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Engineers’ train keeps rolling along

  • Mount Royal Academy’s Louis Larosiliere (14) dribbles past Woodsville’s Corey Bemis during their NHIAA Division IV boys basketball tournament game in Woodsville on Monday night. Larosiliere finished with 18 points, but the Knights fell, 79-52.

  • Woodsville’s Conner Maccini (10) watches teammate Corey Bemis rebound the ball during the Engineers’ 79-52 win over Mount Royal in an NHIAA Division IV boys basketball tournament game on Monday in Woodsville.

  • Mount Royal senior Alexis Matte gets vocal for her classmates during Monday’s game. “We lost our first playoff game, so we’re hoping they win,” said Matte, who is on the girls basketball team.

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 2/25/2019 9:58:28 PM
Modified: 2/25/2019 9:58:31 PM

WOODSVILLE — Fourth-seeded Woodsville High held off No. 13 Mount Royal, 79-52, in an NHIAA Division IV boys basketball tournament opener on Monday night, extending the Engineers’ quest to end a four-decade gap between state championships.

Both teams attacked with defense right off the bat, and the effort aided the Knights. Mount Royal trailed by just 15-11 after one quarter of play.

The second quarter brought more of the same with back-and-forth defensive action, keeping the visitors close. It wasn’t until the last minute and a half of the first half that the Engineers gained steam, outscoring their opponent Mount Royal, 7-2, to end the half and kick off a 37-8 gallop going all the way to end of the third quarter.

A big reason for the Engineers’ scoring outburst was the efficiency from beyond the arc. Woodsville tallied 11 3-pointers in the game, converting 10 of them in the first three quarters of the game. Fve different Engineers hit from deep on the night.

Junior guard Conner Maccini was responsible for two 3s on the nigh, and attributed the success from deep to his team’s ability to set successful screens.

“When we come around the screens, we definitely are looking for those shots,” Maccini said.

Senior Billy Green, who also tallied two trifectas and finished with 20 points in the game, agreed with his teammate on the success from beyond.

“The screens were set pretty well to come around for the shot,” Green said. “If we had the lane, we would have tried to drive, but the 3-point shots were open tonight.”

Maccini did have had success from deep, but that only accounted for six of his 20 total points. He likes to take the ball inside, just like the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving, one of his favorite players.

“He goes to the hoop, finishes well and he has the handles,” Maccini said.

While the Knights didn’t get the win, it wasn’t for a lack of effort. Senior Phil Dahlberg scored a game- and career-high 22 points in his final high school contest. Sophomore Louis Larosiliere recorded added 18 points and was a key to the stifling defense that kept Mount Royal close through most of the first half.

The Knights finished the season with a 9-13 overall record, going 8-11 against D-IV competition. Mount Royal lost its first six games and won its next six, but a season-ending injury to junior ace Andrew Normandin set up a 3-6 close to the campaign.

“We played tough, but the big problem was we made a lot of turnovers,” Mount Royal coach Matt McMenaman said in a phone interview. “In the third quarter, they blew it open and we could not recover. We just made a lot of mistakes turning the ball over and getting caught up in the rush rather than playing patient basketball.”

Mount Royal loses just Dahlberg and William He to graduation.

Woodsville will host No. 5 Sunapee in a quarterfinal game on Thursday. The Lakers outlasted No. 12 Derryfield, 43-41, in their Monday night tournament opener.

The Engineers last won an NHIAA state title in 1977.

“We are well prepared for either team,” Green said. “We just need to focus on ourselves, work hard and get a win.”

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