Manchester Central Overcomes Gautier’s 31-Point Effort to Defeat Nashua North
by Julia Maldonado
In a game marked by constant lead changes and physical match-ups, Manchester Central High School held on in the end to upset the second ranked the Nashua North Titans 64-62.
Nashua North’s senior guard Ryan Gauthier kept the Titans within reach for most of the game with 31 points and 21 of those coming from behind the three-point line. Central sophomore Isaiah Joseph led the Little Green in scoring with 14 points, followed by senior forward Thaddeus Brown Jr.’s 12.
From the tip Nashua North worked well collectively as a team, registering a total of 22 points and seven assists in the opening minutes. Early on in the game, however, Nashua North experienced a bit of a scare when standout guard Gauthier suffered a knock on the defensive end and took a long time to get back to his feet. After the game Gauthier explained that the injury occurred when a Central player set a screen on him, causing the player’s knee to go into his thigh and his leg to cramp. He shook the injury off quickly and went on to finish the first quarter with a buzzer beating 3-pointer (his fourth of the quarter) to give Nashua North a 22-15 lead after one.
Despite the physicality that was evident from the tip, there were no fouls called in the first quarter. The first foul of the game came 22 seconds into the second quarter. During the second quarter Central’s Brown Jr. lifted his team's energy by dominating the boards and moving the ball well on offense. In the second quarter alone he hauled down six rebounds and dished out two assists, which helped the Little Green to level the score at 30-30 at the break.
The majority of the third quarter saw both teams shoot well and exchange baskets at an even rate. Late in the quarter, Central’s defense caused Nashua North to commit turnovers, which they were able to capitalize for a 46-42 lead.
Central was able to maintain the lead during the fourth with solid late game performances from senior center Christian Artiga and senior guard Gabe LaCount. The Titans did not give up without a fight as Gauthier went on a 13 point scoring spree to lead the Titans’ comeback. The Little Green’s team effort and dominant low post play in the end was enough to defeat the team with the second-best record in Division I. 64-62.
Gauthier’s standout performance, however, was not enough to complete the comeback, and as he admitted after the game, he would have liked to move the ball around a little more on offensive.
“It wasn’t our best game as a team,” said Gauthier. “I probably could have passed (the ball) a little more, but I was feeling it, so I started trying to drain threes to try to get us back in the game.”
In terms of their competitor's play, Gauthier also expressed his thoughts on the height advantage in the paint that Central enjoyed, which he partly attributes to Nashua North’s loss.
Central had a lot more size on us, and more depth down low,” continued Gauthier. “I think that’s what hurt us the most.”
With the win, Manchester Central is moves up to fifth place with a 11-5 record, while Nashua North remains at second in the moment with a 12-4 record.
Central’s player statistics leaders: Isaiah Joseph (14 points, 3 rebounds), Thaddeus Brown Jr. (12 points, 4 assists, 9 rebounds, 2 steals), Troy Pelletier (12 points), Gabe LaCount (11 points, 6 assists), and Christian Artiga (10 points, 3 rebounds).
Nashua North’s player statistic leaders: Ryan Gauthier (31 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals), Jacob Mellin (13 points, 2 rebounds), Javon Williams (9 points, 4 rebounds), Anthony Farmer (5 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds), and Michael O’Connor (4 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds.)
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