An at times odd and somewhat frustrating 2015-16 season came to a close for the defending Division I champion Londonderry High boys’ basketball squad with a 58-47 opening-round tournament loss to the Winnacunnet High Warriors in Hampton Wednesday, March 9.
The 10th-seeded LHS Lancers had to work hard to overcome an awful first quarter, and they did so to get within a bucket of the seventh-ranked Warriors’ lead in the third period. But the hosts then reeled off a big run to rebuild their advantage and drive to victory.
The Lancers had bagged a slim win over the seacoast opponent at LHS during the middle of a nightmarish, 1-6 skid that occurred between Jan. 22 and Feb. 6. So Stanton and his Lancers knew that they could best the Warriors.
The locals had finished their regular season with a solid 10-8 record, winning six of their last seven games to become more than a little warm.
Winnacunnet finished up at 12-6 in D-I, going a great 5-1 in its last six games.
Londonderry received bad news in the days before the first-round contest on the seacoast when junior guard Cam MacDonald was diagnosed with mononucleosis and was lost to the locals. So there were reasons for concern as the Lancers headed to Hampton.
And there were more concerns for the locals following a first quarter of play in which there were 15 points scored, with the Lancers netting just one in falling behind by a 14-1 tally.
The LHS squad came to life impressively in the second stanza, outscoring its host by a 16-8 margin to trail by just five points (22-17) at the halftime break.
The Lancers clipped the Winnacunnet advantage down to just two points late in the third quarter, but the hosts then put forth a 10-2 run and kept Londonderry at an arm’s length before winning by 11 points.
The local contingent had a total of six of its hoopsters contribute points, with Matt Corey (13) and Jake Coleman (12) leading the way in the tough, season-ending defeat to the determined seacoast opponent.