High Schools: Pittsfield boys persevere, advance to quarterfinals
Nick Peters of Concord Christian attempts to shoot against Derek Pike of Pittsfield in Division IV boys' basketball first round; Tuesday, February 26, 2013.
(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)
Xenthios Cyr of Pittsfield goes up for a basket against Jeremiah Boulter of Concord Christian in Division IV boys' basketball first round; Tuesday, February 26, 2013.
(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)
PITTSFIELD – When the last of his team’s 12-point lead had vanished with six minutes left in last night’s Division IV playoff game, Jay Darrah called a timeout. The Pittsfield coach wanted just one thing from his team: composure.
“We have a very inexperienced team, so one thing we’ve been focused on since day one is staying composed,” Darrah said. “We don’t want them to get caught up in the moment, whether it’s a good moment or a bad moment, just come to do what we’re here to do, and we’ve come a long way with that.”
The progress was evident last night. The No. 8 Panthers (13-6) stayed cool and answered the fourth-quarter push from No. 9 Concord Christian (12-7) with a 12-4 run of their own to claim a 58-53 win and a quarterfinal date at top-ranked Littleton (18-1) on Friday.
“We split with (Concord Christian) in the regular season and we really wanted to prove that we were the better team,” said senior Elias Doucette, who led Pittsfield with 20 points and 10 rebounds. “Now we get to go up to Littleton and keep the season going.”
The Panthers beat Concord Christian in the season opener, but the Kingsmen turned the tables on Pittsfield when the two played in the Farmington holiday tournament and again in their second regular-season matchup, a 51-41 win on Feb. 13. That decision started a four-game, season-closing losing streak for Pittsfield.
It seemed the Panthers might still be stuck in that funk when they missed their first five shots and fell behind 4-0. But Doucette lifted his team by scoring nine of his 20 in the first quarter, including a 3 at the buzzer to give Pittsfield a 13-7 lead after one.
That advantage swelled to 25-15 midway through the second before Nick Peters, Concord Christian’s leading scorer, came to life. Peters dropped seven quick points as the Kingsmen went on a 10-2 run. It may have been enough to put Concord Christian on top, but Pittsfield’s Xenthios Cyr, just an eighth-grader, had eight of his 16 points in the second, including a three-point play in the final minute to help the Panthers to a 30-25 halftime lead.
“He’s a phenom,” Doucette said of Cyr. “Watching him grow up this year has been amazing, I’m so happy for him.”
Pittsfield went to work behind the arc in the third as Doucette, Cyr and Kris Perkins (six points) all hit 3-pointers in the quarter. The long ball from Cyr made it 44-32 with 2:41 left in the frame and the Panthers seemed securely in the lead. They weren’t.
Using pressure defense and transition offense, the Kingsmen went on a 12-0 run and tied things at 44-44 with 6:02 left in the fourth. Sophomore guard Jeremiah Boulter had four of his game-high 21 points during the stretch, senior Matt Johnson (six points, six rebounds) had four and Peters added four as well.
“What he’s given to the school and the program is phenomenal,” Concord Christian Coach Brandon Yeo said of Peters. “He doesn’t just look to shoot, he looks to work. He’s the kind of player every coach dreams of having.”
It was Peters (15 points) who scored the bucket that tied it at 44-44, prompting Darrah to call timeout and remind his team to stay composed. The young Cyr was the first to answer the call, burying a 3-pointer out of the timeout and sparking Pittsfield’s crucial 12-4 run. The run included four points from Doucette and a dunk from Tyler Booth (10 points, six rebounds, four blocks) that made it 56-48 with 1:38 left.
Boulter responded with a 3-pointer, and thanks to some missed free throws from the Panthers, the Kingsmen has multiple chances to cut deeper into the lead, but they couldn’t connect.
“We knew it was going to be a great game, and it was,” Yeo said. “The difference was they hit the shots down the stretch and we didn’t.”
And now Pittsfield gets another shot at Littleton. The Panthers didn’t face the No. 1 seed during the regular season, but they traveled to Littleton last year for the quarterfinals and lost, 66-47.
“It was a great atmosphere last year, they had a pep band and the place was packed, and we expect the same thing this time,” Darrah said. “We lost last year, but we have a different team and they have a team, so we’ll go up there and take our chances.”
D-III BOYS’ BASKETBALL
No. 13 Belmont 52, No. 20 Fall Mtn. 49
Belmont (9-10) held on for a first-round win over Fall Mountain. (6-13). The Red Raiders were up 41-28 going into the final period but were outscored 21-11 in the fourth quarter by the Wildcats, who used a full-court press and capitalized on some Belmont turnovers.
Fall Mountain brought the deficit back to just one point with four minutes to play, but the Raiders responded with a small run to go back up by seven with just under two minutes left. The Wildcats didn’t go quietly and scored some late baskets to make it a tight finale.
Bret Spaulding was the high scorer for the Raiders with 21 points, along with five rebounds and four steals. Kaleb Brace had a double-double of 10 points and 10 boards, while Jared Clough also scored in double figures with 12 points and added five rebounds.
Belmont will take on No. 4 Gilford in the second round.
No. 19 Kearsarge 57, No. 14 Inter-Lakes 55
The Cougars (7-12) eked out a close win over the Lakers (7-12) after leading for much of the game.
Kearsarge was up by 11 points (31-20) at halftime and looked to be cruising, but the Lakers outscored the Cougars 20-14 in the third quarter to make the game close. Inter-Lakes made key 3-pointers throughout the second half to test the Kearsarge defense.
The Cougars were able to stand strong when it mattered most. The Lakers had the ball for the majority of the final minute of play, trailing by two points, and had multiple possessions with chances to score, but Kearsarge held on and got hold of the ball with 10 seconds left to run out the clock.
Carter Noordsij led the Cougars with 19 points, while Peter Allen (17 points), Ollie Gallo (seven) and Dan Orlando (six) added scoring. Senior forward Casey Laughinghouse added four points and 12 boards.
Kearsarge will take on No. 3-seeded Newport in the next round.
No. 16 Farmington 68, No. 17 Winnisquam 62
The Bears (7-12) ended their season against Farmington (8-11) in the first round. No details were reported.
Farmington will play top-ranked Berlin in the second round.
D-II GIRLS’ BASKETBALL
No. 8 Coe-Brown 59, No. 9 Kennett 41
The Bears (12-7) jumped out to a lead early and extended their advantage throughout the game, leading to a breezy first-round win over visiting Kennett (11-8). Coe-Brown led 29-21 at halftime and 45-33 after the third period.
Sophomore forward Abby Ahern led Coe-Brown with 15 points, while Sarah Curtain (12 points) and Elizabeth Peabody (10) also scored in double digits.
The Bears will face the No. 1 seed, undefeated Lebanon, in the next round.
No. 10 Merrimack Valley 47, No. 7 Hanover 43
The Pride (12-7) trailed early in the second quarter by 14 points but slowly narrowed that deficit with improved defense in the second half. MV finally tied Hanover (12-7) in the fourth quarter and outscored the Marauders 18-9 in the final period.
Jordan Filion (12 points, four assists), Mary Mullen (12 points, three steals) and Olivia Thurber (11 points, four steals) scored in double digits to lead the Pride. Erin Frost (four points, five rebounds) scored all of her points in the fourth period, including the game-tying bucket, while Molly Mullen (three points, five boards) hit some key late free throws. Rebekka Donovan (three points, six rebounds, four blocks) and Jordan Neylon (two points, three rebounds, three steals) played well, and Emily Mulleavey set the tone with strong defense.
The Pride will face No. 2 Portsmouth in the second round.
No. 1 Lebanon 69,
No. 16 John Stark 27
John Stark (4-15) saw its season come to an end against undefeated Lebanon (19-0). No details were reported.
No. 4 Milford 64,
No. 13 Pembroke 48
The Spartans (8-11) saw their season come to an end at Milford (14-5) in the first round.
Aleanna Clermont (6-for-6 at the free throw line) and Hannah Seidner both scored 14 to lead Pembroke.
Milford will play No. 12 St. Thomas in the next round.
Bishop Brady 75, Con-Val 55
The Green Giants (10-7) had an easy home win over a struggling Con-Val squad (1-16) that has lost 15 straight games. Bishop Brady led by 10 points (37-27) at halftime and built a bigger lead throughout the second half.
Sophomore guard Brendan Johnson led Brady with 27 points, Jourdain Bell had 21 points, and senior forward Steve Desmarais pitched in 14.
Pembroke 45, Oyster River 40
The Spartans (17-0) moved a game away from completing a perfect regular season, as they grabbed a 10-point lead after the first quarter and were able to hang on against a game Bobcats team that finished its season at 13-5.
Pat Welch was the top scorer for Pembroke with 17 points, while Kafani Williams added 10 points and eight rebounds and Matt Persons scored nine. Dominic Timbas was a force on the glass for the Spartans, totaling 16 rebounds to go with his five points.