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NHIAA Boys' Basketball: Big rally lifts Alvirne in overtime

Special to the Union Leader

February 24. 2018 2:13AM

SALEM — It certainly felt like Friday night’s game between Salem and Alvirne was over after a quarter. The Blue Devils hit their first four 3-point attempts, held Alvirne star Max Bonney-Liles to just two points, and led by 19 after the opening period.

Nineteen points was simply a hill for the Broncos to climb as they cut the lead to nine by halftime and four points after three quarters before tying the game at 46 and forcing overtime and pulling away to win 60-53 in the extra frame.

“I look up at the score in the first quarter and think ‘Are they going to score 126 points?’ Alvirne coach Marty Edwards said. “But they scored 27 the rest of the way. We locked them down on defense. We’ve been talking about defensive intensity since day one. As soon as they did, we became a different team.”

The win was Alvirne’s second in a row and improved its record to 11-5 while Salem dropped to 8-8.

Salem outrebounded Alvirne 10-3 in the first quarter, which aided early dominance, but the Broncos reeled in the Blue Devils like quicksand thanks to timely defense and a ratcheting up of intensity on the glass.

Bonney-Liles led that charge with a game-high 23 points, including nine in overtime. Alvirne outrebounded Salem by four over the final three quarters and overtime and converted on Salem miscues. The Broncos shot 15-for-18 from the free throw line.

“We’ve got two sides to our team: a flat side and an intense side,” Bonney-Liles said. “You saw the flat side in the beginning. I don’t know what it is. We’ve still got to try to figure it out, but once we pick up that intensity you saw we’re tough to beat.”

The game was tied at 50 a minute into overtime before the Broncos finished the game on a 10-3 run. Bonney-Liles had seven of those points.

Beyond Bonney-Liles, the Broncos got exemplary performances from Joe Caneles and Ryan Ruigrok. Caneles had nine points and seven rebounds after halftime and finished with 12 and eight. Ruigrok had all nine of his points after intermission and added six rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Connor Lambert had nine points and five assists.

“They’ve really stepped up,” Bonney-Liles said of his teammates. “They worked their butts off in the offseason and are deserving of the success they’re coming after.”

Salem had four scorers in double figures, led by 17 points from Nick Hayes and 13 points from Zackery Caraballo. Trevor DeMinico had 11 points while Kyle Poulin had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. He also added four assists.

After making their first four threes of the game, the Blue Devils were held to 1-for-16 from beyond the arc the rest of the way.

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