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Previews of local schools’ NHIAA playoff matchups

High school tournaments today

Boys’ basketball

Division III first round

No. 20 Fall Mountain (6-12) at No. 13 Belmont (8-10), 7 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: The teams did not meet during the regular season.

NOTES: The Red Raiders have already accomplished one goal – they doubled their win total from a year ago and made the postseason – and now they’re looking to check off another goal: to win a postseason game. Belmont comes into the playoffs after a hot February, where it won five of seven games, and averaged 61.2 points per game in those five wins. The Raiders would like to stay hot against a Fall Mountain team that earned four of its six wins in the last month. To do so, Belmont’s senior-heavy squad will look to the hot outside shooting of Bret Spaulding, the inside presence of Jared Clough and the all-around play of Pedro Perez and Kaleb Brace, all veterans.

No. 17 Winnisquam (7-11) at No. 16 Farmington (7-11), 7 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: The teams did not meet during the regular season.

NOTES: Winnisquam has been a bit streaky this season, losing four, winning two, losing three, winning two, etc. Now the Bears are hoping their two-game slide to end the regular season marks the beginning of a winning streak. They’ll also be facing a team that has the same record, but has lost seven of its last nine games. Freshman Christian Serrano has been the offensive catalyst for Winnisquam, which has already won five more games this season than last. Seniors Parker Normand and Tommy Mahoney, along with junior Spencer Pevine, are veterans who’ll need to help lead the way if the Bears are to reach the second round.

No. 19 Kearsarge (6-12) at No. 14 Inter-Lakes (7-11), 7 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: The teams did not meet during the regular season.

NOTES: Only a game separates these two teams in the standings, so a Kearsarge win might be an upset according to the seeds, but not so much according to strength of schedule. The Cougars have played some of the top-eight teams in Division III extremely tough. Kearsarge lost to third-ranked Newport by just three points to end the regular season and lost to the Tigers by just five earlier. Kearsarge lost to No. 6 Hopkinton by five points, and beat No. 8 Mascoma by 12 late in the season. To win its first playoff game since moving to Division III this year, Kearsarge will look to seniors like Peter Allen, Casey Laughinghouse, Ollie Gallo and Dan Orlando, along with junior Carter Noordsij, to help carry them on the road.

Division IV first round

No. 9 Concord Christian (12-6) at No. 8 Pittsfield (12-6), 7 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: The teams split their two meetings this season, with Pittsfield winning the season opener, 51-47, and Concord Christian taking the rematch two weeks ago, 51-41.

NOTES: If the first two installments of this rivalry are any indication, the rubber match should be an entertaining one. Concord Christian seems to be peaking at the right time, taking a four-game winning streak into the postseason. Senior Nick Peters and sophomore Jeremiah Boulter have been driving forces offensively for a team that also receives quality minutes from seniors Jesse Kelley and Matt Johnson, and sophomore Adam Sylvester. A shooting funk could be partially blamed for Pittsfield’s four-game losing streak to end the regular season, but Coach Jay Darrah also saw good things out of his team in the final two four-point losses to Epping and second-ranked Newmarket. The Panthers are led by seniors Elias Doucette and Tyler Booth, junior Kris Perkins, and a youth infusion from eighth-grader Xenthios Cyr.

Girls’ basketball

Division II first round

No. 9 Kennett (11-7) at No. 8 Coe-Brown (11-7), 7 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: Kennett beat Coe-Brown in Conway, 63-32, on Jan. 18.

NOTES: Since that lopsided loss to Kennett in January, the Bears have turned it on, going 7-2 over the second half of the season. Conversely, Kennett has gone 3-6, losing four of its last five games. For Coe-Brown to continue that trend, it will look to senior Liz Peabody to set the tone for a very young team. Sophomores Abby Ahern, Jennifer Schlim and Debbie Peabody have all stepped up as the season has progressed and helped put the Bears in position to return to the quarterfinals.

No. 10 Merrimack Valley (11-7) at No. 7 Hanover (12-6), 6 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: Hanover edged MV, 46-44, at home on Jan. 18.

NOTES: When the teams met last month, Hanover scored with five seconds remaining to grab the victory. MV knows not much separates these two teams, so the Pride is hoping the momentum of its six-game winning streak – which included a big win over fourth-ranked Milford – will help it ride into the quarterfinals. In that earlier meeting, Bekka Donovan was a point shy of a double-double to lead MV, while Olivia Thurber, Molly Mullen, Mary Mullen and Jordan Neylon also had strong games. Senior Jordan Filion is key player for the Pride, which can go deep to its bench to keep fresh legs on the court.

No. 13 Pembroke (8-10) at No. 4 Milford (13-5), 7 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: The teams did not meet during the regular season.

NOTES: Pembroke may be hitting its stride just in time. The Spartans take a modest two-game winning streak into the postseason, but one of those wins was by six points over Windham, the No. 3 seed. Milford will be a formidable opponent; the other Spartans have won six of their last seven games. Adriana Major, Aleanna Clermont, Hannah Seidner have had the hot hands recently and will be called on to lead Pembroke, which is aiming to reach the quarterfinals after bowing out in the first round last year.

No. 16 John Stark (4-14) at No. 1 Lebanon (18-0), 6:30 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: Lebanon swept the season series, winning 67-24 in Weare and 70-35 at home.

NOTES: John Stark’s reward for bettering its record from a year ago and making the postseason? Getting to travel to top-ranked and undefeated Lebanon. The Generals know they’re overwhelming underdogs, but that just means they can play with nothing to lose as they try to pull off the stunning upset. The Raiders are an explosive offensive team, never scoring fewer than 54 points in a game, so Stark will need to play ferocious defense as well as ramp up its offense, which hasn’t eclipsed 40 points this season. Look for players like Rebecca Titcomb, Jordan Shatney and Madison Janelle to lead the way for the Generals.

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