HB boys surge into semifinals

Editor’s note: No. 4 Hollis Brookline was scheduled to play top-

seeded Lebanon in the Division II boys basketball semifinals at the University of New Hampshire on Wednesday, but results were not available by Hollis Brookline Journal press time. For updated brackets, see NHIAA.org. If the Cavs advanced, they are scheduled to play the winner of Milford and Coe-Brown Northwood for the D-II title at UNH on Saturday at noon.

By BEN LEVINE

Correspondent

HOLLIS – It’s been 12 years since the Hollis Brookline boys basketball team made the state finals. On Saturday, this year’s iteration of the squad got one step closer to breaking that streak.

The No. 4 Cavaliers went on an epic surge between the second and third quarter and never looked back, cruising to a 51-35 victory over No. 5 Manchester West in a Division II quarterfinal matchup.

Hollis Brookline made it clear from the get-go that it would be running its offense through its big men, particularly 6-foot-3 junior Matt Dowling.

However, the Blue Knights’ defense did an admirable job of stopping the Cavs’ offense inside the paint, and Hollis Brookline emerged from the first quarter with only two-point lead.

Manchester West ramped up the defensive effort in the second quarter, forcing several Cavaliers turnovers thanks to traps and their full-court press.

The Blue Knights actually cut the deficit to only one, but that was when the Cavaliers’ offense turned the page.

The team proceeded to go on a 14-5 run to finish out the second quarter behind five points from Matt Simco. Hollis Brookline committed only one turnover during the second frame, and they capitalized on the five Manchester West mistakes.

The team continued its run to open the second half, improving its lead to 15. Manchester West finally got its first bucket of the third quarter with less than four minutes remaining on a Carlos Dominguez layup. That was the only basket for the Blue Knights during the frame, as the Cavaliers didn’t allow any room for their opponent to operate in the paint.

Manchester West gave it one last gasp to start the fourth quarter, as Gob Gob made a pair of 3-pointers to bring his team within 11.

However, the Cavaliers didn’t give in, outscoring their opponent 9-6 the rest of the way.

Rebounding was a major factor in the Cavaliers’ victory, as Hollis Brookline seemingly grabbed every carom available. Simco finished with an astonishing 18 rebounds (11 offensive), including 10 in third quarter. Dowling pulled down another 11 boards.

Simco led the way offensively with 16 points, while Dowling chipped in 15.

Dominic Plourde led Manchester West with 10 points.

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