2017-01-11 / Sports

Fall Mountain rips Newport

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Eagle Times correspondent

NEWPORT — A great crowd filled Wheeler Gym to see two different games Tuesday night. The first half was a back and forth slugfest as Fall Mountain clung to a 26-22 slim lead. The second half belonged to the Wildcats as Ranger Wilson exploded for eight straight points in the third quarter to open up a big lead that FM would not let go of en route to a convincing 58-36 win.

FM won the opening tip and zipped out to a 10-7 lead but a Cody Turgeon turnaround jumper gave the Tigers a 13-12 lead that see-sawed back and forth the entire first half.

“Their zone gave us fits in the first half tonight,” said FM coach Jason Bardis, referring to Newport's packed-in 1-3-1 zone.

The Wildcats' Owen Marandino had a big first half cleaning the glass and finished with 11 points as he found space in the zone to give FM multiple second-chance shots.

Newport's Ethan Houde's deep 3-pointer cut the FM lead to two with under four minutes left in the half, but Jacob Bardis answered right back with a corner three of his own.

Newport freshman John Thibault drained two big buckets late in the half to keep things close but the second quarter ended with a very loud block by Bardis with FM leading 26-22 — but that wasn't his best block of the night.

When Thibault launched and buried a 3-pointer, the Tigers had a 27-26 lead only two minutes into the second half, but Noah Lantz hit a corner jump shot, then Wilson went wild, connecting on a pretty jumper then a layup after a steal, and when he hit a 3-pointer making it 37-27 FM, Newport coach Greg Pickering was forced to call a timeout.

“There wasn't any play called for me but I just had the open shot and drained it,” said Wilson.

After the timeout Noah Wood stopped the bleeding with a jumper but Bardis had the play of the night as he went sky high to swat a jump shot out of bounds that brought the whole gym alive as FM led after three 40-29.

The final period was highlighted by a couple of three pointers by FM's Michael Murdoch and a very nice back-door layup by the Tigers' Thibault. And when Wilson tipped in a FM miss, the score ballooned to 52-33 with just under four minutes.

Newport had strong games from Thibault, who finished with 11 points, and Houde, who added 10. Newport shot only 3-for-5 from the foul line.

Fall Mountain extended it's winning streak to three games, was led by Wilson's 25, followed by Bardis's 11, Marandino's 10, and Murdoch and Bailey Cote chipped in with eight each. FM shot 16-for-21 from the charity stripe.

“Overall I felt we are making good progress on the season, especially our big guys who really stepped up tonight against a pretty good Newport zone with good passing to open up some shots,” said coach Bardis.

FM (3-3) visits Kearsarge (5-2) while Newport (1-3) visits Windsor (1-7), both on Friday.

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