LONDONDERRY — The Londonderry boys basketball team wasn’t going to let its season end Friday night.
Sophomore Jackson Cox was the hero, as his putback with 4.5 seconds left completed the No. 4 Lancers’ second-half 42-40 comeback win over No. 5 Winnacunnet in the Division 1 quarterfinals. The Lancers (16-4) earned a trip to the University of New Hampshire, and will take on top-seeded Exeter on Wednesday (3/13) at 7:30 p.m.
Cox’ basket capped an 11-1 run to close the game. He has Cole Keegan to thank, as his steal with 40 seconds left set up the Lancers with the final possession in a tie game.
Cox led the Lancers with 13 points.
Winnacunnet (15-5) had one last chance to send the game to overtime, but it’s final shot as time expired was off the mark.
“I thought we took care of the ball in the fourth quarter, toward the last three minutes, which is something we struggled with throughout the season,” Londonderry coach Nate Stanton told the Union Leader.
Winnacunnet led 30-18 lead with 3:40 to go in the third, but the Warriors picked up their seventh foul with 1:13 to go in the period and the Lancers took advantage at the free throw line.
Londonderry took a 9-6 lead after a quarter, but struggled in the second as the Warriors built an 18-13 lead into halftime.
But the Lancers settled down in the second half, eventually crawling their way back for the dramatic win.
“I thought they just kept their composure in the fourth quarter and never gave up,” Stanton said, despite trailing for almost all of the final three quarters. “They’re confident. They’re a heck of a group to coach.”