Gilford High sophomore Hannah Perkins battles for the ball from the center position against Katie Duddy of Moultonborough in a 44-22 win for the Golden Eagles Tuesday at the 43rd annual Holiday Basketball Tournament. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)
By DAVID CARKHUFF, THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — Two high school basketball teams from Gilford and one from Laconia advanced into Wednesday's semifinals by winning in the opener of the 43rd annual Holiday Basketball Tournament.
The Gilford High girls beat Moultonborough Academy 44-22 Tuesday, while the Gilford High boys beat the Panthers 65-28.
Laconia High boys beat the Prospect Mountain Timberwolves 60-53 in a foul-heavy game. On the girls' side, Laconia fell to Prospect Mountain 61-40.
The 2016 NHIAA Girls' Basketball Champions in Division III, the Gilford High Golden Eagles handled Moultonborough from the opening buzzer. Gilford High girls' basketball head coach Rick Forge said the team, which is 2-3 on the regular season, took advantage of the annual holiday tournament to test its bench strength.
"It gives us a good chance to look a little deeper down on the squad, and it gives an opportunity for kids to play," Forge said. "We've had competitive games the first five games of the year of the regular season, so some of those kids who don't get a lot of playing time got more playing time today which is great. That's always great for team morale, that's always great for coaches, to see what you have coming off the bench."
Every game has been close in the early season, Forge said.
"That's just the nature of our team this year, we're not as dominant obviously experience-wise with what we had last year, where we had lots of seniors and lots of varsity experience. This year it's a whole new crew," he said.
Stevie Orton and Kaitlyn VanBennekum, the team's two seniors, have worked with the younger players, Forge said. "You need that senior leadership. It's just been commendable what they've done up to this point. The team camaraderie is a reflection of their leadership," Forge said.
Laconia High boys' basketball head coach Steve McDonough reported that the Sachems' winning game with Prospect "was back and forth throughout." With almost 60 free throws taken between each team, "there was never really a flow developed for either team," he said.
McDonough said Prospect High senior Hudson Ingoldsby was tough, "and we struggled to stop him from getting to the line. Laconia had great performances from Ryan McCrea, Jakob Steele, Nick Drouin and Ryan Paiva offensively. Defensively Christian Gaspa and Jake Ellis were solid defending Prospects Guards and creating fast break opportunities."
Steele finished with 13 points, McCrea with 12 points, Drouin with 10 points and Paiva with nine.
On Wednesday, Dec. 28, winners of Tuesday's games play in the semifinals, including:
Girls — Semifinal No. 1, 11:30 a.m., GHS: Belmont vs. Prospect; Girls — Semifinal No. 2, 2:30 p.m., GHS: Newfound vs. Gilford; Boys — Semifinal No. 1, 1 p.m., GHS: Belmont vs. Laconia; Boys — Semifinal No. 2, 4 p.m., GHS: Kingswood vs. Gilford.
Consolation games (all played at the middle school) include: 11:30 a.m., Laconia girls vs. Winnisquam girls; 1 p.m., Winnisquam boys vs. Prospect boys; 2:30 p.m., Kingswood girls vs. Moultonborough girls; 4 p.m., Newfound boys vs. Moultonborough boys.
Forge said the holiday tournament, which is played outside of the NHIAA (New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association) system, always is a draw.
"This tournament is one of the longest running ones in the state, and it's well run, and it's a lot of fun," he said.
The 43rd annual Holiday Basketball Tournament Gilford High School and Gilford Middle School
Tuesday, Dec. 27 results:
Belmont 46, Winnisquam 32; Prospect Mountain 61, Laconia 40; Newfound 58, Kingswood 25; Gilford 44, Moultonborough 22.
Belmont 47, Winnisquam 37; Laconia 60, Prospect Mountain 53; Kingswood 54, Newfound 18; Gilford 65, Moultonborough 28.
Gilford High girls' basketball coach Rick Forge talks to his team in the fourth quarter of a 44-22 win for the Golden Eagles Tuesday at the 43rd annual Holiday Basketball Tournament. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)
Gilford High sophomore Karly Sanborn drives to the hoop against Moultonborough in a 44-22 win for the Golden Eagles Tuesday at the 43rd annual Holiday Basketball Tournament. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)
Gilford High junior Sarah Fillion launches a final shot for Gilford Tuesday at the opening day of the 43rd annual Holiday Basketball Tournament. Katie Duddy is guarding for Moultonborough. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)