Souhegan comes up short against Coe-Brown

AMHERST – For all that went wrong for the Souhegan High School boys basketball team in Friday night’s season opener against Coe-Brown Academy of Northwood, the Sabers were right there at the end.

After trailing by as many as 12 in the fourth quarter, Souhegan was down one with the ball and about 20 seconds left on the clock. Guard A.J. Hayes let it wind down until about nine seconds remained, then made his move toward the basket.

When the defense collapsed, Hayes passed to Brian Dworkin on the wing, but Dworkin’s 3-pointer was too strong and the rebound was batted around as time ran out, giving Coe-Brown a 49-48 victory in the first Division II game of the season.

Coe-Brown’s Sam Langdon led all scorers with 23 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with about 30 seconds left in the game. Dworkin led the Sabers with 11 points while Matt Segul had eight points and Hayes, Jerrell Duguay Webster and Charlie Driscoll each had seven.

Despite the last-second chance, Souhegan struggled most of the night against the Black Bears’ zone and had a hard time getting rebounds, allowing Coe-Brown several second-chance opportunities.

“For us to be successful, we need to be in transition, and when we get into transition, we’re pretty good,” Souhegan coach Peter Pierce said. “We’ll be able to compete with people, but at this point in the season, our set zone offense isn’t close to where it needs to be. We’ll get better at it.

“At the end of the day, we got beat on the glass. That’s where we lost the game, people killing us on the offensive glass.”

Souhegan took a 10-9 lead into the second quarter, but Coe-Brown’s defense took over in the final six minutes of the half. The Black Bears outscored the Sabers 16-4 in the second, holding Souhegan without a field goal in the frame while Langdon had nine of his 11 first-half points.

“We played a pretty solid game throughout, especially defensively,” Coe-Brown coach David Smith said. “I was happy defensively. Offensively, I think we were a little blessed to have a lead and we became too cautious with the ball.”

The Black Bears picked up the win despite scoring just four points in the game’s final six minutes. Souhegan went on a 14-0 run to take a 47-45 lead with 2:12 remaining and the Sabers were still up two with under a minute to play.

After a free throw by Duguay Webster made it 48-46 Souhegan, Coe-Brown picked its way through the Sabers’ full court pressure and got the ball to Nick Rolser.

Rosler drove down the left side and kicked it out to Langdon, who was waiting in the corner, and he drilled the 3 to put the Black Bears up one.

“I just wanted a good look and get a shot,” Smith said. “Sam had been shooting really well, so for him to get it was ideal.”

Pierce thought about taking a timeout at the other end, but with the way the Sabers’ offense had been running in the halfcourt, he thought there was a better chance just letting a play develop.

“We could have called a timeout, but we hadn’t executed anything all night,” he said. “At that point, I was deciding (either) call a timeout and draw something up maybe or live with somebody’s athleticism and hope that we get a decent shot.

“I’m not unhappy with the shot, to be honest. Eventually, we’ll knock that down and we’ll walk off the court happy.”