Bishop Guertin defeated Dover tonight 76-63 in a battle of the two best high school basketball teams in New Hampshire. BG has to be considered #1 right now and Dover is #2.
"Green was the difference for them" said Dover Head Coach Mike Romps, of course talking about Guertin junior Connor Green. "I actually hadn't seen him play before tonight, but he was the difference for them."
Green was just too much foe Dover to handle. He only had 15 points, but that's actually a lot when you're playing on a team with so much other talent. Green showed an excellent pull-up game, and is a tough match-up for any team. He's 6'4" with a rugged, strong body and is quick off the dribble. He's also very active on the offensive glass. He had some big blocked shots and some thunderous dunks which really got the crowd into the game and the momentum on BG's side.
Alex Burt had a tough game for Dover. He finished with 16 points, but he only had two field goals and only had three points in the first half. He just never got going tonight. BG did a good job of defending him, pushing him out far from the hoop. As a result he took some shots that were out of his range.
Another thing that stood out to me about this game, not that it's any surprise, was the depth of BG. Coach Migneult played 12 kids in the first half and 10 of them scored. That's right. 10 players from the SAME TEAM scored in ONE HALF of basketball. I don't think I've ever seen that in a basketball game before. Very impressive. This not only shows that the Cardinals are deep, but also that they were being unselfish tonight, with the scoring load being spread throughout the lineup, rather than just two or three players doing it all.
I give BG a ton of credit for the way they played tonight. They were flat out the better basketball team. At the same time, Dover was able to hang around the whole time and keep it close. It was around a six or seven point lead for most of the second half. Dover refused to give up, and they kept fighting back. And with the way BG was playing, if they were playing probably anyone else in NH they would have run their opponent out of the gym and push the lead to at least 15. So I give Dover credit for that. There were a few times when, just when it seemed like BG was going to break the game open, Dover would hit a couple shots and cut the lead back down. Late in the third quarter it was only a four point game, with Guertin up 43-39. So Dover hung tough. And the Green Wave have to also take solace in the fact that tonight was about as quiet a game Alex Burt is going to have all year and they were still in the game for the first 31 minutes.
For BG though, you have to feel good about where you are as a team. They played 12 kids, and they all played well. And with Green, St. Lawrence and McClung you have three kids who are all about 6'4", all are fast and very skilled. That makes them the toughest team in the state to match up with.
The best player for Dover tonight was clearly Morgan Faustino. I've seen Dover play a lot. I saw then last year, over the summer, fall league and against Salem the other night. Tonight was the best game I've seen Faustino have. He had 16 points and 22 rebounds. Him and Justin Dube did a very good job on the boards for Dover.
Also, Dover shot 18/66 from the floor, that's only 27%. What can you say? They're a jump shooting team, that's been well documented. And when the shots aren't falling they struggle. Rory Duffy was knocking down shots early, and he also took a couple of nice charges in the first quarter. But he was very quiet for the rest of the game. Kenaan Al-Darraji also had a solid game for Coach Romps' squad.
For BG it was an excellent team effort. Like I said before, they played 12 kids and they all played well. Role players who impressed were Nick Pyzocha, Luke Lavash and Kyle Coumas.
One last note about this game. There was an unbelievable atmosphere in that gym tonight. It was the most anticipated game of the season thus far. It's a Thursday night, so other than the Portsmouth/Oyster River game this was the only game going on. It was a packed house. The BG student section was packed and they were loud. And there were players/coaches present from Memorial, Alvirne, Winnacunnet, Merrimack, Spaulding, Milford, Pembroke and Nashua South. Plus Plymouth State and WPI. You look around the gym and you're thinking it's the Class L title game, not a regular season game in January. This is a good thing, though. This was a good night for New Hampshire basketball.