Thursday, January 12, 2017

Petrocelli Commits to St. A's

NH's loaded Classes of 2017 has yet another scholarship player. Kaitlyn Petrocelli (Merrimack, NH), a 6-foot-2 face-up forward from the New Hampton School has committed to Saint Anselm College in Manchester.

"I was also considering Assumption and Franklin Pierce" Petrocelli told the NH Notebook. "I chose Saint A's because of the campus, coaches, and the team. I love coach Plant's coaching style and how she pushes her players to be the best they can be. When I was on my official the team made me feel very comfortable and I always felt included. I feel that I will get along with them on and off the court."

Petrocelli had to overcome a major obstacle in order to get to this point.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sanborn Wins Thriller in OT

By: Ross Laorenza
With 4.7 seconds left in regulation the Sanborn girls basketball team was trailing by 2 and in jeopardy of losing their first game all year. To add difficulty Gilford's Kaitlyn VanBennekum was going to the line shooting one-and-one. Indians coach Brian Gray called a time-out.

"When you have those timeouts to set up, you have to talk about what is happening and then what's going to be happening," said coach Gray. "So I set them up with different options based off of what was going to happen. So, when they came out (of the timeout) they knew they had a plan, at least, to get something going."

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Milford Wins Battle of the Undefeated

By: Ross Laorenza

The Milford Spartans are now 5-0 after a hard fought win, on the road against Pelham. It was an emotional night inside the Snake Pit as Pelham High School honored long time fan Ronald Walsh with a remembrance before tip-off. Walsh cheered on the Pelham basketball program for the past 42 years. He was memorialized with a plaque on his favorite seat inside the gymnasium.

The Pythons got off to a fast start scoring on two of their first three possession and taking a 5-0 lead. Senior Captain Kyle Frank connected from beyond the arch for three, then made a steal at half court and scored off the window. Milford would charge right back. Ryan Banuskevich hit back-to-back three pointers to but the Spartans in front 6-5.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Timely Shooting Lifts Memorial Over Alvirne

By: Ross Laorenza
The Memorial Crusaders (2-2) notched their first win of the new year Friday night, 55-45 over the visiting Alvirne Broncos (2-1). While both teams struggled offensively in the early stages of the game, the Crusader were able to get some key baskets from Elvin Barbosa, Jake Santiago and Michael Roumraj when they needed them most.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Lebanon Runs Away With QCIBT Ship

The Queen City Invitational Basketball Tournament (QCIBT) is annually the deepest, most competitive holiday tournament in New Hampshire. But for the second year in a row, one team has stood high above the rest in the tourney's field. In 2015 it was Exeter, who won all three of their games by 28+ points, including a beating of eventual D-I state champs Manchester Central 73-37.

2016 is Lebanon's year. The D-II school from way up north in the Upper Valley beat three D-I teams in four days, including a 60-38 thrashing of Trinity in the final on Friday night at Manchester Memorial High School.

Even more impressive was that Lebanon did it without their best player - senior point guard and reigning D-II Player of the Year K.J. Matte has been sidelined for three weeks with a broken foot. Yet the Raiders still don't miss a beat, showing they're much more than a one man team.

"It was awesome to see everyone step up without K.J., especially here since Mr. Matte said it's the best Christmas tournament in the state" said Graham Chickering, a senior guard who scored 16 points to go with 6 assists and 3 blocks in the final and was named tournament MVP. "We knew that if we came out here with focus, slipped out on screens and closed out on our gaps we'd be alright."

Bedford Charges Past West in QCIBT

Considering they lost their top six players off last year's team, I'd say Bedford looks pretty strong. Four starters and their sixth man graduated and standout big man Colby Gendron left for prep school. They have very little varsity experience on this year's squad.

Yet Bedford went 2-1 in the Queen City Invitational Basketball Tournament (QCIBT), they only lost by four in the semi-finals to eventual tourney champs Lebanon and they beat Manchester West by double digits in the 3rd place game on Friday night. Other than Lebanon, Bedford was the best team in this year's QCIBT.

That's a credit to the job coaches Mark Elmendorf and Frank Moreno have done with the Bulldogs. It also showed how much depth was in the program last year.

Led by junior guard Maxwell Chartier (game-high 21 points), junior forward Nolan Anderson (11 points) and senior wing Liam Greene (10 points), Bedford beat Manchester West 57-47 in the 3rd place game.

Buzzer Beater Lifts Exeter Past Memorial

Other than Lebanon, most of the teams in this year's Queen City Invitational Basketball Tournament (QCIBT) were pretty evenly matched. That is definitely the case for Exeter and Manchester Memorial, who went at it in the tourney's 5th place game on Friday night.

Exeter was ice cold offensively in the 1st half. Memorial was ice cold in the 2nd. In the end, the only thing separating these 2 teams was a buzzer beating layup by Exeter senior guard Nick Sowers. The Blue Hawks escaped with a 42-41 win.

Central Handles Dover in QCIBT

The Manchester Central boys basketball team found themselves in an unfamiliar position on Friday - playing in the 7th place game of the Queen City Invitational Basketball Tournament. Central has won the tournament a whopping 23 times, and have been in the championship game three years in a row prior to 2016.

But this is a much younger, inexperienced Little Green squad. They return just 1 starter and 1 key reserve from last year D-I championship team. Still, this Central team (coached by new head coach David Keefe) has enough speed, offensive firepower and defensive tenacity to compete with most teams in D-I.

Led by sophomore guard Osiah Lewis, junior wing Kyler Bosse and sophomore guard Eric Curtijo, Central cruised past Dover 62-50. The Little Green extended their lead to 10 early in the 2nd quarter, they led by double digits for the majority of the rest of the game. The outcome of this contest wasn't in doubt during the 2nd half.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Winnacunnet Wins Holiday Tourney Ship

In a game between two of the best teams in the NHIAA, Winnacunnet trounced seacoast rival Spaulding 62-44 on Wednesday night in the finals of the Oyster River Holiday Tournament. The Warriors were led by tournament MVP Liam Viviano, who had 10 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals.

"They're a good Division I team" said Viviano. "I know they didn't have their best player, but we didn't have one of our better players either. We still beat them by 20. I hope this puts fear in people's eyes."

Spaulding's best player Cal Connelly has missed the past two games with the flu, while Winnacunnet sophomore forward Jack Schaake is expected to be out for a few weeks with an ankle injury.

Viviano had an excellent all-around game - pressuring people on 'D', hitting 3's. Most impressive was his passing, as Viviano served up a number of high level dishes which led to baskets. He showed the ability to score the basketball, but even better was his ability to create offense for his teammates.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

BG Girls Beat Central Catholic

In a game between one of the best teams in the NHIAA and one of the best teams in the MIAA, it was the team from NH that came out on top.

Defending NHIAA state champs Bishop Guertin overcame a slow start (scored just 5 points in 1st quarter) to defeat perennial MIAA powerhouse Central Catholic (Lawrence, MA) on Thursday night. This was the preliminary round of the 2016 Commonwealth Motors Christmas Tournament, at North Andover High School.

"We didn't get off to a good start, but in the 2nd quarter the girls off the bench stepped up and brought some energy" said Bishop Guertin senior and D-I Preseason Player of the Year Meghan Cramb, who dropped a game-high 18 points in the win.

After falling to Bedford (the team they beat in last year's D-I final) BG has bounced back with a 46-27 win over La Salle Academy, a dominant team out of Rhode Island and now a 60-49 win over Central Catholic.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bedford Beats BG in Title Game Rematch

This was a heck of a game. You can't ask for much more from a December game, second game of the season. It definitely had the intensity and atmosphere of a playoff game. It's still very early, but still I'll be shocked if these aren't the 2 teams in the finals come March.

Both Bedford and Bishop Guertin are deep, talented teams - both played hard. This could have gone either way, but Bedford made more plays down the stretch when it counted most. BG led 45-40 with just 4:37 left in regulation. But Elizabeth Stevenson, Mia Roy, Alyson Fillion and Madeline Blake all scored clutch baskets late for the Bulldogs.

BG went 21-1 last season, beating Bedford in the final. BG returns 4 starters and 7 of their top 8 players. Bedford returns just 2 starters, yet the Bulldogs get revenge on Tuesday night, winning 57-49 in front of a packed crowd at the Collignon Gymnasium in Nashua. That's why they play the games!

"It's really awesome" said Blake, a 5-foot-9 senior wing. "A lot of people thought we'd be a lot different this year since we lost 3 good seniors. But we believe in ourselves, and we wanted to show that we're the best team in the state."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Bedford Captures First Football Championship in School History

By: Ross Laorenza
The Bedford Bulldogs are NHIAA D-I football champions. Bedford completed their undefeated season with a 7-0 victory over Exeter in the title game. It was a stout performance by the Bulldog defense, holding Exeter to 152 total yard of offense and more importantly holding them off the scoreboard.

The game was scoreless at halftime. Bedford came close to scoring in the final minute of the first half, but Connor Robert was picked off trying to connect on a slant pass to Noah Chaberek. Exeter was content going into the half tied and knelt down twice after the turnover.

Plymouth Wins in Thrilling Fashion to Capture D-II Title

By: Ross Laorenza
The Plymouth Bobcats have won the NHIAA D-II title 27-24 over the Bow Falcons. Plymouth pulled ahead when QB Brandon Roy connected with Garrett Macomber for a wide open touchdown reception with 16 seconds remaining in regulation. It was only Roy's second passing attempt of the game.

After the game Macomber talked about the play," We're not a passing team, so we've had that (play) and it's worked. It's perfect, cause I go right from the secondary and I go right out and I'm there, wide-open, back-side play."

He added," Coach called it and I'm thinking like, "Oh God..I don't know if I can do this." So I kind of stopped and was like, "Come on, come here," And then I caught it and it was crazy."

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Maker Commits to Franklin Pierce

A determined, hard-working kid whose love for the game of basketball is obvious to anyone who sees him play - has accepted a scholarship offer to play college ball.

Monytung Maker (Manchester, NH), a 6-foot-7 wing forward has committed to Franklin Pierce University. Maker chose FPU over Post University and Kentucky State University, who also offered him a scholarship. Franklin Pierce is located in Rindge, NH, and competes in the Northeast-10, which is regarded as the most competitive Division II league in the country.

"Having the chance to play in the NE-10 and being able to come back my city to play other NE-10 schools in front of my family means a lot to me" Maker told the NH Notebook. "I also felt real comfortable with the coaching staff over at Franklin Pierce and I like the teams style of play - it fits my game perfect and that's 'Run n' Gun'."

In the NE-10, Maker will play against SNHU and Saint Anselm's, both located in his hometown of Manchester.

Maker has taken his game to new heights over the past couple of years while playing for the Rivals Basketball Club on the AAU circuit. Maker's game is relentless - he plays his tail off, attacks the rim as hard as anybody around, can score the basketball in a variety of ways and plays with a high octane motor and all-around skill set that few players in the region can match.

"My game has developed tremendously" said Maker, who transferred from Manchester West to Bradford Christian School following his junior year. "My 3 point shot has improved, and so has my dribbling. I can really make plays for others. At the height of 6'7" and being really skilled I'm looking forward to making an impact during my freshman year at FPU."

One of the best players to come out of NH, let alone Manchester in the past few years. His hard work has paid off. Franklin Pierce is getting a good one.

"When you came from nothing, all you know is to work hard" Maker concluded.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Plymouth Ends Windham's Undefeated Season

By: Ross Laorenza
The Plymouth Bobcats are headed to Durham for the Division II championship game after a 20-18 upset over undefeated Windham. Garret Macomber blocked the Jaguars go-ahead field goal attempt as time expired. The junior lead the way for Plymouth offensively as well, racking up 124 rushing yards and the game's first touchdown.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

North Advances Over BG

By: Ross Laorenza
The Nashua North Titans are moving on the the D-I playoffs with a convincing 64-41 win against inner-city rival Bishop Guertin. The Titans put up over 600 yards of offense and held BG to just 14 points in the second half.

"We knew they'd keeping battling, and we made some big stops," said Nashua North head coach Dante Laurendi.

Junior wideout Sclyler Boykin shined offensively with 3 touchdowns for the Titans. Senior Jeffrey Baldassari managed the game well from the quarterback position. He passed for 4 touchdowns and rushed for another in the win.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Lebanon Punches Ticket to Post-season with OT Win

By: Ross Laorenza
Lebanon came into today's action needing a win to clinch a post season birth and did just that with a 21-20 overtime victory against Bow. The Raiders received the ball first in OT and only needed one play to reach the endzone. Ryan Milliken rushed to the right for the score. The extra point put Lebanon in front 21-14. Bow also only needed one play to score on their first possession of OT with Mac Kimball scoring on a sweep play.

That's when disaster struck for the Falcons. Bow planned to run a fake extra-point attempt, but the snap sailed way over the kickers head. After tracking the ball down back around the 30 he was able to hurl it forward a few yards to a teammate, but the play was snuffed out. Ball game over.