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T-Wolves toppled in final two

Prospect hoop boys begin postseason play with play-in game Friday

PROSPECT MOUNTAIN COACH Rob Carpenter poses with seniors (l to r), Anthony Frangione, Ben Couch, Adam Navarro and Spencer Goossens prior to their final regular season home game on Feb. 15. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
February 21, 2011
ALTON — Division III teams better take notice of the Prospect Mountain boys' basketball team.

Though the Timber Wolves dropped their final three games of the season, they played their final four games of the regular season against some of the top Division III squads and each and every time were in the game until the end.

"It's been almost good practice for a tournament run," coach Rob Carpenter said of his team's games with Raymond, Somersworth, Campbell and Berlin. "I think our confidence has never been higher even though we've lost a few.

"We feel pretty good about where we're at and the basketball we're playing," he continued. We're starting to become a more well-rounded team and that's a good sign."

The Timber Wolves made the long trip to Berlin on Thursday, Feb. 17, and had plenty of obstacles to face.

First and foremost, the Mountaineers are undefeated and are one of the teams expected to make a run at the Division III title. Additionally, it was their Senior Night and star Curtis Arsenault was just a couple of points away from scoring his 1,000th career point. Those things added up to a packed house in the Berlin gym.

Despite all that, the Prospect kids came to play and hung tight with the Mountaineers before eventually dropping a 57-46 decision.

"Their the favorites to win a state championship," Carpenter said. "To take on that team, on their court, on Senior Night, with Curtis getting his 1,000th point in a playoff atmosphere, we played well.

"We just didn't get that shot we needed to get us over the top," he added.

The Mountaineers did a nice job keying on Prospect junior Zack Drouin, holding him to four points on the night. However, the Timber Wolves had a solid inside game, with Jay Mousseau, Austin Perrin and Logan Roberts combining for 22 points. Mousseau and Perrin (along with Pat Cassidy) led the Timber Wolves with nine points each.

Behind Arsenault's big moment, the Mountaineers got out to a quick 9-2 lead in the first quarter, but Prospect cut the lead to one, 14-13, after one quarter.

And the third and fourth quarters were also one-point frames, with Berlin winning the third 11-10 and Prospect winning the fourth 14-13.

The difference was the second quarter, when Prospect was outscored 19-9.

Prospect was able to cut the lead to five in the third quarter, but Berlin fought back to take a 12-point lead after three. Prospect cut the lead to four late in the fourth quarter, but the Mountaineers pulled away.

"I was pretty impressed with how my kids played," Carpenter said. "It shows we're definitely a team that may be a sleeper and take a game or two and have an upset down the road if we keep playing the type of basketball we're playing."

The Timber Wolves opened the week with their final regular season home game against Campbell on Tuesday, Feb. 15.

The Prospect boys hung tough in the opening frame. After Campbell scored first, Adam Navarro got a rebound and hoop to tie the game at two. Campbell scored the next five points to take a 7-2 lead, but a hoop from Drouin and two for Roberts propelled the hosts to an 8-7 lead.

Campbell answered with a hoop to retake the lead, but Ben Couch drilled a hoop to give Prospect a 10-9 lead. However, the visitors drilled a long three-pointer at the buzzer to go up 12-10 after one quarter.

A Couch three-pointer put Prospect on top by one to open the second quarter, but Campbell came back with a field goal for a one-point lead. A Cassidy three-pointer pushed Prospect to a 16-14 lead, but the Cougars hit the next eight points, including two three-pointers, to open up a 22-16 lead.

Drouin hit a free throw and Cassidy hit two to cut the lead to 22-19, but the Cougars answered with a bucket to push the lead to five. Navarro hit a hoop, but Campbell got two from the line to answer. Drouin hit a hoop to again cut the lead to three, but Campbell pushed it back to five with another field goal.

Roberts hit a hoop to make it 28-25 but the Cougars hit from beyond the arc to stretch the lead to 31-25. After Drouin hit two from the line, Campbell hit a bucket and took a 33-27 lead to halftime.

Drouin opened the second half scoring and Perrin followed by finishing off a great hustle play from Navarro and Prospect pulled within two at 33-31. Campbell came back with a hoop to push the lead to four, but a three-pointer from Anthony Frangione put the Timber Wolves within one at 35-34.

However, the Cougars found their stroke, hitting the next 10 points to stretch the lead to 11 and basically putting the game away.

Drouin hit a pair of free throws to end the run, but Campbell answered with a hoop. Roberts got a bucket and the visitors hit two to go up 51-38. Drouin hit a free throw and Roberts got a rebound and hoop to close out the third quarter at 51-41 in favor of the Cougars.

A Couch three-pointer opened the fourth quarter, but Campbell came back with a hoop. A rebound and hoop for Perrin and a bucket for Drouin cut the lead to 53-48, but the visitors hit a free throw. Perrin hit another hoop, but Campbell answered with a bucket and then two free throws to push the lead to 58-50.

Drouin hit a bucket to cut the lead to six, but Campbell finished the game with the final five points and took the 63-52 win.

"I give them credit, they tightened up on defense on us," Carpenter said of the third quarter. "We made a couple of mistakes going to the baskets."

Despite the loss, the Timber Wolf coach was pleased with what his team put out on the court.

"All in all we gave a good effort," he said. "But defensively it was not what we wanted to do."

He noted that the Timber Wolves do not match up well with the Cougars, which would make things hard if they were to meet in the playoffs.

"They're a young team, but they showed some good poise," he commented. "They rebounded the shots we didn't make and we didn't. We gave them too many second opportunities all night long."

Drouin finished with 16 points, while Roberts added 10 and Couch had eight.

The Timber Wolves will be hosting a play-in game for the Division III tournament on Friday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. likely against Newport or Winnisquam.

The winner of that game will go on to the Division III tournament, which begins on Tuesday, March 1, at the home of the higher seed. For complete updates on the playoff matchups and schedule when they become available, visit our sports section's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Salmon-Press-Sports-Wolfeboro/.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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