T-Wolf defense stymies Tigers
Prospect hoop boys best Farmington and Gilford
|AUSTIN PERRIN puts up a shot against Gilford on Jan. 20. The freshman scored 11 points in the win. Kathy Sutherland. (click for larger version)|
January 25, 2010ALTON — The past few years, as the Prospect Mountain boys' basketball team has reached the Final Four, the Timber Wolves have been among the top defensive teams in Class M, with points per game allowed sitting in the 40s.
This year, the Timber Wolves haven't had quite as much success on the defensive side of the ball, with that average leaping to the mid-50s, which led coach Rob Carpenter to harp a bit on defense as his team headed into a game with Farmington on Friday, Jan. 22.
Whatever Carpenter said must have worked, as the Timber Wolves held the Tigers to a mere 34 points, almost 30 points fewer than the Tigers scored in Alton on Jan. 7, and walked off with a 41-34 victory.
"We've been kind of discussing how defense has been lacking, which is what's been keeping teams in games against us," Carpenter said. "It's something we really needed to start working on if we're going to make strides and they definitely put up a great effort Friday."
He noted that everyone on the court did a good job getting to where they needed to be in order to put Farmington in the positions they didn't want to be in.
While the Tigers only scored 34 points, the Timber Wolves didn't burn up the scoreboard either, putting in only 41, but Carpenter noted that some of that was by design.
"We didn't have a necessarily bad offensive night, it was just a very efficient game," he said.
The Timber Wolves played a ball-control offense, where they worked the ball around, looking for the right shot or the right chance to drive to the hoop and watched as the second ticked off the clock.
"Offensively, we didn't force the ball," Carpenter said. "We moved it around, waited for the open shots or a drive to the hoop."
The game remained close all the way through, as the seven-point difference in the final score was the biggest advantage of the night for the Timber Wolves.
"We were trying to keep the tempo down and create shots," Carpenter said. "We stayed focused and did what we needed to."
The Timber Wolf coach noted that LA Thomas did a good job at the top of the 2-3 zone defense and Zack Drouin did a solid job getting to the outside shooters to contest shots from the corners.
Austin Perrin and Greg Tinkham earned the coach's praise for their great work in the middle.
"Austin and Tink were outstanding rebounding the basketball," Carpenter said. "We held them to one shot more often than not."
Carpenter also noted that the pair did a good job of keeping the Farmington big guys out of their rhythm and out of their comfort zones.
Thomas scored 12 points to lead the Timber Wolves, while Tinkham added 11.
The boys opened the week with a 63-55 win over Gilford at home on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
Prospect led by a 12-10 margin after one quarter and stretched the lead a bit to 28-21 at the half. The Timber Wolves took a 47-36 lead to the fourth quarter, but the Golden Eagles made a run as the minutes were ticking down and closed the gap to 57-53 with 1:30 to play in the contest.
However, the Timber Wolves went to the charity stripe and took care of business, as Drouin, Perrin and Brian Jones all hit foul shots in the final minute and a half to help seal the win and keep the Golden Eagles at bay.
Drouin finished with 13 points to lead five Timber Wolves in double figures. Ben Couch, Jones and Perrin each had 11 and Tinkham added 10.
"Austin had a big game for us," Carpenter said. "He had some good rebounds and putbacks. He's a workhorse. He's our only big body and he's starting to come into form."
While the visitors were able to close the gap in the fourth quarter, Carpenter still noted that he thought his team executed as well as they had all season, they just failed to finish.
"We were lucky to come out with a win," he said. "We gave them every chance to take that game.
"We're not good enough to think were up by 11 with a few to go so we can take the pedal off," he continued.
The Timber Wolf coach noted that a win is still a win, no matter if it is ugly or not, and the win kept the Timber Wolves in the top 10 in Class M.
"We're setting ourselves up for a good second half push if we kept the intensity and momentum rolling," he said.
The Timber Wolves were in action after deadline Tuesday against Somersworth in what Carpenter expected to be a game to show where exactly his team stands.
"They're a top echelon team with a lot of quickness and depth," he said. "We'll see where we stand."
Prospect will be home on Friday, Jan. 29, to take on Epping at 6:30 p.m., the start of four games in a row on their home court. The boys host Franklin on Tuesday, Feb. 2, also at 6:30 p.m.