Previews of local schools’ NHIAA playoff matchups
High school tournaments today
Division III second round
No. 11 Bow (10-8) at
No. 6 Hopkinton (14-4), 7:30 p.m.
HEAD TO HEAD: The Hawks swept the Falcons in a pair of games, earning a 57-22 win Dec. 18 and a 48-32 win Feb. 12.
NOTES: Hopkinton enters the tournament with seven straight wins and 10 in its last 11 games, and the Hawks should feel confident they can keep the streak going as they’ll face a Falcons team they handled without any problems in a pair of matchups earlier this year. Hopkinton has gotten by with an offense that can rely on several cogs. Gabe Nichols and Steven Auger have been the top weapons, but the Hawks also have a strong supporting cast on both offense and defense that’s led by Jake Nelson, Liam McNicholas and Harry Legier. Matt Ehrenberg and Colby Desmarais have led the way for the Falcons all year, and they’ll try to do so again today and get Bow into the quarterfinals.
No. 13 Belmont (9-10) at
No. 4 Gilford (15-3), 8 p.m.
HEAD TO HEAD: Gilford won both meetings, 62-51 in Belmont in January, and 51-44 at home two weeks ago.
pREVIOUS TOURNAMENT GAMES: Belmont beat No. 20 Fall Mountain, 52-49. Gilford received a bye.
NOTES: The Red Raiders were just 3-8 heading into February, but they ripped off four straight wins to start the month and have now won six of their last eight as they prepare to face Lakes Region rival Gilford. Bret Spaulding has been Belmont’s top outside threat all season, and he did it again with 21 points in the playoff win against Fall Mountain, but the senior contributed in other ways with five rebounds and four steals. Senior center Kaleb Brace provides the inside balance for Belmont and he had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the playoff win. Seniors Jared Clough and Pedro Perez are also key figures for the Raiders, who have seven seniors on the roster. Belmont will have to find an answer to Gilford guard Josh Joyce, who had 27 in the Golden Eagles’ win over Belmont two weeks ago and 20 in the win back in January.
No. 19 Kearsarge (7-12) at
No. 3 Newport (17-1), 7 p.m.
HEAD TO HEAD: Newport won a pair of tight games, 46-41 at home in January, and 41-38 in North Sutton in the regular-season finale.
pREVIOUS TOURNAMENT GAMES: Kearsarge nipped No. 14 Inter-Lakes, 57-55. Newport received a bye.
NOTES: This is a tough first-round draw for third-seeded Newport and Coach Steve Lavolpicelo, the former Kearsarge star. The Cougars have played two of their best games against Newport and have multiple defenders to throw at the Tigers top player, sophomore forward Andrew Houde, who transferred from Pembroke Academy this year. Kearsarge junior Carter Noordsij, who had a game-high 19 in the playoff win over Inter-Lakes, helped hold Houde to just six points in the regular-season finale while scoring 13 himself in a game the Cougars led by six (33-27) after three quarters. Senior Peter Allen, who also has the length and athleticism to defend Houde, had 17 in the playoff win and 13 in the first game against Newport. Kearsarge will look for similar efforts from those two and contributions from seniors Ollie Gallo and Casey Laughinghouse as it tries to get over the hump against Newport.