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February 6, 2009 Chris Carmona
(Litchfield, N.H) - Buried away in the back roads of New Hampshire Thursday night was a thrilling Class M Basketball game between the Campbell Cougars and the Somersworth Hilltoppers. Both teams came in atop the standings with just one loss each. It only took 163 combined points before the Cougars edged out a dramatic 83-80 victory.
The Cougars were coming off a victory in which their sophomore star Josh Morgan unloaded for 29 points. Thursday night he looked to continue where he left off as he and the Cougars came out firing. The crowd arrived early to help energize the gym and the players immediately took to the excitement of the atmosphere.
By the end of the first quarter Somersworth lead 21-19 and all five starters were already in the scoring column. The pace of the game was fast and exciting as players were able to find their way through the defense and finish at the rim.
Somersworth was led by senior center Dylan Moore. Moore, an athletic 6'5" center with extremely good bounce put down two dunks in the first half. He also worked the boards extremely well and by halftime he had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
However, Campbell was able to get the lead back before half thanks to junior guard Keil Canada who went 3-3 from three point range in the first and helped the Cougars to the 38-36 lead going into the break. Campbell had a balanced attack with eight players in the scoring column by the half.
The second half opened with no defensive adjustments as the teams combined to put up 18 points in the first two and a half minutes to open the quarter. Yet, neither team could quite take control as the third quarter ended with a 60-60 tie.
The bevy of shots continued to fly in the fourth quarter. Moore did what he could to keep the Hilltoppers within reach but Canada was on fire in the fourth and helped the Cougars push the lead to 8 points with 3 minutes to play.
With just under a minute to go though, Moore connected on his only three-pointer of the game to bring the Hilltoppers within two, 82-80. From there Somersworth was able to foul and send Canada to the line in which he connected on 1 of 2 and set the Hilltoppers up for a last second chance.
Junior Greg Matthews for Somersworth took the ball to the hoop but could not convert as his was bumped on his way up. The refs, as they did for the entire game, let the contact slide and the Hilltoppers were forced to foul with just 4 seconds left on the clock. Fortunately for Somersworth, they fouled Canada again who missed the first attempt. Unfortunately, no one on Somersworth realized that it was a one-and-one and with one full-court heave that fell short, Campbell walked away with the win.
Dylan Moore finished with a game-high 31 points and 15 rebounds. Also scoring in double figures for the Hilltoppers were sophomore Bobby Shatinsky who had 14 points, junior Greg Matthews' 13 points and senior Albert Bertrand who also had 13.
Moore helped give his chance a loss with his 31 points but was disappointed still with the outcome. "I don't care how much I score," Moore said. "It doesn't matter when we lose, a loss is a loss."
Campbell was lead by Canada's 23 points and six steals. He lead four players in double figures for the Cougars including Morgan's 17 points, junior Shawn Henriquez's 15, and senior Andrew Cialek who had 11 and eight rebounds.
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