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Tigers Still Find Success Away From Home

Langdon, n.h. — After winning just eight games in his first two years as the boys basketball coach at Newport, one would think that Steve Lavolpicelo would be a happy man after his team opened the season with three road wins, including last night’s 46-43 triumph at Fall Mountain in a New Hampshire Division III game.

“I’m thrilled,” he said with a face that really didn’t mean what he said.

Upon further prodding it turned out that, while the win was welcome, the method used to obtain it was not exactly what he was looking for from his team.

“One a scale of 1-to-10 offensively what were we, a 2 tonight?” Lavolpicelo said.

Then there were the defensive concerns.

“We ignored our scouting tendencies,” he said. “We have to improve on that.”

Regardless, the Tigers are a team that starts three sophomores and will go into the holiday break undefeated.

That must make Lavolpicelo happy, right, coach?

“I’m thrilled,” he replied.

If anybody should be less-than-thrilled, it would be Fall Mountain coach Jason Bardis, who’s team is 0-3 and is having an awful time scoring points. Nevertheless, it was a game that the Wildcats might have pulled out if not for some strange play in the final moments.

With 55 seconds left and Newport up 46-43, Newport’s Spencer Coronis went the line for a 1-and-1. He missed the first free throw attempt and Fall Mountain rebounded, but instead of going to the basket, they passed the ball around without taking a shot for a long time. Finally, with 16 seconds left, a disturbed Bardis called a timeout. After the break the Wildcats managed to get just one errant shot off and the game ended.

“Our offense is not quite where it should be,” Bardis said. “We need to find a way to score.”

Newport got a workmanlike performance from senior Peter Wacholtz, who scrapped around the boards and had 14 points.

The Fall Mountain defense was keyed around Tiger sophomore Andrew Houde, who took a lot of shots and had 19 points. However, Houde, who had more than 30 points in his last game, was hounded by junior Clay Gendron.

“He was our most valuable player tonight,” Fall Mountain assistant coach Jim Brunelle said of Gendron’s effort.

While Gendron may have been the Wildcats’ MVP, a close second was junior Nick Burns, who found some room on the side for his jumper and muscled his way for other scores on a 17-point night.

The game was close throughout, with five points being the biggest lead after the first quarter. Newport led at all the breaks, but not by much — 13-12 after one period, 19-18 at the half and 35-32 after three.

Fall Mountain, which has just one senior on its roster, was also hindered a bit when scrappy junior guard Matt Wood was slowed by the flu.

“He might have made some 3s for us,” Bardis said.

As it was, the Wildcats did not get a three all night. Wood, though, hung in their to have a 10-point game.

One key point in the game came in the third period. Newport had just a 28-27 lead when Newport scored five points in nine seconds as Houde had a steal and a score followed by a Wacholtz theft, a basket and a free throw and just like that, it was 33-27.