By: Ross Laorenza
The Lebanon Raiders advance to the D-II title game for the second straight year after a 50-36 win over Hollis-Brookline. The Raiders never trailed in the game while putting up a strong defensive effort. Ryan Milliken was a catalyst for the team's success tallying a game high 21 points.
"We're proud to get back here," said head coach Kieth Matte. "It's a good accomplishment. If people could ever see how much we ask of these kids..It's unbelievable how much time they put in, 12 months a year for this program. They put in so much training for these moments and I'm really happy for them."
Lebanon jumped out to an early lead after a steal and score by Ryan Milliken, and a corner three from Chris Nulty. A hook shot from Matt Simco got Hollis-Brookline on the board, but another three from Nulty gave Lebanon a 8-2 lead. Simco the lone bright spot for Hollis-Brookline, putting up maximum effort on every possession.His scoring kept the Cavaliers in the game in the first half.
Lebanon opened up a 7 point lead with another three pointer. This one from Graham Chickering. Both Chickering and Milliken got in early foul trouble by picking up 2 personals each in the first four minutes. They were able to limit their fouls as the game progressed and were never in jeopardy of fouling out.
A three pointers from Nick Fothergill, pulled Hollis-Brookline withing four and at the end of the first, Raiders: 11, Cavaliers: 7.
The 2nd quarter belonged to Ryan Milliken and Matt Simco. Simco started the scoring for the Cavs grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring. Milliken scored at the other end keeping the lead at 4. Another power move from Simco cut the deficit back to two, but two quick lay-ups from Milliken kept the momentum in the Raider's favor. A Fothergill shot temporarily stalled the hot streak, but a 9-4 run to close the quarter opened up a 12 point lead for Lebanon. Again it was Milliken, grabbing an offensive board and scoring, launching a three, and feeding his teammates in transition. At the half, Lebanon: 29, Hollis-Brookline: 17.
Both defenses tightened in the 3rd quarter which did not fare well for Hollis-Brookline. They needed to close the gap before the 4th began. Lebanon shot over 52% from the floor in the first half, while the Cavs were just over 33%. While the Raiders cooled considerably in the 2nd half (4-16), they made up for it at the free throw line going 13 of 15. For every Cavs basket, the Raiders seemed to counter with their own. The lead never dropped lower than 7 points and Lebanon sealed the win holding Hollis-Brookline to nine 4th quarter points. Final score: Lebanon: 50, Hollis-Brookline: 36.
Lebanon scored 24 points over turnovers compared to just 2 for Hollis-Brookline. Ryan Milliken led all scorers with 21 points and added 3 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist. Graham Chickering finished second of the team with 9 points. Chris Nulty finished with 6 points. He didn't score again after his two first quarter threes, but stayed competitive pulling down 5 rebounds.
Matt Simco was the Cavaliers offense, finishing with 20 of the teams 36 points. Nick Forthergill totaled 9 points, but really struggled going just 2 of 9 from the field.
The Raiders will play Saturday against Coe-Brown in the D-II championship. Congratulations too all four teams involved in the semifinals tonight.
From UNH, Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook