Hollis Brookline takes out Milford boys in Tuesday showdown

HOLLIS – As the fouls accumulated, the pace slowed and Hollis Brookline tenaciously tightened the defensive screws.

The intensity was just enough to hold off a feisty bunch from Milford, 48-45.

Nothing was settled until the final buzzer as Gavin Urda’s attempted 30-footer to tie rattled off the rim, giving HB its third straight win and pumping the Cavaliers’ mark to 5-3.

“That was a team effort,” said HB senior Grant Snyder. “We knew it would be a tough game. We all stepped up. Everybody came to play.”

For HB, it was a matter of willing its way to victory.

Milford, down 25-19 at the break, came in waves. And Hollis Brookline found answers.

Spartan sophomore Ryon Constable knocked down a three to even things at 31-31 late in the third, and Adam Razzaboni nailed a 15-footer to put the Cavs right back on top.

Jake Greska drilled a pullup to slice the Cavs’ lead to 41-40 in the fourth, and Ryan Coutu calmly sinks a pair from the foul line for some breathing room at 43-43.

That sophomore Constable ices his second triple of the night to tie it at 43-43 and Snyder hit the biggest bucket of the night, a putback to give the Cavs the lead for good at 45-43 with 68 seconds to play.

Down 46-43, Milford got a Joe Shepard hoop with 12.9 seconds left, and Snyder sunk two free throws with 11.1 to play, setting up Urda’s final prayer that was not answered.

“We like to play HB basketball,” said Snyder. “If we control the pace, we’re in any game. And our defense leads to offense.”

Snyder was immense, and it wasn’t just his game-high 19 points. For the second straight Tuesday, he drew the toughest defensive assignment on the floor. A week ago, it was Souhegan’s 6-foot-6 Matt McCool. Last night, it was the dynamic Urda.

“Nothing changes, just play the way I play basketball,” said Snyder.

Snyder can bang in the paint and defend the arc with the best of them.

Max Stapelfeld added a dozen points for the Cavs, and Razzaboni pitched in seven.

For Milford, it was just a case of too many whistles. Both Caden Zalenski and Greska fouled out, and all three played limited minutes, as did the bruising Shepard.

For the night, the Cavaliers hit 16 of 25 free throws, while Milford was just 6 for 10.

“We had a lot of foul trouble,” said Milford High coach Dan Murray. “We just kept battling and coming back.”

Senior Christian Jones paced the Spartans with 13 points, and Urda, who is still inching back from a tender ankle he sprained against Souhegan added nine. In limited stretches, both Greska (5 points, all in the fourth) and Shepard (8 points) were effective for the Spartans, who are now 3-5.

“I think both of these teams are in the middle of the (Division II) pack or better,” said Murray. “I don’t think anyone wants to play either team, them for the way they play defense and us for our quickness and offense.”

Both teams are back to work on Friday. Milford heads to 4-2 Kearsarge, while HB hosts 4-4 Pembroke. Like the Cavs, Pembroke enters on a three-game winning streak.

“We need to get healthy and we need to play better,” said Murray. “If we do a better job rebounding on the defensive end, it will let us get out there and run. We played at their pace tonight, and it wasn’t by design.”