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January 22. 2014 12:10AM

Gendron, Merrimack shine

MERRIMACK — Tuesday night's Division I boys' basketball game against Nashua South was a special one for Merrimack High School's Eric Gendron.

Gendron, a senior guard, scored a team-high 16 points to help Merrimack defeat South 65-59. His point total included the 1,000th point of his career, and it came on a jump shot with 2:05 left in the first half. He became the program's seventh player to reach the 1,000-point milestone.

"It means consistency. It also means a lot of hard work," Gendron said. "A lot of guys go to prep school now, so you don't see that as much. Staying here for four years has been a great decision for me and I've enjoyed every moment of it. It's just a great feeling to see it all pan out."

Gendron's effort helped Merrimack raise its record to 6-0. Manchester Central is the only other unbeaten team in Division I.

Merrimack led 16-15 after one quarter and stretched its advantage to 35-31 at halftime. It was 43-40 Merrimack when the Tomahawks went on a 7-0 spurt to open up a 10-point lead. The lead peaked at 14, 55-41, with 6:05 to play.

South pulled within one, 57-56, on two Trevor Knight free throws with 3:01 left, but Merrimack didn't allow South to tie the game or take the lead in the final minutes.

"As I told my guys we are a team that kind of wins on guts and guile, and that's what got us back in the game," Nashua South coach Nate Mazerolle said. "They are a team that plays tough and executes very well. That was the difference tonight. They had six or seven plays where they ran a need play and it worked. In a tight game like that if you get that many sets that work, it could be the difference."

Senior Shayne Bourque added 12 for the Tomahawks, who received nine from Austin Franzen.

"We got contributions from a lot of kids tonight," Merrimack coach Tim Goodridge said. "What we need to do is win games like we won tonight with everybody contributing. Nashua South is a good team and for us to get a victory we're very happy and proud of that. They're a tough team to defend."

Senior guard Yordy Tavarez scored 22 to lead South, which dropped to 3-2. Mike Osgood added 11 and was the only other Panther who scored in double figures.

"What I came away with from tonight's game is they are not just Gendron," Mazerolle said. "There's a reason they are 6-0. We had some breakdowns defensively in stretches and we just couldn't get over that final hurdle."

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