Sunday, November 22, 2009

NH's Best Defenders

2/5/10
I think that this post is long overdue. I am finally getting around to recognizing the top DEFENSIVE players in the state. These players might not lead their team in scoring. But whether it's shutting down the opponents top scorer, coming over from the weak side and blocking shots, or taking charges on the fast break, these players all make HUGE contributions to the success of their respective teams. Now, without any further ado...

The Top Dogs

1. Anthony Floras - Merrimack...The job that Floras has done defensively this season has been well documented. He held Richard Valentin and Alex Burt (The two best scoring guards in the state) to a combined total of 15 points. His little brother Dimitri might score points, but Anthony is just as valuable to the Tomahawk's success.

2. Richard Valentin - Manchester West...What can you say, this kid was blessed with some incredible speed and athleticism. The job he does on defense isn't just about his raw skills though. It's also about effort. Watch him play defense and you'll see not only is he faster than anyone else in the state, but he busts his butt on defense every minute he's out there, getting right up in the face of the player he's guarding.

3. Jake Nelson - Nashua South...In case you're wondering why Nelson is so high on this list despite only playing in 2 games so far this season; this list is NH's Best Defenders, NOT the best defensive players of the season so far. Anyone who has seen Nelson play ball multiple times knows that he is one of the top 3 defenders our state has to offer. When healthy, Nelson routinely makes the opposing point guard's life a nightmare, getting right in his face and really making him work, for every pass and every shot.

4. Zach Mathieu - Pinkerton...Nobody has more blocked shots over the last 3 years than Mathieu. Whether it's blocking his man's shot or coming over from the weak side, he has a knack for being in the right place and swatting the ball away. He's 6'7" and built and has solid quickness for his size. This season he has also gotten bigger, and is now built like a lumberjack. Good luck to opponents scoring in the paint when he's in the game.

5. Rory Duffy - Dover...One of the most improved players in the state this season, Duffy has also emerge as one of the better defenders around. He can defend out on the perimeter as well as down low. He has the strength to battle with anybody. He just flat out tries harder than anyone else out there. But the real reason he's ranked this high is this. NOBODY take more charges than Rory Duffy.

6. James Holler - Exeter...To really be an elite defender, I think you have to be a little mean. It's an intangible that you can't really teach. James Holler has that. He plays with a swagger and an edge that few others possess. He'll play right up close to his man, even 30 feet from the basket. And he knows that the player still won't go by hm. Fun player to watch.

7. Jayson Martin - Lebanon...Very underrated defender. Nothing flashy about this kid's game. He's fine with not being the star or scoring the most points. Very unselfish player, makes the extra pass. On defense he guards the opponent's toughest wing player, ad flat out locks him down. Very tough defender, and a disciplined ballplayer.

8. Hunter Viscarello - Trinity...At one of Trinity's games in the Queen City tournament, when the Pioneer starting lineup was introduced someone said to me, "Who's that?" when Viscarello's name was called. That right there tells you how underrated this kid is. The reason why he starts for Trinity is because of his defense. Anything they get from him offensively is a bonus. His job is to cover the opponent's best perimeter scorer. And he has done a fantastic job so far. What's more impressive is that he's only a sophomore. Two years from now I expect him to be #1 on this list.

Other Elite Defenders Who Also Belong in the Discussion

9. Sheldon Benson - Pembroke...You have to give a kid credit who is only 6'0", MAYBE 6'1" but is not only battling down low with the opposing team's center (players who are sometimes 6 or 7 inches taller than him) but he's actually holding these players to low scoring totals. Benson has the ability to defend all 5 positions on the floor. Now that's what I call versatility!

10. Audie Melendez - Manchester Central...Another fun player to watch. One of the many players on the Central roster where you're looking at it and saying to yourself, "Who?". But this kid flat out leaves everything he has out on the floor, plays the game harder than almost anybody else and really gets after it on the defensive end. He's only about 5'9", but he is one of the more underrated defensive guards around. He embodies the ball pressure defensive that Coach Doc Wheeler preaches at Central.

11. Jamie Holder - Milford...Like Valentin, Holder is another player who was blessed with great physical ability. More specifically, speed and athleticism. He uses those two qualities to really make his man work on offense, getting right in his man's grill, making him work and forcing a ton of turnovers.

12. Ryan Dunn - Winnacunnet...Two words come to mind when describing the kind of player Ryan Dunn is. Heart and desire. Few players in NH have more of those two than he does. He's not the fastest player, and he can't jump out of the gym. But few players play with as much effort on defense as done. He's constantly diving on the floor for loose balls, taking charges and always covers the best scorer on the other team.

13. Sylvere Aluko - Trinity...It's no secret that Aluko is still very much a work in progress. His game is still very raw. And even on defense, he doesn't have the whole package. But if you watch Trinity, play there's no denying the impact that this kid has on the defensive end. He's 6'9", with extremely long arms. Coach Keefe keeps telling him to not leave the paint. That's why Aluko is in there. So that any shot an opponent takes within 15 feet of the basket, Aluko will either block it, deflect it or alter it. And oh by the way, in all three of those scenarios the shot doesn't go in. You flat out cannot shoot the basketball over him when he puts his arms up. Aluko still has a lot of work to do, but even right now he is a huge asset to the Pioneers on defense.

14. Tom Poitras - Bow...Excellent shot blocker who uses his size and muscle on the low block to prevent points in the paint.

15. Steve Johnstone - John Stark...A gritty, hard nosed player. Similar to Dunn. Johnstone is always diving for loose balls, taking charges and really gets after it on the defensive end. Plays harder than almost anybody is Class I.

16. Matt Cannone - Salem...An excellent athlete and a lock down defender on the wing. He's flat out stronger than pretty much any wing player that he'll cover in Class L. And he also has the quickness to stay with them off the dribble.

17. Morgan Faustino - Dover...One of the better post defenders in the state. With him it's about effort and it's about muscle. He's also quicker than almost any center in Class L which doesn't hurt.

18. Dillon McCarthy - Lebanon...Combines with Martin to form possibly the best defensive backcourt in the state. Another player who relies in fundamentals and discipline. A defender who can lock down on the opponent's point guard.

19. Steve Spirou - Pelham...He's known for his scoring, especially this season. But watch him play and you'll see he makes it VERY tough on which ever player he's covering.

20. Glenn Roderick - Spaulding...If Duffy takes more charges than anyone in the state, Roderick has got to be second in that category. Another undersized big man. Roderick, is only 6'0", MAYBE 6'1" but plays much bigger than that. He doesn't mind doing the dirty work down low, banging around with kids much bigger than him.


Other Players Worth Mentioning
(in no particular order)

Phil Hayden - Trinity
Vinnie Zenni - Manchester Memorial
Matt Couture
- Manchester Memorial
Ben Proulx - Pinkerton
Justin Dube - Dover
Jimmy Peard
- Conant
Kemph Kim - Conant


No Bishop Guertin players are mentioned here, but that is not to say they're not a good defensive team. They have about 12 players who all really get after it on the defensive end. They also have a system in place which allows them to force a lot of turnovers. While they're an excellent defensive TEAM, that's not the same as having top INDIVIDUAL defenders.

74 comments:

  1. I don't know the kid's name,but he was number 14 for bg.When we played them the other night he was all over Caleb,then with 5 minutes left in the 4th he switches over and covers Ryan Sweeney{after Ryan had already scored 9 in the quarter}.Ryan has 6 inches and 100 lbs on the kid, but the kid held him scoreless.Flat out ballsy player.

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  2. #14 on BG is Kyle Remillard. You're right he is definitely one of BG's better defenders.

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  3. You need to consider Jesse Gould from Winny on this list. Has shut down numerous big scorers including Fitzy, Larosa, Valentin.

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  4. good job,these guys are like linemen in football.No glory, but without them the teams go nowhere.

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  5. this post is bizzare. you dont have st lawrence, mcclung, green, fontanella, remlard? wow get your facts right. All play down and tuff from bg. block shots get low everything. so un pleased.

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  6. It's not filled with BG bias so you don't like it. That's logical.

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  7. Nick Hession from Souhegan - 6'2 wing is absolutely one of the best defenders in I.

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  8. I got to play against Milford tonight and see firsthand what you mean about Holder. I watched as our point guard thought he had a break away lay up with Holder trailing the play he looked like he was sizing him up all the way from half court up went the layup and swat went the ball kid can leap out the building even i had to cringe on that one.

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  9. Caleb Donnelly dropped 29 on Floras last night. Doesn't mean he's a great defender - maybe a testimony to how good Donnelly is.

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  10. Look at Mcclung's defensive posture that will tell you why he is not on the list. Also BG gave up 67 poibts to keene last night.......that is not a good defensive team.

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  11. donnelly was going off screen after screen. A majority of the points he had floras wasnt even on him.

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  12. For BG.....Kyle Remillard, Trent Fontanella and Mike Kelly deserve recognition as great defenders. To not have them on your list is a distortion of reality.

    Remillard covered Sweeney from Alvirne and locked him down and then switched over and covered Caleb also. He is versatile and strong.

    Very surprised you left those (3) players off the list. Disappointing.

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  13. How can anyone in their right mind say Bishop Guertin is a bad defending team? If you have ever seen or played against their defense you'll know their top in the league. They are always in your face trapping all over the court. Whoever said green and mclung should be on the list they are the scorers of the team and don't play very good defense. You have fontenlla, remlard, turner, coumas(one of the better defenders not given credit for) coming off the bench for their defense. Lastly you have st. lawrence who is also a shutdown defender but can also score as well which is why he is just what Bg needs.

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  14. Donnelly drops 29 on Floras (who is on the list) and drops nothing on Remillard.

    Go figure.

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  15. I had to cut it off somewhere. There's always going to be players who people feel should have made it. There's 27 players mentioned though, and I think these are the top 27 individual defenders in our state.

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  16. Jeremy i think this list has a few outstanding offensive players as well. Which in my mind when you can play lock down defense and score on the other end your twice as valuable.

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  17. remillard, kelly, fontanella should all definately be on the list
    Mcclung not a chance
    Green makes highlight reel blocks but does not play good defense overall
    anyone who was at the Keene BG game, Keene was hitting EVERYTHING
    BG didnt play good defense but are a solid defensive team

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  18. holler is better then floras.

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  19. my all defensive team,hardwick,holler,st.lawrence,valentin,and mathieu.Hard to put a guy that gives up 32 in the qcibt,and 29 last night as your number 1 defensive guy.I think hardwick is the best defensive player on merrimack.

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  20. nice to see the defense getting some love.

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  21. Jeremy,

    Good for you giving Jason Martin and Dillon Mcarthy some love. They are the best defensive duo in the state ask Bow, Laconia, MV .......

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  22. I saw last night's game at Lebanon. I didn't see any stand-out defensive pressure in the backcourt. Woodward had a few impressive blocks at the basket and Kane had a couple, but there were no steals or forced turnovers from the perimeter and Connor Hill got into the lane at will on several possessions to create shots for himself Tom Poitras and Greg Roemer. The bigs just didn't finish well inside thanks to Woodward / Kane. There are a few players on this list who are very active on defense but not very effective. There's a difference. Theyre active off the ball in help but either lose their man or the ball to often to make a play.

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  23. If BG has such great defensive players, how are they 12th out of 20 teams in class L in points per game?

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  24. There is no such thing as setting someone up and then them not finishing. You didn't set them up well enough then. Connor had a good game for himself, he needs help from other people besides Tom.

    I think we went almost 6 minutes in the 4th quarter without scoring. We were right in the game until that point. It's hard to say the Leb guards didn't do a great job. 41 points will rarely get it done.

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  25. Last statement makes no sense, of course there is. You dribble into pressure causing the off defender to try to trap. You break the trap and get the ball to the open guy and he misses an easy bucket. You cannot blame the passer for that you can only ask what happened on the finish. That is something that happens at every level.

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  26. BG is 12 out of 20 because they are always pushing the ball upcourt and have such a fast pace offense that on the other end the other team is obiously going to shoot a lot more shots too, they aren't like a salem type who runs sets and has a "stall" offense (is it that hard to understand?)

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  27. I think Spirou is a pretty good defender but hes not even one of the top 2 defenders on his team. Boissenault and Sweeny are studs on defense. Boissenault might be best big defender in class I. He held maher to 10pts and 0 offensive rebounds. Not to mention his helpside defense is second to none. Tell me the last time Maher didnt get an offensive rebound in a game. What you think Jeremy?

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  28. I think you're right about Sweeny. He's one of the better perimiter defenders in Class I, and I probably should have included him somewhere. Boissonault is a decent defender, but he's a better rebounder. You could argue that he belongs on the list, but I just don't think he's consistent enough.

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  29. 9:34 hit it on the head. Bow gave up 7 or 8 baskets on missed bunnies. It looked like Hill gave up passing after watching too many plays go empty and just went for the score. He had 3 nice 8-10 foot pull ups in the final 3 minutes to keep some momentum going but it was really too late at that point which was disappointing after they got the game to 2 points going into the fourth.

    But the issue was the defensive play of Lebanon's guards. Didn't see anything notable. My impression was that the Leb guards were able to extend their defense only because they knew they had Jake and Jimmy able to cover them if they got beat. Ryan Hill made plays, Erik Michaud made plays, Bow had no problems protecting the ball and executing the offense. If you want to gauge a defense on points, Lebanon at #3 in class I only scored 52. But that's not because Bow is a great defensive team. Both teams like to play slow-it-up basketball - no shoot outs with either of these two.

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  30. Jeremy, how many Souhegan games have you seen? There's nobody on this team that even makes your list? I think you need to start attending a few Souhegan games. Cordts takes at least 1 if not 2 charges per game and just plays solid defense... Hession is just tough... you got to give these kids some respect.

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  31. I see your point about bg not having any top individual defenders,but consider this,show me a TEAM that can put a better defensive unit then st lawrence,coumais,fontanella,remillard,an
    d kelly out there.These guys have held salem to 1 point for almost 8 minutes of the 4th quarter.Mignault has so many options on that team, He is like a kid in a candy store.This team has many offensive studs{mcclung,green,st lawrence,cuipa}as well as defensive.Depth and talent are 2 good things to have going into the playoffs.Let everyone else get individual accolades,because in the end it's all about what the TEAM accomplishes.

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  32. Jeremy...I think you need to rethink this defensive thing. Here are some facts.

    BG held Merrimack to 2 points in their 15-2 run that got them back in the game. They held Salem to 1 point in the 4th quarter before Larosa's 3 pointer at the buzzer. They held Spaulding to 2 points in the first quarter.

    I could go on as it has been happening all season. They consistently perform tremendous defense in extraordinary situations. It may be a team defensive strategy that accomplishes those results, however, each player still has to perform their responsibility individually at a high level to lockout teams in that manner.

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  33. Not sure who the best defender is but the best defensive team i have seen this year is Manchester Central.

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  34. How can you argue anyone from class I should even contend to be on this list... put them in a class L game and they get smoked... If you are even considering anyone from Bow on here your out of your mind, I watched three games in the summer of them against class L teams and they lost by a total of 110 points

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  35. Maybe Jeremy thinks a lot of these kids play good team defense and not only locking the guy your guarding down. I agree i have seen central play good team defense.

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  36. I can't believe how much BG whines on this site? You have two losses don't you think with if you were really that good on both sides of the ball you would not only be undefeated you be killing every team out there?I think the more you whine the less Jeremy will be interested and the less respect everyone else will have for you.

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  37. How about Greg Asselin from West? His Defense is not the best, but it's still very very good.

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  38. BG is good really good, but not for their defense sure they can bear down and get stops with the best of them. But that is not there claim to fame its their offense idk if anyone remembers Pinkerton last year best team on paper last year by a landslide could score 80 points in a game but didn't play defense. Just like Pinkerton BG could get stops when they wanted, key word wanted this is BG also. Still overall great team and will out score opponents for victories.

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  39. How can you argue anyone from class I should even contend to be on this list... put them in a class L game and they get smoked... If you are even considering anyone from Bow on here your out of your mind, I watched three games in the summer of them against class L teams and they lost by a total of 110 points

    Sunday, February 7, 2010 11:49:00 AM EST

    That's funny class i has just as many kids ranked as class L. And class L is supposed to have higher numbers than class i??? Never mind class m campbell beating up on two class L teams and not even being able to beat conant put milford in there and no doubt they could contend for class L championship as well as five or six more class i teams.

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  40. You BG supporters sure are "defensive"!

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  41. Asselin is a solid defender, and takes a good amount of charges. But I actually think Jose Gonzalez is a better defender than him, and I thought about putting Gonzalez on the list.

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  42. One of the referrees (who is a 25 year veteran of the NHIAA referrees association) that officiated the BG-Central game said after the game he had never seen defensive intensity and performance like he saw BG perform in that game. NO Lie....He actually said that.

    For all you "BG Haters" who claim we whine....WE have a right to whine when the kids have earned something and the envious opposition ignores the hard work and dedication the BG kids have invested in their team.

    Perhaps the whining will be coming from you when March arrives.

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  43. There's no crying in Basketball

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  44. hey 2:38 bg is undefeated when green plays,remember that.

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  45. Bg is not a good defensive team they hack you out there and treat it like a football game. I would be willing to bet you they have one the highest foul percentages in all of NH. The reason they hack so much is because a lot of them try to make up for lack of basketball ability and sometimes they get away with it and sometimes they don't. But there is no way they have great defenders when it comes to the game of basketball and i agree they can whine all they want but it won't get you anywhere.

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  46. I think Scott St.Lawrence is BG'S best defensive player,however this year he can't be as aggressive as last season because BG needs him on the floor.A kid like Remillard goes out there and creates chaos.Mignault will have him guard whoever needs stopping, from point guard to center.If Remi fouls out it's no big deal because their are 3 more kids just like him waiting for their turn.The thing about Remi is he gets in kid's heads,he must lead the league in elbows to the face from opposing teams.He definitely is one of the most versatile defenders in class l.

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  47. BG plays overly aggressive and just hopes refs don't call fouls. Sure they play hard but to say they are great defensive team is not correct. Those five kids from BG you mentioned are all good athletes but that does not make them great defenders.

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  48. I think as usual people get a little carried away on these blogs, forgetting what the initial topic was. BG and some of other teams mentioned may have great team defense. But the list is of the best man on man players, not the best team defensive teams.

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  49. FYI bg scored 78 off central,and it could have been easily in the nineties,but mignault called off the dogs.

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  50. Great discussions posted here. Jeremy, who stands out for being a great rebounder?

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  51. Some of the better rebounders I've seen are Faustino, Madol, St. Lawrence, Woodward, Boissoneault (not as consistent though) Rancourt (especially for his size) Hardwick (best rebounder in the state under 5'10"). That's just off the top of my head real quick.

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  52. BG/Merrimack, Trinity/Central, Winnacunnet/Exeter, Portsmouth/Oyster River, Trinity/Memorial, North/South, Milford/Souhegan, Pinkerton/Londonderry

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  53. how about best offensive scorers?

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  54. mcclung,green,st. lawrence,oh wait can we mention bg kids or is it the system?{just kidding}

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  55. BG Merrimack is not a rivalry. The BG student body honestly does not care about Merrimack in any way.
    BG Exeter is a much better example

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  56. love how all anyone talks about on here is BG this and BG that. shows how edgy everyone is about them even when they do lose two games they shouldnt have.
    If your as sick of them as you all say you are then leave them alone and dont act like you won the superbowl when you by some miracle beat one of their teams. this goes for all sports

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  57. Easy up there with the hack claims. BG is an aggressive team. But to say they swing away and hope they dont get called because of lack of skill is rediculous.
    keep in mind this is basketball where every call is a judgement call for the officials. It is way too easy to complain about the refs when the fact is they do their best in a very tough sport to officiate and they usually do a pretty good job.
    I was at the Alvirne game and Alvirne was the one benefitting from calls in that one

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  58. BG Exeter is a rivalry for like football not basketball. for basketball there is an obvious rivalry between merrimack and BG since half of BG's team is from Merrimack... not to mention the coach used to coach at merrimack and let me tell you there is some bad blood in that category

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  59. spirou is not a very good defender. he's lazy at times and inconsistent at others.

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  60. BG is overrated winnacunnet gonna win state in basketball and football

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  61. You are dreaming to think they will beat BG in football next year. good basketball team but won't get by Merrimack

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  62. great list! the only people i would consider for the list are sean mclung of bg, travis maser of merrimack, and the bigman sweeney at alvirne

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  63. Sweeney is too slow on defense to be mentioned for this list.

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  64. I can say definitively that the bg student body does not give a passing thought to Merrimack. the only intrigue is because it is a matchup of the top two teams. rivalries don't exist in one sport and not others. Merrimack can't say it is a "rivalry but only in the one or two sports we'r any good at" it doesn't work that way

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  65. How quickly the best rivalry in the history of NH sports is forgotten....BG vs. Nashua High.

    Inevitable really;
    BG goes coed
    Nashua splits in two
    BG is kicked out of the T Day game
    BG dominates the split schools in all sports Nashua teams refuse to play BG during their bye weeks in football
    BG chickens out and does not move up to D1 football when given the chance to play the Nashua teams again...
    It's really a shame. Oh well, there are still some great HS rivals in place.

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  66. seeing a couple games, Plymouth's Colin Hay is a top 10 defender holding Hanovers Carney to only 7 points last week. He also scored 18. Every game he leads the game in steals and forced turnovers. despite their record Kyle Mcauliffe and Hay have no help defensively. McAuliffe has about 8 steals a game when they do full court pressure.

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  67. i dont understand why bishop guertin kids are seriously complaining about the list. it's jeremy's job to observe these player's skills and evaluate them into a list

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  68. I am a "BG kid" and have no problem with th list at this point. The cards haven't played well lately and until they earn a top spot they don't deserve one. all the hype going into the season killed this team. Lots of individuals not playing team ball. it's easy to be down on them now but the fact remains that they are one of the most talented teams in the state. if they get it together they will be a scary team in the playoffs

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