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Cards Beat Royals, And the Buzzer, Too

Claremont — Even the player that took the game-winning shot thought it probably should not have gone in.

Stevens was a 58-55 winner over Mascoma last night in a New Hampshire Division III game at Carr Gym that was decided by Jordan Haines’ off-balance 3-pointer as time expired.

With the scored tied at 55-55 and 4.8 seconds left, the Cardinals had the ball and needed to go the length of the court to score. Following a timeout, Ryan Tanguay threw the inbounds pass across the mid-court line to Dorion Bolden, who quickly fed it to Haines, positioned to the left of the basket.

Haines took the pass in an off-balance position and as he leaned to his left, threw up a right-handed shot that went in.

Haines took all the pats on the back, but was realistic enough to know that Lady Luck had a hand in that shot. He also agreed that not only was it the most important basket in his life, but one that he will never forget, “for as long as I live,” he said.

“There was no way I thought that shot was going to go in,” he added.

Said Mascoma coach Jim Barry: “It was a crazy shot.”

Statistically, it was a game that Stevens perhaps should have lost. The Cardinals had 26 turnovers, made just 6-of-16 free throws and got into so much double-bonus foul trouble that the Royals went to the line 14 times in the fourth quarter, connecting on 11.

“We were very lucky to win,” Stevens coach Scott MacNamee said. “I didn’t have the kids ready tonight. Mascoma outhustled us and beat us to every loose ball. We played poorly.”

The Cardinals may have played poorly, but they are 4-0, while Mascoma fell to 3-2.

The Royals were hampered a bit, as starters Cam Braley and Andrew Cashe were not up to par health-wise. “They both played, but they were unable to be at their best,” Barry said.

Mascoma entered the fourth quarter trailing 40-32, but just kept nibbling away and Stevens could not stop fouling, as Bill Brooks and Don Pellerin fouled out and the Royals kept parading to the foul line and making their shots.

With 1:02 to go in the fourth quarter, Adam Dutille tied the game for the Royals at 53. Stevens regained the lead at 55-53 with 58 seconds to go, on a Logan Batchelder shot, but the Royals tied it at 55 with 49.5 seconds left on two Dutille free throws.

Mascoma had the ball and took a timeout with 21 seconds to go and tried to work the clock down, but lost possession with 4.8 seconds left. The Cardinals used their last timeout to set up the final play, but everyone was surprised, including Haines the shooter, when the shot swished through. It was the only 3-point shot Stevens made all night.

“We have a lot of close games with these guys,” said MacNamee, who also realized that perhaps somewhere along the way his team might lose a game like this. “But for now, I’ll take this,” he said.

Barry thought one factor was the depth of the Cardinals, who were deeper and healthier.

“I think we got tired late in the game,” Barry said. “Still, we never stopped playing good defense.”

Stevens twice had leads of seven points in the third quarter, and when Billy Brooks hit on a drive with 7:09 to go, the lead was up to 42-33, but Brooks and Donald Pellerin fouled out and the Royals were quickly in the double bonus. They took advantage of it to get right back into the game, coming within one point at 48-47 with 2:51 to play and eventually tying the game with 49.5 seconds to go.

Mascoma’s Dutille took eight free throws in the fourth quarter and made seven.