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Tigers Growl Over Cardinals

  • Newport's Spencer Coronis dribbles past Stevens' Richard Bell during their game in Claremont, N.H. on January 10, 2014. Newport won the game 62-54. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Newport's Spencer Coronis dribbles past Stevens' Richard Bell during their game in Claremont, N.H. on January 10, 2014. Newport won the game 62-54. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Stevens' Nate White tries to block a shot by Newport's Andrew Houde during their game in Claremont, N.H. on January 10, 2014. Newport won the game 62-54. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Stevens' Nate White tries to block a shot by Newport's Andrew Houde during their game in Claremont, N.H. on January 10, 2014. Newport won the game 62-54. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Newport's Spencer Coronis dribbles past Stevens' Richard Bell during their game in Claremont, N.H. on January 10, 2014. Newport won the game 62-54. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)
  • Stevens' Nate White tries to block a shot by Newport's Andrew Houde during their game in Claremont, N.H. on January 10, 2014. Newport won the game 62-54. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

Claremont — At first, Newport High’s basketball team looked a bit intimidated. Carr Gym was packed, and Stevens has one of those team introductions where the gym is darkened and a spotlight is turned on each Stevens players as he is announced. And it was a rivalry game, as well.

It was that atmosphere that hit Newport as Stevens stormed out to a 9-0 lead, but those were the glory moments for the Cardinals on Friday night as the Tigers took the 10-mile ride over the John Stark Highway with 62-54 win.

After the early deficit, Newport coach Steve Lavolpicelo took a timeout, and by the end of the quarter Stevens’ lead was just 16-14. And it only got better for Newport, and when the game was over, it was the Newport fans singing, Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.

So what happened?

“We didn’t play smart and even though we played hard, we made a lot of mental mistakes,” Stevens coach Scott MacNamee said. “I’ve got to do a better job of teaching the game and the players have got to do a better job of learning the game.”

What bothered MacNamee the most was the defensive lapses that resulted in too many easy baskets.

“We’ve got to find a way to play better team defense,” he said.

The Stevens coach knew that the bulk of the Newport scoring was likely to come from the junior tandem of Andrew Houde and Spencer Coronis. Despite all the preparation, the duo combined for 46 points as Houde had 29 and Coronis 17.

“We knew we had to stop them, and we didn’t do it,” MacNamee said.

The win lifted Newport to 3-0. While it was wild and loud in Carr Gym, Lavolpicelo was impressed.

“This was awesome,” he said. “This is what high school basketball is all about. A loud, full house.”

Stevens (2-3, 1-2 D-III) opened the season with a tough win over Monadnock, then had a lackluster tourney at the Connecticut River Shootout in Hanover before dropping a game earlier this week at Mascoma.

Newport, which had not played a game in 12 days, not only had a rough start, but the Tigers also had to overcome a 5-for-16 shooting performance from the foul line in the first half.

The big swing in the game came in the third quarter, as the Tigers used a 17-8 advantage to go from a 30-28 lead at the half to a 47-36 advantage after three periods. In the fourth quarter, Houde showed Claremont what he could do with an 11-point quarter, including some moves to the basket that were special.

“He was something down the stretch,” Lavolpicelo said.

With 42 seconds to go and Stevens trailing 58-50, the Cardinals got a basket from Dorion Bolden. The Newport inbounds pass went to Bolden, who dropped it in and to make it 58-54 Tigers with 28 seconds to play. Stevens, however, was forced to foul, but Houde went 4-for-4 from the line to put the game away for the Tigers.

The Tigers received a solid all-around effort from Jason Teeter, who contributed 10 points — all in the first half — as Newport got back in the game.

“He rebounded and distributed the ball,” Lavolpicelo said. “He was a key tonight.”

Ryan Tanquay scored seven of the first nine Stevens points and had a 23-point game. Jordan Haines added 13 and Bolden 10.

Newport hosts Hinsdale Monday, while Stevens visits Kearsarge that night.