Haverhill Hillies Boys Basketball '10-'11

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 01:00 PM @ Haverhill
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Whittier 12 9 11 13 45
Haverhill 9 13 18 13 53

Haverhill holds off Whittier

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Sunday, February, 13 By Jeff Hamrick

HAVERHILL — While it hasn't been a season with much to shout about, the Haverhill boys earned bragging rights in their own town. And in the process, might just finish the year on an upswing.

Winning for the third time in four outings, the Hillies held off cross-town rival Whittier with a 53-45 victory before a rowdy partisan crowd yesterday afternoon.

"We came in pretty hyped," said Haverhill sophomore Noah Vonleh, who had 14 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots. "We wanted to show we were the better team in Haverhill. It's always good to beat teams in your city."

The Hillies (6-12) opened a 14-point lead midway through the fourth on the last of freshman Matt Jameson's six 3-pointers, then held off a Ryan Grant-led charge down the stretch that brought the Wildcats (9-7) to within three on Grant's pull-up jumper with 1:16 remaining, cutting the deficit to 48-45. Although Haverhill missed 12 of its 21 free-throw attempts in the second half, Edwin Valentin and Jameson combined to go 5 of 6 the final 29 seconds to seal the victory.

"I need to focus more because I was missing a lot of free throws," said Vonleh, who was only 2 of 10 from the line. "We really could've beaten them by at least 20 if we hadn't missed free throws."

Two days after leading Haverhill to a 48-46 victory over Lowell on a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left, Jameson had no qualms putting up shots against Whittier's 2-3 zone. Having his best game of the season, the freshman guard was 6 of 15 from the floor.

"He can really shoot the ball," Trovato said. "He's made a couple shots in other games, and this was a great game for him to come out and make a ton of them. Sometimes shooters just need a little confidence and maybe he got that the other night. He was open on a lot of them and he doesn't miss many of those open shots."

Although Grant, who entered the game averaging 19.3 a game, powered Whittier's closing surge and the sophomore finished with a game-high 24 points, he had trouble finding open shots against sophomores Shain Roche and Parker Rogers, who shared the defensive assignment in Haverhill's man defense, converting only seven of his 37 field-goal attempts.

""We knew he was their whole offense, so we just focused on trying to stop Ryan Grant the whole time," said Rogers, who has played with Grant at the YMCA since both were even younger. "He takes a lot of shots, but he didn't get many good looks. He's a pretty strong kid, especially when he gets the pushoff. I was in his face all night."

Both teams are among the youngest in the region, but both played beyond their years, combining for only 17 turnovers — six by Whittier while the Hillies had none in the final quarter. Haverhill helped its cause with 12 offensive rebounds in the second half and 20 for the game.

"I have a young group of four sophomores, so to have only six turnovers the entire game in a place like this I think is a real good job from my guards," said Whittier coach Tom Sipsey, whose club needs to win one of its final four games to qualify for the postseason. "We had a problem with turnovers early in the year, so if there's a positive that's a positive. Our size was definitely a factor with allowing offensive rebounds. There were possessions for them where they got three or four shots. That lack of size and not executing by boxing out was what got us."

Game Statistics:

Whittier (45): Mills Carrasco 1 0-0 3, Mike Davis 0 1-2 1, Andrew Wells 2 2-2 6, Alvin Taylor 1 0-0 2, Ryan Grant 7 8-12 24, Brendan Hoffses 0 0-0 0, Nate Frangillo 0 1-2 1, Justin Reyes 4 0-2 8. Totals 15 12-20 45

Haverhill (53):  Edwin Valentin 0 7-8 7, Nathan Bresnahan 1 0-0 2, Shain Roche 1 0-1 3, Noah Vonleh 6 2-10 14, Austin Johnson 0 0-0 0, Anthony Dionne 1 0-2 2, Parker Rogers 2 1-2 5, Matt Jameson 6 2-2 20. Totals 17 12-25 53

3-pointers:  W — Grant 2, Carrasco; H — Jameson 6, Roche.

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