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Timber Wolf boys put on a show


Team wins first two home games in nail-biting fashion before dropping third



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LA THOMAS drives to the hoop during fourth quarter action Jan. 7 against Farmington. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
January 11, 2010
ALTON — The Prospect Mountain boys' basketball team finally got to play on its home court and the Timber Wolves sure made things fun for the hometown fans.

The Prospect boys picked up nail-biting wins over Raymond and Farmington and almost pulled the upset of the year against a very talented Campbell squad to finish out the week.

The Cougars came to town on Saturday evening, Jan. 9, touted as one of the top teams in the state and in the early going, they made the defending Class M runners-up look like their next easy victim.

Campbell came out and took a 24-10 lead after one quarter of basketball, as they took Prospect mistakes and turned them into easy hoops.

The Timber Wolves came out in the second quarter and played better basketball, but were still unable to make up any ground on the Cougars and trailed by 16 at the half.

"We weren't gaining any ground, we were just trying to keep the pace down," said Prospect coach Rob Carpenter.

The Timber Wolves came out gunning in the third quarter and outscored the Cougars by a 23-11 tally and if not for a buzzer-beating three-quarter-court shot, it would've been a one-point game after three quarters.

Zack Drouin keyed the huge third quarter, netting 11 of his 22 points in that frame.

The Timber Wolves kept clawing back and tied the game at 56 with just more than three minutes to play in the contest. Drouin made a big steal in the backcourt and converted a fast-break layup to tie the game.

"The place was going crazy," said Carpenter. "Then we had a little bit of a breakdown and it started to get away from us."

The Cougars outscored the Timber Wolves 15-2 over the final few minutes to seal the 71-58 win.

"All-in-all, we put in a pretty good effort," Carpenter said. "They're certainly considered one of the top teams in the state.

"We've been struggling with our confidence, but we're a good team and hopefully this shows them they can play with anyone," the Timber Wolf coach continued. "Ever since Gilford (before the holiday break), every game we've played we seem to be improving every night."

Drouin finished with 22 points, while LA Thomas had 15 points, including seven in the Timber Wolves' run in the fourth quarter. Ben Couch added 10 points.

The Timber Wolves were playing without starter Anthony Frangione and sixth man Patrick Cassidy, both of whom were injured in the team's previous game with Farmington.

"We still put an effort together, which shows a lot of our depth and our ability as a team," Carpenter said.

The Timber Wolves took to the court on Thursday, Jan. 7, for a game with neighboring Farmington, a matchup that always brings out emotions from fans on both sides of the ball.

The early part of the game belonged to the Timber Wolves, as the hosts dashed out to a 21-13 lead after one quarter.

Farmington scored first, but Brian Jones answered with the first Timber Wolf hoop of the game. After another Farmington bucket, Frangione hit a free throw to make it a one-point game. The Tigers got another field goal and Frangione hit one for the Timber Wolves to make it 5-6. After a pair of Tiger free throws, Drouin sunk a three-pointer to tie the game at eight.

Thomas followed with his own three-pointer to give the Timber Wolves their first lead, but the Tigers came back with a three-point play to tie the game at 11.

Tinkham and Drouin hit back-to-back hoops to make it 15-11, with Drouin's hoop coming off his own steal. However, the visitors hit another bucket to cut the lead to two. Drouin hit a pair of free throws and Cassidy finished off his own steal with a hoop to make it 19-13. After an Adam Navarro block, Drouin sunk a pair from the charity stripe for the 21-13 lead at the end of one quarter.

Couch hit a three to open the second quarter scoring, but the Tigers answered with a three-point play at the other end. They then hit a field goal and a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 24-20. Thomas sunk two free throws, but the Tigers drained four from the line to make it a two-point game. Tinkham sunk one free throw, only to see the Tigers hit two to make it 27-26 with 2:25 to play in the half.

Couch hit a pair from the stripe and Tinkham buried a field goal to make it 31-26, but Farmington got a free throw and a hoop to close the gap to two. Drouin hit a free throw with 3.5 seconds on the clock to give the Timber Wolves a 32-29 edge heading to halftime.

Farmington immediately cut that lead to one to open the third quarter. After a pair of Austin Perrin free throws pushed the Timber Wolves back to a three-point lead, the Tigers scored 10 points in a row (four from the line) to take a 41-34 lead.

Drouin stopped the bleeding by converting a three-point play, then finished off a Couch steal with a hoop to make it 41-39. The sophomore then drained a free throw to cut the lead to one.

Thomas finished off his own steal with a hoop to give the Timber Wolves the lead back with 1:50 to play in the first half, but a pair of Tiger free throws in the final minute gave them a 43-42 halftime lead.

Free throws opened the fourth quarter, as Couch hit two and Perrin hit one, while the Tigers had one, giving the Timber Wolves a 45-44 lead.

Couch then buried a three-pointer with five minutes to go off his own steal, putting the hosts up by a 48-44 count. The Tigers cut the lead to two, but Drouin hit one from the line for a 49-46 lead. Farmington then got a field goal and with three minutes to go, a three-pointer to take a 51-49 lead. A free throw made it 52-49.

However, the Timber Wolf defense caused a Farmington turnover, not allowing an inbound pass with two minutes to play, giving the hosts the ball back. Perrin finished a feed from Drouin to cut the lead to one, only to see the Tigers convert a three-point play at the other end for a 55-51 lead with 1:34 to play.

Drouin hit a field goal with 1:12 to play to make it a two-point game and again, the defense forced another Tiger turnover, as a Farmington player stepped out of bounds with 1:07 on the clock.

Thomas then sunk a bucket with less than a minute to go to tie the game. Couch got a steal, but the Timber Wolves turned the ball back over and the Tigers ran the clock down to 11 seconds before calling a timeout.

However, the Tigers missed the final shot and the game went to overtime, where Thomas was the force the Timber Wolves needed.

The extra session didn't start well for Prospect, as the Timber Wolves turned the ball over the first time down the court. The Tigers hit four free throws in the first two minutes of the extra frame to take a four-point lead, but Drouin hit a pair to cut the lead back to two.

After a Thomas steal, Perrin tied the game at 59 with 1:36 to play and after a steal by Navarro, Thomas drilled a three-pointer to bring the Prospect fans to their feet with a minute to play.

Farmington hit a pair from the line to make it 62-61 with 38 seconds to play, but Thomas hit a pair at the other end to push the lead back to three with 31 seconds to go. A Farmington travel put the ball back in the Timber Wolves' hands and Thomas hit two more from the line to seal the win with 11.9 seconds to go.

Perrin then grabbed a big defensive rebound and the Timber Wolves had the 66-61 win.

"It was a physical game, but we figured that coming in," said Carpenter, who saw his bench reduced to two people by the end of the contest, thanks to injuries and players fouling out. "It was a tightly called game and we had to adjust a bit. Some kids didn't adjust quick enough and we lost some and so did they."

Carpenter admitted that mental toughness was something his team has struggled with during the early part of the season, but he noted that the boys showed it against the Tigers.

"They're (Farmington) a tough team and they won't lay down for anybody," said Carpenter. "You know you're going to have to persevere when you lose two to injuries and two to fouls and you're without four of your top seven in the last 15 minutes."

Carpenter credited Thomas for stepping up his game, something he talked to the senior about in the week leading up to the contest.

"For us to be successful, I told him he had to pick up the pace," Carpenter said. "At the end he made some clutch shots, got to the basket well and then hit those foul shots at the end."

He also praised Navarro for his tough play in the extra frame that helped lead to Farmington turnovers.

Drouin had 21 to lead the Timber Wolves, while Thomas had 16 and Couch added 10.

The Timber Wolves opened the week with a nail-biting 45-43 win over Raymond on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

Prospect led 14-12 after one quarter, but trailed 26-25 at halftime. The hosts got the lead back, 35-34 after three quarters and held on for the victory in their first home game of the season.

Drouin and Thomas each had 13 points to pace the offense.

The Timber Wolves return to action on Friday, Jan. 15, when they host Sanborn at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, the boys host Gilford, also at 6:30 p.m.

JV wins

Ethan Henderson had 18 points and Jay Mousseau added 11 as the JV Timber Wolves knocked off Farmington on Thursday, Jan. 7.

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