Laconia High's Jake Ellis defends against Somersworth's Evan Gray while Luke Monesmith (No. 30) takes a tumble in fast-paced action Friday, Jan.13. Somersworth scored 19 points in the fourth quarter in a 56-43 win for the visiting Hilltoppers. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)
By DAVID CARKHUFF/THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — When it comes to learning from losses, the Laconia High Boys Basketball team is taking away all the right lessons.
"I'm about as proud as I can be that they came out and played as hard as they did," said Laconia coach Steve McDonough, after a 56-43 loss to Somersworth on Friday.
The Sachems opened the game on their home court by falling behind 18-6 in the first quarter. But it's the fourth quarter that impressed McDonough. The team played almost even with the Hilltoppers, scoring 17 points to Somersworth's 19 points.
"There's no quit. It would be easy in that game to quit," said McDonough. "We're down by 15 with a couple of minutes left. A couple of things don't go our way, we dribble it off our foot here, maybe a missed call there. That's a time when a lot of teams will pack it in. We just played hard and clean right to the buzzer."
Laconia's Jakob Steele led team scoring with 18 points. Ryan Chandler finished with 12 points and Ryan Paiva added five points.
The boys are 1-6 on the regular season. They beat Newfound 54-46 on Jan. 5. Losses came against Winnisquam Regional (44-41); Gilford (54-51 on Dec. 13 and 75-50 on Jan. 3); Belmont (55-29); Bishop Brady (45-42); and Somersworth (56-43).
"We're struggling to finish right now," McDonough said after Friday's game, "but I'm really pleased with tonight's effort. I thought we played hard the entire game. Every kid we called upon gave us some minutes."
The Somersworth High boys came into the game 6-1. Their sole loss this season is a 68-38 defeat at Inter-Lakes on Jan. 3. Somersworth has logged wins against Berlin (75-44); St. Thomas (62-44); Prospect Mountain (51-48); Newfound (72-31); Winnisquam (46-31); Raymond (64-54); and Laconia (56-43).
On Friday, Hilltopper Evan Gray led with 20 points; Bryton Early finished with 19 points; and J.T. Laurion added eight points.
Somersworth will play at St. Thomas Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m.
McDonough said, "I think in a lot of ways it boiled down to free-throw shooting and a couple of defensive lapses on our part. Without taking any credit away from Somersworth, they're a very good team. They're near the top of the standings for a reason this year."
McDonough said he was pleased to limit Vincent Loho to one point, "he's hurt us in the past."
Laconia will take its lessons learned and travel to Prospect Mountain in Alton for a game at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18.
Laconia defeated Prospect Mountain 60-53 at the 43rd annual Holiday Basketball Tournament in Gilford over the Christmas break.
"They're very similar to us," McDonough said, "a lot of hard-working kids, a couple of kids that finish but trying to gel and get it together. They're a team that's going to be another tough matchup for us."
Laconia High's Ryan Chandler drives for a shot against Somersworth's Evan Gray (left) and Bryton Early, in a 56-43 win for the visiting Hilltoppers. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)
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