Saturday, December 23, 2017

Eagles basketball keep their focus and momentum and play a great game by Matt Pascarella

#15 Sean Cunniffe blocks a possible pass
It was the Windham basketball home opener on Tuesday, December 12. The crowd was electric with everyone cheering and ready to see their Eagles take on Portland.

#4 Dylan Gorman
The Freshman team, or Frosh team, hit the court with power and didn’t back down the entire game. They began their home opener by #4 Dylan Gorman sinking a three in the first minute. Windham had great communication and teamwork with strong offense and defense. If Portland wanted to win, they were going to have to fight hard for it. 

The Eagles were pressuring Portland early on in the game. Windham had a small lead in the first half and kept Portland from getting ahead. They were taking advantage of any mistake Portland made - and the scoreboard reflected that. The Eagles had several turnovers in the first half. Scorers in the first half were Dylan Gorman, #5 Connor Cummings (who also sunk a three), #23 Hayden Bilodeau, #35 Kaleb Cidre and #40 Nuar Bol. At the half, Windham led 20-15.

The Eagles started the second half with just as much force, if not more than the first; immediately getting a scoring opportunity on Portland. Windham was working hard keeping a good distance ahead, point-wise.  Portland wasn’t backing down and was showing Windham they weren’t throwing in the towel. Eagles were working toward that ‘W’ by being aggressive and keeping the lead away from Portland. With a little over a minute left, Portland had pulled ahead. Towards the end of the second half, with 21 seconds on the clock, the score was 44-43, Portland. After being fouled, Kaleb Cidre tied the game up at 44. Another foul on Portland and Windham has the chance to pull ahead. The tension was mounting; the score was so close and there was so little time left on the clock, one basket would have ended it for the other team. After an anxious 21 seconds and several fouls against Portland, The Eagles won it 47-44. Scorers in the second half included: Dylan Gorman, #12 Ryan Silva, #15 Sean Cunniffe, #21 Harrison Boyle, Kaleb Cidre and Nuar Bol.

“. . . Portland was very competitive; they worked hard, they were down by ten, they came back to take a huge lead. We showed a lot of character and a lot of composure to come back and winning by three,” commented Coach Matt Noel. “It was a complete team effort and these guys deserve all the credit; they worked hard, they earned the victory. This was a great win for the team.”
#40 Nuar Bol


The Eagles wasted no time in showing Portland they came to play and scored immediately in the first half. Portland is a persistent team, but Windham had great teamwork and was keeping up with Portland, matching them shot for shot. The Eagles weren’t backing down and had gained a small lead which they were maintaining. Scorers in the first half were #12 Ryan Walker, #20 Eric Weisser, #21 Nuar Bo, #33 Braeden McCrillis, #42 Ivan Kaffel and #45 Chris Naylor. At the half, the scoreboard read Windham 27, Portland, 21.

The Eagles knew if they were going to win they had to keep up their intensity, and that’s what they did. They had several turnovers against Portland. The Eagles had control over the ball and were energetic; fighting hard. Somewhere in the second half, Portland pulled ahead and Windham stepped it up, getting within five points of Portland. Scorers in the second half were: Eric Weisser, #23 Hayden Bilodeau, and Braeden McCrillis, who sunk a couple foul shots. There was one minute left in the game, and the score was tied at 45. A short time later with seconds left on the clock, Ivan Kaffel sinks a three at the buzzer and the crowd went wild. The game was going into overtime with a tied score of 48.

The Eagles had worked very hard up to this point and weren’t going to give up now. They were going full power, keeping up with Portland to not let them get ahead. Hayden Bilodeau and Chris Naylor scored in overtime. With 27 seconds on the clock, Portland was up by one, 55-54. After a tough fought battle and one heck of an exciting game for players, coaches and fans, Portland edged out 56-54.

Coach James Clark was pleased with how his team played.
“Portland is a tough team and we matched them as best we could; they have a lot of big guys, a lot of strong guys . . . our guys really stepped up and hit the boards. They played smart and I’m really proud of the game that they played.”

#5 Kaleb Cidre, #33 Braeden McCrillis

#45 Chris Naylor, #10 Colby Dionne, #33 Braeden McCrillis look on, hoping for a score


After a slightly slow start, Windham found their momentum and picked up the pace. The team was strong and aggressive, quickly making up for lost time. Portland was really putting the pressure on Windham, but the Eagles are a tough team. Several players scored in the first half including: #3 Nick Curtis and #5 Nate Watson. #11 Hunter Coffin, #24 Mike Gilman and #31 Chris Hutcherson scored via free throws in the first half. Nate Watson and Nick Curtis each sunk three pointers from long distance. At the half, Portland led 30-19. 

The second half began with Windham taking the court very fired up. Early on in the second half, several players got three pointers including, Nick Curtis, Mike Gilman and Chris Hutcherson. 
Windham knew they had to make up for lost time and they were doing everything they could to do so. Windham was capitalizing on any mistake Portland made to close the points gap. Windham was making a steady comeback, but would it be enough to stop Portland? Windham was effective sinking more threes in the second half. Nick Curtis and #14 Mitch Budroe sunk three pointers towards the end of the second half; #21 Dierhoio Bol scored towards the end of the second half. Windham had several turnovers against Portland and did make a dent in closing the points gap. They fought and fought hard throughout the entire game. In the end, the Eagles fell short, with Portland winning, 61-44.

“It was one of those games where the shots weren’t falling for us . . . we’re a good shooting team and I thought our guys did a pretty good job controlling the controllables in the first half,” said Coach Chad Pulkkinen. “We out rebounded them, kept at our pace, not their pace . . . I thought our control was pretty good, we stuck through the adversity part of the game, calls and missed shots, stuff that we can’t control. I thought we did a good job controlling the stuff that we can control to stay in the game. At the end of the day, that’s a great team that we’re playing, our guys fought hard and showed we could complete with them.”

#3 Nick Curtis, #5 Nate Watson, #10 Nazarai Henderson #11 Hunter Coffin, #24 Mike Gilman block Portland point guard

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