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December 26. 2012 11:19PM

H.S. Basketball Roundup: Memorial win sets up showdown

MANCHESTER - The host Crusaders of Manchester Memorial took the first step toward their first title at the Queen City Invitational Basketball Tournament since 1977 as they proved to much for city rival West High, 79-50, Wednesday night.

Memorial, which is 3-0 in the regular season, now faces another city rival, Central, in tonight's marquee matchup at 7:30. The winner gets a spot in Friday's championship game.

West, a finalist last year, plays Trinity at 4:30.

The Blue Knights, still looking for any kind of win, showed some spunk as they stayed with the favored Crusaders through halftime, trailing 16-10 at the end of one quarter and 36-30 after two stops. However, Memorial took over in the third quarter, exploding for 25 points as they opened up a 61-38 lead going into the final eight minutes.

Memorial big man Tong Akot dominated inside, scoring a game-high 25 points, while Kabongo Ngalakulondi added 15. Eleven Memorial players got their names in the scorebook.

Sophomore swingman Alfred Nyonee led West with 17, while Zack Theriault finished with 10.

Merrimack 58, Bedford 48: Merrimack boys' basketball coach Tim Goodridge didn't have to wait long to gauge how far his rebuilding team has come.

"After the first quarter, we did pretty well on defense," Goodridge said after his team held Bedford to 30 points over the final three quarters. "We worked hard at that all week in practice. If we can't play defense, we can't beat anybody."

The win propels Merrimack into a winners' bracket game today against Exeter (6 p.m.), while Bedford plays Goffstown at 3.

The Tomahawks held the Bulldogs to two points over the final five minutes of the game, outscoring them 14-2 over that span.

Exeter 64, Goffstown 63: A close game throughout came down to the last shot as the Blue Hawks held off the only non-Division I team in the eight-team field.

The Grizzlies were trailing 64-59 when Jake Mount (team-high 14 points) made a couple of driving layups to pull his team within one. The Grizzlies had a chance to take the lead in the final seconds, but good defense by Exeter's Tyler Russ forced a turnover.

The Blue Hawks threw away the ensuing inbounds pass to give the Grizzlies one final opportunity. Goffstown's Tom Riehl charged hard up court, took two dribbles over halfcourt and put up a 3-pointer at the buzzer that hit the front rim.

Junior center Max Medley had a game-high 20 points for Exeter, which got points from 12 players. Russ and Chris Stowell each had 10.

Rob White added 11 for Goffstown, which was playing its second game without Tyler Barss (hip).

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Jim Fennell may be reached at jfennell@unionleader.com.

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