Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Somersworth Boys Over Prospect Mt. in Double OT

Boy was this a wild one! Going into this game I expected it to be a close game that could go either way, with Somersworth being slight favorites. As it turns out the Hilltoppers did win it in a close one, but the way it happened was most definitely unexpected.

One team blew a 16 point 2nd half lead. The other team blew a 7 point lead with 2 minutes left. 4 players fouled out in the span of 40 seconds, 3 from the same team. One player dribbled the ball for 4 straight minutes. There were players taking charges, there were big shots and great passes that were made. There was also a lot of sloppiness such as silly turnovers, missed free throws, poor defensive rebounding and missed layups. 14 different players got in the scoring column, and 12 of them scored at least 6 points. The team that won this game scored 70 points, but they only scored 16 in the entire 1st half. There were 2 technical fouls and there were 2 overtimes.

"This game had it all" said Prospect Mountain boys basketball head coach Rob Carpenter. "Fans got their money's worth tonight."

In the end it was Somersworth who persevered through it all and picked up a 70-61 double-overtime win over Prospect Mountain in Division III boys basketball action on Tuesday night in Alton.

It Was a Wild One in Alton
Where to begin?! Prospect Mt. led the whole 1st half. They were quicker to the ball, they came out ready to play while Somersworth came out of the gate sluggish. Prospect Mt. was getting a lot of offensive rebounds, and they were driving the lanes and kicker out to their shooters. Senior guard Ben Couch came off the bench and hit back-to-back threes to make it 24-11 Timberworlves early in the 2nd quarter. Fellow senior guard Anthony Frangione then made a nice pass to a cutting Patrick Cassidy who made an acrobatic catch and reverse layup on the other side of the basket. The Somersworth defense was struggling and as a result Prospect Mt. led 31-16 at the half. Junior guard Zach Droiuin was also playing well and was leading the way offensively (20 points on the game) for Prospect.

Early in the 3rd quarter the Timberwolves had a 34-18 lead, their largest of the game. The tide then began to turn in Somersworth's favor when Hilltopper guard Pat Lavin (team-high 20 points) went to the basket and went up strong with the shot. A Prospect Mt. defender went up to challenge the shot and try to block it. He was called fora fould, though and Lavin went to the line for 2. The Timberwolves were then called for a technical foul. So Lavin got 4 free throw attempts, PLUS Somersworth got the ball back. As a result The Hilltoppers were able to get back in the game, and the end of the 3rd quarter it was now only a 41-33 Prospect Mt. lead.

Somersworth continued their run in the 4th quarter. Right in the beginning if the quarter Prospect Mt. was once again called for a technical foul. Minutes later the Hilltoppers had taken a 43-41 lead, their first lead since they led 6-4 in the game's opening moments. Lavin was able to converted a wide open layup off a baseline out of bounds play which tied the game, and Somersworth was able to start getting out on the break and forcing turnovers which is their strength. After Prospect Mt. led 34-18, Somersworth was now on a 25-7 run. Lavin, Bobby Shatinksy (12 points), Drew Francouer (7 points) and Dillon Lanctot (9 points and 15 rebounds) were all stepping up for Somersworth.

Lavin Dribbles for 4 Straight Minutes!
It's no secret that I am an advocate of having a shot clock in NH high school basketball. Last night in Alton was exhibit A for my argument. With the game tied up at 43-43 Somersworth decided to hold for the game's last shot...with 4 and a half minutes left! Lavin was barely in the front court, as he just stood there dribbling the basketball. The Timberwolves were sitting in a zone defense and they did not want to come out of it. Finally Somersworth called timeout, with 28 seconds left in regulation. But not until Lavin stood there dribbling for 4 minutes. The fans were getting restless. The Prospect players were getting restless. Heck, I was getting restless!

Let's Play 2...Overtimes That Is
Out of the timeout The Hilltoppers were unable to convert. Then Prospect got a good look with 0.7 seconds left, as they threw a long inbounds pass towards the basket for Drouin. He got a good look inside but the shot was no good and we were headed to overtime knotted at 43-43.

In the 1st overtime Somersworth came out strong, going up 51-44. Hilltoppers senior guard Matt Fauci, who was quiet for most of the game, dropped 11 points between the 4th quarter and overtime. He had some big and-1 finishes on the break by using his quickness to get up ahead of the Timberwolves defense. It was 51-44 Somersworth, and there was only 1:24 left in OT.

Give Prospect credit though for not giving up. Cassidy drilled a three from the left wing off of the dribble penetration and kick by Frangione. After some nice defense by the Timberwolves forced a 5 second closely guarded violation on Somersworth, Drouin sliced through the Hilltoppers defense for 2. Cassidy (16 points) then grabbed an offensive board and laid it in inside, and just like that we were all tied up at 51-51.

In the second overtime Prospect was right there with Somersworth, but then they just ran out of players. Hilltoppers senior forward Brody Hornung (10 points) made a strong drive and finish at the rim. After a pair of free throws by Fauci, it was now a 57-51 game with 2:55 left. Once again though, Prospect Mt. was not giving up. Frangione (8 points) hit a three-pointer, plus Cassidy was fouled away from the ball. Since Somersworth was in the bonus, Cassidy was given 2 foul shots. Next thing you knew it was right back to a 2 point game, 60-58 with 154 left in the 2nd OT. ut that's when Prospect started to lose all of their players. In the span of about 30 seconds, their 3 best players all fouled out. First it was Cassidy, then Frangione and then Drouin. One by one, they fouled out, and with them went 44 of the Timberwolve's 61 points. Prospect replaced them with guys who were seeing the floor for the first time all game. Sommersworth ened some more free throws at the end. Game over.

"I'm disappointed that we blew a 16 point lead" said Coach Carpenter. "But our kids played hard, and I was proud that we battled back from 7 down in overtime. When Somersworth made their run we just had trouble handling their defensive pressure."

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