Souhegan falls to Hollis Brookline for second time
Thursday, February 7, 2013
HOLLIS – The Hollis Brookline High School boys basketball team can’t play Souhegan enough.
It’s something that Cavaliers coach Mike Soucy wouldn’t have thought possible at the beginning of the season.
HB took the lead for good late in the first quarter and held off the Sabers down the stretch Tuesday night to pick up its second win of the season over Souhegan, 61-56.
PJ Flaum scored 13 points and Connor Walsh had 10 as the Cavs (8-3) got a balanced attack on offense and controlled the boards against the Sabers (6-4).
“It seems like the only two times we put 32 minutes together this year, both times were against Souhegan,” Soucy said. “Maybe we should grab Souhegan jerseys and put them on our opponents because it seems to really focus us.
“It was a solid team effort. We had contributions from everybody, and it was awesome.”
Souhegan’s Brandon Len led all scorers with 24 points, including two free throws with 15 seconds left that gave him 1,000 points for his career.
But the milestone was bittersweet.
“I told the kids it was a hundred percent my fault,” Souhegan coach Mike Heaney said. “I didn’t have them prepared for the physicality. I didn’t have them prepared for all of it.
“They just outworked us on the glass, they were tougher defensively. Too many turnovers early, and that’s a toughness issue. We were not being tough with the basketball and playing a little scared against a very good defensive team.”
In its six wins, the Sabers scored an average of 73 points, but in two games against the Cavs this year, that number has dropped to 49.5, both loses. That comes after Souhegan beat HB in three of four games last season.
“We’re third in Division II in scoring and we can put up points, but there’s something about this matchup,” Heaney said. “The guards are very good defensively, but what makes Hollis good is their bigs just do their job.”
HB trailed just once in the game, when a layup by Len gave the Sabers an 11-10 lead with 4:02 remaining in the first quarter. But the Cavs responded right away, going back on top on a layup by Tim Rencken on their next possession.
A jumper by Len made it a 16-15 Cavs’ lead with 1:41 left in the quarter, but the Sabers turned the ball over three times in the rest of the frame and HB went on a 5-0 run to take a six-point lead.
It was still a six-point game at the half, but after Souhegan scored the first points of the third, the Cavs put together a 7-1 run to take their largest lead of the game, 40-30. Every time the Sabers tried to make a run of their own, the Cavs had an answer.
Souhegan got within four points early in the fourth quarter, but HB turned it back into an eight-point advantage. With 1:19 to play, the Sabers were down just five, but the Cavs made 4 of 6 free throws down the stretch to keep control of the game.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” Soucy said. “You can sustain a 4-0 run, a 6-0 run, but you want to avoid are those 8-0, 10-0, 12-0 runs, which I think we did a good job of that (Tuesday).
“Our defense drives our offense. We’re definitely defensive-first. We’re trying to hold teams to under 50 points and that’s a tall task. To hold this team to 56 points is a tremendous effort.”