(Hampton NH) This game will not be a pleasant memory for the Winnacunnet Warriors boys basketball team.
Visiting Bishop Guerin (8-1) appeared to be heading for a loss until Winnacunnet (4-4) collapsed at both ends in the final quarter and suffered a tough, 75-71, defeat to the Cardinals on Tuesday night.
Winnacunnet took the lead early and seemed to have a night going in which they could answer every comeback by BG with a string of points. The Warriors did it all night long until falling apart long enough late to let this game get away from them.
Junior Pat Lamprey (15 points) dropped four 3’s on the Cardinals in the last three minutes of the first quarter getting Winnacunnet away to a 17-13 after a quarter.
A long one by Ryan Gigliotti (16 points) boosted the WHS edge to ten (28-18) in the second quarter.
Again it was Ryan with a key basket as his steal and layup maintained the ten-point spread (50-40) in the third quarter.
The Cardinals would make mini-runs to cut inside ten but Winnacunnet seemed to have long-range answers (they had ten 3’s through three quarters) when they needed them.
Same thing at the start of the final quarter. Pat Lamprey’s fifth three gave the Warriors yet another ten-point lead (65-55) and you sensed that the three-ball would carry them home.
After a Steve Toscano (15 points) three, Matt Guerin (10 points) answered with a layup. Now up, 67-58, with 5:54 left in the game anyone watching the earlier give-and-take was not prepared for what happened during the next five minutes of playing time.
The accurate long shot deserted the home team entirely as did every other shot except one free throw (Ryan Gigliotti).
And while the Warriors couldn’t score, Bishop Guertin put a 16-1 segment together and went ahead 74-68 with fifty seconds left.
I don’t know how many shots WHS missed during those bleak five minutes but it was plenty. Rich Ruffin had open three’s from either corner and couldn’t get either to drop.
The spark for BG was freshman Jack Zimmerman. The young man hit a three and then a breakaway layup to tie the score at 67-67. Later (at 3:38) when senior point guard Steve Toscano fouled out, Jack took over at point guard the rest of the way.
Five Cardinal free throws enabled them to boost their advantage to 74-68 with 1:08 remaining.
Winnacunnet was obviously in serious trouble but their aggressiveness with the ball earned them six free throws over the next thirty seconds while BG turned the ball over twice.
The six freebies gave the Warriors a legitimate chance to rally but they missed three of the six attempts to douse their hopes. A late free throw by Kyle Gavin (15 points) sealed the deal for Bishop Guertin.
The two teams combined to make nineteen long ones. The same two teams combined to miss nineteen free throws. Those kind of results make me wonder which shot gets the most practice.
Very aggressive defense by Winnacunnet gave 6-6 Jeff Lunn (9 points) a quiet evening. The Cardinal center had been averaging 20 points per game. But a defense that shows special attention to one player allows openings for other players. BG had six three’s in the second half.
Winnacunnet turned every defensive rebound into the start of a fast break. They were able to get a steady flow of good outside looks doing this. The problem for the Warriors was when they tried to force their way in for layups against the taller Cardinals. They just couldn’t finish consistently.
There is no shot clock in New Hampshire and neither of these teams ever came close to needing one.
Coach Jim Migneault dished out plenty of tough love to his team during the game. He has done quite the job with a team with no returning starters and a point guard with a separated shoulder.
Next up for BG will be a home game on Friday with Trinity.
Winnacunnet travels to Merrimack on Friday.
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably, and focus better, if you click on them.)