Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pembroke's All Guard Lineup Comes up Short vs. Portsmouth

Tonight I saw Portsmouth pick up a good road win by defeating Pembroke 61-51. Here are my thoughts about that game, as well as my thoughts on tonight's other big games:

My take on Pembroke/Portsmouth
The biggest thing that I took away from this game was Pembroke's lack of size. I knew going in that they were small, but I at least thought that they would play Tyler Morrison (6'4") a good amount. But Morrison only played a minute and a half tonight. The rest of the minutes went to six guards: Rene Maher (5'8"), Coleton Neely (5'10"), Dalton Cheney (5'11"), Matt Persons (5'11"), Sheldon Benson (6'1") and Jackson Riel (6'1").

After the game I asked Coach Alosa why Morrison wasn't in there more. "Going into the season we were planning on him starting, but he's just not ready. The speed of the game is just too fast for him."

So it's small ball for Pembroke. And that's why they've been so inconsistent. They've blown out two good teams in Hanover and Lebanon, but this is their third loss on the season. Because of their lack of size, how they do going forward will all depend on match-ups.

This game was a lot close than the final score indicates. Portsmouth made their free throws at the end of the game when Pembroke was fouling them, and it was only a two point game with three minutes left. And Coleton Neely fouled out with 3:58 left in the game. Right before he fouled out he drilled a three that cut Portsmouth's lead to just 50-47. Neely was quiet in the first half, but he scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half. He was starting to heat up when he fouled out. If he stays in there who knows how it ends.

Also, Rene Maher suffered a hyper-extended knee injury in the 3rd quarter. It was a scary moment for Spartan fans, he looked pretty shaken up on the play. But he returned to the lineup early in the fourth. While he was out of the game Portsmouth increased their lead from three to eight.

The player of the this game was clearly Mike Barton for Portsmouth. He had 31 points, including five three pointers. He also made some nice passes and had a big blocked shot in the first quarter. Barton made the two biggest shots of the ballgame. Pembroke came out of halftime on a roll. It was tied at 23 at the half, but the Spartans went on an 8-0 run to begin the third quarter. It looked like they were in control of the game, up 31-23. Then Barton nailed back to back three's and just like that it was a two point game and the momentum was completely shifted from Pembroke over to Portsmouth.

Another factor in this game was free throw shooting. Simply put, Portsmouth made their foul shots and Pembroke did not.

This was a solid ballgame. Two very evenly matched teams. Portsmouth goes on the road and beats a good team. And heading into this one the Clippers beat a good Kingswood team, and only lost to Pelham by three. They're a well coached team, and Barton is playing like an all-state player right now.

My take on the other big games tonight:
I would have liked to have seen BG/North, Milford/Souhegan, Campbell/Pelham and Winnacunnet/Pinkerton. But unfortunately I could only see one game tonight.

Seems like BG/North was the game of the night, with BG winning 76-74. When these two teams met in the Rivier Fall League playoffs, it was a dandy. It was fast and hectic, but still a good one. Both BG and North like to play at a very fast pace, take quick shots and force turnovers, so I'm sure it was a fun game to watch. North proves they can play with the big boys once again. They were neck and neck with Dover last week, and now tonight they only lose to BG by two. You have to consider them one of the top 6 or 7 teams in Class L right now. As for BG, they stay in the #2 spot in my Class L rankings. With Dover taking care of business tonight vs. Spaulding, this means that Thursday night's game between Dover and BG will pit the top 2 teams in Class L against each other.

How about that Pinkerton/Winnacunnet game? I figured that this was going to be a close one, ad it was with the Warriors winning just barely, 58-55. Two very evenly matched teams. And two teams with VERY contrasting styles. All of Pinkerton's best players are forwards, while all of Winnacunnet's best players are guards. Pinkerton has had problems closing out games over the last couple years, and with Winnacunnet playing at home I'm not surprised in the result of this one.

Milford beats Souhegan easily, 73-56. There was a lot of hype around this game going in. I thought Milford would win, but I figured it would be a little closer than this. Souhegan still has a lot of new players to their varsity team this year, and they've also had injuries to Redmond and McKenna. They'll get better as the season goes on.

Campbell continues to make headlines around the state, as they beat Pelham tonight, 83-75. 83 points for Campbell against a good Pelham team is VERY impressive. What I really like about this game is that it means something. In the past a cross-division game wouldn't count in the standings. In the past you would have a game like this and it was essentially a scrimmage in the middle of the season, which makes ZERO sense. But here, you have two good basketball teams, they're right next door to each other geographically, they're not in the same Class but it still counts! Good stuff. Sounds like this game wasn't even as close as the final eight point margin indicates. Congrats to Campbell. I coached against them last week, and they're a talented, hungry team. Talent AND hunger, that's a scary combination. And they lost to Conant earlier this season. Boy, Conant must be REALLY good!.

Elsewhere, how about Londonderry? They played at home tonight, and against possibly the worst team in Class L, Concord, and only won by 5, 49-44?! Someone commented on this site the other day that I should move them up the rankings. They're sure not moving up after tonight. Now if they can beat Pinkerton on Friday night, well then that will be a different story.

How about John Stark beating Bishop Brady 73-33? I figured John Stark would be favored in this one. But I thought this was actually going to be a close game. Bishop Brady has two of the top 20 players in this year's senior class, how are they this bad?.

In a minor upset, Kearsarge defeats Merrimack Valley 53-48.

And in another game that I expected to be a lot closer than it was, Oyster River blows out Kingswood 64-45. After starting off 4-0, Kingswood has come back down to earth with two losses in a row.

Finally, South continues to show that they REALLY miss Jake Nelson being in their lineup as they lose to West 68-40. Still, West is one of the top 8 teams in Class L right now, no doubt about it. And they have a chance to prove it on Friday night when they host Trinity in a big one.

NHIAA doesn't have the final scores for these ones, but Memorial beats Salem 51-46, and Merrimack beats Central 53-43. Anyone have a final for Trinity/Goffstown?


  1. Jeremy,
    Do you have any other scores from tonights games? Just an idea, but on game nights you should post scores, i would come here first to check for them. As far a i know there is no where to go to check for scores on the night of games, its seems as though we always have to wait till the next day to get scores.

  2. I usually check the NHIAA website. On the home page where it says "schedules and results" click "Today". It shows all of the scores from that day's games. It doesn't have all of the scores but it does show most of them.

  3. NHIAA posts them as soon as the AD sends them in. I've got a couple people sending me scores prior to getting them at NHIAA, or I check their website as well. If I'm not covering a game I will "tweet" them at:

    Or check out the Forum as will on the right hand side of Jeremy's website here, we have a couple of regular contributors who chime in as soon as they get home from games.

    Nice write up Jeremy

  4. Jeremy, I didnt know where to post this comment so I thought this would be a good spot. All the posts about NH teams and players have been great. However, why is it that we have a division 1 team in the state that never looks at NH Kids.ntinues to have awful teams and no NH kids on the roster. Presently they are under 500 as usual and the only player from NH is the coaches son? When is the University system going to wake up and get a coach that is from this area and can recruit the local kids? Some one like Matt Alosa or even an AAU coach like Mark Dunham? There hasnt been any NH support for the wildcats since Alosa left years ago! Its time the local basketball people start asking why UNH doesnt get any local kids?

  5. It's a valid point to bring up, 5:28. However, NH usually just doesn't produce a lot of Division-I caliber players. More NH players are D-II or D-III caliber players. As a result you do see a lot of NH kids on teams like NHTI, Plymouth St., Keene St., Rivier, Colby Sawyer and SNHU.

    I know that UNH did make a scholarship offer to Jordan Laguerre, however. But Laguerre also has offers from bigger D-I schools like BC and Providence, so he's unlikely to settle on UNH.

    If NH did produce more D-I talent though, it would be nice to see some NH kids playing for my Alma Mater, UNH.

  6. I have to disagree with you as there have been many Div 1 players from NH that got away because of lack of recruting and coaching talent. Billy Collins, Cory Hassan, Chris Lutz, Luke Bonner, Chad Millard, thats just a few. there are also Div 2 players that could have played at UNH.

  7. I agree, Bonner, Millard, Hassan, Bowen, Lutz would have been a nice lineup for UNH for 3 or 4 years if they go them all to come in around the same time.

  8. the bottom line on a D1 school is the whole picture - grades, ability - and will they continue to the endowment after. There probably are some w/potential - but not many. Even in your rankings Jeremy one of the top 5 who might have D1 potential - is a habitual F student since Middle School and still doesn't get it - because it has been allowed by the coaches and schools. No school is going to risk financially sponsoring a kid - who probably can't cut the academics and would flunk out freshman year. So Boys, be warned it doesn't matter how good you are, if the grades aren't there, your through after high school - your not that valuable.

  9. Bonner - WV/UMass, Hassan - BU/Sacred Heart, Lutz - Purdue/Marshall, Millard - Louisville/Creighton, Brickley - Northeastern/SNHU/Louisvile....

    Its no secret that yes all those kids transferred, but they also ALL played at superior schools than UNH. Fact is they are too good for America East. It's pretty simple.

    If UNH wanted to recruit some of the DII or DIII talent the state produces, that's fine, but they'll be at the bottom of the AE standings every year (hey they just be Albany tonight they're improving).

    If it means anything UNH got the top rated player out of VT last year in Tyrone Conley and if you look at other AE teams you won't see a lot of hometown talent in the starting lineups.

  10. Maybe David Madol will end up playing at UNH in a couple years.

  11. All the above posts bring up good points. But UNH still is not a good basketball program. NH is the hot bed for Prep Schools that have great talent. For a program to be successful you have to know how to recruit and keep the local talent home. I know UNH at one time had a local coach that failed but I think it is time for them to reach out and try a local guy again. I cant remember the last time UNH had a team that was worth seeing. They should be having games at the Verision and packing the place. Bottom line is this area is lacking a good college basketball program that everyone can enjoy.

  12. Sacred Heart is below UNH and BU is in the smae conference.

    Bowen transfered to D 11 and High point is not much better than UNH.

    If UNH gets Dunham and he brings the best players the states has it would help the team grow. Land JL and Madol and go from there

  13. Jeremy i didnt read the article honestly. but love the pun
    come up SHORT

  14. what makes you think Dunham can run a D 1 program...because he coaches the Jayhawks??? Get a grip. It's night and day, and getting top NH talent would actually make UNH worse...they need to be able to get players from Mass, Ct, RI, and NY/NJ to be able to compete. If you think we are on par with any of those others states, you are in a dream world. And anyone worth anything (Matt Bonner, Laguierre, Madol) will always choose an ACC/SEC/Big East atmosphere over the Amer East.

  15. For me, a UNH Coach Like Alosa would be respected as a player in the New England area and can relate and talk with the best of NH kids, as he was one. I agree that the Division 1 players are few and far between, but the ones that are here would go to UNH if they trusted the coaching staff there. The last time the gym was full at UNH was when Alosa played there. They have not won since he left. UNH lost the recruiting class of Lutz, Millard, Hassan, Brickly, and Luke Bonner. Sounds like a winning team in the America East. With a good staff Alosa would build some excitement in the State University again and give people a reason to go to durham besides Hockey or the NHIAA basketball playoffs.

  16. You could be right, that UNH might not be able to get players like Laguere or even Madol, but I could see them bringing in players like Connor Green.

  17. Madol's not that much better than Green.