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High schools: Concord girls’ basketball drops season opener to Salem, 61-45



Monitor staff
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

For the first 16 minutes in its season opener on Tuesday, the Concord girls’ basketball team seemed to be one step ahead of the competition.

“They outplayed us in the first half. They literally outplayed us,” Salem coach Ricky Oliver said. “They got every loose ball. They got every rebound. They got every deflection. Everything. We were like a step behind.”

And then the second half started and the Tide was the team who couldn’t keep up.

With a brand new starting five on the floor for the first game of the season, the young Tide watched a three-point halftime lead slip away in the third quarter. Salem outscored Concord, 24-12, in the period, sank six 3-pointers and used a 19-2 run late to put the Tide behind for good in a 61-45 victory at Concord High School.

“I feel really good about where we are right now,” second-year Concord coach Tim LaTorra said. “The goal is to get in the playoffs and I think a lot of our girls, for as young as we are, spent the whole day being too hyped up. And then when the game started, it was good for the first 16 minutes and not the full 32.”

In a lineup featuring three underclassmen, Concord displayed poise and patience in the opening half.

Operating its offense out of the high post with senior Quinn Daniels (team-high 15 points) and freshman Elizabeth Blinn, the Tide used an effective inside-outside game for a 10-8 lead after one and continued to manufacture points for a 23-20 lead at the break.

“The first half we executed the way we wanted to,” LaTorra said. “We’re young with our starting lineup with different roles for people, but I was happy with how they came out and attacked their defense.”

After going 1-for-13 from behind the arc and just 29 percent overall from the field in the first two quarters, a cold-shooting Salem team quickly heated up.

Daniels connected for four quick points to open the second half and received some help from freshmen Ella Cox (six points) and Blinn (seven points) to put the Tide ahead, 31-23. But a barrage of 3s from the Blue Devils completely changed the contest.

Salem captains Emily Doucette, Christine Aboujaoude and Jordyn Franzen combined for six 3-pointers over the final 3:51 of the third quarter, spearheading a 21-5 run to close the frame.

Doucette, who led Salem with a game-high 17 points, was responsible for three of those long-range daggers.

“We can shoot it, we all know that,” Oliver said. “It’s just believing that the ball will go in and be willing to take the next shot. That’s all it is.”

LaTorra said he felt like his team was running on fumes.

“I just think in the second half the shots they were missing in the first, they started hitting them in the second,” he said. “We ran out of gas and had some mental mistakes that led to easy scoring opportunities for them in transition where they got their open 3s.

“I think it comes to us being tired,” LaTorra said. “We’re out of shape right now so we have to find a way to get our legs back under us.”

Concord’s roster turnover during the offseason included losing all five of last year’s starters to graduation. On Tuesday, LaTorra started two freshmen (Blinn and Cox) and a sophomore in Jordyn Lengle.

Fitting all the new puzzle pieces together may take some time.

“That’s part of what we’re trying to figure out. (Daniels) can certainly finish inside, Blinn goes inside-outside and Jordyn gets a lot of offensive rebounds. We have to figure out who’s going to step up and be our scorers,” LaTorra said.

“We’re still trying to figure out what these roles are for everybody,” he added. “Who’s going to be our leading scorer? Who’s going to lead in rebounds, in assists? There’s a lot to figure out and hopefully by February we figure it out.”

(Jay McAree can be reached at 369-3371, jmcaree@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JayMcAree.)

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Pembroke Academy 39, Bow 31

Key players: Pembroke – Savannah Youngman (14 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals), Ashley Stephens (12 points, 2 blocks, 2 steals) Paige Boudreau (5 steals)

Highlights: After falling behind early, the Spartans held Bow to three points in the second quarter to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Coach’s quote: “Proud of our energy tonight coming off of a tough opener last Friday. The girls rose to the occasion against an always competitive Bow team. We are looking forward to playing on our home court Friday.” – Pembroke’s Michaela Champlin

Records: Pembroke Academy 1-1; Bow 1-1

John Stark 52, Manchester West 7

Key players: John Stark – Autumn Nelson (11 points), Chelsea Woodsum (8 points), Alana Sevigny (7 points), Brady Johnson (7 points); Manchester West – Kaitlin Filardo (3 points)

Highlights: The Generals jumped out to a 12-2 lead and the Blue Knights suffered through a freezing cold shooting night.

Coach’s quote: “West is a very young team and tonight their shots just weren’t dropping.” – Stark’s Bruce Johnson

Records: John Stark 2-0; Manchester West 0-2

Oyster River 43, Coe-Brown 40

Key players: Coe-Brown – Valentina White (18 points, 7 rebounds), Mary Thoms (9 points), Natalie Harris (5 points, 5 rebounds); Oyster River – Madeline Alphone (10 points), Carissa Miller (10 points), Natalie Simonds (9 points)

Highlights: This was a roller-coaster ride in Northwood between these rivals. Oyster River opened the game with an 8-0 run, but the Bears fought back to take a 23-21 lead into halftime. The Bobcats put together a 13-2 run to start the third quarter, and once again Coe-Brown answered in the latter stages of the half, but with seven seconds left on the clock, a potential game-tying 3 fell short for the Bears.

Coach’s quote: “Oyster River fought extremely hard this game. Too many turnovers hurt us. We got really aggressive defensively in the fourth quarter and almost pulled out a comeback. I liked that we had composure when we got down early and late. This young team needs to understand that defensive intensity needs to be at a high level for the entire game. It’s something we need to learn from and build on.” – Coe-Brown’s Joe Vachon

Records: Oyster River 2-0; Coe-Brown 1-1

Kearsarge 39, Stevens 24

Key players: Kearsarge – Tori Andrewski (12 points, 8 rebounds); Caroline Camp (7 points), Rayna Tucker (6 points), Livi Hernon (5 points, 7 rebounds); Stevens – Syd Miller (13 points)

Highlights: The Cougars outscored Stevens, 32-16, in the final three quarters to pull out the win against their rivals in Claremont.

Coach’s quote: “We got down 8-0 in the first three minutes and then we started to play defense, closed the first quarter down 8-7 and just continued to play our defense. The girls fought hard all night. This was a complete team effort tonight and it is our defense that will get us where we want to go.” – Kearsarge’s Keith Roberts

Records: Kearsarge 1-1; Stevens 1-1

Hillsboro-Deering 51, Winnisquam 45

Key players: Hillsboro-Deering – Morgan Racine (17 points), Halie Hurd (14 points), Fayth Grimes (10 points); Winnisquam – Megan Cote (30 points), Aubrey St. Onge (7 points)

Highlights: The Hillcats prevailed for their first victory since Jan. 13, 2017.

Coach’s quote: “Back-and-forth game from the beginning. Both teams played very well. Hillsboro had three players in double figures and a more balanced offense, and that is what won out in the end. Great effort tonight, just fell a little short.” – Winnisquam’s Brian Allard

Records: Hillsboro-Deering 1-3; Winnisquam 0-4

Belmont 48, Prospect Mtn. 39

Key players: Belmont – Julianna Estremera (25 points), Lizzie Fleming (great defense, 3 points), Katie Galambos (6 points, interior defense), Elaina Hoey (defense)

Highlights: Fleming played one of the best games of her career, finishing with 20 deflections and leading a defense that allowed just three points in the first quarter as the Raiders took control early and built a 23-16 lead by halftime. Estremera took care of things on the other end as she hit two 3s, went 7-for-11 from the free-throw line and scored eight of her 25 in the fourth.

Coach’s quote: “They played a box-and-one on (Estremera), but she figured it out.” – Belmont’s Mark Dawalga

Records: Belmont 1-3; Prospect Mtn. 1-2

Pittsfield 36, Concord Christian 18

Key players: Pittsfield – Destinee Ellis (10 points), Haylee Gilleney (9 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals), Ari Prentice (8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals); Concord Christian – Hannah Vacco (8 points)

Highlights: On Monday, Pittsfield built an 11-point lead midway through the second quarter, but Concord Christian closed the gap to 17-12 by halftime. Both teams struggled to score in the third before the Panthers pulled away with 13 fourth-quarter points.

Coach’s quote: “We wanted to come out pressing and were able to get turnovers, early but we had trouble converting on the fast break. We never gave up though, and in the fourth we were able to pull away for the win.” – Pittsfield’s Heidi Hall

Records: Pittsfield 1-2; Concord Christian 0-2

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Hopkinton 75, Raymond 58

Key players: Hopkinton – Kevin Newton-Delgado (17 points), Caleb Yianakopolis (16 points), Michael Baer (16 points), Shepard Murdough (11 points), Daniel Miner (7 points); Raymond – Cameron Tabor (21 points), Mike Criss (10 points)

Highlights: Hopkinton took an early 17-11 lead and built on it each quarter to earn a season-opening win on the road.

Coach’s quote: “Offensively we did well for it being the first game of the year, but we have some work to do on the defensive end. Having only two players back with any significant playing time from last year, we will continue to improve as the confidence grows.” – Hopkinton’s Stephen Signor

Records: Hopkinton 1-0; Raymond 0-2

Belmont 59, Prospect Mountain 50

Key players: Belmont – Keith Landry (13 points), Griffin Embree (13 points), Aidan Rupp (11 points), Matt Thurber (11 points), Jackson Ruelke (7 points, savvy point guard play)

Highlights: Belmont tightened up its defense in the second quarter and broke open the game. The Raiders pushed the lead to 20 in the third quarter and held off a Prospect Mountain rally in the fourth for the road win.

Coach’s quote: “We need to do a better job on the defensive end of the court. I couldn’t be happier with the leadership of Griff late in the game to help put away the win.” – Belmont’s Jim Cilley

Records: Belmont 2-0; Prospect Mountain 0-1

Franklin 65, Newfound 40

Key players: Franklin – TJ Laramie (21 points), Ben Lafrance (17 points), CJ Gaslin (10 points); Newfound– Matt Dalphonse (12 points)

Highlights: This one was tight through three quarters as Franklin led by just three, 35-32, after three quarter. But the Golden Tornadoes erupted for 30 points in the fourth quarter to run away with their season opener.

Coach’s quote: “Newfound plays you tough all the time and tonight was no different. The key to our victory came from our conditioning program under coach Davis. We were still fresh in the fourth quarter and it showed. I was also impressed with the defense of Emilio Crawford, who had six steals. Franklin hit 14 of 25 foul shots earning $140 in pledges to fight childhood cancer. A donation will be made at year’s end to Dartmouth-Hitchock in Lebanon.” – Franklin’s Mike Donnell

Records: Franklin 1-0; Newfound 0-2

Mascoma 52, Hillsboro-Deering 45

Key players: Hillsboro-Deering – Charles Veitch (11 points), Jack Ferguson (9 points), Elijah Winters (9 points)

Highlights: The Vikings took a five-point lead into the locker room, and although the Hillcats tied it up at 42 apiece, Mascoma managed to pull away down the stretch.

Coach’s quote: “It was a tight, tough game with a good and talented team. We’re not happy to lose, but we’re light-years ahead of where we were last year.” – Hillsboro-Deering’s Carl Doucet

Records: Mascoma 2-0; Hillsboro-Deering 1-1

Pittsfield 69, Concord Christian 35

Key players: Pittsfield – Tyler Prentice (15 points, 6 steals), Jah Gordon (13 points, 8 assist), Dylan Bocash (12 points), Devin Bedell (11 points); Concord Christian – Jacob Taylor (14 points), Isaac Jarvis (10 points), Josh Langlais (6 points)

Highlights: On Monday, the Panthers opened up the second quarter with a 14-0 run, and when the halftime buzzer sounded, Pittsfield had outscored Concord Christian, 27-8.

Coach’s quote: “We found our rhythm in that second quarter. Jah Gordon lifted us with his hustle on the defensive end and it translated into easy baskets in transition. ” – Jay Darrah

Records: Pittsfield 2-0; Concord Christian 1-1

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Pembroke-Campbell 3,
ConVal-Conant 0

Key players: Pembroke-Campbell — Jayden Lamy (2 goals), Nate Lamontagne (goal), Charlie Tremblay (assist), Kaleb Pelletier (assist), Matt Dexter (assist), Tyler Girard (assist), Adam Omundson (19 saves); ConVal-Conant – Cole Turner (36 saves)

Coach’s quote: “We worked hard keeping the puck down low and it’s a good win to start off the season” – Pembroke-Campbell’s Marc Noel

Records: Pembroke-Campbell 1-0-0; ConVal-Conant 0-1-0