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Div. III Boys' Basketball Final: Hilltoppers stage fierce comeback

By JOE DUBALL
New Hampshire Union Leader

March 11. 2018 12:13AM
Campbell's Jonah Crema, left, and Somersworth's Tyler Clark scramble for the ball during the first half of the NHIAA Div. III championship game at Southern New Hampshire University Saturday evening. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)



MANCHESTER - For a while it just didn't look like the Somersworth High boys' basketball team had the energy to match Campbell of Litchfield in Saturday's Division III championship game.

That uncertainty passed in a blink of an eye though for the second-seeded Hilltoppers, who took a 53-38 comeback win over the fifth-seeded Cougars by dominating the final 12 minutes at SNHU Fieldhouse.

Campbell's James Scafidi, center, takes a shot between Somersworth's Colby Grant, left, Ethan Johnson as Jacon Hamilton (1) watches during the first half of the NHIAA Div. III championship game at Southern New Hampshire University Saturday evening. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

Somersworth trailed by eight points with four minutes to play in the third quarter before spouting off a 12-0 run to end the frame with a 34-30 lead. A six-point swing in the waning moments of the third quarter proved to be the big difference for Somersworth (20-2) as Ethan Johnson contributed three of his nine points before Tyler Clark (game-high 14 points) hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

The good times continued into the fourth quarter for the Hilltoppers as they ripped off a 11-2 spurt across the first five minutes. Somersworth shot 50 percent from the field in the fourth while shooting 13 of 24 in the second half overall. In contrast, the Cougars shot just 7 of 32 in the second half after Somersworth switched to a high-energy, half-court man-to-man defense.

"We reverted back to hero ball to start the game," Somersworth coach Rob Fauci said. "We have three really good players and they were trying to take a lot on themselves, while everyone else was kind of standing around. We really emphasized moving and sharing the ball at halftime and creating for each other. They did a really good job with that."

Campbell (17-5) was very much in control of the game before Somersworth's third-quarter outburst. The Cougars erased an five-point deficit after one quarter with 13-3 stretch that helped them eventually go to the locker room with a 22-18 edge. 

Justin Furlong scored all 11 of his team-leading 11 points during Campbell's second-quarter push, which included holding Somersworth without a field goal for six minutes.

jduball@unionleader.com


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