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Joyce named MVP as Eagles edged in tourney finals

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Gilford's Josh Joyce drives to the basket during the championship game of the Lakes Region Holiday Basketball Tournament. The junior was named tourney MVP after scoring 23 points in the finals. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
January 06, 2014
GILFORD In one of the best championship games in the history of the Lakes Region Holiday Basketball Tournament, host Gilford High School fell just shy in the 40th annual event.

Prospect Mountain's Logan LaRoche completed a three-point play with just 9.2 seconds remaining in regulation, and Gilford junior Josh Joyce was unable to answer on the other end. The defending champion Timberwolves won the tourney yet again with a thrilling 54-52 victory on Dec. 30.

Joyce, who was named the tournament MVP after scoring 23 points in the title game, had 10 in the opening quarter, as the Eagles built a 21-11 lead heading into the first intermission. Andrew Caulfield scored all seven of his points in the first to aid the cause.

That lead grew to as big as 27-14 thanks to a Nate Davis three-ball, but PM answered with a 15-2 run of its own to tie things at 29-29. The T-Wolves would eventually take the lead at 31-30 at the half.

A 7-0 run in the third quarter allowed the Eagles to take a 43-38 advantage back, though that lead was just 43-41 entering the fourth.

The final frame was tight throughout, as Joyce and Kaleb Orton combined for all nine of Gilford's points. The Eagles led 52-51 when they scored late, and the hosts held possession with that lead under a minute to go. But a turnover on a traveling violation gave the ball back to PM with 24.6 seconds remaining, and LaRoche drove to the basket and was fouled with 9.2 to go. He sank the free throw for the old fashioned three-point play and the 54-52 lead. Joyce drove to the hole on the other end, but his shot did not fall and the T-Wolves snared the rebound to capture the win and tournament title.

Joyce paced the Eagles on the All-Tournament First-Team as well as taking MVP honors, while Orton was a Second-Team selection for his efforts, as the junior forward finished with six points, all in the second half. Guard Max Troiano tossed in eight points for Gilford.

LaRoche led PM with 15 points while Nathan Farnham and Zach Robertson each added 13 in the win.

The two teams will square off during the regular season in Alton on Feb. 25.

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