In case you're wondering why I haven't posted a game report or given any game balls away after last night's boys Class I prelims, it is because I had quite adventure last night...and not a good one...
I anticipated the best games being Bow/Pelham, Hanover/John Stark, Kingswood/Kearsarge and Lebanon/Bedford. And since Bow/Pelham is the only one of those games that was within an hour and a half drive for me, that was the game I would have liked to see.
Unfortunately the pairings for these games came out on Sunday, and on Saturday I commited to produce a high school hockey game for WTSN. The game was last night at 5:30, BG vs. Oyster River in the girls hockey semi-finals. I could still go to a Class I boys prelim. game. But I would be running a little late depending on when the hockey game got over. Plus WTSN is in Dover, so my options were limited to Portsmouth/Souhegan or Oyster River/Hollis.
By the time I left the station it was 7:10. I should have been able to get to Portsmouth High by 7:30 latest. But there was an accident on my way there. I was held up for 10 minutes, and then had to take a detour to get to the school. By the time I finally got there it was 7:50. Then I walk in, and everyone is leaving the gym. I figure it's halftime, and maybe the game got started a few minutes late. Then I look up at the scoreboard and it says, "Final score Portsmouth: 61 Souhegan 43." I didn't get there until the game was over.
Like the headline says, this was a night to forget for me.
Once I realized that I missed the entire game, I didn't leave though. I took down the stats off the scorebook and talked to the coaches. Some interesting stats for Souhegan: Seth Cordts and Devin Gilligan combined for just 6 points, while junior forward Ryan Redmond had 26 of the team's 43. For Portsmouth, Kyle DiCesare led a balanced Clipper attack with 17 and junior big man Riley McCarthy had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
After talking with Portsmout head coach Jim Mulvey, it is clear that he is a very confident guy right now.
"In the last 6 weeks we haven't had 1 bad practice" Mulvey said glowingly. "Defensively, we're real good."
Portsmouth changes their defense and disguises it constantly, which really confuses teams and keeps opposing offenses off balance.
"I think they were going back and forth between a match-up zone and man-to-man which is initially set up as a 2-3 zone" ventured Souhegan coach Mike Heaney. "They would set it up as a 2-3 and then once we started our offense they picked up man-to-man."
Souhegan has a young team, and it is clear from talking to the coaches that Portsmouth's "trick defenses" had them baffled. Redmond was one Saber who was not baffled, however.
"Myself and the other coaches have been telling each other all year that one any day now Ryan will have a breakout game" Heaney explained. "Tonight was that game for him."
Mulvey was also impressed with Redmond, who is a 6'4" forward.
"He's the best kid on the team" Mulvey said confidently. "We focused our defense at stopping Gilligan and Cordts though and we did that."
Portsmouth moves on to te quarterfinals where they will host Bedford on Friday night. The Bulldogs upset Lebanon to advance.
As for Souhegan, their season is over but after struggling as a program last 2 years this season was a success for them.
"Next year we return 4 starters" Heaney went on. Jack Nelson, Devin Gilligan, Seth Cordts and Ryan Redmond will all be back for us."
It would be 5 starters returning, but 6'4" strongman Brendan McKenna left the team mid-season.
"He left to focuse on football" Heaney said. "He's already being heavily recruited as a football player."
Mulvey also had some very interesting comments about AAU basketball. These comments will be revealed in a separate post that I will make in the coming weeks. So stay tuned, there's a little teaser for you.
I got the feeling that both of these coaches were proud of their teams. For me it was a night to forget, but for Portsmouth and Souhegan they will remember this night.