Thornton’s size sinks Titans in tourney finals

Staff photo by TOM KING Nashua North's Curtis Harris finds himself sandwiched by Thornton Academy's William Chapman, left, and Robert Gawronski duirng Saturday's Chick Fil A finals at the Belanger Gym.

NASHUA – Score one for size over speed.

The Thornton Academy Golden Trojans have some beef in their boys basketball ranks, and it translated into easy baskets down the stretch to top Nashua High School North, 52-42, on Saturday in the Chick Fil A finals at South’s Belanger Gym.

“Obviously they have some size,” North coach Steve Lane said of Thornton. “They move the ball well, and it looks like they’ve played together for quite some time.

“When it came down to it, when it was time to get stops they got great looks, and we got looks we didn’t score on.”

And that combination turned a 38-38 game with 5:45 to play into a 46-38 Golden Trojan lead with 1:32 remaining.

“The kids’ basketball IQ is pretty good, so it’s a credit to them,” said Thornton coach Robert Davies, his Saco, Me. team taking its first tourney title since 2010.

“(North) is a well-coached team. Down here, every New Hampshire team comes out and they play hard. We know it’s a four quarter battle, and our kids were up to it today.”

In crunch time, Thornton got a pair of layups from burly 6-foot-4 sophomore center Dylan Griffin (15 points), one from Anthony Bracamonte and another from Payton Jones (game high 17, nine in fourth quarter), and that had the Titans (3-2 overall) back on their heels down the stretch.

North did climb to within four at 46-42 on buckets by Josh Lentz and Curtis Harris, but when Griffin got another easy one underneath with 58 ticks left, it was over.

The Titans were paced by Nathan Kane’s 15 points and 10 from Lentz. North led 10-6 after the opening quarter, but trailed 24-17 at the half and 34-33 after three as the Golden Trojans took the lead on a layup – what else – from Griffin.

And Kane, meanwhile, was shut out in the final quarter. Harris got called for a technical with 48 ticks left, and the visitors from Maine turned it into a four-point play to finish things. Another one of North’s top offensive players, Branden Choate, was held to three points, but he did make the All-Tourney Team along with Thornton’s Griffin and point guard Anthony Bracamonte.

“Irregardless of that, a lot of positives came out of the weekend for us,” Lane said. “Confidence-wise, the ability to show we can play with some teams that were out of our league, out of our class, it was a good tournament for us in that respect. A great positive three days for us, win or lose.”

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Merrimack, behind 14 points from Jared Dyer and 13 from Pat Yudkin took third place with a 49-41 win over Nashua South. Andres Hulfachor led the Panthers with 18. In other consolation round games, Goffstown topped Milford 50-36 and Alvirne beat Souhegan, 54-43.

Dyer was named to the All-Tourney team as was Hulfachor.