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Joyce Endee

Comeback falls just short as Bears clipped by Franklin

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Winnisquam guard Spencer Pevine looks for an open teammate late in the Bears’ loss to Franklin on Jan. 24. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
January 30, 2012
TILTON – Throw out the records when Winnisquam and Franklin get together.

Despite entering the contest with an 0-9 record on the season, the Winnisquam Regional High School boys' basketball team played like a team hungry to beat its neighboring rival on Jan. 24. A frantic fourth quarter comeback came up just a point shy however, as the 5-4 Golden Tornadoes of Franklin High School escaped Tilton with a 45-44 win in an old-school Division III contest before a packed house.

"It's just a great rivalry," explained Winnisquam coach Kevin Dame. "We've had years where we've been a top seven or eight team, and they've come in and beat us or gave us a close game and then vice versa. You just have to throw the records right out the window when we play Franklin and this game showed that once again."

Franklin led 37-28 with 5:15 left in the fourth quarter after Jake Jameson scored an old-fashioned three-point play. But Winnisquam wouldn't go away, as an in-your-face defensive effort led to some key Tornado turnovers. Mike Quagliana scored to cut the deficit to 37-30 with 4:46 to go, and the big man stole the inbounds pass, feeding Parker Normand for an easy bucket.

Franklin led 38-32 before Bears junior Spencer Pevine drained a three-pointer with 3:18 remaining. Jameson answered for the visitors with a three, before Pevine and Zach Plourde hit back-to-back hoops to get within 41-39 with 1:03 to go.

"We started to play with intensity to come back," said Dame. "But you've got to play with intensity and make plays."

After Jameson hit one of two from the charity stripe with 57 seconds to go, Pevine had a chance to tie the game, but his three-ball with 47 seconds left barely rimmed out. Franklin rebuilt its lead to 44-39 from the free throw line, though Tommy Mahoney cut it to 44-41 with a layup in the final 30 seconds.

Franklin's Brian Picowicz made it a two possession game again with a freebie with 7.7 seconds to go, but Normand drained a three for the Bears, cutting it to 45-44 with 0.9 seconds to play. After a Tornadoes timeout, the squad was able to run the clock out despite a bad inbounds pass, holding on for the one-point win.

But the story of the game in Dame's mind was a third quarter where the Bears were outscored 12-5. Franklin led just 20-19 at halftime, but Kody Benwell hit three straight hoops for Franklin and Jameson connected on back-to-back threes. Lester DeRoche scored for Winnisquam just before the third quarter buzzer, but the Tornadoes still led 32-24 entering the fourth.

"Just those little lulls," began Dame. "We can't seem to get over those third quarters. We need to understand that you aren't done defensively until you rebound the ball. They were getting those second and third chance points on us. Without those lulls, we don't have to scramble so much in the fourth quarter."

Winnisquam led 10-6 after one quarter before Franklin held a 14-9 advantage in the second to grab the one-point advantage at intermission. Picowicz had 10 of his 12 points in the first half, while Quagliana scored eight of his 12 in that same span.

"The boys haven't quit, that's one thing that has been there all year," said Dame. "I'm hungrier for that first win, I think they are too. They battle every day in practice, they all want playing time and that's a healthy thing."

Quagliana's 12 points led the Bears on the night, while Normand was also in double figures with 10. Mahoney finished with nine points while Pevine chipped in seven.

Jameson had all 12 of his points for Franklin in the second half.

The teams meet again in Franklin on the last day of the regular season scheduled for Feb. 22.

The Winnisquam JV team had few problems in the first game of the doubleheader, as the junior Bears led 31-11 at halftime and didn't look back en route to a 77-29 thumping of Franklin.

Tucker Normand led the Bears with 15 points, while Andrew Serrano and Austin Gaska each added 11. Jason Robinson chipped in nine points on three threes, as Winnisquam scored an impressive 27 points in the third quarter alone.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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