By MICHAEL PEZONE
SUNAPEE, N.H. — Everyone who packed their way into the Sherburne Gym on March 7 knew what to expect from the Sunapee boys basketball team in its Division IV quarterfinal.
Because if it wasn’t broken, Ed Tenney had no plans of trying to fix it.
So in similar fashion to his team’s two regular-season wins over 12th-seeded Wilton-Lyndeborough (9-11), the fourth-ranked Lakers (17-2) simply outran their opponent on their way to an 84-52 victory.
Sunapee earned the right to play in its first semifinal since 2002 on March 10 when it travels to Plymouth State University to take on top-ranked Derryfield (19-1) at 7 p.m. The Cougars defeated No. 9 Woodsville, 65-28, in their quarterfinal.
“It’s just awesome that all the work we’ve put in as a team is starting to pay off,” said sophomore Issaiah Chappell. “We’re going to the final four and that’s something this team hasn’t done in a long time.”
The Lakers were sound in nearly every facet of the game, including an impressive 25-for-26 performance from the charity stripe. Sunapee built a seven-point lead by the end of the first quarter, and extended that margin to 14 at the half thanks to a well-balanced offensive effort.
The home team kept pouring it on from there, outscoring the Warriors, 49-31, over the game’s final 16 minutes to clinch its final four berth. Chappell led the Lakers with 23 points, while James Fitzgerald (18 points), Nick Skarin (13 points) and Matt Tenney (12 points) also finished in double figures.
Most pleasing for Tenney, however, was a tenacious defense that severely limited the production of Wilton-Lyndeborough’s secondary options. Shooting guard Jordan Litts led the team with a game-high 22 points, but no other Warriors played finished with more than nine points.
“I thought we did a good job all the way through,” said Tenney. “That’s a tough team to totally put away because (Jordan) Litts is a tremendous player and opens things up for a lot of other guys. But I like what we did on defense tonight. We played good team defense and really made them work.”
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