Tigers Handle Royals

Valley News Correspondent
Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Newport — Sophomore Eliza Bates, who played last season at Kimball Union Academy, scored 17 points as the Newport High girls basketball team opened up an early lead and ran away with a 57-35 win over Mascoma on Tuesday night at Wheeler Gym.

“I was so glad to see her come back,” Newport coach Ross Dole said. “It was a real pleasant surprise. She does all the little things that make a complete basketball player. She passes, she rebounds, she scores and she hustles.”

Newport, which looked a bit out of whack during an opening-night loss to Hopkinton, used a full-court press to open up 10-0 lead and was on top 17-6 after one period.

The early deficit concerned Mascoma coach Walt Hammond.

“We just got out-hustled all night,” said Hammond, who in a light moment mentioned before the game that there is a lot of family pressure for his team to succeed this winter after wife, Mascoma coach Jenn Hammond, won a state championship this fall.

“She set the bar pretty high,” Hammond said.

There were other things that got Hammond’s attention as well, including 11 missed foul shots in the first half.

“We don’t have a lot of numbers and we’re young in spots,” Hammond said. “We’ve got a lot of adjusting to do and we’ll get to work. Let’s see how we look in March.”

The pace of the game was hectic, with the Tigers checking tightly, and the lead swelled to 24-9 before the Royals got a handle on the defense. Eventually, Mascoma cleared for open shots, but it was one of those nights when the ball wouldn’t drop.

“You know I think we learned a lot from that Hopkinton game,” Dole said. “Our poise was better and we were more in control. We were making some good decisions. It was a nice night for us.”

In addition to the strong outing from Bates, Newport got a 13-point effort from junior Alyssa Burr and a couple of long bombs and an eight-point night from Greysan Beaulieu.

While the Royals were not clicking in the first half, Newport’s lead was just a dozen, 27-15, at the half. When the Royals’ Jordan Henry hit from the outside to start the third period, the Mascoma bench came alive. But the euphoria was short-lived as Newport went on a 7-0 run and took command at 43-25 after three.

The loss was the first for Mascoma after an opening win over Campbell. Lillian Bennett (13 points) and Madison Peavey (11) paced the Royals’ scorers.

Mascoma also had to deal with a height disadvantage, with seven players 5-foot-5 or less.

Newport, which had some foul issues in the loss to Hopkinton, continued in that vein on Tuesday night, with one player fouling out and two others in danger.

The Tigers, who were 3-for-13 from the foul line in the Hopkinton game, were 13-for-24 on Tuesday night. Bates was 8-for-13. Mascoma shot 9-for-23 from the line.

Newport goes to Conant on Thursday; Mascoma is at Monadnock on Friday.