High schools: Douzanis drops 30 points to spark Stark past Merrimack Valley

  • John Stark’€™s Laura Martin (front) and Abby Grandmaison fight for a loose ball Thursday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley guard Carly Huckins gets fouled by John Stark’€™s Emily Patten during first half action on Thursday, December 14, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • John Stark forward Jillian Douzanis tries to shoot amid the traffic of Merrimack Valley defenders during the second half of the Generals’ win in Division II girls’ basketball action on Thursday night in Weare. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • John Stark Emily Patten (left) and Merrimack Valley’s Aislinn McDonald fight for a loose ball during the first half on Thursday, December 14, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

Monitor staff
Friday, December 15, 2017

After being stymied in the opener, the John Stark girls’ basketball team was in search of an offensive spark. Jillian Douzanis provided that and more on Thursday night in Weare.

The senior forward exploded for 30 points and was razor sharp from beyond the arc, connecting on five 3-pointers to propel the Generals to a 65-57 comeback win over Merrimack Valley for their first win of the season.

“It was a great team win and we are getting better,” John Stark coach Bruce Johnson said. “Great comeback in the third quarter sparked by Jillian Douzanis hitting three 3-pointers.”

It was a special night for Douzanis. She led the team in scoring, accounted for 15 points alone in the third quarter and helped the Generals (1-1) turn a 12-point deficit in the third into a hard-fought victory by the time the final buzzer sounded.

“Douzanis got hot and she lit us up,” Merrimack Valley coach Bob McNutt said. “We recognized her a little bit, but we just didn’t do a good job of closing out. At times, we did have a hand in the face and she stuck it, so credit to her and them. They could of got down when we went up 12 and had huge momentum, but they just kept battling.”

Merrimack Valley (1-1) entered the third quarter up 31-27 after a back-and-forth first half, and appeared to take control in the opening minutes of the frame. But Stark countered with a run of its own, using a red-hot Douzanis to tie the game at 45-all after three quarters.

“We came out real strong in the third, we ran a little half-court trap and went up 12 in the first few minutes,” McNutt said. “But next thing you know, I just feel like our legs got the best of us and our poor shooting and bad possessions offensively kind of hurt us. ... We were missing shots and John Stark wasn’t missing anything.”

Stark’s run carried over into the fourth against a worn-down MV lineup.

The Generals used solid offensive execution and went 11-for-15 from the free-throw line to score 20 points in the quarter and put the game on ice.

“We started to panic,” McNutt said. “We gave up that 12-point lead within a matter of three or four minutes and then we got into the fourth quarter and it just kind of continued.”

The contest also featured a pair of first-year Division II coaches with Johnson at Stark and McNutt taking over at Merrimack Valley following a year at Winnisquam Regional.

McNutt received some strong showings from a trio of upperclassmen. Senior forward Abby Grandmaison poured in 22 points, junior point guard Carly Huckins came through with 15 points and senior guard Sara Osborne added eight. Sophomore center Ashlynn McDonald chipped in with four points.

“For us it’s a learning experience,” McNutt said. “Personally, I have to do a better job of substituting. We didn’t have legs late in the game and I kind of stuck with the group out there and (Stark) killed us man-to-man, beat us to the rack, kicked it out a little bit and again knocked down shots. ... They just played better in the second half than we did.”

Both teams return to action on Tuesday. MV will get a chance to shake off the tough loss when it welcomes Windham for the home opener, while Stark hits the road to take on Milford.


Bishop Brady 56, Lebanon 47

Key players: Brady – Lauren Roy (21 points), Sam Will (14 points), Sarah Doherty (10 points)

Highlights/key moments: The Green Giants were led by their three seniors in the season-opening win. Roy was not only effective, but efficient from the floor, too, shooting 7 of 9, while freshman Ami Rivera and sophomore Kaylee Smith provided Brady with key minutes.

Coach’s quote: “Opening games are always a battle. Any game with Lebanon is always battle. For a new and young team, energy was high.” – Brady’s Annie Alosa

Records: Brady 1-0; Lebanon 1-1

Portsmouth 49, Coe-Brown 29

Key players: Coe-Brown – Ahna McCusker (12 points, 8 rebounds), Val White (6 points), Meski Wallace (4 points)

Highlights/key moments: The Bears struggled with Portsmouth’s size underneath and trailed 16-7 after one. Coe-Brown hit a 3-pointer just before the first-half buzzer to cut the deficit to 11, but Portsmouth continued to pound it inside during the second half to pull away.

Coach’s quote: “It’s game three. Portsmouth is a tough team. We played hard until the buzzer went off.” – Coe-Brown’s Joe Vachon

Records: Coe-Brown 1-2; Portsmouth 1-0

Mascenic 45, Pittsfield 31

Key players: Pittsfield – Katie Rollins (9 points, 5 steals), Meredith Smith (7 points, 5 rebounds), Haylee Gilleney (8 points, 5 rebounds)

Highlights/key moments: The Panthers had a hard time dealing with Mascenic’s pressure early on and fell behind by 10 after one, and by 18 at halftime. Pittsfield, though, adjusted in the second half and held Mascenic to four third-quarter points.

Coach’s quote: “We were very flat in the first half and their pressure really took us out of our game. We were able to recollect ourselves at half, but the lead was too much to overcome.” – Pittsfield’s Heidi Hall

Records: Pittsfield 1-2; Mascenic 1-0


Nashua South 3, Bishop Brady 1

Key players: Brady – Matt Strickland (goalie), Max Lamora (goal)

Highlights/key moments: Brady played well enough to win, but struggled at times defensively in the opener. Lamora was the lone source of offensive production in a game Brady was in until the end.

Coach’s quote: “The guys played hard and I have to do a better job of making sure they understand their responsibilities when we don’t have the puck.” – Brady’s Ed Seney

Records: Brady 0-1; Nashua South 1-0-1

Bow 3, Winnacunnet 1

Key players: Bow – Ryan Tobeler (2 goals), Jake Mielcarz (goal), Nate Carrier (goalie), Jason Howe (goalie)

Highlights/key moments: The Falcons began their championship defense with a solid victory on Wednesday night. While Tobeler led the way offensively, goalies Carrier and Howe split time and did a nice job limiting the Warriors to one goal while combining for 15 saves.

Records: Bow 1-0; Winnacunnet 0-1

John Stark-Hopkinton 6, Monadnock 1

Key players: Stark-Hopkinton – Paul Molnar (goal, 2 assists), Tyler Scordo (2 goals), Brett Patnode (2 goals), Noah Chapman (goal, assist), Jameson Bourque (19 saves)

Highlights/key moments: Chapman got things rolling for Stark-Hopkinton with a goal 56 seconds into the opening period before Monadnock tied things up. The General Hawks then rattled off five straight goals to comfortably skate away with the win. Scordo’s goal in the second period was the first of his varsity career.

Coach’s quote: “We came out skating hard right from the start of the game and it was a big boost to get a goal on our second shift of the game. All three captains had strong games offensively and defensively.” – Stark-Hopkinton’s Denis Kolehmainen

Records: Stark-Hopkinton 1-0; Monadnock 0-1