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In a highly anticipated match up between two of the favorites in Division IV, Derryfield went on the road and beat a very good Sunapee team by 21. Senior sharpshooter Tyler Zorn (17 points) hit 3 crucial 3-pointers in a row which ignited the Cougars' 2nd half charge. Derryfield also got strong inside play led by 6-foot-7 senior forward Roger Larrivee.
Sunapee led 21-17 late in the 2nd quarter. But then Derryfield went on a 14-0 run to take a commanding 31-21 lead. Soon their lead had increased to 46-30 later in the 3rd quarter, and they led by double digits the whole 4th quarter en route to a 72-51 victory.
The Cougars have to be considered the team to beat right now in D-IV. They have size, they have depth, they have senior leadership and shooting. They're 16-1 on the season and the only loss was by just 3 points and came while Larrivee was out with an injury.
"I definitely think when Tyler hit those 3-pointers it was a huge momentum swing, and we took that with us through halftime" said Larrivee, who was the Division IV golf champion this past fall. "We also started being smarter with the ball and working well together against their press."
Larivee got the Derryfield 14-0 run started with an and-1. Then Zorn buried a 3 from 5 feet behind the arc with just 3 seconds left in the 1st half and it was 25-21 Derryfield at halftime.
Zorn picked up right where he left off when the 3rd quarter got started, connecting on back-to-back 3-pointers. Once a kid makes a couple threes you really need to make sure you get out and challenge the shot but Zorn was wide open on his third 3. That completed the 14-0 run, with the last 9 points in that run coming on 3's by Zorn and all coming in the span of about 20 seconds. We were less than a minute into the 2nd half and all of a sudden Sunapee was staring at a 10 point deficit.
"Those 3's were big in terms of swinging momentum" commented Derryfield School head coach Rob Bradley. "When we hit outside shots, along with our inside game we're tough."
However, if any team is capable of coming back from a double digit deficit in the 2nd half it's Sunapee, as the Lakers are the highest scoring team in the state. The Lakers have routinely scored over 80 points in a game this season. Their explosive shooting guard Isaiah Chappell (team-high 23 points) drilled a 3-pointer to try and get his team back in it.
But it wasn't meant to be, as Sunapee had one of their lower scoring games of the season. The Lakers scored just 12 points in the 1st quarter, 9 in the 2nd and only 11 in the 3rd. Those are very low numbers for this team.
"We didn't play zone at all last year, but this year we switched to a strong 3-2 zone" explained Larrivee. "We have a rotation of 3 bigs. We stop the inside scoring but are also able to get out and challenge outside shots."
The other 2 bigs for the Cougars are the Anderson brothers, Max a senior and Sam a freshman who are both about 6-foot-5. Then on the wing you have versatile senior Bennett Doherty at 6-foot-3, giving Derryfield a team with overwhelming size and length, especially for Division IV.
"We knew that if we turn the ball over against them we're dead" said Coach Bradley. "But in the 3rd quarter we made better decisions with the ball, rebounded and ran better offense. That slowed down their transition game."
After the Chappell 3, Larrivee answered back with a strong put-back to put Derryfield up 33-25. You have got to put a body on him!
Sunapee kept battling, as Alex Gioldassis jumped the passing lane for a nice steal. He rached down court with the ball for a fast break layup to cut the lead to 35-27 with 3:45 left in the 3rd quarter. Then Chappell made a tremendous hustle play, stealing the inbounds pass on the press. He was falling out of bounds as he caught the ball though, so while still in mid-air Chappell turned and threw the ball off a Derryfield player, it went out of bounds and Sunapee got the ball back. Great play by Chappell there, showing hustle and athleticism.
Unfortunately the Lakers were unable to capitalize, and Derryfield went on a 9-0 run. Sam Anderson converted back-to-back put-backs, as the Cougars' size inside was really starting to play a factor. On the next trip down Derryfield pushed the ball up the floor, got it to Zorn, who up-faked to get himself open and then drilled a pull-up jumper in the lane. Junior guard Rob Rizos capped the 9-0 run with a wide open jumper from 15 feet. It was now 44-27, and derryfield was running Sunapee out of their own gym.
"Give them credit, it was tough for our shooters to deal with their length" lamented Sunapee head coach Ed Tenney. "We need to run our secondary break better next time. We need to be able to turn them over and that was difficult for us. They executed well. But I thought we fought hard and battled all night."
Doherty then made a put-back, as Derryfield's dominance in the paint continued. It was 46-32 Derryfield after 3 quarters. Sunapee was pressing full court and launching 3's left and right to try and get back in the game in the 4th. But Derryfield was scoring on Sunapee's press, and the Lakers' 3's weren't falling.
Derryfield broke the press for a layup, with Larrivee scoring 2. Chappell had an and-1 finish on the break - he scored 17 of his 23 in the 2nd half. But the Cougars answered as Rizos hit another jumper from the elbow. Derryfield again broke the press for a layup, and this time it was Zorn finishing for 2. It was now 52-37 Derryfield with 5:17 left in the 4th quarter.
Speaking of nice hustle plays, this time it was Larrivee's turn. The big man dove on the floor for a loose ball, then while still on the ground he dished the ball over to teammate Max Anderson for a layup. Again though Chappell kept on firing, as the 5-foot-10 sophomore guard buried another 3 ball. Sunapee though couldn't trade baskets, they needed stops. Unfortunately they weren't getting them, and on the other end Zorn was fouled on a 3-point attempt. He made 2 of 3 shots, and it was 56-40 Cougars with 4:47 left to play.
Give Sunapee credit though, they kept battling out there. Chappell hit 2 FTs, James Fitzgerald made a nice steal and finish on the other end and then Chappell hit an 18-footer. Sunapee still trailed though 58-45 with just 3:30 left in regulation.
Again it was Chappell (easily one of the top sophomore players in the state) with another explosive drive, and this time making a dipsy-do scoop shot finish which got plenty of oohs and ahhs from the standing room only crowd.
Derryfield again broke the press for a score, and this time it was again Zorn with the layup. That put the Cougars up 64-48 with 1:56 remaining. Derryfield added a few free throws to account for the 72-51 final.
Early on it was anyone'se game, as the 2 teams raced up and down the floor trading jump shots and exchanging the lead. Fitzgerald hit a leaner for Sunapee, then Max Anderson answered with a 15-footer of his own to put Derryfield up 6-2 early. Then Nick Skarin made a layup off a nice dish by Fitzgerald.
Larrivee made a put-back, then on the next time down the floor it was Larrivee again, this time making a layup off the press break. Now the Cougars led 10-6 with 2:00 left in the 1st. Sunapee answered back, as Matt Tenney pushed it hard up the floor before kicking it over to Chappell for a 3. Then Tenney hit a 3 of his own, and the Lakers went up 12-10. Doherty came right back for Derryfield, hitting a 3 just seconds later and it was 13-12 Cougars after 1.
The pace of the game and the scoring both slowed down early in the 2nd quarter. Then Chappell drove and banked in a 15-footer. Derryfield was then called for an offensive foul, and Lakers guard Jesse Stiffler (him, Tenney and Chappell are all only sophomores) buried a 3 as Sunapee went back ahead 17-15. Derryfield tied it right back up 17-17 on a put-back by Rizos.
Sunapee re-takes the lead on a baseline fade-away by Fitzgerald to make it 19-17. Soon it was 21-17 Sunapee, and you know how the rest went.
Sunapee falls to 14-3 on the season, with 2 of those 3 losses coming to Derryfield (the Cougars also won the first meeting between the 2 teams 67-63).