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NHIAA D-II Basketball: Milford boys survive OT battle with Owls

Special to the Union Leader

March 07. 2018 12:17AM

PLAISTOW — It was a game that was ridiculous in all the ways that only March can provide.

Both eighth-seeded Timberlane and ninth-seeded Milford saw leads vanish and both had trouble making field goals down the stretch of their Division II boys’ basketball opening-round tournament game. It came down to a free throw contest and it was the visiting Spartans who made enough in the overtime to defeat the Owls 53-48. Milford will play at top-seeded Hollis/Brookline in the quarterfinals on Friday night.

Junior guard Max Fortin hit four free throws in the final 21 seconds to seal the win for MIlford. Fortin had a game-high 17 points.

“We’re have a pretty young team, but these guys have been in a lot of close games,” Milford senior Jamie Pare said. “They know how to compose themselves, and I think that’s key, especially in the playoffs, to hold your own and not get too antsy.”

Neither team could make shots from the field with consistency. The Owls jumped out to a 16-9 lead only for Milford to turn the tables and roll out to a 37-24 lead midway through the third quarter.

Timberlane finished the third quarter on a 13-0 run over the final 4:23 of the period to tie the game heading to the fourth. Regulation ended tied at 43.

A 3-pointer by junior Sam Santaniello with 1:40 left in overtime put the Spartans up 48-45. Timberlane could not get closer than three again. Milford held the Owls without a field goal in overtime.

Pare had 13 points, eight rebounds, and four steals for the Spartans. Sophomore guard Jake Greska also had 13 points for Milford.

“We didn’t let them penetrate as much,” Milford coach Dan Murray said. “Sometimes we got up and played them, and they were able to get by us. It was a battle in there.”

The Owls got double-doubles from seniors Sam Hovan and Bob Horgan. Horgan had 13 points and 10 rebounds while Hovan had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Fellow senior Connor Schott had 13 points and a pair of steals.

“I feel bad for those seniors because we’ve been in this spot three straight years,” Timberlane coach Jeff Baumann said. “I think this is the second overtime loss this group has had. There was no tomorrow for those guys. I guess that’s all you can ask for. They left it all out there tonight.”

Merrimack Valley 52, Windham 51: In Penacook, Jake Hebert drove to the basket and hit the winner with two seconds remaining for No. 5 MV. Hebert finished with 14 points. Riley Desmarais’ 3-pointer had given the 12th-seeded Jaguars a lead with a minute to play. Desmarais finished with 12 points, as did teammate Drew Kelly.