HB advances with win over Coe-Brown

The Hollis Brookline High School boys basketball team took an early lead on Coe-Brown Academy and never looked back, winning a Division II opening round game on Wednesday at home, 41-23

While No. 11 Coe-Brown had trouble scoring the ball throughout the course of the game, No. 6 Hollis Brookline defended well around the rim, lead by senior Shea Whalen, who blocked eight shots in the game.

“Shea anchors our defense,” HB coach Michael Soucy said. “We’re playing zone this year which we don’t usually do and to have 6-6 long, athletic and someone who can move side-to-side, it helps us everywhere on the floor.”

The Cavaliers took an 11-4 lead following back-to-back scoring possessions which triggered a Coe-Brown timeout. In terms of energy, HB (14-5) had an electric crowd behind it from the start. The gym exploded after Cole Gallant hit a 3-pointer just minutes into the game.

“Tonight we had a great crowd,” Soucy said. “The kids were awesome and we really fed off their energy early on in the game.”

But the Cavaliers struggled in the second quarter by failing to score for more than five minutes, allowing Coe-Brown to sneak back into the game from the foul line and a few second chance opportunities.

The Bears scored six straight points to tie the game at 13 late in the first half.

“I give Coe-Brown a lot of credit,” Soucy said. “We weren’t prepared for a two-three zone. They did a nice job getting to the ball tonight.”

HB’s lead stretched to four points in the final minute of the half behind two free throws from Logan Blake and a close put-back from Gallant. This gave the Cavaliers a 21-15 lead heading into the halftime break.

Immediately to start the second half, a no-look pass from Daniel Bentall to Whalen in the lane triggered the offensive romp in the second half. Whalen would finish with seven points. Bentall and Blake scored 13 points apiece to lead the Cavs.

Despite many tries from behind the arc, Coe-Brown (10-9) was not able to knock down a 3-pointer from start to finish. Senior Erik Rolser led the Bears offense with eight points. Coe-Brown never had a lead in the game.

HB advances to play at No. 3 Lebanon on Saturday night in the quarterfinals of the Division II tournament.

“They (Lebanon) are really good and really well-coached,” Soucy said. “They’re going to have a big crowd there but we’re excited to move on and advance.”