This past fall, when Campbell needed an extra player, Steve Spirou played with them during the Rivier Fall League games. Spirou was able to play alongside Cougars' junior swingman Josh Morgan after the two players spent the past several years play against each other. Over the past 3 weeks, both players have joined the 1,000 point club for their respective schools. What's more impressive is that both players are just juniors.
Tonight Morgan scored 18 points, including point #1,000, to lead Campbell past Farmington in the preliminary round of the Class M tournament. The final score was Campbell 71 Farmington 50.
Even though Morgan dropped 18 and got the milestone, one could argue that it was actually Campbell's Shawn Henriquez who was the best player on the floor this evening. The 6'1" senior guard had a game-high 20 points, to go along with 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Talk about a stat sheet stuffer! It was more than just the stats though. Henrqiquez was the team's best defender tonight, controlled tempo all game, constantly pushing the ball and keeping pressure on the Farmington defense, making some strong drives to the bucket and knocking down three's.
Morgan also played well. He hit a couple three's in the second half that were absolute daggers. He also was very good at finishing in transition. He notched point #1,000 on a three pointer early in the third quarter. After the game he was awarded the game ball and honored for his achievement. Oh, and when I say he was awarded the game ball, I mean he was awarded the actual basketball they played with in the game. Not to be confused with the "NH Notebook Game Ball Award!"
The other player I was impressed with for Campbell was senior forward Bobby Frappier. He is an undersized big man at just 6'0", but nobody works harder than this kid on the boards. Fun player to watch. Every good team needs a player like that to do the dirty work, bang around down low, battle for rebounds and get the tough points. Frappier finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Now even though most people will look at the final score and just assume it was a blowout the whole way that was not at all the case. Farmington led 13-9 with 3:06 left in the 1st quarter. They led 19-17 after one. At halftime they were only down 3, 36-33 to Campbell. And halfway through the 3rd quarter they trailed by just 1, it was 38-37 Cougars. Then Campbell went on an 11-0 run and the route was on. But for 2 and a half quarters this was anyone's basketball game.
You have to give Farmington credit for battling like that. I had seen the Tigers play before tonight, but I they even surprised me with how well they shot the basketball. Their backcourt of senior Codie Healey (15 points on 5 three's), sophomore Austin Vachon (11 points) and junior Jon Funk (11 points on 3 three's) kept them in the game most of the way. Farmington also has a 6'5" sophomore center Derek Jeffrey who played well and has a very bright future ahead of him. He was active on the boards and on both ends of the floor. Jeffrey also made a very nice move by pulling up of the dribble and sticking a 15 foot jump shot. Not bad at all for a 6'5" kid who's only a sophomore. He finished with 8 points, 8 rebounds and 1 blocked shot.
'We weren't closing out on their shooters" said Morgan after his milestone game. "That's why they stayed with us in the first half."
What's more impressive about Farmington playing the Cougars even for the the first 2 and a half quarters was the fact that they did it despite not playing their bench...at all! Over those first 20 minutes of the game, Jeffrey sat for about 30 seconds of game time. And other than, the starting lineup of Jeffrey, Healey, Vachon, Funk and junior forward Jarrid Nason played the whole game. The Tigers only dressed 9 players. This game was played at a very fast pace. Watching the action, you knew that at some point Farmington would run out of gas, given the fact that they were playing the same 5 kids virtually the entire time. There is no doubt in my mind that fatigue on the part of Farmington played a huge part in Campbell's 3rd quarter run.
This was a very well played, exciting basketball game in the first half. It had the makings of a classic barn burner. But Farmington's downfall was that they started to turn the ball over in the second half too much. If you want a chance to beat Campbell, you MUST limit your turnovers. They're too fast and have too many weapons. If you turn the ball over in bunches, Campbell will eat you alive. They'll turn them into easy buckets on the other end. You also have to ALWAYS know where Frappier is on the offensive glass. If you don't then he will eat you alive as well with offensive rebounds and put-backs.
Campbell is a good team. The key for them will be defense. If they can step it up on defense, close out on the shooters and prevent dribble penetration they'll be ok..And they'll make it to SNHU.