Mascoma boys basketball team loses to Saints

Mascoma head coach Silas Ayres, center, talks to his team  before the start of the NHIAA Division III boys basketball semifinal game against St. Thomas Aquinas High School held at Bow High School in Bow, N.H., on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. St. Thomas Aquinas won, 57-38. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Mascoma head coach Silas Ayres, center, talks to his team before the start of the NHIAA Division III boys basketball semifinal game against St. Thomas Aquinas High School held at Bow High School in Bow, N.H., on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. St. Thomas Aquinas won, 57-38. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report for America photographs — Alex Driehaus

Mascoma forward Tyler-Jay Mardin (15) shoots the ball while being defended by St. Thomas Aquinas forwards William Mollica (21) and Carson Couperthwait (23) during the NHIAA Division III boys basketball semifinal game held at Bow High School in Bow, N.H., on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Mascoma forward Tyler-Jay Mardin (15) shoots the ball while being defended by St. Thomas Aquinas forwards William Mollica (21) and Carson Couperthwait (23) during the NHIAA Division III boys basketball semifinal game held at Bow High School in Bow, N.H., on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Mascoma forward James Thomas (11) drives toward the basket while being guarded by St. Thomas Aquinas guards Anthony Settineri (3) and James Allen (14) during the NHIAA Division III boys basketball semifinal game against St. Thomas Aquinas High School held at Bow High School in Bow, N.H., on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Mascoma forward James Thomas (11) drives toward the basket while being guarded by St. Thomas Aquinas guards Anthony Settineri (3) and James Allen (14) during the NHIAA Division III boys basketball semifinal game against St. Thomas Aquinas High School held at Bow High School in Bow, N.H., on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

Members of the Mascoma student section, clockwise from left, Aaliyah Muzzey, 14, Aubrey Meyveagaci, 15, Alexis Patterson, 17, and Talyn Schmidt, 17, react during the NHIAA Division III boys basketball semifinal game against St. Thomas Aquinas High School held at Bow High School in Bow, N.H., on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Members of the Mascoma student section, clockwise from left, Aaliyah Muzzey, 14, Aubrey Meyveagaci, 15, Alexis Patterson, 17, and Talyn Schmidt, 17, react during the NHIAA Division III boys basketball semifinal game against St. Thomas Aquinas High School held at Bow High School in Bow, N.H., on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

By BRANDON BROWN

Portsmouth Herald

Published: 02-21-2024 8:01 PM

BOW, N.H. — Revenge is sweet.

The St. Thomas Aquinas High School boys basketball team lost to Mascoma in last year’s NHIAA Division III semifinal round, and the second-seeded Saints had their sights set on making sure that wouldn’t be the case two years in a row.

No. 3 Mascoma jumped out to a 17-14 lead after the first quarter, but the Saints outscored the Royals 43-21 over the final three and advanced to the D-III state championship with a 57-38 semifinal win at Bow High School on Tuesday night.

“They embarrassed us,” STA head coach Dave Morissette said of last year’s season-ending 62-49 loss. “The defense we worked on from Nov. 20 to now was to get us ready for this game. ... We kind of game-planned for this for a few months now.”

The game plan certainly paid off, and revenge was certainly on the menu.

“We got over that hump that we weren’t able to get over last year, but that’s not what we’re looking at now,” senior STA captain Will Mollica said. “It’s a good victory, but we’re looking forward to practice tomorrow. We’re looking to get better and get ready for Saturday.”

Second-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas (18-1) advances to Saturday’s Division III state championship against No. 1 Conant. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Keene State College.

Conant advanced with a 35-30 win over No. 4 Kearsage in Tuesday’s late semifinal.

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Mascoma closed out its season at 17-2. The Royals graduate four seniors: Tyler-Jay Mardin, James Thomas, Aiden Smith and Travis Stewart.