Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bow Boys Over Campbell in a Good One

Game 3 of my Saturday high school basketball journey took me from route 111 down to route 102 and into Litchfield, where the Campbell High boys basketball team was set to host Bow. Campbell had 2 of the top teams in Division III coming in to their gym in a 3 day span, as they lost to Conant on Thursday night.

Campbell got ran out of the gym in the 2nd half of the Conant game, but this time they played much better. This was a close, hard fought game. With only a couple minutes left Campbell was only down 50-49. Still, it wasn't enough as Erik Michaud and Josh Faber led Bow to a 57-53 win on Saturday evening.

Good Win For Bow
The Falcons went on the road against a good team, and not only got the win but they did it while playing without arguably their best player. Senior guard Connor Hill was once again out of the lineup for Bow.

"He hurt his ankle 30 seconds into the Mascoma game. "He has been out for 2 weeks now."

Even without Hill, and even with Campbell playing about as well as they could Bow was still able to pull out the win. That is the mark of a good team. Bow has only lost 1 game all year when Hill was healthy. Once Hill returns they will once again be one of the top teams in D-III and have as good a shot at the title as anybody. Right now the only teams I could see winning it are Bow, Conant, Berlin and Mascoma.

"Our experience and senior leadership definitely helped us, especially down the stretch" said Bow head coach Dave Michaud. "Faber stepped up for us, Ryan Hill dd a nice job defensively, and Erik did a nice job - he was strong with the ball."

Tough Loss for Campbell
Campbell is a young team - they have 2 sophomores and 1 freshman in the rotation. They played MUCH better than they did Thursday night vs. Conant though. Other than some silly mistakes in the 2nd half this was about as well as I can see them playing. And especially considering Hill was out of the lineup and they were playing at home, this was really a game that if you're Campbell you have to win. They were right in this game the whole way, and if not for a couple mistakes late they would have won. They played well, but this was a tough loss for the Cougars no question about it.

"We're a young team so it's tough" said Campbell head coach Pat Roye. "And we have the toughest schedule in the Division, no question about it. We have to play Raymond twice, Bow twice, Conant twice, plus we also have to play Pelham and Somersworth. I like our team, though. They play hard and we're better defensively than we've been in the past."

How it Went Down
Campbell dominated the 1st quarter of playing, when they outscored Bow 20-10. Bow had a BIG size advantage as their starting lineup went 6'5" (Max Heindl), 6'4" (Josh Faber), 6'2" (Gregg Froleiks), 6'2" (Ryan Hill) and 5'11" (Erik Michaud) compared to a much smaller lineup for Campbell that went 6'2" (Tyler Syphers), 6'1" (Josh Morgan), 6'0" (Jacob Morgan), 6'0" (Andy Lepine) and Kyle Mun (5'10").

Even though they were giving up size at all 5 positions on the floor Campbell was the sharper, hungrier basketball team out of the gate. Josh Morgan hit a three-pointer to put the Cougars up 7-3. Defensively Campbell was playing as well as I've seen them play in a LONG time. Morgan continued his hot shooting early on, finishing with 7 points in the 1st quarter. So in the 1st quarter alone he had already scored as much as he did the entire game on Thursday night vs. Conant. Morgan ended up with a team-high 19 points on the evening.

Campbell then got a nice lift off the bench from senior wing Jason Paquin and freshman guard Jesiah Wade. The two players came into the lineup with about 3 minutes left in the quarter, and in just 3 minutes they combined to score 11 points off the bench. Paquin hit a jumper from 15 feet away as soon as he came into the game. Then right after that on defense he took a charge. Wade had 2 straight buckets at the end of the quarter, one coming on a three-pointer and the other one coming on a nice mid-range pull-up.

The 2nd and 3rd quarters however, belonged to Bow. Ryan Hill drilled a three to get the Falcons within 2, 20-18. Then Gregory Roemer (9 points off the bench) had a nice and-1 finish inside. Michaud came up with a steal and easy layup on the other end and just like that the 10 point lead that Campbell had disappeared and Bow was now ahead 28-26. It was a 18-6 run for the Falcons. Jacob Morgan (9 points) converted a put-back attempt and it was all tied up 28-28 at halftime.

"Jacob has really done a nice job for us" said Coach Roye. "He's worked very hard. He's had to cover Spirou, Faber, whoever the opponent's toughest scorer is he covers them and does a nice job out there."

Bow kept the momentum on their side in the 3rd quarter. Michaud found Froleiks (10 points) inside for 2. Michaud (8 points, 5 assists and 3 steals) then drilled a three-pointer, and ten he made a VERY nice pass inside to Froleiks, who couldn't finish it. On the next Bow possession though Froleiks made up for it by finishing this time, making it 35-28 Bow. The Falcons started the 2nd half on a 7-0 run, (a 25-6 run going back to the 1st half) and Campbell was forced to call a timeout.

The Cougars came out of the timeout and answered back with a 9-0 of their own. Mun grabbed a loose ball a laid it in, Josh Morgan found Lepine on a 2-on-1 break for 2, then Lepine nailed a turnaround jumper from just inside the foul line. Campbell was turning Bow turnovers into points. Josh Morgan then got a steal and finish the layup, and the 9-0 run was complete. Campbell had taken a 37-35 lead and their home crowd was getting into it.

Bow then ended the 3rd quarter on an 11-2 run. Campbell was picking up their defensive pressure, but Michaud was doing a nice job of handling the pressure and dishing out some nice passes. Faber then started to get back into rhythm again, as he hit an and-1 three-pointer from the top of the key. Michaud (who was terrific in the 3rd quarter) then hit a baseline 10 footer at the buzzer, and the Falcons took a 46-39 lead into the 4th quarter.

Give Campbell credit though, as they refused to give up and went on an 8-2 run to the begin the game's final frame. Josh Morgan found Syphers on a pick-and-roll, and Syphers made a nice, athletic finish at the rim. Morgan then picked up a loose ball, went coast-to-coast with it and had a strong finish on the break. The Cougars were right back in it, only trailing now 48-47.

Bow hung tough though - they're a veteran squad and it showed down the stretch. Roemer hit a foul line jumper after the Falcons patiently ran their set offense. Campbell came right back and answered, as Syphers was once again able to finsih inside off the pick-and-roll. With just a couple minutes left it was Bow 50 Campbell 49. The crowd was getting loud and it made for a great atmosphere.

However, that's when Campbell made some mistakes that prevented them from re-taking the lead. Josh Morgan missed a pair of crucial free throws, they made a silly turnover and then Morgan hoisted up a couple of questionable shots from way behind the three-point line that were far off the mark (although sophomore guard Max Gouveia did do a nice job of hustling over after one of the misses to battle for the ball and force a jump ball). Froleiks then converted a basket inside to make it 54-49 Bow. The Falcons ended up winning it 57-53.

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