NASHUA – The third day of the Chick-fil-A Holiday Basketball Tournament has historically been the worst for the Campbell High School boys basketball team.
Given how the Cougars had played on Day 2, coach Pat Roye thought his team might do all right on Thursday.
Campbell was just fine, holding off a late Milford charge to beat the Spartans 51-42 at Nashua South to finish seventh in this year’s tournament.
Jesiah Wade scored 13 points, including 6 for 6 from the free throw line, and Kyle Mun added 11 points as the Cougars led by as many as 13 in the second half.
“It’s a good win,” Roye said. “Coming off (a 56-45 loss to Hollis Brookline), I told them I wanted see them press and I wanted to see them hustle. I didn’t care what the score was. The score was 0-0 for this game. We had to get back to doing what we do, and I thought we did.”
The smallest school in the tournament, the Cougars have typically been worn down having to play three games in three days against deeper teams. But this year, Campbell has more depth and Roye felt helped keep the players fresh as they overcame an early deficit against Milford.
“Playing those bigger schools for three days takes its toll on us, and usually the third game turns out really bad for us,” Roye said. “We can go 11 deep and we went 12 (Thursday). I think it takes its toll. One of the reasons we were able to play better on the third day is because we’re deeper than in years past. We don’t have kids logging 30 minutes. I think that helped out.”
The Cougars were down by five early in the second quarter but outscored Milford 27-11 over the next 14 minutes to take a 37-26 lead into the fourth quarter. The lead swelled to 13 and was 12 points after two free throws by Mike Vigeant with 5:28 to play.
But a putback by Logan Barlow and two 3-pointers from Jared Lakin pulled Milford within seven and forced Campbell to use a timeout. Wade made two free throws out of the break, but Lakin hit another 3 with 2:20 to play to get the Spartans within six, 48-42.
Milford missed out on a chance to cut into the lead even more, and a layup by Wade stretched the lead to eight. The Spartans could get no closer.
Lakin finished with 15 points, all on 3-pointers, while Barlow added another 11 points for the Spartans, who return to Division II play on Tuesday when they head to Souhegan. Campbell will host Berlin in a Division III game, also on Tuesday.