Sunday, November 22, 2009

Londonderry Upsets Merrimack

3/10/10
Just got home from Merrimack High. It was a hard fought, entertaining basketball game. Londonderry was down 18-8 in the second quarter, but they win it 53-47. No Watson + no free throws = no win for the Tomahawks.

Senior forward Eric Watson was not medically cleared to play in this game. He would have been able to play on Saturday, but unfortunately Merrimack isn't moving on.

Like I said, another big factor here was free throw shooting. Merrimack shot just 14/25
(56%), while Londonderry was very good from the line shooting 13/18 (72%).

Merrimack loses this game, but you certainly cannot blame Dimitri Floras. The 6'0 freshman guard scored 25 points, including 11 in the 3rd quarter. Not too shabby for a kid who is not only a freshman but was playing in his first ever tournament game. He's been doing it all year for the Tomahawks, but this was yet another huge game for Floras.

After Merrimack was up 18-8, Londonderry went on a 9-0 run to make it a 1 point game, 18-17 midway through the second quarter. The Lancers took a 24-23 halftime lead, ending the quarter on a 16-5 run. This run was the difference in the game. It was led by Mike Colby and Jake Finnegan. It was also aided by missed free throws by Merrimack.


The second half began as the "Floras vs. Colby Show." Dimitri scored 8 and Colby had 5 in the first 3 minutes of the half. They were matching each other shot for shot. Merrimack led 36-34 after 3 quarters. But the momentum really started to swing in Londonderry's favor when 5'10" senior guard CJ Flanders drilled a three at the buzzer to end the quarter.

To begin the fourth, Colby continued to hit shots and Finnegan, a 6'2" senior, made some inside buckets and was grabbing a ton of rebounds. Londonderry flat out had more gas left in the tank in the game's final frame. And Dimitri Floras was the only guy putting points on the board for Merrimack, and you need more than 1 guy to carry the load. Other players were getting to the line but missing foul shots. Tyler Amigo and Brian Goodridge shot a combined 2/8 from the charity stripe, with most of those misses coming in the fourth quarter. The absence of Watson really hurt Merrimack, especially late in the game.

Colby fouled out with 3:15 left in the ballgame. At that time the Lancers were up 44-40, so it looked like Merrimack still might have a chance with the opposition's best player and best scorer done for the game. After Dimitri made a steal and layup at the other end it was only a 1 point game, 44-43. But then Londonderry went on a 6-0 run to take a 50-43 lead with just under a minute left in regulation. Flanders once again hit a big three in this stretch.

Flanders was VERY quiet for most of the game. He went scoreless the whole first half and for most of the third quarter. He only hit a couple of shots but they were BIG ones. He also went 3/4 from the free throw line down the stretch.

On another injury note, Londonderry 6'5" senior center Jeff Bintz returned to the Lancer lineup for the first time in 3 and a half weeks. Bintz had been out with an ankle injury. He only played about 6 or 7 minutes tonight, going scoreless with 2 rebounds. Look for his playing time to increase vs. BG in the quarterfinals. Picking up the slack for Bintz when he was out of the lineup were Eric Doucette, Nick Martinez and Ian McMullen.

Dimitri Floras had 25 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block to lead Merrimack. His older brother Anthony Floras only had 3 points, but played very good defense all game long. For Londonderry, Mike Colby (pictured right) led the way with 17 points before fouling out with 3:15 left. Finnegan had 10 points and 18 rebounds. Matt Sanborn and CJ Flanders also played well for the Lancers. Sanborn missed the first 12 games of the season due to a suspension.

Londonderry will have a tough test Saturday night vs. BG. The key to that game will be how the Lancers handle Guertin's full court pressure. That is the strength of the Cardinals' team, and Coach Gustavson's team could struggle against them.

"We don't have a point guard" admitted Gustavson after tonight's win. "We haven't played those guys in 2 years. But I live across the street from Mike Fitzpatrick, and we give each other film sometimes. Hopefully he'll give me some film of Bishop Guertin and we'll come up with something."

As for Merrimack, it is the end of the road for a very good senior class. Anthony Floras, Eric Watson, Travis Maser, Matt Hardwick and Tyler Garstang. That is arguably the best senior class of any team in the state this year. They will surely be missed next season by Tomahawks coach Tim Goodridge.

Now that the season is over for Merrimack, you will really start to hear the "Dimitri to BG" rumors swirling around. I have heard that this might happen. But I didn't want to say anything or have too many rumors about it on here while Merrimack's season was still alive, because it would be a distraction for them. But now that their season is over I'm sure the rumors will escalate. All that I ask is that if something is definite, great you can post it. But please don't post something about it unless it is definitely happening. One thing is for sure, with the way Dimitri played tonight and the way he played all year, he will be a big asset to which ever team he plays for next season.

In addition to playing basketball, Finnegan was also an all-state football player for Londonderry this past season. Next fall he will be attending UMass-Lowell on a baseball scholarship. That makes 5 players from New Hampshire in the Class of 2010 who have baseball scholarships. Here is the list:

Jake Finnegan - Londonderry...UMass-Lowell
Nate Jones - Portsmouth...Wake Forest
Zach Mathieu - Pinkerton...Franklin Pierce
Mike Montville - Portsmouth...Georgia Tech
Jake Woodward - Lebanon...St. John's

29 comments:

  1. rumor also has it exeter beat trinity?

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  2. Come on man, you know it's only because Trinity scored fewer points than Exeter, you don't have to put it like that.

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  3. BG at home again. Huge advantage in the Colligadome. Too bad students were forced to choose between basketball and hockey last night.

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  4. What happened to Anthony Floras and Travis Maser? If Watson wasn't playing seems like senior leadership needed to take control of the game. You don't put the weight of a postseason game on a freshman's shoulders.

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  5. What makes you think that about Dimitri? What have you heard from who Jeremy?

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  6. Dimitri was out of control the whole 4th quarter and garstang took a real bad shot in final minute. No seniors stepped up. They all look for dimitri to win the game and you can't do that to a freshman no matter how good he is. Anthony did nothing all game. Not even on the defensive end. I am shocked he is considered the best defender.

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  7. BG hockey lost last night, so there is no conflict on Saturday for the BG student body. Place should be rocking. I wonder if it will be like the Merrimack regular season game where you need to get there by 5 pm to get in the gym?

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  8. What did the students at BG do, split up and try to attend both games? Too bad the schedule wasn't adjusted.

    Looking forward to the quarters...best of luck to all!

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  9. most of the BG students went to the hockey game, because it was a semi-final. All of the seniors, anyway. The BG student section was mostly freshmen and sophomores, and they didn't make much noise. Alvirne had a better student section than BG. However, Saturday night will be a different story.

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  10. if anything he should go prep or trinity. BG is one of the hardest most disciplined schools in new england

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  11. Another year, another forgettable Merrimack team. I thought they were actually going to live up to some of the hype. No excuses, first round exit isn't good enough. And don't blame it on missing one player either, the Merrimack people were all over the BG people when they were missing Green and their coach in a game between two unbeaten teams. All talk

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  12. "Alvirne had a much better student section than BG." Wow, that's really embarrassing at home even with the hockey conflict. How the mighty have fallen.

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  13. 7:20, all the upperclassmen were at the hockey game. That left mostly freshmen and sophomores. Actually, it was mostly the Freshman and JV boys boys hoop team! I don't think the younger kids even knew a cheer to do. The Alvirne students were really loud in the first half, but got really
    quiet in the second half when Connor Green started nailing shots left and right. ha ha

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  14. congrats to coach Goodridge for takeing a team that was just two years removed from depletion and at leat making them into a contender. The reality is for all these coaches at the high school level, know matter how good a coach they are, there is alot of extenuating circumstances that fall out of their control. I know from the outside looking in, 95% of these coaches are working their butts off to maintain the delicate balance of sports and life. Coaches are by far not just coaches anymore, in alot of situations these coaches are playing the role of coach/parent/guidance counselor/etc. sad reality but thats the way it is. Coaches are not getting the credit they deserve, granted in the end its about winning, but lets not lose focus on what an important role all these coaches play !!!!!

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  15. and certainly some are better than others at that role!

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  16. Goodridge didn't make anyone a contender; Merrimack's senior class is loaded with talent. Too bad he didn't make them champions.

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  17. i wouldnt call a team that got knocked out of the first round a contender. more like a pretender

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  18. The Alvirne student section was bigger but not even much louder. BG's student section wasnt bad at all considering the circumstances. you shouldv seen then at the hockey game that night. great crowd its a shame the administration at BG is too busy trying to make themselves look good and not letting these kids be 18 at a basketball game. its sometimes sad to watch. the kids do the best with what they can though and are usually pretty entertaining.
    even with the small crowd i saw them get in Goldsack's head bigtime

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  19. There is no way you truly think the senior class at Merrimack is loaded with talent, if you do you truly dont understand talent evaluation, dont get me wrong i support all kids that play any sport, as the lessons they learn from sport is unparelled but Not one of the those kids in that senior class could even play D-3. Even if you have all the talent in the world that doesnt make you a contender, there is many past examples of that, you can take Trinity for example 5 scholarhship athletes and no championship, and your gonna tell me its all about the talent. Look be a hater if you wish, and beleive i've got know vested interest in Merrimack, so i could care less but if you think Merrimack had the success they had without descent coaching, you dont get it. and 2:43 you are truly right about that, just like any aspect of life, if you think your the best at something wait a bit someone will come along thats better, its just how it works.

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  20. I didn't mean as college prospects I just meant as high school players Merrimack has the best senior class this year players 1-5.

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  21. Londonderry would dispute that.

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  22. 10:53... There is a way I truly believe Merrimack had the most talented senior class. Name another team in the state with more. Incase you were unaware, when that group of kids was in middle school they won championships both years. They had all the talent in the world; the fact that they were knocked off first round leads me to believe that something other than talent was responsible for their collapse. I'll let you decide what it was.

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  23. I'd say Winny and Merrimack have pretty comparable senior classes. With Goulde, Knowles, Dunn, Mcgrail these guys might not have the most talent, but they seem to have figured out how to win together

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  24. Londonderry with Sanborn,Flanders.Finnegan,Bintz and Doucette rival any senior class and showed Merrimack who was better. Merrimack relied on a freshman to score points.

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  25. 11:47, first of all i didnt say they werent the most talented senior class, becuase that doesnt mean anything to me, what i said was your crazy if you think those kids are "loaded with talent". Winning championships at junior high level doesnt mean a thing, those are the development years. I still cant grasp your point, Merrimack may arguably have the most talented senior class in the state, but they are far from the most talented in the state, if you match them up on paper with the top 5 teams in the state, its not even close, so the fact that they were even mentioned in the conversation at the end of the season, is a success. Honestly before the season started did you have them ever being ranked in the top 5? Again i'm not a Merrimack guy, matter of fact i could care less who wins in any class.

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  26. Londonderry looked awful tonight against BG. Or BG looked really good, either way. I read the above posts and wasn't expecting alot from the student section, but they were terrific! A very fun and creative group they were just as entertaining as the game! As good a section as iv seen in the state all year. I just wanted to acknowledge them because they really made my day I had a blast and it looked like the players were loving it too

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  27. colby had 17 against merrimack,and you said floras played great defense on him.colby had 7 against bg last night.

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