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Cardinals keep forging ahead with 52-46 win over South

Telegraph photo by TOM KING Bishop Guertin's Sam Mullett struggles to get off a shot against the defense of Nashua South's Andres Hulfachor (22) and Jaden Murphy during the Cards' 52-46 win Friday night at the Colligadome.

NASHUA – No doubt you’re rubbing your eyes if you take a quick gander at the high school Division I boys basketball standings.

That’s because you see next to Bishop Guertin the numbers 13-2.

Hmmmm, did we overlook something before the season started?

“I definitely think so,” Guertin senior Sam Mullett, who had 12 hard-fought points in Friday night’s intense 52-46 win over city rival Nashua South. “I know at the beginning of the season we were ranked pretty low in most places. But I think we caught everyone by surprise this year.”

And the Cards, who face the tough seacoast trio of Winnacunnet, Exter and Portsmouth to finish, aren’t going to sneak up on anybody.

“I think now maybe the cat’s out of the bag,” Guertin coach John Fisher said with a grin. “We’re a little bit hard to scout because the kids are so tight, so generous to each other. I think that’s what our team’s strength is.

“I don’t think teams look at us and say, ‘How can they be there, because they don’t have that guy.’ Well, they’re all ‘that guy.'”

“John’s doing a fantastic job,” South coach Nate Mazerolle said. “They’re a big basketball team, they’re long, they’re athletic.”

And the Cards don’t take many jump shots, as they attack the basket. As Mazerolle said, “We take pride in our defense that we don’t allow that. We allowed it tonight. That was the most frustrating thing, allowing them to get to the rim whenever they wanted to.”

And that’s how the Cards pulled this highly intense Colligadome clash out, much to the chagrin of the 9-6 Panthers, who were playing their second of five straight road games to end the regular season. Guertin had an incredible 16-0 run to grab a 26-16 lead at the half, but allowed the Panthers to come back and actually grab a 34-32 lead on Jaden Murphy’s putback with 1:59 left in the third.

“I warned them at halftime, (the Panthers) always do that,” Fisher said. “South is such a solid basketball team. They’re so well coached. I knew something like that was going to happen, and we’d just have to play throught it. And they did.”

Indeed, Guertin went on a 9-0 run to lead 41-34 early in the fourth (39-34 after three) with Mullett getting two of those hoops. However, with 1:28 left in the game, Cody Rochileau drove the lane to tie things up at 46 with 1:28 to go.

What happened? A Kyle Baker putback with 50 seconds left gave BG the lead for good. The Panthers were called for an offensive foul, and Baker got a big offensive rebound on a missed foul shot, leading to two Mullett freebies with 19.1 seconds left to make it 50-46. Mullett added two more from the line with 1.6 ticks left.

“Mullett was huge tonight,” Fisher said. “He had a great Senior Night, I’m so happy for him.”

“It was crazy,” Mullett said. “Game plan. We practiced hard on Thursday, we played our butts off, and did everything we could to pick up the win.”

Dylan Santosuosso – he’s expected to be OK after hurting his ankle in the final quarter – led BG with 13, while John Sullivan added 11. Ivan Nyantenji led South with 14, while Andres Hulfachor added 11.

And now the Panthers, who have now lost two straight by a total of seven points have to get back on track

“A bad week,” Mazerolle said. “We could have done something to put a stranglehold on our own destiny. Now a little different.”

“I wish,” Fisher said, “every high school basketball game could be like this.”

This year for Guertin, a lot of them have.

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