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Cards Battle Back To Edge Huskies

Claremont — They just kept coming back.

Down by 14 points in the second quarter and not looking crisp at all, the Stevens High boys basketball team dug a little deeper, kept plugging away, and took the lead with 39.3 seconds left for a 61-56 win over Monadnock Friday night at Carr Gym.

There were games of this ilk the Cardinals lost last season, which has been a concern of coach Scott MacNamee.

“I knew we were going to have some sloppy times and we did because we’re doing some new things,” said MacNamee.

The final moments were frantic and very loud in the 135-year-old gym, as there were times that Monadnock appeared to be taking control, leading 52-47 with less than five minutes to play. But the Huskies couldn’t put a dagger in the heart of the Cardinals, and Monadnock coach Mike Mitchell blamed himself.

“This was not my players, fault,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t know how to coach the final minutes. I should have been resting the starters more during the game. They were tired. I didn’t do the job under pressure.”

Stevens’ Ryan Tanguay was a force all night (22 points), and along with Nate White (10 points), were the key performers when it counted.

With 2:39 to play, Stevens trailed 54-52 when White took a shot that was off the mark, but Tanguay was in the right place and put the rebound back in to tie the game. Monadnock went back up 56-54 and held that lead until there were just 58.9 seconds to go. Tanguay then gave up the good look and fed White for the easy lay-in and another tie. Ben Mallet, who had a big game for the Huskies (23 points), missed from the side and the Cardinals turned it into a 58-56 lead on a Tanguay basket and finished out the game with two free throws from White and one from Tanguay.

“Coach talked to us about keeping our heads in the game and I thought we did,” White said. “We had to stay calm.”

Mallet’s big night for the Huskies kind of surprised MacNamee.

“He came off the bench in their first game (61-39 over Hinsdale) and he caught us by surprise tonight,” he said.

It was the season opener for Stevens, which does not have another New Hampshire Division III game until Jan. 3, when Franklin comes to Claremont.

One problem that hampered the Cardinals all night was the foul situation of Jordan Haines, who, along with Tanguay were expected to be carry the load offensively this winter. While Haines had nine points, however, he spent some time on the bench as he had three fouls with 7:43 to play in the second period.

Even so, when the Stevens hole got to double figures he went back into the game and with Haines getting four points, the deficit at the half was just 28-27. He picked up his fourth foul with 6:38 to go in the third period, sat again until 4:43 of the fourth period and never did foul out.

Note: Officials Jim Moylan and Tom Fowler were assigned to the game, but late Friday afternoon Stevens assistant athletic director Gordon Dansereau said he was notified that they had to be pulled from the Claremont assignment to officiate a game in the Keene area. The two junior varsity officials were kept over and did the varsity game.