Boys’ basketball: Mascenic beats Somersworth, plays Gilford for state championship Friday

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team played Somersworth in the NHIAA Division III semifinals at Keene State College on Monday, March 9, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/9/2020 11:04:35 PM

For a moment, Somersworth had a glimmer of hope. After cutting Mascenic’s 10-point lead to three with six minutes to go in the semifinal game at Keene State Monday and forcing six Viking turnovers in quick succession, it looked like maybe, just maybe, the experienced Hilltoppers could draw on what they’d learned over their four straight semifinal appearances. 

Then came the daggers. 

Mascenic fired away from three, hitting four of their next five to pull away, win 58-40, and earn their first trip to the NHIAA Division III finals since 2000.

“I’ve got to commend them, because they had their backs against the wall, and it’s either you pull through or you go home on the bus early,” said Mascenic head coach Brandon Kear after winning his 16th straight game to open his coaching career, “Fear the Kear” signs waving from the Mascenic section. 

Aside from Somersworth’s second-half push, the No. 2 Vikings (19-1) looked every bit the part of a championship caliber team. Zack Barthel dominated down low to start the game, going 4-5 in the first half to score eight of his 12; Dylan Vaillancourt (5-11, 15 points) and Trey Shaw (5-12, 16 points, 5-10 3PT) rained down the daggers, and Sam Stauffeneker put on another dominant, well-rounded performance. Stauffeneker scored 14 points, beat the first-quarter buzzer with a halfcourt three, ferociously blocked a Hilltopper shot off the backboard and held Somersworth shooters scoreless over his closeouts. 

“He’s an incredible defender,” Kear said. “He’s just one of those defenders who doesn’t fully look like he’s playing hard...he just has that flow where it doesn’t look like he’s going hard. He’s super basketball savvy, he’s really smart.”

The Vikings put on another of their now-to-be-expected defensive showings, holding Somersworth to 40 points, well under their season average of 58.6. There’s still work to be done, though, as Hilltopper forward Ethan Johnson scored a team-high 14 down low.

“Any player that’s scoring more than 10 points, I take that to heart,” Kear said. “That’s not something I want by any means, so we’ve got to do a better job on the bigs, and honestly we have to do a better job all around.”

They’ll face the perfect test of their down-low defense on Friday night, when they play No. 1 Gilford (19-1) for the Division III championship. Gilford big man Adrian Siravo, the presumptive Player of the Year, was unstoppable in the Golden Eagles’ 53-40 win over Hopkinton in the second semifinal game. Siravo scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Gilford to victory. 

If anyone can knock off the top-seeded Golden Eagles, it’s the Vikings. Mascenic gave Gilford their only loss of the season, 49-34 back on Feb. 8; it was the only game all year the Eagles were held under 40 points. 

Mascenic is back in the championship game for the first time since 2000 and looking for the second title in program history. The Vikings won their lone state championship in 1999 – over Gilford. 

Tipoff is 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Keene State College.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, your source for Peterborough area news.


Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458
603-924-7172

 

© 2019 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy