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Sharp-Shooting Sophomore Leads Tigers

Newport — Maybe father doesn’t know best. Earlier this season. Andrew Houde’s father, Scott, a former 1,000-point scorer at Stevens High, said his son’s best sport was baseball.

He would have trouble convincing the folks at Mascoma of that statement as the sophomore scored 34 points, leading Newport to a 63-62 overtime win over the Royals last night at Wheeler Gym.

In two games this season Houde scored 67 points against Mascoma.

The win kept Newport at 8-0 and on top of the New Hampshire Division III standings. While the team’s record is impressive, the victories, like last night’s, have come hard. Newport has five wins by six points or fewer.

When someone mentioned to Newport coach Steve Lavolpicelo how hard and deep into the games he has to coach this season, his reply was, “Remember, there were other years when there was no need to coach during the last part of the games.”

Division III is a tough league this season, with eight teams entering last night’s action with two losses or less. Mascoma (4-3) does not have a glittering record, but has been in a lot of close games, including a loss at the buzzer to once-beaten Stevens. And last night, the Royals came close to knocking the division leader from its perch.

In overtime, Houde had made two free throws with 10.8 seconds to go to put Newport up 63-62. At that time Mascoma coach Jim Barry said he had three big men in his lineup and no timeouts. So when the Royals put the ball in play, they had to take what they could get, and that was a basket by Justin Marsh. But he was just inside the 3-point arc and the game ended at 63-62.

The end of regulation was also tense, as Houde kept dropping in 3-pointers (he had four in the game, three in the fourth quarter). His third long bomb of the period tied the game at 52-52. At that point, 2:53 remained on the clock, but points were scarce the rest of the way.

With 1:43 left, Mascoma retook a 54-52 lead as Kyle Kosiorek broke free underneath. Newport came right back to tie the game on two Houde free throws with 1:15 left. On Mascoma’s next possession, the Royals turned the ball over.

With nearly a minute to play, the Tigers tried to play a delay game and get the last shot. Lavolpicelo would later say that maybe he started that too soon. However, the Tigers still had the ball with 12.8 seconds left when they called their final timeout. The ball went to Houde, but his shot missed as Mascoma rebounded, sending the game into overtime.

Houde said that he didn’t particularly like all the close games, but thought “it would makes us tougher as the season goes along,” he said.

At 6-foot-3, Houde not only possesses an outside shot, but he penetrates, as well. And his ball handling skills enable to get himself free for clear shots.

“He’s hard to control off the dribble,” Lavolpicelo said.

Mascoma got a sold game from center Walt Hammond, who had 17 points and was a force all night underneath. Teammate Justin Marsh added 14.