Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Morris to PG at Loomis Chaffee

Brennan Morris was a three-year varsity player at Pinkerton Academy, including his senior season in 2015-2016 when he emerged as one of the state's top prospects. Morris has drawn lots of recruiting interest as a result, but he's decided to do a post-grad year next year in order to give himself more options as well as better prepare himself for college - both academically and athletically. Per his AAU coach with the DC Blue Devils, TJ Thompson, Morris will attend and play basketball at the Loomis Chaffee School in Connecticut next year. He's now in the Class of 2017.

Morris is a 6-foot-5 wing who can shoot the heck out of the basketball as well as take it to the hole. With his size, rugged frame, versatility and ability to shoot the basketball he is a sure-fire scholarship level prospect. Here is a video that shows Morris in action this AAU season, posted on Twitter by Coach Thompson:

Not only that, but Morris finished his academic career at Pinkerton with a 4.6 GPA, ranked 9th in a class of 749.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Milliman & Merguerian Leaving Hanover for Prep School

The trend of top local high school basketball talent leaving the NHIAA for prep school continues. Hanover High made it to the girls Division II state title game this past March. However, a return trip to the finals in 2017 just got much more difficult. The Marauders just lost arguably their two best players to prep school.

"The 'rumors' are true" said Hanover High girls basketball head coach Dan O'Rourke, who is widely regarded as one of the top girls coaches in the NHIAA. "Junior Caroline Merguerian is going to KUA (Kimball Union Academy). Freshman Silke Milliman is going to Northfield Mount Herman."

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Goffstown Girls Basketball Controversy - Ball is in Balke's Court

By: Jeremy Leveille
The famous saying in sports is, 'winning solves everything'. Unfortunately, that's not that case at Goffstown High School. Despite the fact that the Goffstown girls basketball team just won the D-II state title (the program's first championship since 1988) they are now mired in turmoil. This is more controversy than any team that has won a state title in my nine years of covering NH sports.

Goffstown girls basketball head coach Deanna Goodwin and assistant coach Katherine Goodwin (Deanna's sister and best friend) stepped down just days after celebrating a state title.

"I am saddened to say that what you heard is true - my sister and I have decided to step down from our coaching positions at GHS" Deanna Goodwin told the NH Notebook on the eve of the school's winter sports banquet.

Not only did the Goodwin sisters win a title this year, but they made the finals last season. In five years at the helm, Deanna Goodwin took over a previously struggling program and turned them into a winner.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hoops Notes

We ran a story earlier this week on Trinity High senior Ashley Hill and her commitment to play college basketball at Clarkson. Here are a few more notes from around the state.

Congratulations to Keith Brown from Pelham High and Rebecca Ripley of the New Hampton School for being named the boys and girls NH Gatorade Player of the Year, respectively. Brown led Pelham to back-to-back NHIAA D-III titles, and just days after the 2016 title game he committed to Endicott College. Ripley meanwhile, committed to the University of Miami last year.

A couple other commitments to make note of - Brett Hanson (Manchester, NH) of the Tilton School is taking his game to Florida Southern College. Florida Southern is a D-II program and Hanson will be a scholarship player there. He led Manchester Central High to an undefeated season in 2013-2014, and played at Tilton for the past 2 years.

Additionally, Lebanon High senior guard Austin Whaley will play his college ball at Calvin College in Michigan. This, according to his AAU coach TJ Thompson of the DC Blue Devils. Whaley has a versatile skill set and played in four Final Fours for Lebanon. On the girls side, Katie Valcich of Winnacunnet has committed to attend and play ball at Endicott College. Valcich was a 3-year starting point guard at Winnacunnet and led them to 2 Final Fours.

As far as offers, Abby Streeter (Nashua, NH) a 5-foot-10 wing from the Class of 2017 has added another D-I school to her list. The Lawrence Academy standout has recently been offered by Delaware. Delaware joins URI, Fordham, Iona, UVM, Brown, and BU on Streeter's list of schools who have offered her a scholarship. Streeter played her freshman season at Nashua North and her sophomore season at Bishop Guertin before transferring to Lawrence.

Lastly (for now), we have news of 2 prep school transfers. DJ Frechette (Nashua, NH) an explosive shooting guard who is one of the NHIAA's top players is leaving Nashua South and is headed for the Governor's Academy. Frechette reclassifies to the Class of 2018. On the girls side, 6-foot-2 forward Ashley Evans (Londonderry, NH) will join Streeter at Lawrence Academy, where she will be repeat her freshman year. Evans, who has a ton of upside, reclassifies to the Class of 2020.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Hill to Play College Ball at Clarkson

Ashley Hill of Trinity High is a good kid and a good player. She is a hard worker, a four-year varsity player and a 4.0 GPA student. Hill has recently committed to Clarkson University, where she will attend school and play basketball.

"I was considering Clarkson University, along with Norwich University and Suffolk University, all of which I was recruited to play basketball at" Hill told the NH Notebook. "I did an overnight at both Suffolk and Clarkson, and they became my top two. Suffolk was in a really neat location, being right in the heart of Boston. However, Clarkson had the true college campus feel to it, whereas it has its own space and had a little college town of its own, being within twenty minutes of four other colleges. I want to pursue a career in physical therapy, and Clarkson is well known for its program. Suffolk had biology, but I would have to transfer out after my 4 years to get into a college with a grad program of physical therapy, which can be difficult to get into. When I visited both colleges, the coaches were all very nice and accommodating. At Clarkson I got to spend the night with the whole team after their game and go out to dinner. The girls were very friendly and I was already excited to get to know each of them further. Doing that overnight gave me a really good feeling about Clarkson, and after watching their game I felt like I could really make an impact. I could see myself playing with them and fitting in on the team. I had fun at the Suffolk overnight and going around Boston, even to Faneuil Hall, but I didn’t get the same feeling I did when I went to Clarkson."

Monday, March 21, 2016

Hiscoe Going Prep for PG Year

One of the top quarterbacks in NH is headed to Milford Academy in New York to do a post-grad year next year. This will give Hiscoe an extra year to prepare for college - both athletically and academically.

Hiscoe now joins the Class of 2017. Hiscoe had a big senior season this past fall at Bishop Guertin, as he led the NHIAA in passing yards.

"I am excited to announce that I will be playing football this upcoming season for the Milford Academy Falcons in New York" Hiscoe told the NH Notebook. "Milford Academy has a long tradition of developing some of the top college prospects. Through hard work and dedication I hope to proudly represent New Hampshire football and follow the hundreds of Milford Academy graduates who have gone on to have remarkable college careers."

Last year former Hanover High standout TE/LB Jack Cavallaro did a PG year at Milford and now he's headed to UNH next year to play for the Wildcats. Hiscoe has a cannon for an arm and definitely has a shot at being a scholarship level player.

"I want to thank Coach Chaplick and Coach Bowen for having the trust and confidence in me, offering me the opportunity to join this distinguished program" said Hiscoe. "As well as Bishop Guertin, Coach Moore, Coach Tone, coaching staff and of course my teammates for establishing an environment for success."

Hiscoe's Hudl profile with senior season video highlights:

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Thoughts from Ship Saturday at UNH

By: Tuesday and Friday
2 teams celebrating at the end of a state title game, flickering Lundholm lights, Libby’s, Basketball Kibitzing and predictions for next season.

I’ve never seen an ending like the one I witnessed in the Central – Merrimack game. BOTH teams celebrated when the buzzer sounded. Merrimack stormed the court more vigorously than Central. The next few seconds had to be the biggest pregnant pause in high school basketball history in state title games at UNH. The signaling referee emphatically came across the court signaling Merrimack’s Noah Beygelman’s shot was NO GOOD. The Merrimack team went from the height of ecstasy to the depths of despair within 10 seconds. Even though Central won, they were celebrating with trepidation as if to say, “Did we REALLY win the state title?”

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Central Wins OT Thriller to Become 2016 D-I Champs

By: Ross Laorenza
The Central Little Green are your 2016 NHIAA boys D-I champions after an absolute thriller of a game, 60-58 in overtime against Merrimack. Central got some clutch free throws from senior Jaylen Leroy with 30 seconds left in regulation to force OT, and then up 2 with 6.1 seconds remaining in the OT they survived a near buzzer beating three-pointer by Merrimack's Noah Beygelman. The ball left Beygelman's hands just a fraction of a second too late.

"Believe it or not we know the kid #32 (Beygelman) that they put in at the end of the game is a very good shooter," said Central coach Doc Wheeler. "So when he came in, I'm yelling at one of our kids 'He can shoot. He can shoot.' We were just trying to stay in front of him. We just didn't want to get beat."

Portsmouth Is Your Undefeated D-II State Champion

By: Jeremy Leveille
Saturday afternoon at UNH it was the battle of the unbeatens. Portsmouth (21-0) vs. Lebanon (21-0) for the D-II boys basketball state championship. Portsmouth played great defense and Lebanon had their worst offensive game of the season. As a result, the Clippers win it 43-29. Portsmouth is your undefeated D-II state champs.

"I'm just so happy for the kids - they deserve it" said Portsmouth head coach Jim Mulvey, who has had his team in the finals 7 times and won 3 titles in his 10 years at the helm.

Portsmouth suffered a heart-breaking last second loss in the title game last year to Bishop Brady. In 2014 they fell in the finals to Pembroke. This year the Clippers got the job done.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Portsmouth Heads Back to D-II Finals, Beats Brady

By: Jeremy Leveille
Prior to tonight, the last time Portsmouth and Bishop Brady met at UNH (last year's D-II final) was one of the best title games in recent memory. Jourdain Bell hit a clutch 3-pointer, his brother Joe Bell made a layup at the buzzer and Brady won the game - and the championship.

This time it was a different story - a much different story. Portsmouth was in control of this game from beginning to end. Even though they were only up by 7 at halftime, Brady was just barely scratching and clawing in order to stay in it. Then the Clippers outscored the Giants 18-7 in the 3rd quarter, taking a commanding 41-23 lead after 3 quarters. At that point, fans were already penciling Portsmouth into the title game on Saturday vs. Lebanon. The Clippers cruised from there to the 55-32 win.

"We hit the shots we needed to and got the 'W'" said Portsmouth sophomore shooting guard Cody Graham, who poured in 18 points, including four 3-pointers.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Lebanon Beats West for 3rd Time, Advances to D-II Finals

By: Jeremy Leveille
They say it's difficult to beat the same team 3 times in 1 season - don't try telling the Lebanon High boys basketball team that. Lebanon jumped out to a quick 11-0 lead over Manchester West in the D-II semi-finals on Wednesday night and didn't look back. They went up 19-6 in the 2nd quarter and cruised to the 50-31 win. It was the third win for the Raiders over the Blue Knights this season, with the others being close wins in the QCIBT and in the regular season.

"We just stuck to our stuff, and knew that if we played defense we'd be alright" said Lebanon senior guard Austin Whaley, who tallied 11 points and 7 rebounds.

The first 2 meetings between these 2 teams were close, hard fought battles that went down to the wire - not this one. Lebanon thrives in transition, where they are able to hit the open man for 3-pointers or for easy layups. In the semi-finals tonight West had problems slowing down the Raiders' transition game.

Thoughts At The D1 Boys’ Semi-finals

By: Tuesday and Friday
There is nothing like the buzz and atmosphere 45 minutes before the start of the D1 boys’ semi-finals. Coaches, fans, writers and broadcasters are milling about exchanging conversations about the past season and on the 2 big games to come. Coaches and players receive congratulatory wishes on making all state teams or winning the COY award. It’s just a perfect punctuation to a long basketball season

Merrimack Advances to D-I Final

By: Ross Laorenza
Tuesday night brought a signature win for the Merrimack Tomahawks as they advanced past Manchester Memorial 49-41 to reach the NHIAA D-I Final. The high powered Memorial offense was held only 13 second half points, while Merrimack scored 22 to come from behind. The Tomahawks out-rebounded the Crusaders 38 to 29 in the game.

"I think our kids did a remarkable job not turning it over against that athletic team," said Merrimack Head Coach Tim Goodridge, "I thought we made some good decisions; even though at times we made some very poor decisions, but they're kids...and they're resilient." Coach Goodridge also emphatically noted his teams dominance on the defense glass.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Central Rallies Past Winnacunnet in D-I Semis

By: Jeremy Leveille
Winnacunnet was hands down the better basketball team for the first 28 minutes of their D-I semi-final match-up vs. Manchester Central. But they don't play 28 minutes in NH high school basketball, they play 32. And as a result, Winnacunnet's season is over and Central is headed to the finals.

Winnacunnet led 41-31 with 5:35 left in regulation. The Warriors led 43-34. Then the Little Green caught fire, going on a 22-0 run. Central ended the game n a 27-4 run. They went from a 10 point deficit to a 13 point lead in the matter of 5 minutes. Central wins it 58-45. The Little Green's 'Big 3' of seniors Jonathin Makori (game-high 23 points) Jaylen Leroy (17 points) and Evan MacDonald (13 points) combined to score 53 of Central's 58 points.

"That's how we should have played the whole game" said MacDonald, who hit back-to-back 3-pointers as part of Central's 4th quarter rally. "Doc called a timeout with 5:09 left. He told us to get something going to the hoop. Jaylen scored, and that got us going."

Sunday, March 13, 2016

BG Hoists the State Plaque by Defeating Bedford 35-31

By: Tuesday and Friday
Junior Meghan Cramb scored the last 6 points of the game for BG to give the Cardinals their second state title in the last 5 years. Junior Abbi Field added 7 points for BG. Alexis Meservey was high scorer for Bedford with 11 points.

The biggest question at the start of this state title game was how Bedford was going to respond playing their biggest game of the season without the injured Bri Purcell. The answer quickly came with the smooth stroke of junior Alexis Meservey. In a 3 minute span of the first quarter she hit three 3’s to give Bedford some much needed momentum.

“Those 3’s by Alexis Meservey got everyone in the game”, said Bedford coach Sue Thomas. “It also allowed the whole team to breathe a sigh of relief and to concentrate on playing the game and taking away our jitters.”

Pelham Wins Back-to-Back D-III Titles

By: Jeremy Leveille
After leading his team to a semi-final win over Hopkinton Wednesday night, Pelham senior guard Keith Brown said how focused he was on winning another championship, that it was “the only thing on my mind”. Mission accomplished.

Brown poured in a game-high 22 points to go with 13 rebounds and 4 steals. The Pythons also got huge 3-pointer by senior guard Trevor Gagnon (11 points) and a charge taken by junior forward Joey Pantaleo.

Runners-up Kearsarge put up a valiant effort. They were right there with Pelham for 32 minutes and had a shot to win it at the end, but Pelham just made 1 or 2 more plays in crunch time. The Pythons win it 43-39 in front of a packed house at SNHU in Manchester. Pelham is now 43-1 and has 2 state titles in the last 2 years.

Central Beats Bedford in OT, Punches Ticket to Final Four

By: Jeremy Leveille
It was #3 seed Manchester Central vs. #6 seed Bedford in a heavyweight battle. Even though Central was the higher seed, you got the feeling coming in that this game was a tossup, since Central barely beat #14 seed Keene in the prelims while Bedford crushed a red hot Salem team by 23. It was the quarterfinals, but with how good both of these teams were playing it could have been a Final Four game.

These teams did not disappoint, as they went toe-to-toe, going at each other hard on defense and trading big shot after big shot on offense. In the end Central was just a little bit better, and as a result they are headed to play in the D-I Final Four at UNH next week. Led by their ‘Big 3’ of senior guards Jaylen Leroy (game-high 25 points), Jonathin Makori (22 points) and Evan MacDonald (15 points), Central beat Bedford in overtime 73-66.