Merrimack shuts down Nashua North

MERRIMACK – Already down by 16 points, Brennan Kastens reached out to try a routine layup, only to have Merrimack’s Shayne Bourque come out of his blindside to ferociously swat it away.

That is how the game went for Nashua North on Monday, Jan. 13.

The Merrimack boys basketball team could not make its crowd simmer down in a dominating 56-38 win over Nashua North.

“(North) is a good team, it’s well coached,” Merrimack head coach Tim Goodridge said. “Any win in this division is a good win.”

Things looked grim for North from the first quarter. After putting in the game’s first bucket, the Titans endured through an 18-4 point run by the Tomahawks that extended into the early second quarter leaving the score at 18-6. From there, the smallest North was able to shrink the lead to was eight points.

The Titans were able to find the inside of the arc frequently in the Merrimack zone, but the Tomahawks defense was too tight inside for North to effectively finish its shots.

“We played really good team defense,” Goodridge said. “The first half defensively was as solid as you can get.”

The lofty Merrimack defenders proved to be a mismatch against the sub 6-foot Titans making the rebound battle a struggle for them. Eleven of the Tomahawks are 6 feet or taller, including the 6-foot-5 Bourque and 6-foot-4 Gendron.

“We try to change defenses, we try to extend the game to get those big guys in positions where they’re not comfortable,” North head coach Steve Lane said. “Unfortunately, they made shots, and on the other end, we didn’t convert very well. Our inability to score doesn’t allow us to press and get the tempo that we want.”

The Titans were able to find some more offensive production in the second half with regular responses to the Merrimack offense, but could never get into a rhythm in order to mount a rally.

“It was one of those nights that we took a good whipping,” Lane said.

Coming off his heroics against Alvirne a week ago, Eric Gendron led the way for his team with 12 points and Bourque chipped in for 12 as well.

“Offensively I don’t think it was one of Eric’s better games,” Goodridge said. “I think defensively he was solid all night.”

Jordan Lates carried North on his back with 12 points to his name, but no other player was able to break through for the Titans.

The second highest scorers for North were Demitri Jackson and Brendan Barrett with four apiece.

Goodrige was pleased at seeing his defense tighten up against North, but his offense left a number of points on the floor.

“We’re not in any consistent flow yet,” Goodridge said. “We usually play every Tuesday and Friday where we get into a run, but we haven’t experienced that yet with all the cancellations.”