AUSTIN PERRIN, Ethan Henderson and Logan Roberts celebrate Prospect's 43-34 win over Conant in the Division III semifinals Tuesday. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
March 06, 2012MANCHESTER — Pity anyone who arrived late.
Seemingly the entire population of the city of Berlin and the towns of Alton and Barnstead was packed into the gym at Southern New Hampshire University, leaving latecomers on the outside looking in. Though they could probably hear the intense crowd 10 miles away.
And what those latecomers missed was what ESPN would call an "Instant Classic."
Prospect led for most of the game, with top-seeded Berlin getting its first lead of the game with 1:35 gone in the fourth quarter and the two teams battled back and forth in the final six minutes, before the Mountaineers squeaked out a 53-51 win to claim the Division III championship.
"It was looking pretty darned good," coach Tom Bourdeau said. "But our Achilles heel all year is we've didn't make too many good decisions down the stretch."
Behind eight points each from Pat Cassidy and Jay Mousseau, Prospect jumped out to a 25-16 lead at halftime and at one point in the third, after a Pat Cassidy three-pointer, had a 12-point lead on the Mountaineers.
However, the boys from Berlin showed why they were undefeated this season, battling back in the final nine minutes to walk off with the title.
Cassidy led Prospect with 15 points, while Mousseau and Austin Perrin had 11 each and Zack Drouin added 12.
There will be a new banner in the Prospect Mountain High School gym.
The Timber Wolf boys' basketball team continued its run through the Division III playoffs on Tuesday night, upsetting second-seeded Conant in the semifinals 43-34, earning themselves a trip to the finals. This will be the second trip to the finals for the Timber Wolves.
After a tough first portion of the first half, the Timber Wolves settled down, got a huge second quarter from Jay Mousseau and won the battles in the second half.
"We settled down," coach Tom Bourdeau said. "We got calmed down and we played great basketball."
The Timber Wolves found themselves down by as many as 10 points in the first half, but a Mousseau bucket at the halftime buzzer after a great fake and feed from Zack Drouin, allowed Prospect to go to the half trailing by just three points, 23-20.
A Pat Cassidy three-pointer two minutes into the third quarter tied the game at 23 and the two teams battled back and forth from there, finishing the quarter tied at 28.
The fourth quarter continued the back and forth battle, but a Cassidy three-pointer with 50 seconds to go on the clock put Prospect up by three, 37-34 and Conant reverted to fouling. Mousseau, Austin Perrin and Cassidy hit the free throws down the stretch to close out the 43-34 win.
Mousseau finished with 15 points, while Drouin added 12. Prospect dominated the boards, outrebounding the Orioles by a 45-27 tally, with Roberts pulling down 10 boards and Mousseau and Perrin each pulling down nine.
Prospect will play in the championship game at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester. The Timber Wolves will play either Berlin or Hopkinton, who did battle in Manchester after Prospect's win.