By: Ross Laorenza
With 28 seconds left in the game Manchester Memorial had a one point lead and possession. Kabongo Ngalakulondi got the ball down low to Brandon Scott, who was immediately swarmed by two Lancers. Unable to put up a shot Scott tried to protect the ball, but one of the Lancers got their hands in and forced a jump ball. That gave possession back to Londonderry.
As the Lancers drover up court an errant pass was tipped by Memorial. It bounded off three sets of hands before finding its way to Marc Corey. Corey took two steps to get some separation from Ngalakulondi and put up a shot with less than 10 seconds. It’s good! 65-64, Londonderry. Memorial had one last chance, but Trevon Maughn’s three-pointer hit off back iron and out as the buzzer sounded. Londonderry remains undefeated with the 65-64 final. Incredible game!
Londonderry came into tonight 14-0, Memorial 7-6, but records were all put aside once the game started. Memorial opened with Craig Preston (#5), Nick Philibert (#21), Trevon Maughn (#11), Brandon Scott (#25) and Kabongo Ngalakulondi (#14).
Londonderry started Cody Ball (#3), Nate Gaw (#4), Jake Coleman (#23), Joey Kwiatkowski (#24) and Marc Corey (#33).
Maughn opened the scoring in the first quarter, grabbing a rebound off an Ngalakulondi miss for the put back. Jake Coleman rose up over the defense at the other end to tie the game 2-2. It would be Maughn again for Memorial, this time on a nice drive through the lane for a lay-in and the lead. Off an inbound play, Cody Ball went straight up with the ball to tie the game at 4. On the next Lancer possession Coleman found Nate Gaw who connected for Londonderry’s first lead of the game.
Brandon Scott knotted us at 6, cutting backside to receive a feed from Ngalakulondi. The Memorial offense flowed through Maughn and Ngalakulondi all night, with both players trying to drive through the Lancer zone to the hoop. With 3:14 to go in the first quarter the Lancers started a 9-0. Kwiatkowski, Coleman, Ball and Corey all scored in the stretch as the Lancers continued to put pressure on Memorial.
The Crusaders pushed back in the final minute. Ngalakulondi scored twice followed by a remarkable drive from Wade Gop (#12). Cody Ball hit the last shot of the quarter and at the end of the 1st Londonderry leads 17-13.
The lead would grow to 21-13, following shots from Ball and Corey. Following a Memorial Basket from Zach Cubin (#33), Crusdaer’s coach Jack Quirk called timeout. However, out of the timeout Joey Kwiatkowski tipped the inbound pass and took it the other way for a Lancer score. Marc Corey followed with a three pointer to give Londonderry a 9 point lead, 26-15.
Memorial outscored Londonderry 12-5 over the next three minutes. First, Maughn went 1 for 2 for the free throw line, then a drive from Kabongo. Philibert and Scott scored with a Corey basket sandwiched in between. Cody Ball hit a runner in the lane; Ngalakulondi scored at the rim; Philibert capped the 12-5 run with a deep three to cut the lead down to 4 points, 31-27. Timeout Lancers.
Londonderry seemed to regain focus coming out of the timeout. Cody Ball sank a three pointers and Jake Coleman scored to give Londonderry a 9 point cushion again. But Memorial wouldn’t go away. Trevor Maughn drilled a three, Marc Corey answered with a three of his own, and then Maughn dribbled back down the court rose up with Ball in his face and sank another three. The offenses were firing on all cylinders tonight. With 20 seconds left in the first half Maughn scored again, and then with time winding down Marc Corey got the ball in the corner and banked in a three pointer at the buzzer. An amazing shot; and it wouldn’t be his last. At halftime, Londonderry: 42, Memorial: 35.
Both teams tightened on defense to begin the third quarter. Coby Ball broke the scoring draught with 5:24 to go with a three at the top of the key. Londonderry’s ability to shoot three-pointers at a high percentage really kept the Memorial defense honest.
Nick Philibert drew contact on the way to the rim making the layup, but missing the free throw. Jake Coleman hit another solid shot and the Lancers had their largest lead of the night, 47-37. Kabongo Ngalakulondi really tried to assert himself late in the game. His strength and ability to drive to the basket seemed to give the Lancers trouble at times. He scored 8 straight points for Memorial, picking his way through the 2-3 zone. But Coleman and Corey were able to answer. They both hit 2 free throws and Coleman added a three in the finals minutes of the 3rd. Craig Preston hit a three for Memorial, before Ball closed the scoring in the third. At the end of three Londonderry: 56, Memorial: 48.
Trailing only 8 points Memorial dug deep in the final quarter. Trevor Maughn opened the scoring with a drive to the hoop. After a free throw by Londonderry, Ngalakulondi hit two from the stripe. A long pass from Ball found its way to Jake Coleman who scored going past Ngalakulondi. But, Kabongo answered back cutting the lead to 5 point. Time out, Londonderry.
Head Coach Nate Stanton was very vocal in the timeout as his team looked to regain control. Joey Kwiatkowski hit two free throws, but Memorial followed that with 5 straight points. Maughn, 1 for 2 from the line, a basket from Ngalakulondi and then two free throws from Kabongo brought Memorial within 2 points. With 2:30 reaming the Crusader defense held strong as Londonderry worked the ball around the top of the key. Unable to penetrate, they called a timeout.
Marc Corey got to the line after Trevor Maughn came from behind, trying to make the block, but getting apiece of Corey on the way through. Corey hit both free throws to put Londonderry up 4. A quick outlet pass from Memorial gave Nick Philibert the ball in the corner and he nailed a three, cutting the lead to 63-62. Timeout Londonderry with 56 second left.
Out of the time out, Ngalakulondi stole the ball and got it ahead to Philibert who drove inside and scored giving Memorial their first lead since the first quarter. After a turnover by Londonderry, Memorial had the ball with 24.2 and the lead. Ngalakulondi executed the inbounds pass well, but Scott couldn’t get a shot off as he was swarmed by two defenders. Jump ball.Lancer ball. Then that wild pass, off a sea of hands to Marc Corey who got to play hero and keep Londonderry’s chance of an undefeated season alive. His teammates swarmed him after the buzzer sounded. Final score Londonderry: 65, Memorial: 64.
“They’re a lot better team than their record shows,” said Coach Stanton after the game. “Memorial never gave an inch.”
Marc Corey scored 21 points including his last second heroics. Cody Ball scored 19 and Jake Coleman totaled 16 points for the Lancers in the win. Kabonga Ngalakulondi led all scorers with 25 points on the night. Trevon Maughn scored 16 points and Nick Philibert scored 12 in the loss for Memorial.
The NHIAA website says 64-63 but it's wrong. We have a picture of the score book that shows a 65-64 final, although Ball hit a shot that looked like a 2 but was counted as a 3.
From Manchester, Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook