The YCN Game of the Week crew followed the #3 Kearsarge boys basketball team down to Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester Wednesday as they faced #2 Conant in the DIII semifinals.
The Wednesday’s semi-final game that started out offensively in favor of Kearsarge soon became evident to be a defensive story. The Cougars came to play their game with an attitude that they had nothing to lose because everyone had already penciled Conant into the finals, the champion 2 of the last 3 years.
They made enough baskets to lead at the end of the first quarter, the second quarter, the Orioles were up 28-25 at the end of 3, and tied at the end of 4. The Orioles had planned to go hard to the basket but with the twin Mattos towers clogging up the inside they were confined to the outer region of the court.
Defense was the key to the Cougar success holding Conant to a 23 percent shooting percentage from the field with Kearsarge tough defensive stands that blocked 9 shots and playing nose to beak causing turnovers and frustrating the Orioles precise passing that could not lead to any easy shooting that night.
And when Conant did get inside it seemed that they were so unfamiliar being there that they couldn’t finish. Inside on the Cougar end of the court was a different story in the end. Zach Mattos banked in a short jumper with :33 on the clock to tie things at 28-28 then frustrated the Orioles to a degree that then did not get off a shot that could have won it for them.
When overtime came the Cougars were ready to play scoring on their first two opportunities, then held on and when it meant the most nailed free throws sealing the win as a frustrated Conant team lofted up a prayer at the end that missed badly.
The championship game is this Saturday at 3:00 PM also in Manchester against #1 Pelham. Should be the biggest nail biter of the season. The YCN Sports news team will be there and we’ll have a look for you on Monday.