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10 - January 20, 2012

by Marc Ayotte Cougar country was the setting for last Friday

night’s highly anticipated D-3 match-up between visiting Conant and host Campbell. The Orioles came down from Jaffrey, braving the outdoor elements and owning a 5-0 record, which placed them third in the standings. The Cougars meanwhile were ranked fourth in the state with a 5-1 overall record (4-1 intradivision), and fresh off the heels of an impressive road win against Division II power, Pelham. Friday’s contest pitted two strong defensive teams; with Campbell keeping their opponents to fifty points or under in four straight games and Conant holding their opposition to under forty points, four times this season. Posing as a potential test to the stingy Cougar defense, the Orioles were averaging 66 points per game on the offensive end which had led to a 28-point margin of victory. Their closest game to date was a seventeen point win over Mascoma Valley, which was 4-1 at the time. On January 13, arch nemesis Conant erupted for six, second half three pointers and combined that with relentless, tenacious defensive pressure to remain undefeated in division play, as they downed the host Cougars by a score of 56-35.

Conant started the game with tremendous

defensive pressure by keeping Campbell off the scoreboard until Captain John Houston’s hoop two minutes in, cutting into the game opening triple by Oriole Dan Sirois. With both teams playing at a frenetic pace, Max Gouveia’s triple from the top of the key, gave Campbell a 10-5 lead as they approached 2:00 remaining in the quarter. Jackson Musco drained a triple from in front of the Oriole bench to give Campbell their biggest lead of the night at 15-8. Consecutive hoops by Conant including a steal and lay-up by Jake Carlson gave the visitors a 4-0 run to close out the quarter, as the Cougars held a promising 15-12 lead heading into the second quarter. Conant came out strong to start the second quarter scoring the first four points to take a 16-15

Jacob Morgan drives past Oriole defender Keegan O’Hern

lead before Michael Vigeant’s hoop stopped the Cougar bleeding. Jacob Morgan put the Cougars up 19-18 with just over 5:00 left in the half after he backed into the lane then hit a jumper from the paint. Caleb McKearin soon followed that up with a turnaround ‘j’ of his own from the paint to up the lead to three. Meanwhile on the defensive end, Conant was incurring a little dry spell as McKearin cleaned the glass with four defensive boards in a two-minute span. However, Cougar turnover in the front court proved to be costly when junior Captain Devin Springfield converted it into an old fashion three to give the Orioles a 24-21 lead with 1:42 remaining. Seconds later,

Kyle Mun rips down one of his six boards on the evening against Conant on Friday the 13th

Springfield made two free throws to give the visitors a six-point cushion. A late quarter drive to the hoop by Carlson gave the Orioles their biggest lead of the game at 29-21, capping-off an 8-0 quarter ending burst, as the two teams headed to their locker rooms. A very quiet start in the field goals made department from both teams was interrupted by Conant’s Carlson who drained a ‘tres’ from in front of his own bench, giving the Orioles a double digit lead at 32-22 with 5:45 remaining in the third. Continued costly turnovers plagued Campbell’s attempt at cutting into the lead.

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Cougars Fall to Undefeated Conant

Conant’s pressure on Campbell’s guards and virtually anyone who handled the rock, held the Cougars to a mere four third quarter points. Heading into the final frame, the Orioles had built a comfortable 40-25 advantage. Michael Vigeant and Caleb McKearin scored early back to back hoops to bring Campbell to within 11, but Springfield answered the Cougar call with a triple from in front of the Oriole bench, making the score 43-29 at the six minute mark. Steve Hodgson knocked in a triple of his own a minute later giving Conant their biggest lead of the night and all but making for a pleasant bus trip back home. A vamped up Coach Eric Saucier summed up his Conant attack; “Our strength is defense and running. The key to every game is defend and rebound.” Saucier noted that his team exhibited normal intensity against the Cougars and that trapping zones and making the game up-tempo are key in their early season success. Campbell Coach Pat Roye gracefully handled the home defeat; “we got beat by a better team; they were better than us tonight.” In recognizing that his team needs to improve on where and how to attack opposing defenses, Roye acknowledged the difference in tonight’s outcome; “the story was turnovers.” According to the Cougar stat sheet, Campbell turned the ball over a devastating 25 times in the ball game. Individual scoring statistics reflected only 35 points being recorded on the Cougar side of the scoreboard. Caleb McKearin was high scorer for the Cougars with just seven points with John Houston chipping in a half dozen. On the glass, McKearin had another fine effort in pulling down 13 rebounds. Other Cougars having a good night on the boards were Kyle Mun (6), Michael Vigeant (6), and Connor Sahlin (5). With the loss, Campbell slipped to 5-2 and fell to sixth place in the D-3 standings, just percentage points behind Raymond. The boys do not play at home again until January 24 when they host Hillsboro-Deering with a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Cougars get Pinned in Battle of the Cats, Saunders and Perry Shine

by Marc Ayotte The Den was certainly a suitable site for Campbell’s most recent wrestling meet held on Wednesday, January 11. The host Cougars were pitted against a very strong Bobcat team from Plymouth. Always putting a very competitive squad on the mats, the Bobcats won the Division II team state championship in 2008 and 2009 and are also the defending D-3 state champs. In continuing their winning tradition, Plymouth, with a deep and talented lineup surrendered just a pair of individual losses in rolling over the Cougars

by a score of 57-24. Campbell’s divisional team record now stands at seven wins against just two losses (9-4 overall).

In defeat, the Cougars did have two solid performances, which came from Captain Jared Saunders and sophomore Connor Perry. In a rather efficient manner, Perry defeated Kim MacDonald just 61 seconds into their bout in the 132 weight class. The pin was quick and so was Connor’s description of how he recorded the victory; “I put him in a cradle” recalled Perry, “I was able to get him down first and then the



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opportunity arose.” Registering the Cougar’s second and only other win ‘on the mat’ was Jared Saunders. As head Coach Bob Gannon conveyed, “Jared wrestled the match of the night” recalling that Saunders was able to execute a late third period reversal, which led to, his eventual win by fall. Saunders and Plymouth’s Will Melanson were tied at goose eggs after the first two minutes. Midway through the second period Saunders fell behind 3-0 and then found the deficit increase to 5-1during the final period. After escaping several near- pin holds put on him by Melanson, the Cougar reached deep and ultimately took advantage of a tiring Bobcat with a pin with just 37 seconds remaining in the match. Being cheered on by the Cougar contingent, Saunder’s exciting reversal and pin caused the fans to erupt off the bleacher seats in applause, as the official’s slap on the mat ended the match. Afterwards, Saunders was asked whether he thought the fatigue his opponent appeared to be experiencing was a big factor in the match; “to be honest with you, I was gassed too,” noted the Cougar Captain. However, he continued by saying that the Campbell coaches stress conditioning and that focus is very important; “if you maintain focus, you generally do okay,” noted Saunders, “even though you are tired.” Wrestling very well of late, Saunders preferred to get philosophical about his success versus saying he was in a groove; “I believe it (winning) is what you make of it; you have to get yourself in a good mind set,” adding, ”it’s kind of like the Laws of Attraction.”


Connor Perry (132) of Campbell takes down his Plymouth opponent Kim MacDonald as the Cougar pinned the Bobcat at 1:01 of their match

The Campbell Cougar wrestling team faced off against a very strong Plymouth squad on Wednesday, January 11, at home. The Cougars struggled to get on track, in the end Connor Perry and Jared Saunders each walked away with a pin. Captain Jared Saunders wrestled the match of the night, reversing his opponent (Will Melanson) in the third period and pinning him. The Cougars travel to Pelham on Saturday to take part in the Dan Gionet Tournament. Overall Record: 9-4 Division: 7-2

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Staff photos by Marc Ayotte

Staff photo by Marc Ayotte

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