Souhegan defies the odds, rallies past Goffstown for 74-65 win
Two key players were injured, another sitting because he was late for practice the day before and a few new players were being asked to play extended minutes. This is how the Sabers were facing the task of stopping a two-game losing streak to start the season against a Goffstown team that had won its first two games.
Not exactly the most ideal circumstances.
Well, if you take stock in "big" December wins, this one certainly qualifies. The Sabers looked strong in the second half as they rallied past the Grizzlies for a 74-65 win.
Senior guard Brandon Len - who admitted he didn't start because he was late for practice - came off the bench to score 26 points for the Sabers (1-2), who were missing seniors Zach Simmonds (hamstring) and Tyler Ford (ankle) to injuries.
Souhegan coach Mike Heaney credited a makeshift starting five of Matt Segul, Tanner Kent, Matt Protzman, Josh Eichel and Jake Kennedy for keeping the Sabers close early.
"I really congratulated the guys who started the game," Heaney said. "They helped us win."
Not giving the gunning Grizzlies (2-1) too many open looks from beyond the 3-point stripe in the second half also helped,
Goffstown's Jake Mount (30 points) opened the game with one of his six 3-pointers, a typical tone setter for a team that likes to pull up from long distance even on the break. However, while the red-hot Mount was 6-for-11 from that distance, including one NBA-like bomb that put Goffstown ahead 30-23 midway through the second quarter, the rest of the team was 3-for-26.
Goffstown made four of 22 threes in the second half as Souhegan forced the Grizzlies to play catchup with a decisive 15-5 run in the third quarter to take the lead for good. It didn't help Tyler Barss, who scored seven points in the first quarter, then sat out most of the game after injuring his hip.
"When you're a 3-point shooting team and you don't shoot well, you're beat," Goffstown coach Justin Gorham said. "And we didn't stop the dribble."
While the Grizzlies didn't hesitate to look for the three in transition, Len and the Sabers made a straight line for the basket. Len scored 15 points in the second half, 12 on drives to the basket.
"It was an opportunity for me to score a lot," Len said.
While he certainly took advantage of that opportunity, he had help from others, including juniors AJ Hayes (seven points) and Brian Dworkin (12) and senior Trey Darrow (10), a transfer from Wisconsin.
Len said the team's 0-2 start was frustrating, but believes the team will keep getting better when Simmonds and Ford return and the new players feel more comfortable.
"There is always frustration when you lose, but nowhere near panic," Len said. "We're still a confident group."