Monday, March 2, 2015

Cloutier to Play College Ball at Salem St.

There's been a lot of talk about the Pelham High boys basketball team this season, and for good reason. They finished the regular season a perfect 18-0 and head into the state tournament as the hands down favorites to win the Division III title. Senior Ryan Cloutier has been a large part of their success, and he has recently made a commitment to continue his career at Salem State University. Salem State is a Division III program which competes in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC).

"The recruiting process was unfamiliar to me, but I became aware through Rick Gorman of the New England Storm AAU and Coach Regan that certain colleges were interested in me" Cloutier told the NH Notebook. "Salem State was one of the first to come and watch me play and they talked with me and really seemed interested. They attended several of my games, speaking with my parents, and really sharing their interest in me. Some of the other schools that I was considering were UNE, Nichols, Colby-Sawyer, Plymouth State, Bridgewater and Anna-Maria. I simply felt that Salem State was the best fit for me and they made me feel very comfortable. I like the coaches and I felt that it was a place where I could excel both in basketball and academically."

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bedford Girls Cap Regular Season With Strong Win Over BG

It was a potential Final Four preview, a match-up of 2 of the top girls basketball teams in NH. Bedford executed better, and was imply the better team on Friday night, defeating Bishop Guertin 42-29. The Bulldogs are tied for the #1 seed in D-I.

"This was a huge win" said Bedford head coach Sue Thomas. "We finished the regular season 16-2, but some of our wins were very close. This was a complete game for us. Everyone contributed."

After a frantic start to the game where both teams showed nerves, Bedford settled down but BG did not. The Bulldogs led 17-10 after 1, 26-17 at halftime and 38-22 after 3 quarters. They led by as many as 16.

Big 2nd Half Pushes Bedford Boys Past BG

In a rivalry game between a pair of teams in the middle of the pack in D-I, Bedford had a big 2nd half charge to beat Bishop Guertin. It was tied 10-10 after 1 quarter, and the Bulldogs were only up 2 at halftime, 26-24. But Bedford dominated the 2nd half, led by senior wing Ryan Brown (scored 11 of his 13 points in the 2nd half) and junior forward Gardner Gendron (scored all 12 of his points in the 2nd half) Bedford broke the game open. They led 45-32 after 3 quarters, and in the 4th quarter they led by as many as 25.

"We noticed they were getting offensive rebounds and we had to stop that" said Brown, who will be playing on a golf scholarship next year at Bryant. "Coach told us to keep driving, rebounding and playing defense and it will work out. And Gardner had the game of his life."

Pride Snuff Out Late Spartan Comeback Bid

By: Ross Laorenza
Cole Remilard’s 18 points lead the way as Merrimack Valley defeated Milford in a closely contested D-II match-up 56-52. With the teams tied 22 at halftime, Valley held Milford to 7 points in the third quarter and opened up a 41-29 lead. The Spartans charged back behind great shooting from Jack Briggs (#20), Daniel Murray (#14), and Drew Jepson (#13) to tie the game at 49 with 2:44 remaining. After Valley went ahead 52-49 on free throw, Jepson had a chance to tie the game again with a corner three but it rimmed out.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Epping Earns Hard Fought, Come From Behind Win Over PCA

Colby Wilson is well known as one of the top players in Division IV basketball and one of the most lethal shooters in the state. But through the 3 quarters he had just 5 points. His shot was off and he was turning the ball over. But you know what good players do? They don't get down, they keep their head up and keep playing.

That's exactly what Wilson did. The 6-foot junior wing hit 3 big shots in the 4th quarter, leading Epping to a hard fought, come from behind win over a tough Portsmouth Christian Academy (PCA) team 58-53 on Thursday night in Dover.

"It feels good, that I can come back like that after how awful I was playing" Wilson said with a smile. "I was pressing too much."

Boys Basketball Statewide Power Rankings - 2/26/15

A look at the NH Notebook's NHIAA boys basketball top 10 statewide power rankings, as of this afternoon. Injuries, strength of schedule, head-to-head meetings and other variables were all taken into account.

1. Pelham
2. Londonderry
3. Manchester Central
4. Portsmouth
5. Pinkerton
6. Spaulding
7. Manchester West
8. Bishop Brady
9. Manchester Memorial
10. Lebanon

Briefly, here's why we ranked them that way...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Parham Hits Buzzer-Beater in OT, Portsmouth Beats Brady & is Now 15-0

This is what high school basketball is all about. 2 of the best teams in the state going at it hard for 32 minutes, then head to overtime all tied up 55-55. The preseason favorites Bishop Brady vs. the undefeated Portsmouth Clippers. A hard fought, well played game, in front of a packed house. For many of those fans this will be one of the best high school games they'll ever see - an instant classic.

Portsmouth sophomore Shon Parham goes the length of the floor with 6 seconds left in OT and hits a tough floater along the baseline at the buzzer for the win. Final score: Portsmouth 65 Bishop Brady 63. A thrilling win for the Clippers, and a heartbreaking loss for the Giants.

"Coach told me to get up the sideline, he told me to push the ball so my teammates could get to the lane" said Parham, a 5-foot-10 floor general. "I saw their big guy there, but I knew there was only a couple seconds left. So I tried to make the shot, and just hoped it went in."

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lancers Survive Behind Corey's Heroics

By: Ross Laorenza
With 28 seconds left in the game Manchester Memorial had a one point lead and possession. Kabongo Ngalakulondi got the ball down low to Brandon Scott, who was immediately swarmed by two Lancers. Unable to put up a shot Scott tried to protect the ball, but one of the Lancers got their hands in and forced a jump ball. That gave possession back to Londonderry.

As the Lancers drover up court an errant pass was tipped by Memorial. It bounded off three sets of hands before finding its way to Marc Corey. Corey took two steps to get some separation from Ngalakulondi and put up a shot with less than 10 seconds. It’s good! 65-64, Londonderry. Memorial had one last chance, but Trevon Maughn’s three-pointer hit off back iron and out as the buzzer sounded. Londonderry remains undefeated with the 65-64 final. Incredible game!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Epping Tops Sunapee in High Scoring Affair

Sunapee junior guard Issaiah Chappell scored his 1,000th career point last week and followed that up with a 38 point performance on Friday night vs. Epping. The Blue Devils however had a more balanced scoring attack, as they had 2 different kids score 20+ points and had 2 kids in double figures. Epping was led by 6-foot junior wing Colby Wilson (team-high 24 points), 6-foot-2 senior forward Brett Couture, Dylan Derosier (15 points) and Cameron Osgood (11 points) in a rematch of last year's D-IV title game (won by Epping).

"We need to win out to get a top 4 seed, which isn't a position we were hoping for" said Couture, whose team is now 12-4 on the season.

"The losses we have had have been good because we have learned from them, and that will help us in the long run" added Wilson.

Big 3rd Quarter for Litts & Wilton in Win Over Newmarket

Thanks to the hot shooting of Matt Wilson and Jordan Litts being in foul trouble, the Newmarket High boys basketball team was able to stay close with a favored Wilton-Lyndeborough team in the 1st half. Newmarket trailed 21-20 after 1 quarter, and after a very low scoring 2nd quarter it was 25-24 Wilton at halftime.

Then the 3rd quarter happened. After sitting for the final 7 minutes of the 1st half with 3 fouls, Litts re-entered the game to start the 3rd quarter. He immediately swung the momentum of the game, drilling three consecutive 3-pointers and just like that the Wilton lead went from 1 to 10. They went on to win 54-35, improving to 13-3 on the season.

Hawks Soar Over Fall Mountain on Senior Night

By: Ross Laorenza
It was a special night for the Hopkinton girls basketball Team as they recognized the 5 senior co-captains in a pregame ceremony. Senior night is always memorable, but getting a win over a team that knocked you out of the post season last year makes victory even sweeter.

“We came into this season knowing Fall Mountain was our senior game and we wanted it really bad,” said Sloan White.

“We’ve been practicing so hard just for this moment,” added Callie Chase. “We’re psyched to go into the playoffs with a win like this.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Coe-Brown Comes Back From Down 15 to Beat Portsmouth & Remain Undefeated

If you're going to go undefeated, the wins aren't always going to be easy. Sometimes you'll face some adversity and need to battle back from it in order to keep that perfect season going. That's exactly what happened on Wednesday night in Portsmouth, as Coe-Brown remains the only undefeated team left in D-II. The Bears trailed by as many as 15, and they were down 32-20 at halftime. But they stormed back, led by senior forward Jenny Schlim who scored 14 of her team-high 16 points in the 3rd quarter. Coe-Brown outscored Portsmouth 36-16 in the 2nd half, en route to a 56-48 win.

"Jenny does it every game for us" said Coe-Brown Northwood Academy head coach Joe Vachon. "She's our catalyst. Her and Abby (Ahern) underneath have a special connection."

Ahern chipped in with 9 points, while senior guard Debbie Peabody scored 15 and played excellent defense.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Spaulding Rolls Past Bedford

On Tuesday night in Rochester, the Spaulding Red Raiders showed why they're one of the top teams in the NHIAA and are favorites to make it to the Final Four in Durham for the third time in four years. They jumped on Bedford early, leading 10-2 halfway through the 1st quarter and 18-7 after 1. Spaulding led by double digits for the remainder of the game, cruising to a 65-36 win. The Red raiders are now 10-2 on the regular season (13-2 overall).

"We had been in a funk the last 3-4 games, not playing our best basketball" said Spaulding head coach Tim Cronin. "So it was nice to pull out of it. I was pleased with the effort."

Most impressive for Spaulding was how well they moved the basketball. The way they run their sets it's like a well oiled machine. There's nothing fancy about it. You don't have high flying dunks or fadeaway 3's. It's team basketball. It's good execution, with kids setting good screens, making crisp passes. veryone knows where they're supposed to be, they find the open man and they finish well near the rim. Chris States (15 points), Darian Berry (14 points) and Anthony Ciccotelli (12 points) led the way for the Red Raiders - all 3 of them are seniors.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Londonderry Avoids Upset, Beats Winnacunnet to Remain Unbeaten

The Winnacunnet High boys basketball team nearly pulled off the upset of the year on Monday night in Hampton. Instead they came up just short, and as a result Londonderry (12-0) is still the only undefeated team left in Division I. Winnacunnet (4-9) was only down 56-54 with 2:15 left in the 4th quarter, with Lancers Player of the Year candidate Cody Ball already fouled out. But Londonderry ended the game on a 9-2 run, with all 9 points coming from the foul line. The Lancets survived a scare, and they win it 65-56.

"We weren't prepared for this game apparently" said Londonderry head coach Nate Stanton. "Hopefully after tonight they will wake up and learn a lesson."

That lesson is to not take any team lightly, even after coming off the big win the Lancers had on Friday night over Manchester Central in the 'Battle of Unbeatens'.

New Hampton Beats #2 Ranked Notre Dame Prep

As part of Sunday afternoon's Frank Monahan Foundation Basketball Showcase, the New Hampton School Huskies beat the #2 ranked team in the country, Notre Dame Prep 77-66. New Hampton got off to a strong start, leading 32-12 halfway through the 1st half. The Huskies are a very big team, with a starting lineup that goes 6'11", 6'8", 6'7", 6'6" and 6'2", plus a 6'10" kid coming off the bench. Their length was definitely a factor and they were also very active on defense, and as a result Notre Dame struggled to score in the 1st half and dug themselves into a 20 point deficit.

New Hampton is loaded with talent, including 5 kids who will be playing D-I college ball next year. They have Tyler Lydon (Syracuse), AJ Turner (Boston College), John Crosby (Dayton), Jeremy Miller (Northeastern) and Max Rothschild (Pennsylvania). Each of them scored in double figures, led by Turner with 16.

The game-high scorer was Notre Dame senior Jerry Johnson who really heated up in the 2nd half en route to 26 points. The other player in double figures for Notre Dame was post-grad guard Patrick Welch (Epsom, NH) who poured in 14. Welch showed many of the same attributes that made him a star at Pembroke Academy, including his blazing speed, killer crossover dribble, knock down shooting and underrated defense. Except now Welch was producing against much tougher competition than he faced in the NHIAA. Welch is undecided for next year, but has at least six D-I/D-II offers.

Bishop Brady Tops Lebanon in D2 Showdown

2 of the top teams in Division II went at it on Sunday afternoon in Concord, as Bishop Brady led by as many as 24 (50-26 in 3rd quarter). Lebanon made a resilient comeback, cutting the lead to just 6 in the 4th quarter. Brady was able to hold on for the 62-52 win, to improve to 12-2 (15-2 overall) on the season. All 5 Giants starts scored 9 points or more, led by senior point guard Jourdain Bell with a team-high 20. Sophomore point guard KJ Matte dropped a game-high 23 for Lebanon.

Coming in, Lebanon had scored 58 points or more in 8 of their 11 games. However, Brady played tough, hard nosed man-to-man defense. They held the Raiders to just 24 points in the 1st half and only 33 points through 3 quarters.

"It all starts on defense for us" said Bishop Brady first-year head coach Cole Etten. "KJ is a great shooter, so we wanted to close out on him and their other shooters."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Messler Leads Oyster River Past Windham

Junior forward Sara Messler and her Oyster River High girls basketball team are quietly having a very strong season. Following their 57-45 road victory vs. Windham on Saturday afternoon the Bobcats have won 6 in a row and are 12-3 overall. Messler dropped a game-high 33 points on Saturday in the win. Messler has scored 30+ points in 4 of their last 7 games. She is making a case for D-II Player of the Year honors.

"She's one of the best players in the state" said Oyster River head coach David Burrows.

Oyster River went jumped out to a 10-3 lead to start the game, they had an 11-0 run to start the 2nd quarter, and outscored Windham 16-8 in the 4th quarter. In addition to Messler dominating inside they forced the Jaguars to turn the ball over 15 times. The Bobcats' full court press was effective throughout the game.