WILTON – The Wilton-Lyndeborough boys basketball team had opportunities to defeat Newmarket, and not just at the end of the game.
The Warriors struggled through the second quarter, at one point turning the ball over on five consecutive possessions, but were able to tie the game late before falling 40-39 to the Mules in a Class S game on Friday night.
Aaron Davis led WLC with 16 points, including four 3-pointers, one of which tied the game at 39 with 45.8 seconds left in the game. Ryan Burke added seven points and Adam Edmunds had six for the Warriors (12-4), who had their eight-game winning streak snapped.
Newmarket got 15 points from Adrian Edgerly and eight points each from John Snider and Erik Schmidt.
The win over the Warriors was the second of the season for the Mules (14-2), who also handed WLC its last loss on Jan. 15. In that one, a 47-32 defeat, the Warriors let a lead slip away.
On Friday, WLC had to claw its way back into the game after some poor play early.
“The game was lost in the second and third quarter,” Warriors coach Sean Young said. “Those are where we had to make the plays. There’s the turnovers, there’s the technical foul on the flop, and they went 2-for-2 on the free throws on that. We had missed shot after missed shot. There’s a lot of things you can point to. I don’t think you need to point to that final play.”
That final play was set up by a fourth quarter in which the Warriors scored nine of their 10 points on 3-pointers, and held the Mules scoreless for the first seven minutes.
Down 37-30 with 5:32 to play, Davis made a 3 to cut the lead to four and Young called a timeout.
Out of the break, Newmarket tried to run clock, and thanks to an offensive rebound, the Mules ran off close to three minutes before a turnover gave the ball back to the Warriors.
“I thought they took the wind out of their sails,” Young said. “I liked what they were doing against our defense at the time. With five minutes left in the game, it’s just too much time.”
The teams traded turnovers on the next handful of possessions before Davis hit another 3 to make it a one-point game with 1:13. Newmarket took a timeout and quickly scored on a layup by Ben Cyr to make it a 39-36 game.
The Warriors got another 3-pointer, this time from Rysnik, to tie the game with 45.8 seconds left. Newmarket ran the clock down, and Cyr was fouled by Stephen Heck with 14.1 remaining.
Cyr missed the first free throw but made the second for a one-point lead. WLC came back down, passing the ball around until Burke was forced to put up a contested shot that missed the mark.
Heck grabbed the rebound and was consumed by black jerseys. The ball was knocked free and went out of bounds off a Newmarket player with six-tenths of a second left.
After another timeout, the Warriors tried to inbound the ball, but turned it over on a five-second call. Newmarket tossed the ball to halfcourt, where Burke caught it, but time expired before he could get a shot off.
“I’m proud of the boys,” Young said. “I’m mad we lost, but I know we’re in a better place.”
Thanks to their eight-game win streak, the Warriors are in line for a top eight seed and a home game in the first round of the playoffs. A win would have given them a shot at one of the top four seeds, which would have meant a home game in the first two rounds.
“We didn’t talk about it in practice, but I thought about trying to get a top four seed,” Young said. “We learned a couple of things about us today. We’re a better basketball team after this game today.”