Semifinals bring drama to Gilford hoop tourney

12-29 Spts hoops 1

Gilford High junior guard David Hart avoids a block by Erik Madden of Kingswood in a 55-58 loss for the Golden Eagles Wednesday at the 43rd annual Holiday Basketball Tournament. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)

Kingswood stuns Gilford in 58-55 semifinal win in boys' bracket of Holiday Basketball Tournament


GILFORD — The semifinals of the 43rd annual Holiday Basketball Tournament ended with a nail-biter as Kingswood Regional High of Wolfeboro came back in the closing minute to beat the Gilford High boys 58-55.
Fans will get a break from the action as Thursday's snowstorm forced a postponement. The finals will start at 4:30 p.m. Friday, with the girls of Prospect Mountain High of Alton taking on Newfound Regional High of Bristol. At 6 p.m., the boys' championship features Belmont facing Kingswood.
In the girls' bracket, Prospect Mountain battled through Laconia on Tuesday (61-40) and handled Belmont 56-23 in the semifinals. Newfound, fresh off a 58-25 steamrolling of Kingswood, beat Gilford 50-39 in the semifinals.
In the loss to Newfound, the Gilford High girls took consolation in strong outings from Stevie Orton, with 10 points; and junior varsity long-range shooter Shelby Cole, who dished in nine points on three-for-five shooting. For Newfound, Ashlee Dukette led with 18 points, followed by Savanna Bony with 13.
In the boys' bracket, Belmont came off a 47-37 drubbing of Winnisquam to overpower Laconia 56-37 in the semifinals. Kingswood, which powered through Newfound 54-18, faced an uphill battle against Gilford, trailing most of the game. Up 38-26 in the third quarter, the Gilford High boys controlled the pace until late in the fourth quarter. Up 55-53 with 45 seconds left in the game, Gilford committed three turnovers in the final seconds and surrendered the lead. With 32 seconds remaining, the Gilford boys were down 57-55 and ended up on the losing end of a 58-55 decision.
Gilford's senior center Ethan Carrier finished with 15 points; and senior guard/forward Mason McGonagle added 11 points for Gilford.
For Kingswood, senior guard Patrick Meyers dominated with 25 points; and junior guard/forward Nick Duntley chipped in 15 points in the winning effort.
Chip Veazey, head coach of the Gilford High Golden Eagles, said he focused on improvement over the final score.
"I know we had some tough luck in the last minute tonight, but I thought we played, for the most part, really well," Veazey said. "The players are improving, the team's improving. We're going in the right direction."
Senior Branden Lemay, sophomore Patrick Carr, junior Nate Hudson and junior Jeremy LaChance all received praise from their coach for stepping up.
"If we continue to improve as we have over the last week or two, we're going to be fine," Veazey said. "This team is young, and it takes time, but things are going to be OK."
Rick Acquilano, athletic director at Gilford High School, said one novelty this year was tournament organizers used the middle school gym.
"I think people liked our second gym, it's not a typical middle school gym, it's pretty nice and comparable to a lot of varsity gyms out there," he said.
"Even in the consolation and winners' brackets, if you will, they still played back to back, maybe in different gyms, but people could watch both games," Acquilano said.


The 43rd annual Holiday Basketball Tournament

Wednesday, Dec. 28 results:
Semifinals — Girls: Semifinal No. 1, Prospect 56, Belmont 23; Semifinal No. 2, Newfound 50, Gilford, 39. Boys — Semifinal No. 1, Belmont 56, Laconia 37; Semifinal No. 2, Kingswood 58, Gilford 55.
Consolation games — Girls: Laconia 43, Winnisquam 37; Kingswood 38, Moultonborough 18. Boys: Winnisquam 62, Prospect 49; 4 p.m., Moultonborough 48, Newfound 42.

Finals (weather delayed)
Friday, Dec. 30 — Girls: 4:30 p.m., Prospect vs. Newfound. Boys: 6 p.m., Belmont vs. Kingswood


12-29 Spts hoops 2

Gilford High senior Mason McGonagle battles for a shot against Kingswood in a 55-58 loss for the Golden Eagles Wednesday at the 43rd annual Holiday Basketball Tournament. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)

12-29 Spts hoops 3

Belmont High's Trevor Hunt tries to block a shot by Laconia's Jake Ellis in a 56-37 win for the Red Raiders Wednesday in the semifinals of the 43rd annual Holiday Basketball Tournament at Gilford High School and Gilford Middle School. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)

12-29 Spts hoops 4

Laconia's Ryan Paiva drives to the hoop against Belmont at the 43rd annual Holiday Basketball Tournament. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)

12-29 Spts hoops 5

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. Gilford faced Newfound in the semifinals Wednesday and came up short in a 50-39 elimination game. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)