PAT CASSIDY soars to the hoop through the defensive pressure of a Moultonborough Panther during action Dec. 27 in Gilford. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
January 02, 2012GILFORD — The Prospect Mountain boys' basketball team exacted a little revenge in the opener of the Lakes Region Holiday Tournament in Gilford on Tuesday, Dec. 27.
The Timber Wolves held Moultonborough's Swedberg brothers in check (16 points apiece) and took a 48-39 win over the Panthers, the team that defeated the Timber Wolves in last year's tourney finals.
"We looked at the sites and knew they averaged 62 points a game," coach Tom Bourdeau said. "Our goal was to keep them under 50 and us over 50.
"We didn't reach our end of the bargain, but that's OK," he added.
Prospect went on to win the tourney with a two-point win over Kingswood the next day, which fell after our early sports deadlines.
The Timber Wolves won every quarter of the game and never trailed by more than three points, though the Panthers came roaring back with a vengeance in the final frame, intent on defending their tourney championship.
"I told the kids at halftime, you won the first two quarters, now let's go win the next two," Bourdeau said.
A Logan Roberts hoop and a Zack Drouin three-pointer propelled Prospect to a 5-0 lead out of the gate and after a Panther bucket, Austin Perrin and Jay Mousseau hit hoops to up the lead to 9-2.
The Panthers hit two from the free throw line, but Perrin answered to up the Timber Wolf lead to 11-4.
However, Moultonborough closed out the quarter on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 11-10 after eight minutes of play.
Two Ethan Henderson free throws gave Prospect a bit of breathing room to open the second quarter, but the Panthers hit three shots in a row to take a 16-13 lead.
A Drouin three-pointer tied the game at 16 and Moultonborough hit a field goal to take the lead back.
However, hoops from Pat Cassidy, Mousseau and Roberts allowed the Timber Wolves to close out the half on a 6-0 run and take a 22-18 lead into the halftime break.
Three hoops in a row from Drouin to open the third quarter pushed Prospect to a 28-18 lead and after a Panther bucket, Mousseau hit for two to put the lead back at 10. A Cassidy bucket was sandwiched by two hoops from the Panthers and the third quarter ended with Prospect up 32-24.
Henderson drilled a three to open scoring in the fourth quarter, giving Prospect it's biggest lead at 35-24. Moultonborough came back with three free throws to cut into the lead, but a Drouin hoop put the advantage back to 10.
A field goal and a three-pointer pulled the Panthers to within five at 37-32, but Cassidy finished off a great feed from Drouin to push the lead back to seven.
Moultonborough kept on coming, however, hitting a field goal and a three-pointer to cut the lead to 39-37 with three minutes left on the clock.
A pair of Cassidy free throws with just under two minutes left on the clock pushed the lead to four, but Moultonborough hit a hoop 30 seconds later to cut the lead to two again.
Mousseau got a hoop 15 seconds later to push the lead to four again and a huge defensive rebound by Roberts got the Timber Wolves the ball back with 35 seconds on the clock.
Drouin hit one from the line to up the lead to five and Mousseau picked up another big defensive rebound and hit two free throws to put the game out of reach. Cassidy got the game's final hoop for the 48-39 score.
"It got tight in the fourth, but the guys didn't wilt," Bourdeau said. "We could've pulled up stakes and gone home, but the didn't."
Again, Bourdeau noted that defense is leading the way for the Timber Wolves and any time they can hold a team to under 40 points, he knows his squad can walk off with a win.
"The kids are really absorbing that," Bourdeau said of the defensive approach.
Bourdeau noted that the Timber Wolves are not nearly where he wants them to eventually be, but the big tourney opening win helped show him just how good his squad can be.
"I wasn't sure where we were at after the first four games," the first-year head coach said. "But after this, I think we're a pretty damn good team.
"And we're nowhere near where I want us to be," he continued. "That could be a scary thing if we start clicking on offense."
Drouin finished with 15 to lead the Timber Wolves, while Mousseau and Cassidy each added 10.
Prospect took on host Gilford in the semifinals on Wednesday, Dec. 28, and unlike a week earlier when the two teams met in Gilford, the Golden Eagles were not able to jump out to an early lead. In fact, Prospect held the lead for almost the entire game.
Cassidy took the opening tipoff in for two points and Perrin followed with a hoop for a quick 4-0 lead. Gilford got a three and a free throw to tie the game at four, but Mousseau got a bucket, Cassidy hit a free throw and Drouin drained a three-pointer to up the lead to 10-4.
Gilford got a hoop to cut the lead to four, but Cassidy hit a bucket and Perrin drained two from the line to give Prospect a 14-6 lead after one.
Mousseau hit the first hoop of the second quarter and Gilford answered with a free throw. After Drouin hit a shot, Gilford drained two three-pointers in a row to cut the lead to 18-13.
Cassidy hit for two, but Gilford came back with a bucket and a free throw to cut the lead to 20-16.
However, Prospect closed out the half on an 8-0 run, with Perrin and Cassidy each netting a pair of hoops to give the Timber Wolves a 28-16 lead after two quarters.
The hosts hit a three-pointer out of the lockerroom and then drained a field goal to cut the lead to 28-21 early in the third, but a pair of Perrin free throws stopped the bleeding momentarily.
Gilford hit another three-pointer, but two Mousseau hoops sandwiched around a Gilford free throw upped the lead to 34-25. The Golden Eagles hit yet another three-pointer to make it 34-28, but again Cassidy hit a hoop to push the lead back to eight.
Gilford netted the next four points to cut the lead to 36-32 with seconds remaining in the third, but Drouin drilled an off-balance three at the buzzer to send Prospect to the final frame with a 39-32 lead.
Free throws were the story in the fourth for the Timber Wolves, as Drouin managed the lone field goal of the quarter. Cassidy, Drouin, Henderson and Roberts all hit at least one from the line in the frame to help seal the 49-38 win.
"Ugly wins are better than pretty losses," Bourdeau said. "But I have to give credit to Gilford."
Again Bourdeau was pleased with his team keeping an opponent under 40 points, as the defense continues to shine for the Timber Wolves.
However, there was much to be improved on and Bourdeau knew that if his team played the same way against Kingswood in the finals, they likely would get beat badly. He pointed to turnovers as key.
"We're not going to win games against good teams doing that (turnovers)," he said. "Offensively, we're going in the right direction, but we have to clean up those turnovers."
Cassidy led the way for the Timber Wolves with 15 points, while Drouin had 13 and Perrin added 10.
Because of early holiday deadlines, the title game was played after deadline on Thursday. Check page A1 for an update on how the Timber Wolves fared and see the story in next week's edition.
Prospect returns to action on Friday, Jan. 6, at Raymond at 6:30 p.m. and hosts Bow at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126