In an early season match up of 2 teams that have hopes of going deep into the playoffs the Lebanon Raiders come away with an impressive home victory over the visiting Souhegan Sabers 70-54. Souhegan had to make the long trip north up Rte. 89 to play in one of the most difficult gyms in the state for a visiting team to pull off a road win.
Saber coach Mike Heaney knew it was important for his team to start fast and take the crowd out of the game. Led by their all state point guard Len Brandon they got off to a great start jumping out to a 10 -3 lead just 3 minutes into the game. Len scored 10 first quarter points and the Sabers seemed to be in control of the game with a 18-10 lead after one quarter.
Lebanon also has an all state point guard and his name is David Hampton. Hampton was held to 3 points in the first quarter and was taking a back seat in the match up of the two star point guards. Lebanon plays a 4 guard offense spreads the floor and lets Hampton wheel and deal running a motion offense. Raider coach Keith Matte must have told Hampton that he was losing the battle with Brandon because the senior guard came out in the second quarter and put the team on his back.
Hampton played the next 3 quarters with something to prove - that he was playing at a different level. He was doing it all - shooting, driving and playing shut down defense on his way to a 35 point night. The most amazing thing about his performance was that everything came in the normal flow of the game. Nothing was forced, he ran the offense, fed his teammates and didn't miss when it was his turn to shoot.
After an excellent first quarter Souhegan was handcuffed offensively being held to just one field goal in the 2nd quarter.Leading the way on defense for the Raiders was Kalin Sou and Dominick Morrill. Both of them had several steals and blocked shots. Both players can nail the 3 ball with Sou hitting 2 big 3's to open the 2nd half and Dominick hitting 4 3's in the game. The Raiders if they have a weakness it maybe their lack of size but Dylan Drew may not be the traditional center but he is a very physical rebounder who doesn't mind getting his hands dirty.
I expect that Souhegan has a lot of good basketball still ahead of them. Their star guard Brandon finished the night with 19 points was hampered in the 2nd half being in foul trouble after picking up his 4th foul mid way through the 3rd quarter. The Sabers other star guard AJ Hayes was limited to 7 points while center Jake Kennedy scored 8. Senior forward Brian Dworkin scored 10 pts. coming off the bench.
However this night belonged to the Raiders and their star point guard David Hampton.