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High Schools: Kearsarge boys fall just shy of second-round shocker

NEWPORT – Peter Allen’s layup with 50 seconds left in last night’s second-round showdown with Newport almost did the unthinkable.

The 19th-seeded Kearsarge boys’ basketball team headed into the game with memories of two regular-season losses to the third-ranked Tigers, including a three-point defeat in its final game before the Division III tournament.

But after the senior Allen’s 12th and final point had his team celebrating a one-point lead with less than a minute to play, the Cougars found themselves just one defensive stand away from tallying yet another upset win – Kearsarge (7-13) beat No. 14 Inter-Lakes, 57-55, in the first round.

Unfortunately for the Cougars, a costly foul on a desperation 3-point attempt – and some clutch free-throw shooting from Andrew Houde with 17 seconds left – clinched a 46-44 victory for the Tigers and spot in the quarterfinals.

Newport (18-1) will host No. 6 Hopkinton (15-4) tomorrow at 7 p.m.

“Our guys left it all out on the floor, so I couldn’t be more proud,” said Kearsarge Coach Nate Camp, whose team fell to Newport by a combined eight points in its two regular-season meetings. “To start out 1-6, and then to go toe-to-toe with a team that was 17-1, I just love these guys. They never quit.”

The Cougars trailed 40-34 heading into the fourth until a 5-0 run to begin the frame cut their deficit to one. Casey Laughinghouse kicked things off with a drive to the hoop, before a Carter Noordsij free throw and a layup from Allen made it 40-39 with 4:07 left.

Newport answered with three straight points to increase its lead to four, but Kearsarge was quick to respond, capitalizing on free throws from Ollie Gallo and Noordsij to pull back within one with 2:26 to play. The Tigers slowed things down from there in an attempt to drain out the clock, but a pair of missed free throws gave Kearsarge the ball with a chance to take its first lead since the final minute of the second quarter.

Allen made the most of the opportunity when his layup put the Cougars up 44-43, prompting Newport Coach Steve Lavolpicelo to call for a timeout to draw up one last play. Houde missed a jumper with less than 30 seconds remaining, but a jump ball kept the ball in Newport’s possession and gave it one last chance to avoid the upset.

Houde again found himself with the ball after the ensuing inbound pass, and the sophomore was forced to take an off-balance shot from well beyond the arc with time winding down. But an ill-advised foul and three straight free throws rounded out the game’s scoring. Houde led all scorers with 19 points.

“Obviously in the end when you’re up one, we told our guys not to foul. But we got a piece of Andrew on his way up and that was the difference in the game,” Camp said. “You hate to have it come down to that, but even down to the final buzzer our guys showed a lot of character.”

The Cougars could have easily given in after an 11-point first-quarter lead turned into a 25-24 deficit by halftime. Things kept going downhill from there, as a 10-0 Newport run to begin the third had Kearsarge in an 11-point hole.

Still, Camp’s team refused to throw in the towel, capitalizing on buckets from Allen, Laughinghouse, Tim Berube and Gallo to pull within six By the start of the fourth. Allen and Laughinghouse led the Cougars with 12 points apiece, followed by Noordsij (eight points), Gallo (eight points) and Berube (four points).

“They were close to putting us away a couple times, but we just battled and made some plays defensively,” Camp said. “I said to them, ‘If you just chip away and make a couple stops, we’re going to be right there.’ There were segments in all three games against these guys where we had a chance to get the win.”

D-III BOYS’ BASKETBALL

no. 6 hopkinton 55,
no. 11 bow 47

Hopkinton (15-4) easily beat Bow (10-9) twice in the regular season (by scores of 57-22 and 48-32), but you wouldn’t have known it from last night’s playoff matchup.

“Give Bow and their coach all the credit in the world,” Hopkinton Coach Dave Chase said after the Hawks advanced to the quarterfinal round for the second year in a row. “They outworked us and outplayed us. They beat us up and down the court. They beat us to every loose ball. They beat us on the glass.”

Luckily for the Hawks, they trailed only 13-11 after the first quarter and 25-23 at halftime.

The game remained close in the fourth quarter thanks to three 3s from the Falcons, including one from Matt Ehrenberg (game-high 20 points) to bring Bow within two (49-47) with two minutes remaining in the game. But Hopkinton refused to let the Falcons score again, and the Hawks, led by Steve Auger (12 points, eight rebounds), who had a defensive rebound, a layup, two free throws and two steals (including one off an inbounds pass on the final play of the game), outscored Bow 6-0 to seal the win.

“Give our defense credit for holding them scoreless in the final two minutes,” added Chase, whose team also outrebounded the Falcons, 45-30, despite being outplayed on the boards in the first half.

Gabe Nichols had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Hawks in both categories. However the Hawks had plenty of contributors, with Liam McNichols (13 points, five assists, no turnovers), Jake Nelson (11 points, seven rebounds), Harry Legier (three points, eight rebounds) and Collin Paraskeva (three points, seven rebounds) playing good games.

Dan Crisman (six points, seven rebounds) and Dylan Huddleston (four points, seven rebounds) played well for the Falcons alongside Ehrenberg, who “hit big shots” to keep Bow in the game.

“I was very impressed with how hard they worked,” Chase said of Bow. “We just had more guys score than they did.”

Hopkinton advances to the quarterfinals to take on No. 3 Newport (18-1), whose only loss of season came at the hands of the Hawks.

No. 4 Gilford 51,
No 13. Belmont 43

The Red Raiders’ hot streak (six wins in last eight games) came to an end last night in a loss to Gilford (16-3). Belmont finishes at 9-11. No details were reported.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Pembroke 56, Lebanon 49

The Spartans (18-0) capped off a perfect regular season with a strong win over Lebanon (14-4). Pembroke’s final victory wasn’t an easy task on paper, as the Raiders came into the game tied for second in the division and on a seven-game winning streak, but the Spartans started off fast, leading 18-8 after the first period and maintaining a 7-10 point advantage for the majority of the game.

Pat Welch (15 points), Matt Persons (14 points, six rebounds) and Jordan Williams (11 points, five rebounds) all scored in double figures to lead Pembroke, while Dominic Timbas was a point away from a double-double with nine points and 10 boards.

The Spartans are certainly proud of their perfect record but are ready to turn their attention to the tournament.

“We were excited for a minute,” Pembroke Coach Matt Alosa said. “It’s a milestone, but we’re focused now on who we’re going to play in the first round.”

Pembroke awaits No. 16-seeded St. Thomas (5-13) in the first round on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Bishop Brady 57,
Kingswood 42

Brady held a slim 19-17 halftime lead and led by 7-10 points for most of the second half, but threw the hammer down in the fourth quarter to close out its regular season with a solid win over Kingswood (2-16).

Jourdain Bell led the Green Giants with 23 points. Joe Bell had 11 points and Brendan Johnson added 10.

Bishop Brady finished with an 11-7 record and will have home-court advantage in its first-round playoff matchup.

Souhegan 60, Coe-Brown 50

The Bears (8-10) were down by only two points heading into the final quarter but were unable to capitalize on opportunities and were forced to foul down the stretch, resulting in a 10-point loss to Souhegan (11-7) to close out its regular season.

Andrew Langdon finished with 16 points and Chris Laurion had a well-rounded game with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. Josh Jackman contributed 11 points and six assists.

The Bears enter the playoffs with the 13th seed and will have to travel to its first-round opponent on Wednesday.

Plymouth 52, John Stark 35

Plymouth (10-8) opened in decisive fashion and had four different players make 3-point shots en route to a 23-7 lead after the opening quarter, and held on from there.

“We did not come ready to play.” Generals Coach Mike Smith said. “They executed better than us early on.”

Plymouth moved the ball well and shot well, while John Stark (9-9) struggled with ball movement.

Despite losing its regular-season finale, the Generals saw good performances from Zach Grattan with 14 points and nine rebounds and Nic Lloyd, who finished with 13 points.

The Generals have lost four of their last five and will play their first-round playoff game on the road.

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