Last night I took my first trip of the summer over to Rivier where the BST League's Southern Division is being held. Nashua North beat Hollis-Brookline by about 20 and Milford beat Souhegan 48-41. Here's the full recap.
Game 1: North vs. Hollis
Right from the beginning of this one you knew who the better team was and that team dominated throughout. Hollis played hard and kept competing the whole way, I give them cedit for that. They just didn't have the talent to compete on the same level as North, who led by about 20 at the half and cruised to the win.
The Titans were playing without one of their top 2 players in Ryan Gauthier and still prevailed. They did however, have 4 of their projected starters there. They were Javon Williams, Anton Marinchik, Mike O'Connor and Jacob Mellin. All four players played well to lead the team to the win.
Depth could have also played a role in this contest. North played about 19 kids in this game, while Hollis played just 7 players. Incoming senior Matt Haight did a solid job on both ends fr the Cavaliers.
Even though it's just summer league still shake my head anytime I see a player miss a dunk in a game. If you're going to attempt a dunk you better make it. Otherwise you look foolish and you're just giving away 2 points, because you could have just taken a simple layup. Javon Williams is a very talented player and is able to play the game at a faster speed than most players in the state. But sometimes he tries to be too flashy.
That being said, with Williams, Gauthier, Marinchik, O'Connor and Mellin the Titans will have a very solid starting 5. I could see them getting a top 8 seed in Division I next year.
Hollis meanwhile, could have another tough season. Coach Soucy did a nice job with that team last year, though. He got the most out of his players and they got better as the season went on. Look for something similar again in the winter.
Game 2: Milford vs. Souhegan
Both games last night at Rivier were a little sloppy, but this game was definitely a more competitive, more intense ballgame. It didn't look like it would be that way initially, with Milford jumping out to a quick 14-2 lead. Everything went the Spartans way in the first half, and they had an 18 point lead early in the second stanza. That's when Souhegan, started to slowly but surely get back into the game. They started to play good team basketball, and cut the lead to just 7, with Milford winning it 48-41.
Both teams had some of their key players there, but both teams were also playing without key players as well. For Milford, they had Jamie Holder, Mike O'Loughlin and Scott McCallum there and played without Mike Mitchell, Kyle Nelson, Dan Desmairas and Jovi Philbrick. Souhegan had Seth Cordts, Jack Nelson, Jake Kennedy, Zach Simmonds and Brandon Len and played without Devin Gilligan, Ryan Redmond and Nick Hession.
The highlight of the game was a two-handed dunk that Holder threw down on the fast-break. Neither team was making shots from the outside, but both squads did a nice job of getting into the paint and out in transition to convert their baskets. Just like in last year's Class I Tournament, having both Holder and O'Loughlin on the floor is just too much for most teams to contain.
Both of these teams will look very different when the regular season rolls around. Still, this was a good chance for the players who were there to improve their clubs as they work towards the upcoming season.