Orioles Ground Cards
Powerful Conant Earns Easy Win
Stevens’ Chase Hussey attempts a shot as Conant’s Nate Wheeler jumps last night in Claremont. Conant won, 85-56. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Stevens’ Trey Dansereau lunges to make a pass around Conant’s Anthony Gonsalves last night. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Donald Pellerin of Stevens makes a long pass from the back court over Kyle Carland of Conant. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Claremont — While there doesn’t appear to be one outstanding boys basketball team in New Hampshire Division III, there are a lot of very good teams — and one of them was in Claremont last night as Conant put a licking on Stevens, 85-56.
Stevens was one of nine teams that entered play last night with just three losses, but the number is at four now (7-4, 8-5 overall) as the Cardinals have suffered recent losses to Fall Mountain and Mascoma and were never a threat against Conant (9-1 D-II), a longtime D-III/Class M powerhouse. On top of that, the Cardinals have a week that features a trip to Hopkinton on Wednesday, then return to Carr Gym on Thursday against the Newport Tigers, 11-0 in league play and 14-0 overall.
“The team is not playing with any motivation and it’s my job to motivate the team,” Stevens coach Scott MacNamee said. “I’m not doing my job.”
The Cardinals played without point guard and scoring ace Billy Brooks, who was sitting out a one-game suspension.
“We were a little disappointed that Brooks didn’t play,” Conant coach Eric Saucier said. “The kids were looking forward to playing against him. I think we’ll see a different Stevens team when they come to our place.”
“Billy might have made a difference,” MacNamee said. “But not a 30-point difference.”
There has also been some concern about a Stevens defense that not only gave up 85 points last night, but has been porous of late. MacNamee talked about how athletic Conant was and thought that his team had some good athletes as well.
“But maybe we don’t work as hard,” he said. “Hard work equals success.”
Conant’s athleticism was evident in its fast break that resulted in numerous open and sometimes easy shots.
“That’s the biggest part of our offense,” Saucier said. “If we don’t fast break, we don’t do so well.”
As swift as the Orioles were on the break, their defense plays with as much intensity.
“We just want the other guy to take bad shots. We don’t want to give him a good look,” Saucier said.
Conant did all this last night without its all-state captain, Jake Carlton, who is out with a leg injury.
“We hope to have him back before the regular season ends,” said Saucier.
Conant was never in danger all night as the Orioles led 25-9 after one period and 52-29 at the half. After the Orioles scored the first six points of the third quarter, MacNamee took the starting five off the floor. He dressed 12 players and they all got into the game.
“Some of the young guys made a nice showing,” he said.
Conant’s Devin Springfield had an impressive game with 28 points, scoring from all over the place. He made several perimeter shots as did Ali Hodgson, who had 18 points, and Kyle Charland ,who had 16. Ryan Tanguay led Stevens with 15 points, followed by Logan Batchelder (10).
“We didn’t do the little things that are so important,” said MacNamee, “but they did.”