SUNAPEE — That wonderful sound of squeaking sneakers echoed across an empty Sherburne gymnasium floor on Monday as local basketball returned with Sunapee hosting Mt. Royal in a boys match-up. With no fans, masked players and social distance rules in place, the game started with the visitors receiving the pumpkin as no jump balls are allowed this season. Other than a very quiet setting, the game was it’s usual self with lots of energy, emotion and players battling for an opening day win.
As the Knights struggled to find their rhythm, the Lakers Harper Flint looked like a duck in water as he poured in nine first quarter points as Sunapee led 11-4 after the first eight minutes.
“It just felt amazing to be able to play basketball tonight” Flint said.
The size of Sunapee gave Mt. Royal fits as Flint was joined by Nick Pollari in the paint as those two had the size and height to grab lots of space. Louis Larosiliere’s drives to the hoop for the Knights were slick but he just couldn’t find the bottom of the net as Mt. Royal couldn’t shake off the flatness to their game. The Lakers looked like they had been playing for weeks as they looked sharp with lots of size and athleticism as Jacob Stoughton and Andrew Claus owned the wings.
As hot as Flint was in the first quarter, Sean Moynihan took the torch and was just as hot as he netted all of his eight points over the next eight minutes to help Sunapee to a 30-13 lead at the break.
“We played better in the second quarter but we didn’t take the open jump shot as much as I would have wanted,” said Sunapee head coach Tim Puchtler. “I think we took to many bites of the apple.”
A 9-0 Sunapee run in the quarter was keyed by back to back Moynihan hoops, an Austin Tschudin three ball and a bucket from Drew Clifford had Sunapee rolling.
“This has been a big adjustment, we have new players and just couldn’t find our rhythm tonight,” said Mt. Royal head coach Matt McMennan. “It’s a whole new world and we’ll adjust going forward.”
While the Lakers opened the second half with a 7-0 blast off the shooting of Flint, Claus and Pollari, the Knights would start to find a groove as Brandon Morehouse drilled back to back three point bombs slicing the once 23-point Laker lead down to 36-17. The Lakers would answer back with an 8-3 response to close out the quarter for a comfortable 45-22 lead after three quarters. Jordan McDonnell’s aggressive play gave the visitors the advantage heading into the final quarter but the Lakers fresh legs off the bench ended any ideas the Knights had to cut into the lead as Sunapee closed out the evening with a 56-28 win.
It’s always a great game against Mt. Royal, they have quality players over there and I think we did a good job of playing tough defense tonight, we had a solid effort but we need to improve every time we step on the court” Moynihan said.
Flint led all scorers with 13 points followed by Moynihan and Clifford with eight points each while Stoughton added six of his own. The Knights were led by Morehouse with 10 points, Larosiliere added eight points while McDonnell finished with six points.
“It feels great to be playing another team and I think our aggressive and physical play will help us this year,” Puchtler said. “The schedule looks tough with Mascoma, Stevens, Newport and Fall Mountain this season but I think we’re ready for the challenges ahead of us.”
These same teams will square off on Thursday at Mt. Royal Academy.
Sunapee 30, Mt. Royal Academy 21The Lakers Abby Pollari finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and nine steals to lead Sunapee to an opening game win on the road. Brynn Smith had eight points while Katelyn Claus had six points for Stephanie Larpenter’s team. These same teams will face one another on Thursday in Sunapee for a 5:30 p.m. game.