Daily Archives: March 14, 2012

Portsmouth reaches the D2 finals with 55-46 win over Coe-Brown Northwood Academy

Kamahl Walker (10 points) heads for the hoop

Darren Doyon (20 points) set for inbounds pass

(Durham NH)  It’s on to the D2 finals for Portsmouth as they defeated Coe-Brown Northwood, 55-46, on Wednesday night at UNH.

The (19-2) Clippers return to the finals (Saturday 1PM) for the second straight year.  Last year they were taken out by undefeated Milford.  Their opponent this time around with be #5 seed Bedford.

My preview reading about the Portsmouth/Coe-Brown matchup revealed that the (12-9) Bears had already lost twice (in January) to Portsmouth.  However, the score in the first meeting was 54-53 so, despite being the #11 seed, there existed the possibility that the team from Northwood might be able to challenge the Clippers.

And challenge they did, holding a lead (34-33) midway through the third quarter and being within two points (44-42) with 4 ½ minutes left in the game.

But Portsmouth put together a decisive pull away in that final quarter after Damon Doyle’s triple (off the backboard from straight away) put the Bears within two points.

Kamahl Walker collides with Darren Doyon

The Clippers have the outside game but it was the inside game over the next game-clinching two minutes that gave Portsmouth a run of six unanswered points.  A Charlie Duprey layup, a short jumper from Kyle Dicesare (assist to Kamahl Walker), and a Gregg Tsougranis layup (from Billy Lane) produced the points that gave Portsmouth its largest lead (50-42) with 2:20 remaining.

The Clippers spread the floor thereafter and made five of six free throws the rest of the way to gain a 55-46 victory.

Senior 6-2 Gregg Tsougranis (17 points) quietly led the Clippers in scoring. He had thirteen points in the second half.  Among those points were three converted rebounds.  He totaled nine rebounds.

Darren Doyon (20 points) had a terrific final game.  The 5-11 Bear senior somehow gathered in ten rebounds.  He hit two triples in the last thirty seconds of the first period to give Coe-Brown a 14-11 advantage.

In the second period long ones were big late but this time by Portsmouth.  In the last 1 ½ minutes, Billy Lane (14 points) hit one and twenty second later it was Kamahl Walker’s turn.  That quick six and a Charlie Duprey free throw gave the Clippers a 31-24 halftime margin.

I thought at halftime that #2 seed Portsmouth might pull away in the second half………and they did but it wasn’t until late in the last quarter.

Coe-Brown student section

Coe-Brown had what looked to be almost everyone from the academy in the stands and their support was loud and steady.  The Bears excited their student base by putting together a 10-2 segment to start the third quarter and grabbed a 34-33 lead.

During this productive run of Bear offense, Darren Doyon contributed old-fashioned and new-fashioned three’s sandwiched around two Corey Gerlt free throws and a Skyler Mitchell layin.

The Clippers were not behind for long.  Almost immediately they had a lead-for-good layup by Billy Lane and followed that with Gregg Tsougranis twice in close.  Portsmouth was ahead by two (39-37) after three.

The teams traded five points in the last quarter before the decisive six-spot by Portsmouth put them in the driver’s seat and into the finals on Saturday.

Kamahl Walker had a good news/ bad news double/double – ten points and eleven turnovers.  The Coe-Brown section was quick to chant that the 5-11 senior was “over rated.”

This was my first trip to the Lundholm Gym at UNH.  The site was well managed and the seating fit the crowd.

Both schools brought bands but no cheerleaders.  I was very impressed with the music produced.

Almost all the games I cover are in Massachusetts where there is a 30-second shot clock.  The game is different in NH minus that clock.  A couple of times I was aware that Portsmouth was holding onto the ball on the perimeter for over thirty seconds because the Bears were in a zone.

stat sheet

(The pictures above and below enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Skyler Mitchell (10 points) in close

Portsmouth student section

Kamahl Walker shoots over Darren Doyon

Billy Lane (14 points)

Corey Gerlt runs into Billy Lane

Bear coach Dave Smith

Corey Gerlt (11 points) caught in Portsmouth traffic

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Sarah Higgins and Kelsi McNamara spark Pentucket past Fairhaven (53-39) in the state D3 semi-finals

Kelsi McNamara (10 points) lines up one of her 4th quarter triples


Sarah Higgins (20 points) layup

(Boston) Pentucket (22-4) secured passage to the state D3 finals on Saturday in Worcester with a solid second half  as they defeated Fairhaven (22-3), 53-39, on Tuesday at the TD Bank Garden.

Each team tallied just five points in a second period that may well have been impacted by a serious injury to Fairhaven starter Ashley Brown in the first quarter.  Ashley dove out-of-bounds for a loose ball and collided with the edge of the scorer’s table.  Considerable time was rightly spent by the numerous medical people on hand to take care of Ashley.  She was taken to Mass General.

The Sachems had a 19-18 lead after the sluggish second period and I had no sense of how the second half would go.

As it turned out, for Pentucket it went very well.  Their defense produced turnovers (six in the 3rd period) and Sarah Higgins (20 points) hit from the outside, inside, and from the foul line.  The Sachems actually took the lead for good (26-24 on a full-court Sarah drive at 4:54) with the advantage being 34-28 heading into the final quarter.

Kelsi McNamara destroyed any Fairhaven thoughts of a last-quarter rally with three long ones.  The first one gave Pentucket a 40-30 lead with 5:23 left.  The second one, on the next possession, built the Sachem advantage to 43-31 with five minutes left, and the third one kept the lead at twelve (48-36) with 2:45 to go.

Also in that final frame, Sarah Higgins continued to be productive.  She had an old-fashioned three, a layup, and a steal and a layup by the two-minute mark.  Sarah’s last score put this one out of reach, 51-38, with two minutes left and many reserves saw action the rest of the way.

Basketball is a team game and every coach knows the value of having players who get the ball to scorers.  Pentucket’s Alex Moore had four assists in the last quarter.  The 5-7 junior assisted Kelsi McNamara on all of her triples and also spotted Sarah Higgins in close for a layup.

Kara Charette (15 points) and Tess Nogueira

Kara Charette led Fairhaven with fifteen points.  The Pentucket full-court defense double-teamed Kara to try and keep the ball away from her.  That approach paid off especially in the final quarter when Pentucket earned point separation from the Blue Devils by holding the talented senior scoreless.

Pentucket scored the first seven points of the game (Sarah Higgins layup, Coley Viselli triple, and Tess Nogueira layup) but Fairhaven answered with six straight (Kay Mullen jumper, Ashley Brown fast break layup, and a Kara Charette converted rebound).

Coley Viselli (10 points) had three triples in the first half.  Kelsi McNamara had three in the final quarter.  Fairhaven did not connect from beyond the arc.

Tess Nogueira had four points and during the days leading up to this Saturday’s D3 finals in Worcester will probably be spending considerable prep time at the foul line.  The normally reliable free-throw shooter was an abnormal 2-for-11, including one air ball, against Fairhaven.

Pentucket had only six turnovers in the decisive second half.

Ashley Brown

Ashley Brown had already scored seven points before she was injured.  I overheard her coach say in the pressroom afterwards that Ashley usually averages fifteen points per game.  I suspect that many of the Fairhaven faithful will recall this game with, “What if Ashley…….”  I hope that the Blue Devil junior recovers fully for next season.

Two years ago Pentucket reached the D3 finals only to lose to Lee at the DCU Center in Worcester.  Maybe this time around things will be different.

Pentucket boxscore

Fairhaven boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Pentucket team afterwards

Kelsey Perron-Sovik and McKenna Kilan

Pentucket celebrates

Fairhaven cheerleaders

Leigh McNamara and Kara Charette

tight defense

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