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Newport Basketball Drops Mascoma, 68-48

  • Newport’s Zach Whalen jumps over the crowd for a first-half rebound during last night’s win over Mascoma. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Newport’s Zach Whalen jumps over the crowd for a first-half rebound during last night’s win over Mascoma. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mascoma students wile away a timeout by humming the theme from the television game show Jeopardy last night. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Mascoma students wile away a timeout by humming the theme from the television game show Jeopardy last night. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Newport's Spencer Coronis flies through the air in pursuit of the basketball. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Newport's Spencer Coronis flies through the air in pursuit of the basketball. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mascoma's Cam Braley shoots a three-pointer during the game in West Canaan. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Mascoma's Cam Braley shoots a three-pointer during the game in West Canaan. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Newport’s Zach Whalen jumps over the crowd for a first-half rebound during last night’s win over Mascoma. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
  • Mascoma students wile away a timeout by humming the theme from the television game show Jeopardy last night. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
  • Newport's Spencer Coronis flies through the air in pursuit of the basketball. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
  • Mascoma's Cam Braley shoots a three-pointer during the game in West Canaan. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

— A masterful display of scoring by Andrew Houde helped the Newport High boys basketball team finally gain separation against Mascoma last night. After Houde’s untimely injury, the Tigers’ resiliency helped them keep it.

Newport outscored the Royals 43-21 in the second half — including a 12-2 run over the final six minutes with Houde nursing an ankle injury — overcoming a Mascoma team that led throughout the first half in a 68-48 road win.

The third quarter saw eight lead changes, but the back-and-forth play ended when Houde, a 6-foot-1 sophomore transfer from Pembroke Academy, exploded for 16 points in a span of 4 minutes, 30 seconds, to cap a 33-point night and give the Tigers (2-0) the lead for good.

Houde might have had more if not for landing awkwardly following a swing pass to classmate Spencer Coronis (14 points) with 6:20 left in the fourth and Newport leading, 56-44. Houde twisted his left ankle and spent the rest of game icing it on the bench.

No sweat for Tigers, who only extended their lead in his absence. Senior Peter Wacholtz (10 points) and Coronis had two baskets each down the stretch as Newport finished the game with its largest lead of the night.

The Tigers are 2-0 for the first time since 2003-04; Mascoma fell to 1-1.

“To come into Mascoma and get an early-season win like this is huge for us,” said third-year Tigers coach Steve Lavolpicelo. “We played a great second half and had each other’s backs.”

With Newport trailing by a basket at halftime, a quick 3-pointer by Coronis to start the second half began a string of eight lead changes in the first five minutes of the third quarter. A trey by Mascoma’s Justin Marsh (seven points) gave the Royals a 40-39 lead, but Houde got the hot hand from there as Newport went on a 15-5 run. Showing exceptional range, the sophomore hit from all angles of the court, including a fallaway jumper on the run after a feed from Coronis to make it 51-42.

Houde, Pembroke’s sixth man as a freshman last year, began the fourth quarter with a 3 and a layup before going down with the injury. He called the ankle sprain “no big deal” and expects to play in Newport’s next game on Tuesday at Fall Mountain.

“He’s a super-talented kid and works harder than anybody,” Lavolpicelo said of Houde. “You saw what he brings to the table on display tonight. He didn’t take any bad shots. He can shoot (from the outside) or drive the lane, and he knows when to dish it off to teammates.”

Even after Houde abruptly went down, the Tigers stayed poised.

“We knew our best player was down and that meant the rest of us, including guys off the bench, had to step up,” said Wacholtz, who scored eight of his 10 in the second half and pulled down a team-high six rebounds. “We kept our composure and pulled it out.”

Senior Cam Braley scored 12 points and Adam Dutille had 10 for the Royals, who moved the ball effectively early on and led by as many as six in the first half. A buzzer-beater jump shot from 6-6 sophomore forward Walter Hammond (seven points) gave Mascoma a 17-12 after one, and Dutille’s 3 capped a 7-3 run to give the Royals their largest lead of the night, 24-18, 2:20 before halftime.

Foul trouble hurt the Royals, who entered bonus early in both halves and finished with 22 infractions to nine for Newport. The Tigers didn’t make Mascoma pay much, shooting just 13-of-22 from the line in the first half and 18-of-31 for the game. They did hit six out of nine attempts in the last two minutes of the second quarter to pull within 27-25 at the break.

Braley scored eight points in the first four minutes of the third quarter as the Royals and Tigers went blow for blow during an up-tempo period. Mascoma hit 7-of-11 from the field in the third but went cold in the fourth after Houde had given the Tigers all the momentum. The Royals shot just 2-of-12 in the fourth as fatigue — some physical, some emotional — set in. Mascoma had eight of 17 turnovers in the second half.

“I don’t know if there was a specific turning point in the game, except for maybe (Houde’s) 3-pointer that seemed to drain us,” said Mascoma coach Jim Barry. “We just started making a lot of little mistakes, started turning it over and it caught up with us. We had too many fouls and we were tired in the fourth quarter.”

Mascoma plays at White Mountains on Friday.

Free Throws: Lavolpicelo, a 1999 Kearsarge graduate, scored more than 2,000 points for the Cougars. … Newport shot 23-of-47 from the field (.489), while the Royals went 18-of-49 (.367). Mascoma hit two of just four free-throw attempts. … It was the first of a three-game road trip to finish the calender year for the Tigers, who next play at home Jan. 4 against Stevens.

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.

To see more photographs from the game, go to the Photo Gallery.