Saturday’s Maine college roundup, men’s basketball: Husson wins NAC men’s title

Posted Feb. 23, 2013, at 5:08 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 24, 2013, at 5:42 p.m.

Men’s Basketball

FARMINGTON, Maine – Husson men’s basketball defeated Castleton State College Saturday afternoon to win the 2013 North Atlantic Conference Championship, 74-68.

Castleton State was the defending NAC Champion having defeated Colby-Sawyer last February. This year it was the Eagles turn. In their 12th conference final appearance in 19 seasons the Husson Eagles are NAC Champions once again. This is the third North Atlantic Conference Championship for the Eagles in the past five seasons.

Husson jumped out to a 7-2 lead 3 minutes into the game and never let Castleton get too close. The Spartans never held a lead in the second half, seeing Husson extend their lead to as much as 9 points.

Aaron Willis (New York, NY) was the high scorer for the Eagles with 16 points off the bench, going 6-8 from the field and a perfect 4-4 from the 3-point arc. Brooks Spaulding (Fairfield, ME) and Eric Modica (Kittery, ME) both had 12 points. Spaulding grabbed 7 rebounds, with 2 assists, and 2 steals. Modica added 3 assists and 1 block.

Phil Leighton (Naples, ME) and Corey Wood (Laurel, MD) both chipped in with 10 points. Leighton had 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks and 1 assist. Every player that entered the game for Husson had at least 2 points.

Marc Zaharchuk who had 8 points on the day scored his 1,000th point as a Husson Eagle, his point total now stands at 1,005. Zaharchuk was named MVP of the North Atlantic Conference Tournament. Modica also joins Zaharchuk on the All-Tournament Team.

Mark Comstock led the Spartans with 25 points going 9-12 from the field and 3-3 from the 3-point arc. Comstock also had 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. Logan White was the next high scorer for Castleton with 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.

The Eagles led the Spartans in field goal percentage (52.9% to 51%) and 3-point percentage (58.3% to 54.5%). Husson also led in the assist, steal, and blocked shots categories.

With this win the Eagles improve to 20-8 on the season, and will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA DIII Tournament.

Women’s Basketball

USM 90, UMass Dartmouth 66

GORHAM, Maine – Senior forward Jordan Grant (Concord, N.H.) scored a game-high 23 points to lead four players in doubles figures as the nationally-ranked University of Southern Maine Huskies defeated the UMass Dartmouth Corsairs 90-66 to earn their 20th Little East Conference Tournament Championship Saturday afternoon at Hill Gymnasium in Gorham, Maine.

With the win, ninth-ranked Southern Maine improves to 27-1 and punches its ticket to the 2013 NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament. The NCAA will announce its field of 64 and the Huskies’ opponent on Monday afternoon. UMass Dartmouth, making its first appearance in the LEC final since joining the conference 25 years ago, falls to 20-8. The Huskies earned their 21st regular season championship and 20th tourney championship in 27 seasons of the Little East.

Grant was 7-for-15 from the field for 23 points and finished one rebound shy of a double-double with nine. Senior guard Nicole Garland (Portland, Maine/Deering) added 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, while senior guard Haley Jordan(Falmouth, Maine) tossed in 17 points. Garland and Jordan were named co-Tournament Most Outstanding Players. Sophomore forward Rebecca Knight (Alfred, Maine/McAuley) added a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Senior forward Colleen Moriarty (Canton, Mass.) led the Corsairs with 20 points and nine rebounds. Junior forward Erika Bornemann (Canton, Mass.) knocked down five three-pointers en route to 16 points, while sophomore guard Kelsey Garrity (Somerville, Mass.) added 10 points and a game-high seven assists.

After a nip and tuck opening three minutes, the Huskies narrowly led the Corsairs 6-4. Moriarty’s layup off of a Garrity assist at the 15:59 mark pulled UMD to within a possession before the Huskies outscored Corsairs 26-9 over the next ten minutes to take control of the game. Following Moriarty’s layup, USM scored nine straight points. Garland kick started the run with the first of her four three-pointers in the game, while Knight scored the final four points for a 15-4 lead. A jumper from sophomore guard Melissa Daigle (Rockland, Mass.) interrupted the Huskies charge, but USM followed with six more points, including a coast-to-coast basket from Grant after a steal.

Ahead 21-6 with 10:49 left in the half, five quick points from freshman guard Beth Castantini (Newburyport, Mass.) on a three and a layup pulled the Corsairs to within 12, 23-11, but USM again created separation with a 9-2 run for a 32-13 lead with 6:14 on the clock. Grant and Jordan each had four points. USM outscored the Corsairs 16-14 in the final six minutes of the half, capped by a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Garland in the face strong defensive pressure, to lead 48-27 at the break.

In the second half, both teams traded baskets and the Corsairs trailed by 18, 56-38, following a pair of Moriarty free throws. However, USM’s Knight took over for the next three possessions scoring six unanswered points with strong moves in the paint to give the Huskies their largest lead 62-38 with 15:07 to play.

Trailing 69-47, the Corsairs used a 7-0 run midway through the half to pull to within 15 of the Huskies, 69-54, with 7:44 to play, but it was as close as they would get the rest of the way as USM cruised to the conference crown.

Amherst 60, Bowdoin 45

AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College women’s basketball team jumped to an early lead and held off Bowdoin in a 60-45 win in the NESCAC Semifinals Saturday at LeFrak Gymnasium.

The Polar Bears end their season with a record of 14-11 while the Jeffs improve to 25-1 and advance to Sunday’s NESCAC title game against Williams.

In her final collegiate game, Bowdoin’s Kaitlin Donahoe recorded a game-high 14 points to lead the Polar Bears. No other Polar Bear saw double-digits as Bowdoin was hampered by 20 turnovers in the loss. Amherst was led by 14 points each from Megan Robertson and Marcia Voight.

The Jeffs took a 15-4 lead six minutes into Saturday’s semifinal game. Bowdoin was able to muster a brief surge that closed the gap to five points, following a three-pointer from Megan Phelps with 7:56 remaining in the half. The hosts closed the period on a 10-2 run, however, capped by a Savannah Holness lay-in, to take a 32-19 edge into the break.

Bowdoin was able to cut the Amherst lead to nine points on four occasions, the final time coming after a Sara Binkhorst lay-up with 12:44 to go that cut the advantage to 42-33. But Amherst replied with a 12-1 run that doomed the Polar Bears, giving the hosts a 54-34 edge with under five minutes to play.

Amherst held a slight 35-34 edge in rebounding and held Bowdoin to 37.8% shooting for the game. The Jeffs connected on 43% from the field, but turned 20 Polar Bear turnovers in 19 key points in the win.

UNE 69, Salve Regina 63

BIDDEFORD, Maine — The University of New England never trailed in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Women’s Basketball Championship game on Saturday (Feb. 23), and the top-seeded Nor’easters finished off a 69-63 victory over No. 3 Salve Regina University in front of more than 550 fans at the Harold Alfond Forum.

Winners of 19 straight contests, the Nor’easters (24-4) earn the CCC’s automatic bid into the field of 64 teams for the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship, which will begin on Friday (Mar. 1) at 16 sites around the country. Big Blue will learn its fate during Monday’s 2:30 p.m. selection show that can be seen LIVE on NCAA.com.

It will be the third time in four seasons that UNE has garnered a spot in the NCAA field. The Nor’easters claimed the league title in 2010, and received an at-large selection in 2012. Big Blue now has three CCC Championships to its credit in women’s basketball, with the first coming in 2001.

Sophomore Kelly Coleman (Portland, Conn.) led the Nor’easters scoring effort with 15 points. Senior Beth Suggs (Bath, Maine) notched her 16th double-double of the year with 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. First-years Sadie DiPierro (South Portland, Maine) and Alanna Vose (Cushing, Maine) each went for 13 points, combining to make 7-of-13 shots from the field, 3-of-5 treys, and 9-of-12 at the charity stripe.

Rookie Meghan Gribbin (Windham, Maine) chipped in with 10 points. Classmate Lauren Hayden (Chantilly, Va.) added seven points, seven rebounds, four steals, and three assists.

UNE out-scored Salve Regina by a 24-13 margin at the free throw line.

The Seahawks (17-11) were paced by senior Kaitlyn Birrell (Hope, R.I.), who tallied a game-high 16 points to go with nine assists and three steals. First-year Meaghan Harden (Sandwich, Mass.) totaled 14 points, while junior Marissa Pendergast (Medfield, Mass.) and sophomore Brianna Del Valle (Belchertown, Mass.) scored 11 apiece and grabbed nine and seven boards, respectively.

Women’s Hockey

New Hampshire 2, Maine 1

DURHAM, N.H. – The University of Maine women’s ice hockey team fell to New Hampshire by a score of 2-1 Sunday afternoon.

The Black Bears end the regular season with a record of 5-23-4, 2-16-3 in Hockey East. The Wildcats are 14-15-4 and 10-8-3, respectively.

Nicole Gifford put UNH on the baord with a second-period power-play goal off assists from Hannah Armstrong and Alexis Crossley. UMaine tied it late in the period when Brianne Kilgour scored off assists by Katy Massey and Hailey Browne.

Sara Carlson scored the game-winner at 7:03 of the third period. Kayla Mork and Jenna Lascelle tallied assists.

Brittany Ott (St. Clair Shores, Michigan) made 27 saves for the Black Bears, while Jenn Gilligan notched 26 saves for UNH.

Baseball

Bates 14, Oglethorpe 9

ATLANTA, Ga. — The Bates baseball team overcame a 9-5 deficit with nine runs in the top of the ninth to win 14-9 over Oglethorpe University on Saturday.

With the host Petrels’ home field partially flooded, the teams’ scheduled doubleheader was changed to a single nine-inning game and played at Emory University’s Chappell Park.

Oglethorpe (0-5) led 9-4 going into the eighth inning, when Bates senior Ryan Sonberg (Windsor, Conn.) hit a solo home run to left field to close the gap by a run.

Bates first-year reliever Mark Cunningham (Canton, Mass.) threw a shutout bottom of the eighth inning, keeping the deficit at 9-5 going into the ninth.

Bates started the ninth with four straight hits: a leadoff double by junior Kevin Davis (Andover, Mass.), an infield single by senior Kevin McGregor (Randolph, N.J.), an RBI single through the hole by sophomore Alex Parker (Lewiston, Maine) and an RBI double down the right-field line by sophomore Nate Pajka (Douglas, Mass.), which closed the gap to 9-6.

First-year Samuel Warren (Norfolk, Va.) grounded out to second for Bates’ first out, but Parker scored on the play. Sonberg then came up and reached on a fielder’s choice while the Petrels failed to throw out Pajka at home, evening the game at 9-9.

Sophomore Mekae Hyde (Lewiston, Maine) then singled through the right side and Sonberg advanced to third on a throwing error, prompting Oglethorpe to lift reliever Spencer Transue in favor of Sam Franklin. Franklin intentionally walked Bates junior Griff Tewksbury (Concord, N.H.) to load the bases for first-year Sam Berry (South Hamilton, Mass.), who laced a two-run single through the left side, scoring Sonberg and Hyde with two go-ahead runs.

Davis then drew a one-out walk to load the bases again, bringing up McGregor, who drew an RBI base on balls for a 12-9 Bates lead. The Bobcats added two more insurance runs as Parker reached on a fielder’s choice and McGregor made it safely to second on a fielding error, while both Davis and Berry came home.

Junior righthander Dean Bonneau (Amherst, Mass.) started the bottom of the ninth in place of Cunningham (1-0) and held the Petrels scoreless to preserve the win.

Sonberg, Hyde and Tewksbury had three hits apiece to lead the Bobcats’ 17-hit attack. Sonberg scored twice and drove in four runs in the game. Hyde was 3-for-5 including a triple. Pajka hit two doubles, scored three runs and drove in one. Berry scored two and drove in two.

Transue (0-1) was 2-for-5 with three RBIs at the plate for Oglethorpe, including a two-run double in the Petrels’ six-run fifth inning. Bates outhit Oglethorpe 17-12 while taking advantage of six Oglethorpe errors.

The Bobcats (3-1) finish their season-opening trip to Georgia with a doubleheader at Emory on Sunday

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