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MA boys fall in state semis

MA’s Ryan Martel closes around his Sunapee defender during quarterfinal action in Moultonboro on March 4. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
March 14, 2011
PLYMOUTH – For just the second time all season, the Moultonboro Academy boys' basketball team found itself on the wrong end of the scoreboard when time expired.

The second-seeded Panthers struggled with their shooting all night and a late comeback effort came up short as MA fell to number three Derryfield School, 50-34, in the Division IV state semifinal held at Plymouth State University on March 9.

"It just didn't go according to plan," said MA coach Matt Swedberg. "It was kind of an odd game. We had good looks shooting the ball but they just didn't go down for us. Was it nerves, impact of playing in a semifinal? I'm not sure."

Derryfield (20-1) also struggled to score in the first half, as the Cougars led 16-12 at intermission despite holding MA to just 4-of-23 shooting.

"Defensively, it wasn't like we were giving up anything because giving up only 16 points in a half is a good thing," explained Swedberg.

Derryfield saw its lead balloon to double digits early in the fourth quarter before MA chipped away. Despite losing point guard Drew Swedberg when he fouled out in the fourth, the Panthers got within 34-29 with 4:11 left.

But the Cougars pulled away late and saw the score inflate when the Panthers were forced to foul in the waning minutes.

"We had it close with four minutes left but we didn't get the break we needed to get us over the hump," coach Swedberg said. "It was just one of those games. I kept thinking that we'll be alright but we never really got into a rhythm."

Marcus Swedberg led MA with 13 points and 11 rebounds while Drew Swedberg chipped in 10 points. Seniors Patrick Cotter (five points, three rebounds, two blocks) and Ryan Martel (three points, two assists) played in their final games for the Panthers.

"It's always unfortunate when the seniors play their last game but they both had great senior seasons," coach Swedberg said.

The loss brought about the end of an outstanding season that saw the Panthers finish 19-2 overall. MA also captured the 2010 Lakes Region Holiday Basketball Tournament in December after beating three Division III foes along the way.

"It was a treat to have what we had this year," coach Swedberg said. "We had a good mix with the size in Marcus and Patrick and the backcourt with Drew and Ryan. I don't know if I would have predicted 17-1 in the regular season at the beginning of the year but as the season went on, we started looking at ourselves and liked what we were doing. It was a steady progression as we went along."

Swedberg hopes a core of returnees will help make next season as successful.

"We've got some younger kids who I'm hoping can make the step up and really solidify some spots along with the guys who will be back," he said. "Matt Whitcomb and Andrew Torressen are two kids who will be in the mix in the backcourt. Drew now has two full years of varsity play going into his junior year so he's got some good experience to play with."

Junior Travis Keich-Baier transferred in and proved to be a nice surprise at the forward position while classmate Nick Sindorf did a little bit of everything for MA.

Coach Swedberg lauded the Moultonboro fan base for their efforts this winter.

"One of the things I like about coaching here is the fan base we have," he said. "We get such good turnouts, especially with the student body. Even when we played against some of the bottom teams in the league, we still had a packed gym. We lost at Plymouth State but even so, we had a lot of people there and they made a lot of noise. It makes it so much more fun for the kids and they enjoyed that support."

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