Preview capsules for Saturday’s D-II boys’ basketball quarterfinals

Monitor staff
Published: 3/8/2019 9:41:26 PM

Preview capsules for local teams competing in Saturday’s Division II boys’ basketball quarterfinals:

No. 6 Kennett (13-6) at No. 3 Pembroke (18-1), 7 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: Pembroke edged the Eagles, 63-58, in the third game of the season on Dec. 21.

PREVIOUS TOURNAMENT GAMES: The Spartans pulled away from No. 14 John Stark, 82-51, in the first round while Kennett eliminated No. 11 Hanover, 68-43.

NOTES: With four seniors in the starting lineup, two 1,000-point scorers, an active 13-game winning streak and last year’s semifinal experience under their belts, the Spartans have the look of a championship contender. But getting back to the University of New Hampshire and the D-II semifinals will not be easy for Pembroke against a Kennett team that hung with the Spartans in December. The Eagles trailed by just one with about two minutes left when PA went on a 7-0 run that was sparked by two steals from Jack Lehoullier and buckets from Noah Cummings and Shea Shackford. Cummings and Sean Menard both topped the 1,000-point plateau for PA this season and both are capable of carrying the offensive load, and the same is true of Shackford, a junior with an impressively diverse game. Kennett stumbled a bit after its loss to Pembroke, going 3-3 in its next six, but the Eagles finished strong and have won eight of their last nine.

No. 13 Hollis Brookline (10-9) at No. 5 Merrimack Valley (14-5), 1 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: The teams did not meet during the regular season.

PREVIOUS TOURNAMENT GAMES: The Pride knocked out No. 12 Coe-Brown, 58-50, and the Cavaliers upset No. 4 Pelham, 46-45.

NOTES: The Pride is seeking a second straight trip to the D-II semifinals, while the defending champion Cavaliers proved to be a tough out in the first round and are looking for a third consecutive trip to the final four. Merrimack Valley will likely play with some extra motivation in front of its home crowd, as the Cavaliers edged the Pride, 46-43, in last year’s semifinals. Kyle Dube, a junior, has been a driving force for MV all season and had a double-double with 13 points and 18 rebounds in the first-round win. Jared Sylvester, a senior, also scored in double figures during Wednesday’s win, while Caleb Heath showcased the Pride’s depth with 19 points off the bench. The Cavs had lost five of seven entering the tournament, but Dhruv Miglani’s buzzer-beating shot capped off a 19-point performance to make sure the defending champions didn’t leave the tournament without making some noise.

No. 9 Kearsarge (11-8) at No. 1 Oyster River (17-1), 7 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: Oyster River claimed a 69-53 win over the visiting Cougars on Feb. 7.

PREVIOUS TOURNAMENT GAMES: Kearsarge rallied from an early deficit in Amherst to beat No. 8 Souhegan, 42-39. Oyster River had a first-round bye.

NOTES: The Bobcats carry a 13-game win streak into their playoff debut, as Oyster River’s lone loss came to Pembroke, 49-48, on Jan. 8. Kearsarge proved Wednesday it will take a full 32-minute effort to eliminate the Cougars. Noah Tremblay, Kyle Hernon and Nick LeBlanc helped the team shake off a 13-0 deficit at Souhegan before finally taking the lead in the fourth quarter. Junior point guard Ben Carl will be tasked with minimizing turnovers for the Cougars and Kearsarge will need a balanced attack to knock off the top seed. Oyster River, which reached last year’s final as the No. 7 seed, is led in scoring by Kyle Landrigan, Max Lewis and Joe Morrell, while Sam Belanger anchors the defense.

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