Published: 12/16/2021 6:59:19 PM
Modified: 12/16/2021 6:58:45 PM
Eli Gove caught the ball and never asked what he would do next.
He stood on the wing and with a defender approaching him jumped up, snapped his wrist and watched the ball fly toward the hoop.
The senior striker lost the shot, the crowd jumped to their feet, and Merrimack Valley only had to hold Lebanon five seconds before extra time followed.
Five seconds was too much time, however, as the Raiders went behind Jackson Stone’s summer beating layup with a 34-32 win over Pride.
The tension in the gym began to surface early in the third quarter when the scores started at 15 each and both teams missed softly contested shots. It was only when MV senior Ben Rose hit a midrange jumper for two that both teams clicked offensively.
Rose, who had eight points for the Pride, was one of the offensive driving forces of his team, even when he wasn’t in control of the ball. He spun between the two and four points on the ground, making quick cuts from the block to the elbow to shoot or drive to the hole.
Defensively, the Pride forced the Raiders to collect their points and were able to cut into the fast lanes that Lebanon likes to use to get to the basket for an easy duel.
Instead, the visiting team was forced to drive and then toss the ball either into the corner or onto the wing to an open shooter. These layups only began in the middle of the third quarter.
As the game progressed and the Raiders began to take command, they held minor tours of the Pride, forcing it to attempt shots from far away. Which made it all the more worthwhile when they began to fall.
Trevor Simonds hit a 3-pointer from the wing, Rose found another 3-pointer, Gove hit his tying shot, but time was running out. Despite being a disappointing loss, it did send a message to the rest of Division II.
“If we have the intensity and want it, we know we can keep up with anyone,” said Rose.
“If we play like this we can’t lose to any team,” said Gove.
MV (0-3) is still striving for his first win of the season and will make another attempt on Friday with Coe-Brown (1-2). The tipoff is planned for 6 p.m.