Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thoughts Following Exciting Night of Hoops

1/9/09
It was another full slate of basketball action in NH, and here is what I'm thinking:

First, from the game I was at...I was covering Dover/Salem for WGAM Friday Night Lights. Pinkerton beat Salem by 18 on Tuesday night, and Dover is better than Pinkerton. So I was expecting an easy Dover win. And Dover was up 8-0 and 10-2 early on, so at first it appeared I would be right. But Salem scratched and clawed their way back into the game. There was at least 5 lead changes in this one, which made it fun to watch. Lots of runs, too. Dover started off 8-0, Salem had a 20-8 run to take the lead, then Dover closed out the half on a 13-3 run. 8-0 run Salem early in the third followed by a 12-0 run Dover late third-early 4th. These are two teams that rely on the outside shot a lot, especially Dover. And when those shots stop falling that's when the opposition can make a run. And that's why there was so many runs tonight. The two teams made a combined 17 three's, including 5 for LaRosa, 5 for Duffy and 3 for Burt. People will look at Salem's record and say they're 0-3 they must not be very good. But Dover is my #1 team right now, and with 1:49 left in the game Salem was only down 53-51 to them. Salem is not a bad basketball team. They just have a lot of football players on their team. LaRosa's the only one who plays hoops year round. Gallant plays volleyball, Cannone, Lorenz, Henrick and Matthews all play football. These kids took an entire 4 months off from playing basketball. They're still getting into basketball shape, which is of course different than football shape, and still transitioning from football/volleyball season into hoops. Plus Analdo Vasquez, who got big minutes for Salem during summer and fall leagues, suffered a season ending injury right before the season started. Back to Dover though for a second. Yes, I have them ranked #1 right now, but there is really no clear cut favorite in Class L this year. I keep saying that any one of those top 5 teams (Dover, BG, Merrimack, Trinity, Memorial) could be #1. Dover's weaknesses are that they rely on the three ball too much, so that when the shots aren't falling they can suffer offensive dry-spells. Now when this happens, not only are you not scoring, but outside shot misses = long rebounds, and long rebounds = fast break opportunities for the other team. That's why Dover is vulnerable. Their other weakness is depth. Robert Mahan got in the game for about 30 seconds tonight, but other than that Coach Romps only played 6 kids all game. This could catch up with Dover later on in the season, especially against a team like BG who plays 10 players at least. And if one of Dover's 6 key players were to get injured they would be in trouble. The other side of this debate is that the Green Wave only need 6 players to win. I can back that statement up with 3 points. Point #1 is that last year Memorial made it to the title game by playing a 6 man rotation. Very rarely did anyone besides Chevrefils, Gendron, Brandon, Sowa, Reyes or Couture make it into a close game a season ago for the Crusaders and they were fine. Point #2 is that these 6 kids that we're talking about for Dover are really in great shape. Burt, Dube, Al-Darraji, Faustino, Duffy and Taveras are all perfectly capable of playing big minutes. They're all in great shape and never seem to get winded. Point #3 is that Dover is such a good team that there will surely be some times when they are blowing a team out and will be able to rest their 6 key players then. True, there are 15 or so legit teams in Class L so there aren't many easy games. But Dover still has a schedule that includes dates with St. Thomas, Concord, Spaulding, Timberlane and Goffstown. At least four of those games, if not all five, should be opportunities for Coach Romps to rest his starters. On a different Dover note, they play BG next Thursday night in a battle of my current #1 vs. #2 teams in Class L. Now that I have to see.

Now, on to some thoughts on other games tonight...The first final score that I was really surprised by was Pembroke 51 Lebanon 27. Before this game, I think I had Lebanon at #1 and Pembroke at #6 in my Class I Power Rankings. So if anything I thought Lebanon would be favored, even on the road. But on paper I thought these were two pretty evenly matched teams. Just shows you how crazy Class I has been so far this season...I guess before I go too much further I have to talk about Milford/Pelham, the game of the night. I wasn't really surprised with the result in this one, though. I thought Milford would win in a close one and they did. Going into the season I had these two teams as the top 2 teams in Class I and that's how I have them now. Milford vs. Souhegan on Tuesday should be a good one this upcoming Tuesday night...Sounds like Memorial and Pinkerton had a good one tonight in Derry. I guess Shomari Morgan played but was only at 60-70%. That surprises me, because when he sat out the final of the QCIBT, I talked to Coach Fitzpatrick and he seemed to think it was a pretty minor injury. I figured he would be back Tuesday and be fine. Pinkerton is a decent team, but I don't think they would have played Memorial that close if Morgan is 100%. Pinkerton is solid, but they'll need their guards to step up. The group of Park, Williams, Curry, Light and Colbert. Those 5 players will determine how far the Astros go...I know that South isn't the same team without Jake Nelson. But it's still surprising to see they lost to Goffstown. Goffstown lost to Bedford on Tuesday, and in the Keene State Holiday Tournament they lost to Plymouth, ouch! Even without Nelson, South has some a lot of speed and athleticism. I would think on talent alone, guys like Basora, A.Muccioli and Joseph could have gotten them a win over Goffstown...Getting back to Class I, Portsmouth 61 Kingswood 43 was another final that raised my increasingly bushy eyebrows. I know that Portsmouth only lost to Pelham by three on Tuesday night. But Kingswood was 4-0 heading in, including a win over a good Merrimack Valley team (which beat Pembroke over the holiday break). I thought this could have gone either way, and if anything Kingswood would be favored. I haven't seen Kingswood yet this year. But I've seen Portsmouth twice, and they seemed like a team that was still trying to figure out a rotation. They, like Salem, also have a lot of football players who were still trying to shake off the rust. I expected a slow start for the Clippers, so to beat Kingswood by 18 is surprising. It's still early in the season, though.

That's all I've got for now. Personally, I find game stories boring. They're all just facts and stats, no real opinions or insider info. And many of them have way too many quotes. I also find long stories/articles boring to read, so I will try and keep my posts shorter from now on. I hope you enjoy this less formal "sports talk style" of writing. Stay tuned...

19 comments:

  1. Jeremy, I am interested in your opinion of the BG team when you see them.They look alot different then the team you saw in the fall.

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  2. When I saw them in the fall they had a lot of erratic passes, sometimes kids tried to do too much. I think that now that they're getting used to playing together and have a few weeks under their belt with Migneault coaching them that's why you're seeing them have the success they're having now. I'll be very interested to see how they do against Dover Thursday night. It will be a good measuring stick game for both squads. I'll have a close eye on BG's substitutions. Subbing 5 in and 5 out every 4 minutes might not be the best plan, especially when you're sitting your "Big 3" at the same time at various points in the game.

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  3. Mignault didn't do the "5 in and 5 out" last night, as least not as much. He definitely played 10-12 kids, but he seemed to sub them in 2-3 at a time, as opposed to the hockey shift approach. Migs is not stupid - if the Dover game is close he will leave his studs in when it counts. On the other hand, since Dover only plays 6 kids, the BG depth could be a major deciding factor next Thursday night.

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  4. Two big rivalry games for Dover this coming week. Hope they don't look past Spaulding. Mondoux and Cronin will light them up if they do.

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  5. Jeremy, let's get back to the Pembroke/Lebanon game. This was a blow-out from the start! Don't you think some revisions are needed in the player and team ratings? The Neely kid shut down another one of the top rated point guards and scored 15 pts. as well as grabbing 7 rebounds! This kid deserves a much better rating than #29! Benson at #12 and Neely at #29? I don't think so!!!!

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  6. I heard there was a technical foul that took one of the best players for Lebanon off the floor very early.

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  7. Please stop whinning about Pembroke. They are overrated and don't need anyomre love than jeremy already gives them

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  8. BG/Dover, could be a preview of March. Saw the bst tournament of champions championship game between these two, it was a very good game, both teams played very hard and executed on both end of the floor. The key to that game was dover matching the physicality of BG, and were able to fight through the press the whole game in order to get easy baskets. Granted BG did not have ther whole roster which is gonna play a huge roll in this rematch. I gurantee you, if migs goes five in five out dover goes home with the "W". Basktball is a rythm game and if guys are going in and out in four minute stints, this one will be over quick. If i'm BG i put the clamps on Al Darajji, hes not a true point guard, and he does not feel comfortable with the ball. If Dover had a true point and they could put Al Darajji and Burt on the wings i'd say pencil them into the finals, but they dont, so that being said i say BG by 8 for now. Any body think otherwise?
    Congrats to Milford and Pembroke for nice wins in a early season tests!!!!

    Any feedback on Mascoma/Contant coming up in a couple weeks? I say Mascoma ends the streak.

    and for Class S Derryfield is looking pretty good early, anyone think they can make a run at it?

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  9. there's no way Mascoma beats Conant...Mascoma may be undefeated, but have beaten no one...the teams they've played have a combined record of 8-24. When they beat someone, anyone....let me know.

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  10. Its good to see, we got someone to bite. Your wright the chances of Mascoma beating them are very slim, especially on Conants home court, but if you have ever played or been around any sport, we both know anything is possible, especially if you have a coach that understands the game and discipline. We know Mr. Saucier has both, lets see what new coach at Mascoma has!!! Do you think Conant wins 'M' hands down?

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  11. I have played and currently coach...this year it is Conant and Campbell...followed by everyone else. Campbell can play with them , but need to get over the mental hump of actually beating them. Yes, any team on any given day could happen, but until someone proves otherwise, it is foolish to predict Conant will lose, because they don't.

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  12. Not a bad perception, but that is exactly the kind of attitude that kids should not take on. At what level do you coach? Campbell is definaltey a solid contender, and if anyone is gonna knock Conant off the top, it will probuably have to be Campbell, but dont be fooled for a second, if you think it cant happen, because thats when it will. I hope it is Conant/Campbell at the end, they both are class programs, with dedicated coaches, if we could get coaches like them into most schools the quality of NH basketball would benefit. so whos your pick acroos the board all classes, coach?

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  13. I'm not saying kids should...we are 2 adults (i think) discussing and predicting...I coach in M, and we are prepared to win every night regardless of opponent...and have had good success...but to sit there and blindly predict the fall of Conant because "anything can happen" is stupid...Campbell has all the tools, great guard play, tough/hard-working big man, great coach...but don't underestimate the mental part of the game...when it's close and big plays need to be made

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  14. and by the way... I like Trinity, Milford, Colebrook and yes, Campbell to raise banners. I do think the Cougars will finally get it done.

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  15. Coach in "M" ahh, interesting, there is Know need to get upset, my statment about Mascoma ending the streak, was strictly to create some conversation, but in your state of being upset you totally missed the point because your statment about "dont underestimate the mental part of the game" was exactly my point, but you obviously didnt see that. I myself would like to see Campbell bring it home, but that is the exact reason why it wont happen, Conant has the players/coach that are tested and proven, they know how to win that time of year, they might take a loss in the regular but come playoff time they will be "mentally" tuned in and ready to roll, dont get me wrong, as my point was before anything can happen, so we'll see what happens, hopefully we both win and Campbell pulls it out. Milford: is safe, Colebrook: i have no idea, Trinity, why? what do you think will seperate them in the end? any score on Milford/souhegan? what is your predict on BG/Dover thursdy night?

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  16. MIlford won easily despite some foul trouble early. O'Loughlin scored 22 points in about 15 to 18 minutes played. That is a blind estimate but he sat almost the entire 3rd quarter. Milford got nice production across the lineup with Holder and Mitchell I am guessing in the teens and Nelson around 10 as well. This game was a slow build to a 20+ lead midway through the 4th.
    Souhegan got good play from Cordts and Jack Nelson. Devan Gilligan was a non factor. He was scratching and banging his head all night. His frustration in the first half never let him get going.
    Milford won by around 20.

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  17. and by the way..."the streak" was ended by Stevens last December...the real "streak" - 4 straight titles is still going, and Mascoma has zero shot of ending that one. Winnisquam maybe, because of the height advantage, but i don't think they have the toughness necessary to beat the Orioles on that stage.

    I like Trinity because of Madol...BG has no one to defend him. And I don't understand the way Migs coaches that team...his sub patterns, etc. I'll take Dover thursday.

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  18. Good stuff, I got the breakdown on the Milford game earlier, it really sounds like Milford dominated that game, i think the only ones that could potenialy beat Milford is Milford themselves, as we all know anything can happen at that age. It looks more and more like Campbell could knock Conant off the top with a big win over Pelham in Pelham last night, that goes along ways in the mindset of 15-16 year old kids when you can go on the road and win in someone elses house, with the magnitude of that enviroment. Hopefully there not playing their best to early !!! Without doubt Madol is the best player in the state right now but i'm not sure if its enough, and your right BG is tough, but i'm not sure about migs gameplan either, but they are deep and their role players understand how to play. Dover was my early choice especially after watching them win the BST league in a very competitive enviroment, and i watched them win the QCIT as well, and man you cant teach winning championships, it only comes with winning them, so we'll see, my point of weakness besides the obvious size thing, is the point guard poistion, Al Darraji does not look comfortable with the ball, and come March that could be deadly. I think honestly after seeing the first of the season, though early, i wouldnt be surprised at all and i'll go out on the line, just for the sake of doing it, and generating some interest, I call Trinity/Memorial again with Memorial getting revenge in March. I've seen Fitzy team play a couple times, hes got the peices, some good skill players combined with size and more than efficient roll players, i think by the end of the year Fitz has them all tuned in and the rotation down pat. They need to get a bit tougher but i think when its all on the line, especially if it is Trinity they get the "W". If it was to be BG/Memorial i might have to go BG, just because of match ups, and the tougness factor will be alot more important in this one. Great stuff, cant wait to see what happens.

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  19. When is Madol going to put up the numbers that go along with all the praise. He has had a solid season but I have not seen him dominate as a future division 1 player should in such a small state.

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