 10-0 run to start the game and effective decision making to end it, the Panthers (8-7) snapped a five-game losing streak against a Derryfield team (9-7) it lost to two weeks ago.

“We haven’t won a close game all year, so it was big for us to be able to execute at the end and find a way to win a close one,” Pittsfield Coach Steve Langevin said. “We also needed a win to get some momentum heading into our last three games.”

Brooke Vien led a balanced scoring attack with 12 points and converted two late buckets to help hold off the Cougars. Kylee Morel, an eighth grader, also played well down the stretch and finished with seven points for the Panthers, who got more solid contributions from Steph Gauthier (seven points) and Katie Steeves (six points, 14 rebounds).

Concord Christian 32, Portsmouth Christian 22

Lily Rivera had 19 points and 12 rebounds as the Lady Kingsmen overcame a slow start to win on the road to improve to 3-13. Kendra Jarvis also had a big game for Concord Christian with nine points and 10 rebounds while Suzanne Kleinberg and Morgan Draus added two points each.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

CONCORD 59, KEENE 47

The Crimson Tide have been focused on taking care of the basketball during recent practices, and it paid off in Keene.

“We didn’t turn the ball over as much as we have been and we took good shots,” Concord Coach John Finnegan said. “Everybody was making smart decisions and making good passes.”

The win put an end to a five-game losing streak for the Tide (4-8), which held a 29-23 lead at halftime and took a 42-34 advantage into the fourth quarter. Seimou Smith led Concord with 19 points, Jacob Szulc finished with 16 and Matt Giroux added 10.

Bishop Brady 75, John Stark 41

The Green Giants (10-2) put the game away early, taking a 24-4 lead after the first quarter on the way to their eighth straight victory.

Brendan Johnson led the Giants with 16 points while the Bell brothers – Jourdain and Joe – added 14 points apiece.

For Stark (3-10), Drew McQuarrie scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Cam Williams scored 10 points, and Cooper Gorski added eight points and four assists.

Kennett 64, Merrimack Valley 41

Playing at home for the first time in 27 days, the Pride (4-9) fell the behind the Eagles (9-4) 18-11 after the first quarter and couldn’t put together a serious run after that.

“We didn’t play like it was our gym,” MV Coach Kevin O’Brien said. “And Kennett shot well. … They’ve got four kids who can shoot the 3-ball.”

Nate Mulleavey and J.T. Driscoll each scored 12 points to the Pride offense. Justin Williams added five points and hauled down 12 rebounds.

Coe-Brown 49, St. Thomas 48

The Bears (8-4) built a 27-18 halftime lead, but had to fight off a game St. Thomas (6-7) to earn to win at home.

The Saints cut the lead to 39-34 by the end of the third quarter and had it down to one in the fourth, but Coe-Brown got some key buckets from Sam Langdon (11 points, four assists) and Isaac Nowland (five points, four rebounds), and timely rebounds from Luke Zollman (15 points, 11 rebounds), down the stretch. Spencer Nowland (seven points, four steals) and Adam Edin (five points, eight rebounds) also played well for the Bears.

Franklin 47, Belmont 34

Dana Bean scored 24 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots to lead the Golden Tornadoes (4-9) past the Red Raiders (1-12).

Belmont scored the first five points of the second half to tie the game at 25-25, but Franklin Coach Jim Cilley put on a 2-2-1 full-court press and his team responded with a 10-4 run to end the quarter. Belmont committed 12 of its 16 turnovers in the second half.

“We scored some points off transition,” he said.

Kenny Torres also had a solid game with nine points and seven assists, and senior guard Isaias Muniz “had one of his better offensive games of the season,” Cilley said, scoring seven points while playing his typical stifling defense. Bruce Carey came back after a two-game absence to add six points.

For Belmont, Trevor Hunt had 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Doug Price added 13 points.

Winnisquam 75, Laconia 68

The Bears (11-3) had their offense in high gear and won on the road against the Sachems (8-5).

Winnisquam made nine 3-pointers in the game, four of those coming in the third quarter when they erupted for 27 points to go ahead 57-53 heading into the fourth quarter.

Torrey Martinez led the attack with 25 points, while Christian Serrano (17) and Tucker Normand (15) also shot the ball well.

“We really like to get out and run when we can,” said Winnisquam Coach Kevin Dame, whose team used the fast-break effectively in the second half. “If anything we could have improved on defense, rebounding the ball.”

Fall Mountain 59, Hillsboro-Deering 44

The Hillcats lost for the eighth time in the last nine games to fall to 3-11. It was the third straight win for Fall Mountain, which improved to 9-4.

Derryfield 62, Pittsfield 25

The Panthers (9-5) tried to slow things down at Derryfield (12-1), and they did it for two quarters, “just not the right two,” Pittsfield Coach Jay Darrah said.

The Panthers pace and defense was effective in the first quarter, but they couldn’t make any shots against the Cougars 3-2 zone, and trailed 8-3 after one. Derryfield found some openings in the second and took a 31-11 lead going into the break. Pittsfield held the Cougars to just 11 in the third, but then gave up 20 in the fourth.

Darrah was pleased with the post defense provided by Chris Farr, Derek Pike and Max Tuttle as they held Derryfield big man Roger Larrivee to four points after he scored 19 against the Panthers back on Jan. 29 (a 75-40 Derryfield win) and held Max Anderson to seven points.

Concord Christian 51, Portsmouth Christian 49

The Kingsmen (5-10) trailed by five, 43-38, after three quarters, but in the final frame they finally got some shots to fall, clamped down on defense, and converted from the free throw line to earn the road win.

Jeremiah Boulter had 27 points and five steals for Concord Christian, Adam Sylvester finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and two steals, and Jonathan Taylor had 12 points.

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