Merrimack returns favor, beats Bedford
Friday, January 4, 2013
The day after Christmas is usually reserved for returns, and the Merrimack boys basketball team did just that to Bedford.
After receiving a 20-point waxing at the hands of the Bulldogs a week ago, the Tomahawks returned the favor, rallying from an 11-point, first-half deficit to win 58-48 in the first round of the Queen City Invitational Basketball Tournament at Memorial High School.
“They really scraped tonight,” Merrimack coach Tim Goodridge said. “That’s what we’re going to have to do if we want to be successful this year.”
The Tomahawks scored the first points of the game but it was a calamitous following 10 minutes. The Bulldogs used domination on the glass and a pair of three-pointers to lead 18-7 after a quarter.
The Tomahawks, led by junior Eric Gendron, chipped the deficit down to six at the half. Gendron led all scorers with 22 points, including three 3-pointers. Gendron also pulled down five rebounds.
“I knew they were going to come out and try to stop me,” Gendron said. “I got a lot of help from my teammates tonight. We didn’t get down on ourselves. We played them the other day and they beat us pretty good. We said we wouldn’t give up and we changed the defense up a bit and were able to get stops.”
The game evened out in the third quarter and early in the fourth as the teams traded the lead four times. It wasn’t until junior Shane Bourque put in a free throw with 4:12 to go that the Tomahawks took the lead for good at 49-48.
In a twist of irony the Tomahawks outscored the Bulldogs 18-7 in the fourth quarter, including a 9-0 run to end the game.
“We turned it off mentally and Merrimack took advantage of it,” Bedford coach Mike Fitzpatrick said. “They capitalized on our mistakes.”
Senior captain Thomas Samuel led the Bulldogs with 10 points and seven rebounds, but only one of those boards and four of those points came after halftime.
The Merrimack tandem of Bourque and senior Brad Jarry stifled Samuel and the Bulldogs’ inside attack in the second half. The duo combined for 11 points and a dozen rebounds.
“We were doubling down a little bit better and (Samuel) was turning the ball over a bit, which was helping our offense because our stars on defense were able to get steals,” Gendron said. “It’s team defense that’s key.”
The Bulldogs defeated Goffstown in the tournament’s second day of action, but Bedford fell to Trinity, 51-43, in the fifth-place game on Saturday.