Merrimack falls to South in OT

Merrimack and Nashua South had opportunities to break a regulation tie with 1:18 to play in the fourth quarter. Neither the Tomahawks nor Panthers could convert on those chances.

Nashua South didn’t have any trouble converting in the four minutes of overtime, locking up what many would consider an upset on the Tomahawks’ home court 56-50.

Malik Langa hit a pull-up jumper 50 seconds into the extra frame, Mike Osgood followed with a strong move to the basket with 2:21 to play and D.J. Frechette finished off the scoring with 30.3 seconds remaining hitting both ends of a one-and-one situation from the free thrown line for the Panthers (4-5). The Tomahawks (5-4) carried over their struggles from that final minute of regulation, unable to convert a basket and coughing the ball up a couple times.

This was a big win for Nashua South coach Nate Mazerolle and his Panthers.

“That was a fun game,” Mazerolle said. “Obviously, Merrimack is always well coached and this an extremely tough place to play. I’m very proud of how they responded to what I said at halftime. This win showed a lot of character and grit.”

It was a tough loss for Merrimack, which got off the final shot in regulation – a missed jumper at the buzzer by Austin Franzen, who somehow found a way to even get the shot off despite some confusion on the final play that saw him collide with teammate Zak Kerr before getting to the top of the key for a shot the hit the front rim.

South had its opportunity moments earlier, trying to run time off the clock, Kevin Genao and Frechette dribbled the clock down from 1:18 to the 25 second mark before a shot went up. The initial miss was tipped back up by Max Osgood for a miss, which was tipped back up by Mike Osgood before coming down in the hands of Dylan Richardson with 17 seconds to play.

If not for Richardson posting up and bullying his way to the basket for two of his nine points with 1:19 remaining in regulation to tie the game 50-50, overtime may never have even occurred.

Merrimack coach Tim Goodridge didn’t like the final outcome, but he enjoyed the build-up.

“That was a good basketball game out there tonight,” Goodridge said. “That was a playoff atmosphere type of game. Both teams were really scrapping and getting at it. It was physical and that’s the kind of game you expect every night.”

The lead changed hands multiple times, with South holding an edge after the first (17-12) and third quarters (40-38) and Merrimack in charge at the half (30-23).

Trailing 50-46 with 3:18 to play, a Kerr jumper and Richardson’s post play kept the Tomahawks alive. At least until overtime started.

“I’m sorry we came up on the wrong end of it,” Goodridge said. “They executed better than us down the stretch and that’s the bottom line.”