SWANZEY — In its first game back from another pause due to COVID protocols, its third of the season, the Monadnock boys basketball team downed Mascenic, 49-40, Wednesday in Swanzey.
It was an energy-filled, intense matchup between two talented teams from the start, but it ultimately came down to the Huskies’ depth, something Mascenic, with a limited bench Wednesday, lacked.
“Being able to bring Gabe Hill in and Nate Johnson, [Anthony Poanessa], Andy Colbert … that’s invaluable. We’ve never had that before,” said Monadnock head coach Jim Hill.
“They played really well as a team,” he added. “That’s a program win.”
The team’s depth gives its starters some rest when necessary, Hill said, especially in a season with no rhythm or consistency because of all the stopping and starting.
And when your leading scorer runs into some foul trouble, a little depth doesn’t hurt either.
Jake Kidney led the team with a game-high 16 points, but played limited minutes in the second half because of fouls.
“It’s huge,” Kidney said of the team’s bench stepping up. “It’s one of my favorite things about this program.”
Kevin Putnam was right behind him with nine points.
Hill said that Kidney learns from his fouls, especially the ones that should’ve been avoided, but it shows the passion and energy that he brings to the court every game.
“He’s so amped up to play,” Hill said. “He’s so enthusiastic. So, when he does something like that, you understand. He wants to compete and win.”
When he was on the court, Kidney couldn’t find his midrange shot, so he opted to create lanes to the basket and drive hard to the rim.
“A two-footer is easier than a 15-footer,” Kidney said. “So, I was just looking to get as close to the rim as possible, draw fouls and get into the bonus.”
Kidney’s drives always seemed to be the answer any time Mascenic gained some momentum.
Mascenic held a 25-21 lead at halftime after hitting a couple of three-pointers late in the second quarter.
The Huskies tied it up quickly in the third on a perfectly placed pass from Kidney to Carson Shanks, who finished with eight points.
Shanks turned on the jets in the second half, along with Nate Doyle, who scored all of his seven points in the fourth quarter.
After a Ben Dean three-pointer to tie the game at the start of the fourth quarter, much to the appeasement of the Monadnock bench, Doyle got fouled making a layup, sending him to the line for a free throw.
He missed the extra shot, but Shanks was right there to put it back up and give Monadnock a four-point lead.
Doyle scored twice more in the fourth quarter, extending Monadnock’s advantage, and Kidney hit the front end of a one-and-one as the final dagger.
The teams meet again Saturday, at Mascenic, at noon. And Hill plans for the same intensity in the rematch.
“We know that Mascenic will bring it Saturday at their place,” Hill said. “We’re expecting that.”