Bishop Guertin can’t stop Gendron, Merrimack boys hoop

MERRIMACK – Tim Goodridge will tell you there’s more to the Merrimack High School boys basketball team than Eric Gendron.

But it sure is nice for the Tomahawks to have the senior when they need him.

Gendron scored 15 straight points in the fourth quarter Tuesday night to break a 43-43 tie, as Merrimack handed Bishop Guertin a 60-52 loss in Division I action.

The loss was the second in a row for the Cardinals (10-3), while the Tomahawks (12-1) won for the fifth straight time heading into Friday’s game at Trinity (12-1).

“He willed us to that victory,” Goodridge said of Gendron. “Credit Bishop Guertin, they were playing pretty good defense on him. He fought through it and he was the show in the fourth quarter.”

Gendron finished with a game-high 19 points, with all but two coming in the second half, while Shayne Bourque added 17 and Mickey Gasper was also in double figures with 10, including two 3s.

The ’Hawks got off to a fast start, making four 3-pointers in the first quarter to lead 25-15 after eight minutes. For the second straight game, the Cardinals fell behind early, but their defense bailed them out, as they outscored Merrimack 10-5 in the second.

“We had to dig our way out,” Bishop Guertin coach Jim Migneault said. “Kyle Gavin played really, I thought he did a really good job on (Gendron). He hit those couple in a row and that’s what he does. He’s a streaky player and he’s a good streaky player.”

It started with a 3-pointer that broke the tie, and after a layup by Gavin (17 points), Gendron made a reverse layup to put Merrimack up 48-45.

A layup by Joe Marandola (18 points) made it one-point game again, but Gendron drove the lane for another basket and then hit two free throws to put the ’Hawks up 52-47.

After a layup by Costas Nirahos cut the lead to three, Gendron answered again with a 3-pointer from the top of the key that sent the Merrimack student section into a frenzy and made it a 55-49 lead.

“I don’t think he got a lot of looks because I don’t think we looked for him enough,” Goodridge said of why Gendron had a quiet first half. “The first quarter, we came out on fire and everybody is shooting 3s and everything is great and we’re looking good. And then we didn’t execute what we normally execute for a while.

“When you’ve got the leading scorer in the state, you’ve got to look for him to get his shots. I felt like the game could have gone either way, but then Gendron comes out and starts the quarter with a 3. Eric was taking over that game, I could sense it.”

at Merrimack

BISHOP GUERTIN (52)

Joe Marandola 8-1-18, Kyle Gavin 7-3-17, Jack Zimmerman 2-2-7, Costas Niarhos 2-0-4, Andrew Williams 1-1-3, John Noon 1-0-3. Totals: 21-7-52.

MERRIMACK (60)

Eric Gendron 6-5-19, Shayne Bourque 6-4-17, Mickey Gasper 3-2-10, Austin Franzen 4-0-9, Ian Roberts 2-1-5. Totals: 21-12-60.

BG (10-3) 15 10 18 9 – 52

MERRIMACK (12-1) 25 5 13 17 – 60

3-pointers: B-Zimmerman, Marandola, Noon; M-Gendron 2, Gasper 2, Franzen, Bourque. Prelim: Bishop Guertin won 67-64 in overtime. Next game: Merrimack plays at Trinity on Friday; BG hosts Nashua South on Monday.