Boys’ basketball: Bow controls fourth quarter to beat Souhegan in D-II prelims

Bow forward Sean Guerrette gets fouled on the way to the basket during the first half against Souhegan on Tuesday night, February 27, 2024.

Bow forward Sean Guerrette gets fouled on the way to the basket during the first half against Souhegan on Tuesday night, February 27, 2024. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Bow guard Colby Smith goes up for a layup against Souhegan on Tuesday night, February 27, 2024. Smith led the Falcons with 19 points in their first round win.

Bow guard Colby Smith goes up for a layup against Souhegan on Tuesday night, February 27, 2024. Smith led the Falcons with 19 points in their first round win. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

By DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 02-27-2024 11:16 PM

Modified: 02-28-2024 12:05 PM


Not even three weeks ago the Sabers handed Bow a 32-point loss. The Falcons weren’t about to let that happen again. Not on their home court, not in the playoffs.

Souhegan erased an 11-point deficit to lead by one point at halftime and by one heading into the fourth quarter, but the Saber shots that were falling from 3-point land in the first half weren’t landing in the second and the Falcons made enough plays down the stretch as No. 7 Bow (13-6) defeated No. 10 Souhegan (9-10), 41-34, in Tuesday night’s Division II preliminary round game.

Bow senior point guard Colby Smith (game-high 19 points) and sophomore guard Brendan O’Keeffe (eight points) both hit 3s early in the first quarter to help the Falcons lead by as much as 15-4 before ending the first quarter up 15-5.

But the second quarter was all Souhegan. The Sabers went 4-for-6 from 3-point range during the frame, including three 3s from senior guard Nolan Colby (13 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals), and Souhegan controlled the boards to lead 22-21 at halftime. 

The Sabers continued to control the glass and held Bow without a field goal in the third quarter and Colby hit another 3 to maintain Souhegan’s lead, 27-26, heading into the fourth.

“We shot the ball well in the first half, we worked really hard,” Souhegan head coach Peter Pierce said. “To give up 26 points in the last three quarters, that’s great defense against (Bow). For us, it was more of the offensive end (where we struggled). We stopped making shots and when that happened we didn’t hang.”

The Falcons came out with much more energy and finally started to use their size to their advantage inside, with sophomore Peyton Larrabee (10 rebounds, seven blocks, four points) and junior forward Keenan Hubbard (six rebounds, two steals, block) leading Bow’s defensive effort.

Sophomore forward Jake Reardon (10 points, three rebounds, two blocks, steal), Smith and O’Keeffe all hit big shots early in the fourth to go up 36-32 with 2:31 to go. With Larrabee and Hubbard controlling the middle, Souhegan was forced to take more shots from outside the arc on offense and start fouling on defense.

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The Sabers went 5-for-12 from 3-point range in the first half, but just 2-for-15 in the second.

“It was a grind game. (Souhegan) is physical, we’re physical. We just had to slow the tempo down,” Bow head coach Scott Drapeau said. “We can’t deviate from what we do best, and that’s pound the ball inside and get shots and open looks.”

“I thought Bow did a really good job of leveraging their size against us tonight,” Pierce said. “It impacted the game and we struggled with that a bit. There were a lot of blocked shots. Our guys did what they could with it, but we didn’t match up well.”

Smith and Reardon went a combined 5-for-8 from the line over the final two and half minutes to secure the victory (Smith finished the game 9-for-13 from the line).

The Falcons will play at No. 2 Hanover (17-1) in Friday night’s quarterfinal. Bow lost at home to Hanover, 64-52, on Jan. 10.

“Anything can happen,” Drapeau said. “I’m proud of my team, I’m proud of the way they played. I’m proud of the way Souhegan played. They played hard. That’s what the playoffs should be. It’s a one-win season. We’re moving on.”