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NHIAA Basketball: Central boys tip Merrimack

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 20. 2018 11:31PM

MANCHESTER — At times this season the Merrimack High School boys’ basketball team has found scoring to be almost as difficult as dunking on an 11-foot rim.

The Tomahawks entered Tuesday night’s game against Manchester Central having failed to score at least 38 points in five of their 14 contests. Merrimack failed to reach 50 points 10 times in those 14 outings.

Merrimack reached the half-century mark against Central, but it wasn’t good enough as the Little Green posted a 54-52 victory.

Central led by two after point guard Antoine Revere made a free throw with 11.2 seconds left. Merrimack had two shots from deep in the paint on its final possession, but couldn’t sink the game-tying shot.

“If you can’t finish, what are you going to do?” Merrimack coach Tim Goodridge said. “How many almost uncontested layups did we miss? We kept crawling back all night, we just couldn’t make a shot at the end.”

The victory raised Central’s record to to 10-5. Merrimack fell to 6-9.

“I thought for sure we were going to overtime,” Central coach Dave Keefe said. “We just got very lucky. We just have to take better care of the ball. You have to treasure that thing a little bit better.”

Merrimack senior Ian Cummings led all scorers with 27 points, including six 3-pointers. J.J. Martinez added 11 for the Tomahawks.

Merrimack’s lack of scoring became more of an issue after senior guard/forward Owen Ploss suffered a season-ending knee injury against Londonderry. Ploss gave the Tomahawks a second reliable scoring option behind Cummings.

Kyler Bosse (14) and Yansel Reyes (12) led the Central offense. The Little Green made seven 3-pointers in the game.

“Cummings was by far the best player on the court tonight,” Goodridge said. “He carried us. Not only did he score, he shared the ball.”

Central led 19-9 after one quarter, 29-20 at halftime and 43-35 entering the third. Merrimack’s only lead in the game came on a Cummings 3-pointer that made it 3-2 in the opening quarter.

Central led 48-40 with 5:13 to play, but Merrimack went on an 8-0 run to tie the game on a Cummings field goal with 3:10 to play.

Central took a 53-48 lead on a Reyes 3-pointer and two free throws by Dede Niyang before Merrimack battled back in the final minute.

“We were fortunate to get out of here with a win,” Keefe said. “Did we deserve it? We’ll take it.”