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Handy Win for Stevens

Claremont — There were a number of reasons why the Stevens High boys basketball team was able to hang on for a 76-69 win over Kearsarge last night in an NHIAA Division III clash. But the one that got the most attention was a pair of so-called “granny” free throws.

With Stevens clinging to a 64-60 lead with 3:08 to play, Trey Dansereau went to the foul line for two shots.

Instructed to attempt both free throws underhanded, Dansereau did as he was told and tossed both through the hoop. The Cardinals went from there to the victory.

“I told him if he shot overhand, I would take him out of the game,” said Stevens coach Scott MacNamee. “He also took four fourth-quarter charges.”

It was the season opener for Stevens while Kearsarge, which lost its debut to Bow, fell to 0-2.

Depth was another factor in Stevens’ favor as the Cardinals went deep off the bench and got a 10-point, seven-rebound effort from 6-foot-5 sophomore Dorion Bolden.

Billy Brooks, who missed almost all of the preseason recovering from a football injury, came off the bench and scored 18 points for Stevens to lead all scorers, and he was as much a pest on defense as he was last year.

There was a spell in the third quarter when Brooks scored six points in 42 seconds. Then in the fourth quarter, after Logan Batchelder scored to tie the game at 56-56 with 7:31 to play, Brooks stole the ball, scored and was fouled for the three-point play to make it 59-56. Stevens never trailed again.

While Brooks was one problem for Kearsarge, the Cougars were also hurt when Ollie Gallo picked up his fourth foul with 5:49 to go in the third quarter. He was in and out of the lineup the rest of the game.

“He provides us with so much energy,” said Kearsarge coach Nate Camp. “We’re much better when he’s in there.”

While the Cougars never caught up with the Cardinals in the fourth quarter, the game was never a lock for Stevens until the closing moments. With 37.8 seconds left, a pair of Gallo drives brought the Cougars to within 70-66. However, Camp ran out of timeouts and Stevens eventually ran out the clock.

“I thought we could have made some better shot selections there in the fourth quarter,” said Camp. “I thought that was important.”

Kearsarge looked in deep trouble as early as the second quarter when the Cougars fell behind 53-43 with 2:35 to go. But fueled by seven consecutive points by Peter Allen to close out the quarter, the Cougars finished with a 15-3 run and took a 56-54 lead with eight minutes to play.

The host Cards regained their composure, however, and opened a comfortable advantage that they held the rest of the way.

The Cardinals ended with four players in double figures paced by Brooks‘ 18. Jordan Haines followed with 17, Ryan Tanguay had 16 and Bolden added 10.

Tanguay also had three 3-pointers in an all-around game that saw him collect seven rebounds, five steals and three assists.

“We wanted this game so bad,” said Tanguay. “I think our transition game was a factor, and I think we made them a little nervous on defense.”

On the negative side, the Cardinals missed 11 free throws and had 17 turnovers.

Peter Allen and Casey Laughinghouse each had 15 points to lead the Kearsarge scorers.

Both teams play again Friday with Stevens going to Monadnock and Kearsarge to Conant.