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Tigers Back on Track

Sunapee Gives Newport a Test

Sunapee — When the Sunapee High boys basketball team lost to Newport, 84-46, on Jan. 21, Lakers coach Ed Tenney was taken aback a bit when a reporter asked him if his team was overmatched.

Tenney said he didn’t think so, and it might be different when the two team met again. The rematch came last night at Sunapee’s Sherburne Gym, and Tenney was spot-on. While his Lakers did not beat the favored Tigers, it was a four-point game at the break before Newport got clicking in the second half for a 62-42 win.

Sunapee made a game of it for a half, and the key reason was the box-and-one defense applied on Newport high scorer Andrew Houde, who was limited to just three first-half points. To his credit, Houde didn’t force things when he couldn’t find room to shoot.

Houde wasn’t so easy to find in the second half and finished with 20 points.

What gave Sunapee (5-8 in NHIAA Division IV) hope against a D-III Newport (14-1 league, 17-1 overall) is some recent games that have seen the Lakers down Derryfield, Pittsfield and most recently knock off undefeated Newmarket. Also, Newport hadn’t played in a week since dropping their first game of the season to Hopkinton.

Still, playing well and not winning is not what Tenney thinks his team is about.

“We’re not into moral victories even though I thought we played pretty well,” said Tenney. “We were not overmatched. They just made a few more plays.”

Newport coach Steve Lavolpicelo agreed that the Lakers gave his team early fits that they had to correct at halftime.

“We had to make some adjustments,” Lavolpicelo said. “We had to make some moves, get to the right spot and make some cuts. I think we did that.”

Newport went on a 9-1 to start the third quarter, as Peter Wacholtz had a couple of hoops and Houde hit a 3-pointer. Sunapee ended up getting outscored 18-7 in the period and was in a deep hole at 45-30 after three quarters.

One of the Tigers’ greatest strengths is the ball-handling of guards Spencer Coronis and the 6-foot-3 Houde. Both can really scoot, and Houde has the ability to rebound at one end and race all the way down the floor for points at the other end.

“When you have guys like that, it’s hard to press us,” said Newport coach Steve Lavolpicelo,

Tenney agreed that the Lakers have some solid athletes.“We’re getting there,” Tenney noted. “It didn’t happen tonight, but it will.”

Newport took a 15-8 lead after one period, but the Lakers kept chewing away, eventually cutting the gap to 25-23 before the Tigers got the final basket of the period to made it a four-point game at the half.

Junior James Fitzgerald had a 15-point second half for the Lakers and 20-point game. He was the only Laker in double figures.

Sunapee goes to Wilton on Wednesday when Newport is at Monadnock on Friday,