By: Ross Laorenza
The Memorial Crusaders (2-2) notched their first win of the new year Friday night, 55-45 over the visiting Alvirne Broncos (2-1). While both teams struggled offensively in the early stages of the game, the Crusader were able to get some key baskets from Elvin Barbosa, Jake Santiago and Michael Roumraj when they needed them most.
Starting along with Roumraj and Barbosa for Memorial was Zach Lubin, Alec Ross, and Jake Carrier. Alvirne countered with Cam Jones, Max Bonney-Liles, Connor Lambert, Jack Brown, and Ryan Ruigrok. Jones hit an early three to give the Broncos the lead, but Zach Lubin quickly erased it with a three of his own, and 1. 4-3 Crusaders.
After an errant pass Memorial coach Jack Quirk called a time out to focus his team. On the ensuing inbounds play Carrier got the ball to Roumraj who quickly swung it to Barbosa for a clean three attempt, but the ball rimmed out. A string of at least 8 sloppy possessions followed. Roumraj broke the scoring drought with a steal and lay-up for Memorial. On the Broncos next possession Max Bonney-Liles got his first 2 points of the game. He was a consistent option for Alvirne all night, racking up a team high 15 points.
Alisandro Emmanuel saw some minutes as the first quarter closed and used his 6'2" frame to grab offensive rebounds on two key Memorial possessions, scoring twice. At the end of the 1st quarter, Memorial: 11, Alvirne: 7.
Both teams picked up the pace in the 2nd quarter and cut down on the turnovers that riddled the first quarter. Santiago opened the scoring with a steal and score to give the Crusaders a 6 point cushion. A long outlet pass from Bonney-Liles to Lambert led to an easy lay-up for Alvirne. Junior big man Dinebari Adumene used his size advantage over a smaller defender to snag a rebound and hit the put-back. He later added a monster block that sent Crusader fan into a frenzy. 15-9 Memorial.
The Broncos would close the gap with shots from Ryan Weston, Jack Brown and Bonney- Liles. Weston hit two big three, the second of which tied the game at 19 mid way through the quarter. A free throw from Roumraj gave Memorial the edge again and Barbosa added to it with a three points over the Broncos zone.
After getting his shot blocked, Max Bonney-Liles grabbed a rebound tipped his way by a team mate and hit a jumper cutting into the lead. Jake Canelas nailed a three to tie the score with just over a minute left. Memorial had one more solid shot in them. After a steal, Roumraj quickly passed the ball up to Barbosa who sank a 3 at the buzzer. HALFTIME, Memorial 26, Alvirne: 23
The Broncos opened the second half on a 6-2 run to take the lead 29-28. Bonney-Liles had 4 points and an assist in the mini run. The teams would go back and forth briefly with the lead changing hands 4 times, before Memorial started to pull away. A 9-2 run gave the Crusdaers a 40-34 lead entering the final quarter.
Weston hit his fourth 3 of the game early in the fourth quarter to cut the lead down to 5 points. A free throw from Bonney-Liles got thr Broncos one point closer. Jake Carrier hit a big three with just over two minutes gone by to expand the Crusader lead back to 5. The speed of the Memorial defenders and the pressure they were able to apply really impeded Alvirne offense. Memorial closed out the game on a 10-7 run with shots from Barbosa and Santiago to seal the victory. FINAL SCORE, Memorial: 55, Alvirne: 45.
"I don't think we shot the ball very well, but...our pressure I think took a toll there for a little while. We created a couple of turnovers and took advantage of it," said Memorial coach Quirk after the game.
Elvin Barbosa led the way for Memorial with 12 points. Michael Roumraj and Jake Santiago both finished with 9 points in the win. Max Bonney-Liles led all scorers with 15 points in the loss. His teammate Ryan Weston finished with 12, all from beyond the arch.
From Manchester, New Hampshire; Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook