×

Monadnock hands Mascenic first loss of the season

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team hosted Monadnock on Tuesday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team hosted Monadnock on Tuesday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team hosted Monadnock on Tuesday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team hosted Monadnock on Tuesday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team hosted Monadnock on Tuesday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic boys' basketball team hosted Monadnock on Tuesday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—


Wednesday, January 31, 2018 8:55AM

By BEN CONANT

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

There won’t be an undefeated team in Division III boys’ basketball this year. Monadnock made sure of that on Tuesday night, as the Huskies beat Mascenic 48-47 to put the first blemish on the Vikings’ record.

“It’s more pleasurable to do it on the road,” said Monadnock coach Jim Hill, whose Huskies are working on a streak of their own. “We’re undefeated on the road. We’re road dogs.”

At 9-3, Monadnock actually has a losing record at home, where they lost to Hopkinton, ConVal and, two weeks ago, Mascenic. But the Huskies are 7-0 on the road, their most recent win over an elite offensive program that has been having difficulty putting the ball in the hole as of late.

“We've been struggling on offense the past two games,” said Mascenic head coach Jay Starr. “We've just got to get back to work and find out what's wrong.”

Indeed, Friday’s 49-48, last-second win over Fall Mountain and Tuesday’s loss to Monadnock were the first two games this season in which Mascenic failed to score over 50 points, after averaging 66.5 through the first seven games. Somersworth (65.5 ppg) and Conant (63.5 ppg) are the only teams in the division to have scored at least 50 points in each game.

Monadnock had a one-point lead with just under three minutes to go in the first half when they suffered a major setback. Senior star Joe Minson came down awkwardly on his right ankle and lay writhing on the court, to the point that an ambulance was called. Minson was iced down and carried to the locker room, seemingly never to return. 

“When Joe went out, it was literally like ‘Okay, who’s stepping up?’” Hill said. “All year, in practice, in preseason, in summer league, we feel confident subbing anyone. We have two seniors, three juniors, a couple sophomores, three or four freshman. We’re diverse, we’re balanced, so when someone goes out, that’s kind of our motto, just staying balanced.”

Freshman guard Jake Kidney (ten points) took over for Minson and facilitated the Husky offense through a series of aggressive drives.

“I don't think we took them for granted when Minson was out,” Starr said, “but maybe we did relax a little bit when he got hurt. We'll learn from that.”

The two teams were neck-and-neck in the third quarter – Monadnock up 33-30 – when Mascenic lost their own star, Sammy Stauffeneker. Stauffeneker (nine points) picked up his fourth foul on a reach-in 80 feet from the hoop and had to come out with three minutes left in the period. He’d sit for eight minutes before returning to action in the fourth, but wouldn’t score again.

Nonetheless, the Vikings were up 44-43 with 1:30 left when, out of nowhere, Minson returned to the game.

 “I was surprised to see him out there,” Starr said. “He was kind of hobbling around a little bit.”

“We know he’s not going to be hurt longterm, that’s why we put him in,” Hill said.

Minson must have removed the cold compression from his ankle and inserted it intravenously, as he quickly hit a two-point jumper and then buried a three to put Monadnock up 48-44.

“He’s got ice in his veins,” Hill said.

“For him to hit those shots, it’s a gutsy performance for a kid to come out and do that, for sure,” Starr said.

Senior guard DJ Turner (game-high 18 points) answered right back with a big three of his own, and Mascenic was within one with a minute left and needed to foul. Monadnock inbounded and Stauffeneker was forced to give up his final foul and head to the bench. The Huskies missed the free throw, Mascenic  missed a shot with 19 seconds left, and fouled again. The Huskies missed another free throw and the Vikings were alive with nine seconds left, in the same position they were on Friday when Drew Rines beat Fall Mountain with a jumper in the waning seconds. But Rines had fouled out as well, and it was on Turner to get to the rim.

“Our plan was to get to the basket,” Turner said. “[Monadnock] was guarding me really tight, I let Zach Barthel give me a screen and hoped to get a basket, but it didn’t happen.”

Turner had to launch another three; it went long, and the undefeated season was over. Now, the Vikings are just another one-loss team at 8-1, joining Somersworth (10-1) and Hopkinton (10-1). 

“I think it’s going to make us work harder, if anything,” Turner said. “We definitely don’t want to lose again. We have a loss now, we don’t have to worry about the undefeated pressure, we can just go to our next games, don’t worry about anything and just play the game.”

The Vikings play at Wilton-Lyndeborough tonight at 7 p.m. and host Laconia (5-4) Friday at 7 p.m.