Pittsfield, Hopkinton boys’ basketball teams lose to No. 1 seeds in semifinals

  • Hopkinton’s Kevin Newton-Delgado goes up for a rebound in the NHIAA Division III semifinal between the No. 4 Hawks and No. 1 Gilford Eagles. Ben Conant / Monadnock-Ledger Transcript

  • Hopkinton’s Shepyrd Murdough drives past Gilford's Riley Marsh during the NHIAA Division III boys’ basketball semifinal between the No. 4 Hawks and the No. 1 Gilford Eagles. Ben Conant / Monadnock-Ledger Transcript

  • Hopkinton’s Kevin Newton-Delgado (left) and Gilford’s Adrian Siravo meet face-to-face during the NHIAA Division III boys’ basketball semifinal. Ben Conant / Monadnock-Ledger Transcript

  • Hopkinton’s Evan Jacobsen shoots a 3 during the NHIAA Division III boys’ basketball semifinal against Gilford. Ben Conant / Monadnock-Ledger Transcript

  • Hopkinton’s John Jacobsen goes up for a shot while being closely guarded by Gilford’s defense. No. 1 Gilford jumped out to a seven-point lead in the first quarter of Monday’s Division III boys’ basketball semifinals against No. 4 Hopkinton and never looked back on its way to a 53-40 win at Keene State College. Adrian Siravo led Gilford (19-1) with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Kevin Newton-Delgado finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Hopkinton, but the Hawks (16-5) committed 19 turnovers and shot just 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Ben Conant / Monadnock-Ledger Transcript

  • Hopkinton’s Kevin Newton-Delgado goes up for a dunk in Monday’s NHIAA Division III boys’ basketball semifinal. The No. 4 Hawks lost to No. 1 Gilford, 53-40. Ben Conant / Monadnock-Ledger Transcript

Monitor staff
Published: 3/9/2020 11:04:16 PM

PLYMOUTH – Pittsfield held Littleton in check during the first half of Monday night’s Division IV boys’ basketball semifinals. The Panthers felt good in the locker room at Plymouth State University with their 3-point halftime lead, but they expected a different second half from high-powered, top-ranked and undefeated Littleton.

“We knew what was coming. We knew a storm was coming,” Pittsfield coach Jay Darrah said. “It was just a matter of how we weathered it.”

The Crusaders did find their rhythm in the second half, and even though the gritty Panthers fought their way through the storm, Littleton simply had too many weapons. The Crusaders (20-0) had three players in double figures and two more with nine points as they pulled away for a 59-51 win and a spot in Friday’s championship game against No. 2 Newmarket.

“Once one (shot) starts falling, I think it got a little contagious,” Littleton coach Trevor Howard said. “It was good balance tonight.”

No. 5 Pittsfield (16-5) deserves plenty of credit for locking down the Crusaders in the first half. The Panthers face-guarded Todd Krol-Corliss, the player they felt made Littleton go, switched up defenders on Parker Briggs, the Crusaders leading scorer, and challenged just about every Littleton shot.

Pittsfield held the Crusaders scoreless for the first 3:36 of the second quarter before Briggs (17 points) took matters into his own hands. The senior scored all seven of his team’s points in the second to keep the Crusaders close. The Panthers still held a 20-17 lead at halftime, but that could have been more if not for Briggs, or if Pittsfield had converted on more of its easy looks.

While the Panthers defense played a role, the Crusaders felt there was another factor in their slow offensive first half – rust.

“People have got to remember that we’ve played one game in three weeks,” Howard said. “We had a 13-day layoff at the end of the season, then a first-round bye. And I told the guys at halftime they just had to work their way out of this funk. … We were playing very well and then we had that 13-day layoff and the bye and it was ugly against Colebrook (Littleton’s quarterfinal game on Thursday) and it was ugly in the first half here.”

The second half looked different even before it began. After coming off the bench in the first half to lead Pittsfield with five points, junior guard Jah Gordon started in the second half in place of 6-foot-9 center Quinn Bissonnette.

“Jah was playing really well in the first half, and having him in and Quinn out changed up what (Littleton) was doing defensively,” Darrah said. “They were in a 2-3 zone with Quinn in the game, but they were in man when he was out, and we thought we could get to the basket easier when they were in man. We didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half, so we wanted to emphasize getting to the rim.”

The strategy worked for Pittsfield, but Littleton also got out of its funk with Landon Bromley (10 points) hitting a pair of big 3s, and the two teams traded buckets for the first part of the third quarter. But the Crusaders went on a 11-4 run to close the third, including a five-point spurt from Briggs in the final 1:33 of the frame, to take a 34-28 lead into the fourth.

Littleton’s Krol-Corliss hit his first, and only, field goal of the night to open the final quarter. That 3-pointer sparked a 7-2 run for the Crusaders and forced Darrah to use a timeout less than a minute into the fourth and his team down by 11 points. The Panthers did cut the lead to six, 43-37, with 4:45 to play on a back door layup from Devin Bedell (eight points), but they never got closer than that.

Pittsfield couldn’t find any quick offense to make a last run and Littleton went 10-for-12 from the free throw line in the final two minutes to seal the win.

“That was the longest two minutes of my life,” Howard said.

Gordon finished with a team-high 15 points for the Panthers, Bissonnette had 11, and Tyler Prentice and Jesse MacGlashing each added six points.

“I thought both teams made winning plays, they just made more of them,” Darrah said. “I’m very happy with my guys. They played their hearts out. Whatever we lack in talent we make up for with our work ethic.”

D-II BOys’ Basketball
First Round

No. 2 Bow 71, No. 15 Kingswood 52

Key players: Bow – Nick Kiah (18 points), Matt Lamy (17 points), Shaun Lover (16 points), Ben Harris (13 points, 7 in 1st quarter); Kingswood – Shannon Brogan (13 points)

Highlights: The Falcons executed the game plan the way they want to, controlling the paint and limiting the Knights’ top scorer Brogan to claim a decisive victory in the first round of the Division II postseason tournament. Bow led 22-10 at the end of one and extended it to 43-22 at halftime. The Falcons had a 60-32 lead through three before Kingswood closed the gap a bit in the fourth quarter. Bow hosts No. 7 Kennett in Friday night’s quarterfinal at 7:30 p.m. The Eagles defeated No. 10 Souhegan, 52-41, in their preliminary game on Monday. Bow has beaten Kennett recently, but it was a close 61-56 decision when the two teams met in North Conway on Feb. 28.

Coach’s quote: “We’re very happy with the win. We had played them previously and we knew what we were in for. We knew we’d have to get insize against their zone. We pounded the ball inside early and wanted to establish Harris and (Steve) Guerrette inside. It made their zone collapse a little bit. Defensive was solid and we were able to do what we wanted to do offensively. We just played Kennett two weeks ago. They’re a team very similar to Kingswood. They have great outside shooters so we need to play a similar style game.” – Bow’s Frank Moreno

Records: Bow 18-1; Kingswood 7-12

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