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Panthers can't get on track in loss to Newmarket


by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

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MA’s Tristan Price dribbles into the lane during action against Newmarket on Dec. 20. The host Panthers fell, 60-45. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
December 27, 2012
MOULTONBOROUGH – There will certainly be growing pains over the course of the season for the Moultonborough Academy boys' basketball team. But if the Panthers play hard to the end like they did on Dec. 20, results will hopefully start shifting their way as the season progresses.

MA (1-3) trailed Division IV powerhouse Newmarket 38-12 at halftime, but the host Panthers picked up their play in the second half and held an advantage after intermission en route to a 60-45 loss.

"The guys could've let the game get away from them but they kept plugging away," said MA coach Matt Swedberg. "We had a couple of nice runs here and there…those help out confidence-wise. But the deficit was too large to overcome."

Newmarket (5-0) led 38-12 at the break thanks in large part to guard Christian Hawkins, who scored 18 of his game-high 25 points before intermission. Hawkins poured in 10 points in the first quarter, as the visiting Mules held a commanding 17-4 advantage.

John McClay's three-pointer brought some life to the MA lineup midway through the second quarter, but the Panthers still faced a significant deficit for the entirety of the opening half.

"Newmarket is definitely a top four team," said Swedberg. "After we fell behind in the first half, we just wanted the guys to stay with it and not let the game get away. We were able to execute some things in the second half and that's all positive things."

Riley Swedberg and Tristan Price hit back-to-back threes to get the Panthers within 42-23, and a McClay three-ball just before the end of the third had MA within 49-30.

Newmarket managed to grow its advantage back up to 57-32 with 5:16 left in the fourth, but the Panthers again fought back. Aaron Davis got the run started with an offensive rebound and putback, while Alex Norton and Riley Swedberg also contributed to the run. John Fownes capped off the 10-0 spree with a layup, as MA got within 57-42 with 1:39 to play.

Price capped off the scoring for the hosts with his third three-pointer of the night in the final minute.

Newmarket caused problems for the Panthers with an active full court press, as MA struggled to get the ball into the half court set during the first half.

"We didn't want to get into a running game with them," explained Swedberg of Newmarket. "We tried to make them play 5-on-5 but it took us a little while to adjust to their pressure. We hadn't seen a full court press yet this year and we didn't do a very good job with it early. It's about tempo and we didn't play at a good tempo."

Riley Swedberg paced the Panthers with 15 points, including 11 in the second half. Price also finished in double figures with 11 for MA, while Fownes chipped in eight. Davis was a menace on the boards in the loss, as he hauled in rebounds on both ends to help settle things down on several occasion.

Josh Eisfeller added 18 points for the Mules, which lost to eventual state runner-up Littleton in the semifinals last year.

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