Mascoma Boys Hang On, Reel in a Triumph
West Canaan — Mascoma boys basketball coach Jim Barry likes to relate narrow victories to reeling in a big fish just before it snaps the line. In last night’s 51-49 New Hampshire Division III playoff win over Raymond, the whole rod and reel almost fell out of the Royals’ grasp.
Eighth-ranked Mascoma built its largest lead of the night with 6:15 to play, 41-27, only to watch the No. 9 Rams put together a 20-4 run to take a 47-45 lead with 1:10 left.
Mascoma (14-7, 13-6 D-III) went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line over the next 30 seconds to regain the lead and, after Raymond’s Colby Malo scored with 23 seconds left to tie it, the Royals called timeout with 11.9 seconds remaining and a chance for the final shot.
With leading scorer Adam Dutille given the nod by Barry to launch a 3 — the senior had already knocked down four from downtown — he instead dished to junior teammate Justin Marsh on the right side. Marsh’s pull-up jumper from just inside the arc swished in with 2.2 seconds left to make it 51-49.
The Rams (12-8 D-III) immediately called timeout and had a chance for a catch-and-heave, but Jordan Richard’s desperate launch fell well off the mark as time expired and the Royals survived.
It’s the eighth straight trip to the quarterfinals for Mascoma, which was also seeded eighth last year when it knocked off No. 9 Raymond at home in the first round. Just like last year, the Royals move on to face top-ranked Berlin in the quarterfinals. The Mountaineers (18-1 league) beat No. 16 Farmington last night, 71-55.
“It seems like every time we win, we have a crazy fourth quarter and have to pull it out,” said Marsh, who finished with 10 points.
Added Dutille: “The key was just keeping our composure and staying calm.”
The Royals also had close games in the fourth quarter against Stevens, Kearsarge and Inter-Lakes this season, digging out wins in all three. It was more of the same last night, only with much more on the line.
“This team can get away from its game, but more often than not we’ve been able to spool ourselves back in,” said Barry. “We do have character when we need it.”
Dutille finished with 19 points, five rebounds and a number of assists, none bigger than his last-second dish-off to Marsh as the clock wound down.
“(The pass) was pretty much instinctive,” Dutille said of his decision not to shoot. “I just thought (the Raymond defender) was going to have a hand in my face.”
After struggling with a lack of sufficient ball movement while dropping two of their last three games to finish the regular season, the Royals passed with zeal last night. They were also strong defensively, holding D-III player of the year candidate Richard to 14 points — 10 in the fourth quarter.
“(Junior guard) Kyle Kosiorek did a great job on him,” Barry said of covering Richard, who averaged nearly 27 points per game during the regular season. “He really had to earn his points tonight and they came late.”
The lead changed five times in the first quarter, neither team leading by more than a basket until Dutille’s 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Mascoma a 12-7 advantage.
He sank another trey one minute into the second quarter as part of a 13-2 Mascoma run that ended with a pair of Zach Warner layups off the bench. That made it 19-9, 41/2 minutes before halftime.
Raymond pulled within three in the first minute of the second half, but the Royals responded with a 13-5 run to go back up by double digits at the start of the fourth.
Kosiorek found Dutille for his fourth 3, one of Kosiorek’s four assists during the rally. He also fed senior Cam Braley twice and Marsh once for layups.
“We knew being patient and finding the open guy was going to be key in this game,” said Barry. “We’d been way too impatient recently.”
Greg Champoux sank a 3 for the Rams before Mascoma’s final great burst, with Marsh and Walt Hammond executing jumpers and Dutille taking it coast-to-coast after a steal to make it 41-27.
Raymond found new life form there with Mascoma in foul trouble, Richard scoring 10 points and the Rams hitting 9-of-11 free throw attempts during their 20-4 run to retake the lead.
Free Throws: Mascoma held a 32-31 rebounding advantage. ... Sophomore Andrew Cashe scored four points and started after recording a number of key steals off the bench in Mascoma’s 44-41 win at Inter-Lakes to finish the regular season last Friday. ... The teams combined for just 10 turnovers in the second half after Raymond had 13 and Mascoma nine in the first two quarters. ... Dutille was ordered off the court when blood was found on his No. 3 game jersey. He replaced it with that of Zach Pequita’s No. 12. ... Raymond’s Mitchell Sytulek (eight points) also had to leave the game momentarily in the fourth quarter for a cut on his wrist. ... Hammond had seven points and six rebounds for the Royals.
Jared Pendak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3306.
This article has been amended to correct an earlier error. The following correction appeared in the March 3 edition of the Sunday Valley News:
When Mascoma's Adam Dutille was forced off the court against Raymond on Thursday night with blood on his No. 3 jersey, he returned wearing a No. 12 jersey that he borrowed from teammate Zach Pequita. The player who gave up the jersey was incorrectly identified in the game story on Friday.