Preview capsule outlook of today’s high school tournament action
High school tournaments today
Division III semifinals
At Southern NH University
No. 5 Campbell (17-3) vs. No. 1 Hopkinton (19-1), 8 p.m.
Previous tournament games: Campbell eased past No. 12 Fall Mountain, 58-38, and No. 13 Raymond, 69-54. Hopkinton rolled by No. 16 Somersworth, 68-41, and No. 8 Mascoma, 64-44.
head to head: Hopkinton beat Campbell, 53-37, in mid-January.
Notes: The Hawks are looking to reach their first championship game since 1966, but they’ll have to go through a stingy Campbell defense to get there. The Cougars, who lost in last year’s final against Conant, allowed the fewest points in D-III during the regular season, 736 (40.9 per game). They did give up 53 to Hopkinton when the two met on Jan. 14, but that’s well below the 66.9 points per game the Hawks have averaged this year. Hopkinton also played tight defense in that meeting, holding the Cougars to just 13 first-half points and limiting their leading scorer, Zach Bergeron, to 10. Wes Rose spent most of the night on Bergeron and the Hopkinton senior finished the game with seven steals.
Gabe Nichols, a 6-foot-5 senior, is scoring 18.1 ppg to lead the Hawks, and he had a game-high 19 points and 12 rebounds against Campbell in January. Nichols was quiet in Hopkinton’s playoff win over Somersworth, but he had 19 in the quarterfinals against Mascoma. Senior guard Liam McNicholas (11.5 ppg) has led the Hawks in scoring in both tournament games with 18 points (plus six assists and five rebounds) against Somersworth and 20 (with four assists) against Mascoma. Luke Luneau and Jake Nelson provide Nichols with plenty of help on the interior, while Brian Hauschild, Sam Winslow and Riley McNicholas give the Hawks a solid rotation of guards.
(Last night’s Division II boys’ basketball semifinals were postponed until today and moved to Exeter High School. The preview for Pembroke’s game with Pelham ran in yesterday’s paper.)