Basketball: ConVal sweeps Souhegan, raises money at Hope for Gus doubleheader

  • The ConVal boys' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal boys' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal boys' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal boys' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal boys' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal’s Del Bonsu-Anane and Connor Buffum celebrate Wyatt Davis’ late go-ahead putback against Souhegan. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The ConVal boys' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal boys' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal boys' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal boys' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal boys' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal boys' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' basketball team hosted Souhegan as part of the Hope for Gus fundraiser Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcrip
Published: 2/12/2020 2:56:17 PM

The ConVal boys remain undefeated after escaping the jaws of the Sabers in overtime to complete a Cougar sweep of Souhegan at the Hope for Gus doubleheader Tuesday night.

The Cougars (11-0) hadn’t had a game decided by fewer than 14 points since mid-January and had only two single-digit margins of victory all season, so Tuesday’s 42-40 win over Souhegan was just what they needed to sharpen up with the playoffs a few weeks away.

“We were looking forward to it,” said senior forward Del Bonsu-Anane. “We’ve had a lot of blowout wins, we want some experience playing good teams, close games – that’s what it will be like later in the season. And it’s a rivalry game so we knew it was going to be tough.”

Bonsu-Anane was one of the ConVal big men tasked with defending Souhegan’s stud 6’7” junior Matt McCool, who came into the game averaging 18 ppg and is the Sabers’ most dangerous weapon.

“He’s one of the best players we’ve played all season,” Bonsu-Anane said, “so I just had to come play the best defense I could.”

McCool made his presence felt early, blocking junior guard Wyatt Davis with authority and setting the tone for Souhegan: points in the paint would be tough to come by. Souhegan crept ahead to a 16-15 lead midway through the second quarter, with McCool scoring all seven of the Sabers’ points in the quarter on his way to a game-high 12. But from that slim Souhegan lead, ConVal went on a 10-0 run to end the half, punctuated by a rim-rattling monster slam from senior forward Mather Kipka, and it briefly appeared that the Cougars were about to put Souhegan away.

It wouldn’t be that easy. Uncharacteristic turnovers and poor shooting let the Sabers back in the game in the second half, as ConVal got nothing but an Isaiah Michaels three in the third quarter. At the four-minute mark of the fourth, a three-pointer from senior guard Curtis Redd gave Souhegan a 32-31 lead.

Both teams battled back and forth down the stretch; with 30 seconds left, Davis grabbed the rebound off a Kipka missed three, went back up, got fouled and scored to put ConVal up 37-35. But just like last year’s Hope for Gus game, McCool went down to the other end and tied it up, and the two rivals headed to overtime squared up at 37.

ConVal continued to struggle to find a rhythm in overtime, going 3-11 from the free throw line and letting Souhegan stay in it. But the Cougar defense – the season-long trademark – locked it down, allowing just one basket in the extra frame, and ConVal escaped victorious.

“As long as we continue to focus on our defense, we’re going to have nights like this where we can’t get into rhythm but we’ve got to let our defense win games for us,” said ConVal head coach Leo Gershgorin.

No ConVal players finished in double figures; Bonsu-Anane and Michaels scored nine apiece.

The Cougars return to action at home Thursday against Bishop Brady (2-10).

In the girls’ game, ConVal got off to a similarly auspicious start, holding Souhegan to just one basket in the first quarter and taking a 19-9 lead into the half, with Julia Donovan scoring nine of her game-high 15 in the first half. But the Cougars fell victim to the classic second-half swoon, as Souhegan roared back and cut the lead to four. ConVal was ready to avenge their early season loss to the Sabers, though, and a trio of fourth-quarter threes from Emma Hixson, Morgan Bemont and Makenna Proctor pushed the lead back to 10, and ConVal hung on to win 40-30.

The win snapped a three-game skid for the Cougars, who improve to 5-8 with five games remaining. ConVal hosts Stevens (6-7) Friday night.

The annual Hope for Gus games raise funds and awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare disease that’s afflicted Peterborough middle-schooler Gus Dreher. Organized jointly by students from ConVal and Souhegan, the night’s activities raised $2,330.10, athletic director John Reitnauer said. ConVal girls’ coach Kevin Proctor, who teaches at Souhegan, said students at that school raised nearly $7,000 at a dance for the same cause; combined, it totals almost $10,000 for Hope for Gus.

“What a great night for a great cause,” Gershgorin said. “The student body came out, the families came out, it was just a great atmosphere, a playoff atmosphere.”

Hopkinton 43, Conant 41

For the second time this season, Conant had a shot to tie Hopkinton at the buzzer, but for the second time, they were denied, as Anthony Gauthier’s game-tying attempt was blocked and the Hawks dealt the Orioles a home loss Monday night.

Gauthier finished with 15 points; Hayden Ketola and Colson Seppala had eight each and Connor Hart scored seven. Michael Baer and Kevin Newton-Delgado scored 10 each for Hopkinton.

The Orioles (6-6) are in the midst of a demanding stretch in which they play five games in ten days; Conant has the rescheduled championship rematch at home against Somersworth (9-3) Thursday at 6:30 p.m., Hillsboro-Deering (4-8) at home Friday night and a trip to Mascenic Monday.

Mascenic 59,
Hillsboro-Deering 43

Sammy Stauffeneker and Zack Barthel scored 16 apiece as the Vikings improved to 12-1, best in Division III, by beating Hillsboro-Deering Tuesday. Shea Zina added nine points and Dylan Vaillancourt had eight.

Mascenic is at Winnisquam (8-3) Friday.




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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