Published DateALTON — It didn't take long for Prospect Mountain High School's boys' varsity basketball team to establish itself as one of the bulls of Division III. Though only in its ninth season, the team has appeared in a semi-final game in three of the last four seasons. Twice the team has played its way into the state championship match, including last year, when the Timberwolves gained a one-point lead with ten seconds to go, only to lose to Berlin, 51-53.
Could Prospect Mountain make it back to the big game this year? At the beginning of the season, it was looking doubtful. The Timberwolves were 1-2 after the first three games, and had lost their two highest scorers of the previous year. Looking back, coach Tom Bordeau thinks his team was suffering from a "championship hangover." Soon, though, the malaise wore off and Prospect Mountain went on a ten-game winning streak. "Losing two of the first three woke them up," Bordeau said.
With six games remaining in the regular season, Prospect Mountain has nine wins, three losses. And, although the team's record isn't as impressive as last year's was at this point, Bordeau thinks this year's Timberwolves will be stronger when they hit the post-season.
"This team is scoring more points, getting more rebounds," he said. No single player has stepped into the void left by the graduation last year of prolific scorers Zach Drouin and Pat Cassidy, said Bordeau. "It's more of a team concept. All my big guys were starters last year, so they've improved their scoring over last year," he said. "It works like a dream."
Spreading the offensive responsibility across all players on the court was a strategy that has paid dividends after the recent loss of Jay Mousseau, a forward who suffered a broken wrist in a game against Campbell and has a "slim chance," said Bordeau, of returning during the playoffs. The rest of the team has been able to step up, especially backup guard Nate Farnham who is filling in at forward.
"He's a hell of a defender," Bordeau said about Farnham. It's defense, in fact, that Bordeau will be focusing on in the final stretch of the regular season. Perhaps due to their offensive success, his players had let their defensive discipline slide. In their third loss of the season, which occurred on January 25, the Timberwolves allowed Raymond to score 81 points, the most that team has scored this season. "We were putting the points up there, I think we lost a little focus on defense."
After a couple of defense-centric practices, though, Prospect Mountain held Belmont to just 40 points on January 29.
Prospect Mountain will have a few regular-season opportunities to find out just how improved their defense is. They will play Gilford, Somersworth, and twice they'll play Berlin, including an away game on February 5 and at home to close out the season. Each of those teams has compiled records comparable to or better than Prospect Mountain's. "We've got some tough sledding ahead of us."
Does Bordeau think this is the year for Prospect Mountain? He won't tempt fate by guessing. "I don't think of the finals. I hope to get to the final four. You get to there and anything can happen. We're looking at the final four."