By: Jeremy Leveille
After transferring back to Sunapee High School from Bradford Christian Academy, star guard Issaiah Chappell returned to the Lakers' lineup for the first time this season and helped lead his team past Newmarket 69-64 on Friday night.
Forward Ian Bentley was a beast in the paint for Newmarket, with a team-high 21 points and 14 rebounds. But Sunapee had more weapons and made more plays down the stretch to get the win. In a game that was very close throughout, the Lakers went on a 12-4 run in the 2nd quarter and that turned out to be the difference.
Chappell did not start, but played most of the game. Sunapee was led by Matt Tenney (son of head coach Ed Tenney) who dropped a game-high 29 points, and wing Mike Platt who had 19. Chappell scored his 1,000th career point last season as a junior, he was the state's leading scorer last year, Tenney is leading D-IV in scoring so far this year and Platt is much improved. These guys not only have the best backcourt in D-IV, they have arguably the best backcourt in the state.
Both Sunapee and Newmarket came out in a high pressure man-to-man defense. Platt got the Lakers on the board first by connecting on a 3-pointer from the corner. Guard Cam Jordan took a charge on 'D' for the Mules. Platt buried another 3 (this time from the opposite corner) to make it 6-2 Sunapee. Just seconds later Newmarket countered, as Ben Leahy converted a put-back. The Mules then pressed full court, but Sunapee threw the ball over the top of the press, getting it to Tenney who made the layup.
Alex "Souvie" Souvonnaseng hit a 3 from the left wing for the Mules. Then Sunapee got a steal and Tenney raced to the bucket for an and-1 finish. Then came the first of many controversial calls. Platt went up for a shot inside, but was blocked by Bentley. Bentley was called for the foul, though. It was a tough call. The Newmarket fans were not happy with it. Then Newmarket guard Anthony Senesombath (12 points) hit a 3. Tenney kept pushing the pace, driving from 3/4 court all the way to the rim for a strong finish. Matt Wilson (15 points) came in off the bench for Newmarket, grabbed a loose ball and took it strong to the rim for an and-1 finish. It was 17-16 Mules after 1 quarter.
Chappell entered the game with 1:15 left in the 1st quarter, making his first appearance of the season in a Sunapee uniform. He drilled a step-back 3-pointer with 6:32 left in the 2nd quarter for his first points of the season, putting the Lakers ahead 20-19. Then Tenney banked in a tough leaner. Tenney hit a 3, Senesombath answered right back with a jumper and then Tenney drained another 3-pointer to make it 30-23 Lakers with 4:51 left in the 1st half. Then Tenney got it done on the defensive end by pressuring the basketball and taking a charge. Then Senesombath made a nice steal and took it hard to the bucket for the layup.
Then came another controversial call, and again it involved Platt. Platt went up for a shot inside, the Newmarket defender got whistled for a foul but the Mules' fans were livid - they thought it was all ball. Sunapee kept pushing the tempo, as Tenney led the fast-break and threaded the needle to Platt for the layup. That capped a 12-4 Lakers run and made it 34-25 Sunapee with 3:30 left in the 2nd quarter.
Wilson got fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws. Then Senesembath made a nice spin move into the lane for 2. Ben Robinson countered for Sunapee with an and-1 put-back. Senesembath again went to the rim, this time scoring on 2 defenders for an and-1. Platt buried another 3, his third of the 1st half from long distance. It was 40-33 Lakers at halftime. Tenney and Platt each had 15 points in the 1st half.
Newmarket came out strong to start the 2nd half with 2 baskets in a row, as Bentley finished strong inside and Souvonnaseng made a good dish to Leahy for a layup. Sunapee kept running the break though, as Tenney got the ball ahead to Chappell who dished it to Platt for the layup. Craig Hounam made strong post move and finish for Newmarket. The Lakers kept on running, as Chappell was a blur in transition by racing to the bucket for 2. Tenney used a behind the back dribble to free himself up for a shot and drained another 3. That gave Sunapee a 51-43 lead, matching their largest lead of the game. Wilson answered on the other end by connecting on a 3 from the corner.
Austin Leblanc hustled in for an offensive rebound and put-back for the Lakers, but then Wilson countered by hitting another 3 to cut the Sunapee lead to 53-51. It was 55-51 Lakers after 3 quarters.
Leblanc finished strong in transition and-1 early in the 4th quarter. Tenney grabbed a steal and pushed it hard up the court in transition, dishing it to Ben Robinson for a strong finish. That extended the Sunapee lead back to 8, 61-53 with 6:05 remaining and forcing Newmarket head coach Jamie Hayes to call a timeout.
Bentley kept working hard inside for points and rebounds. Then he made a nice block on 'D'. Tenney took a charge on defense. Then Wilson hit a big shot, another 3-pointer to help keep the Mules in the game and cut the Sunapee lead to 62-56 with 3:15 left in regulation. On the other end Tenney raced to the bucket for 2 more, but just seconds later Bentley finished strong inside with a baby hook shot.
Bentley finished strong inside again, and then hit four foul shots to cut the Lakers lead to 67-64 with just 8 seconds left. Sunapee held on for the 69-64 win.