Monday, July 19, 2010
BST Girls Division Recap
It's about time I give the girls division of the BST Summer League some coverage. So tonight, Wednesday, and next Monday and Wednesday that's where I'll be. I'll have recaps of the games, and player rankings will be updated as needed.
Tonight I saw both girls games over at SNHU, plus the Dover vs. Trinity boys game. Here's the recap of all 3 contests.
Game 1: Manchester Central vs. Campbell (girls)
In an extremely low scoring contest, Campbell wins it 31-24. Both teams were missing key players. Central was missing possibly their top returning player, Olivia Lacroix. Meanwhile Campbell played without their second best player, Becca Arnone.
As far as players who were there, I still think Central had more talent on the floor. They didn't have Lacroix, but they had 7 of their top 8 players there. And all 7 are solid players. They just didn't execute as well as Campbell did. Also, they did not rebound well enough, especially on the defensive boards where the Cougars got a bunch of second chance points.
Although Campbell is a Division III team, they don't play like it. They didn't have Arnone there, but the rest of their top players were. Also, their team is made up mostly of seniors (one of the few teams in the state, boys or or girls, that can say that). The Cougars were led by Kristen Hrubowchak (pictured above), a 5'7" guard with a very good feel for the game. Also playing well were Liz Pettis and Marissa Framarini.
I know Conant won Class M last year, and they return Brooke Springfield, who is not only the team's best player, but also the best player in the division. But I still think Campbell could give the Orioles a run for their money this season. Should be fun.
As for Central, they have some solid players, they just have to play better. They also should try and play a more up tempo style of play. Their top players are all guards, and their biggest weakness is a lack of an inside presence / rebounding. This is why they should try to get out and run more, and press teams to prevent them from setting up a half court offense and pounding it inside.
The top 5 players for the Little Green are all guards. They'll be led by Lacroix, Ashley Giampetruzzi, Shannon O'Neil, Lauren Harvey and Samantha Gauthier (incoming freshman). O'Neil played well today, her and Gauthier were hustling all over the court. Giampetruzzi and Harvey also made some solid plays. Central's frontcourt includes Megan Cleary, Kathryn Barry and Zoe Stamoulis.
This game had a back-and-forth first half, with Central actually leading 18-16 at the break. But Campbell started the second half on a 7-0 run, and then took their largest lead of 28-20 late in the game.
Game 2: Bishop Guertin vs. Bedford (girls)
Not surprisingly, BG wins it 38-30. I'm not expecting Guertin to be a top 3 or 4 team in D-I this year, but they could definitely be a top 5 or 6 team, and they're definitely a better team than Bedford. The Cardinals would have been title contenders, but they lost one of the state's top returning guards (Alex Cohen) to the prep school ranks, as she is transferring to Tilton.
They might not have Cohen anymore, but they will have one of the state's top bigs in sophomore Meghan Green. Green continues to impress, showing a good combination of size and skill. BG was playing without one of their top players Madison Gibbs (daughter of head coach Kevin Gibbs), and they still looked like a solid team. In addition to Green, Guertin also got solid play from Nikki Hayner, Lauren Stelmash, Jamie Sherburne and Hannah Hyatt. Hayner, who like Green and Gibbs is also only going to be a sophomore, continues to show excellent passing abilities. Stelmash is a solid point guard and Hyatt is a smart player with a very strong frame. But one of the stories of this game was the play of Sherburne. Jamie is only an incoming freshman, but she was all over the place in this game, making steals, finishing in transition and showing above average court awareness.
With BG's top 3 players all being sophomores, and Sherburne being one of the state's top freshmen it's a safe bet that the Cardinals will be a VERY scary team during the 2012-2013 season.
Tonight in the span of just 2 hours I was able to see 2 of the top freshmen in the state in BG's Sherburne and Central's Gauthier.
Not a lot of individuals stood out for Bedford. They played good team basketball in the first half and only trailed 16-12 at the intermission. In the second half, Lyndsie Barnett hit back-to-back threes to keep the Bulldogs in it.
Game 3: Dover vs. Trinity (boys)
Everbody knows that Dover's top 2 returning players are Morgan Faustino and Kenaan Al-Darraji. Not everybody knows about their next 2 best players, Bubba Mahan and Jarell Mejia. Well, it's about time folks know about them too.
Mahan (whose little sister Allie is the top ranked girls player in NH's Class of 2012) kicked off the BST season a few weeks ago with a game winning three pointer to beat Pembroke in a thriller. Now tonight it was Mejia's turn, as the 6'1" junior drilled a three ball from the right corner to beat Trinity in overtime.
Two underrated players. Two game winning threes.
Other than Faustino, Mahan has been Dover's best defender this summer. He's a tough, fearless kid who plays with a swagger you like to see. He's shown the ability to put the ball on the floor and make strong drives to the rim as well as hitting the outside shot. Mejia is a very athletic player with a smooth shooting stroke and plenty of upside.
Dover looked to be in control of this game from the start. They started off up 15-4, and they led 29-17 at the half. Incoming freshman Pat Keefe was playing very well for Trinity, but the team was missing its top 2 players (David Madol & Zach Stevens) plus they were missing 6'6" Andrew Lauderdale and 6'9" Sylvere Aluko didn't show up until late in the first half.
Before the second half could get started, the fire alarm went off. At first it seemed as though we would see a repeat of the Milford/Portsmouth boys semi-final game from this past spring when a fire drill delayed the game by 30 minutes. But alas, the alarm stopped after about 6 seconds and play resumed.
Once it did Trinity made their run. After sitting for most of the first half, Aluko played virtually the entire second frame. He had a nice rebound and put-back to get the Pioneer rally going. With just under 5 minutes to play Jake Hamel netted a big three from 5 feet behind the line to give Trinity their first lead of the game, 40-39.
Faustino, who had been quiet for most of the game, gave Dover the lead with under a minute to play. With Aluko covering him, he used to quickness and mobility to his advantage, grabbing his own rebound and laying it in to put the Green Wave up 44-43.
Now Trinity had the ball, down 1 with about 35 seconds left. Dover's in the penalty, so if I'm them I am playing straight up man-to-man defense, don't let em' score and don't foul em'. However instead Trinity is moving the ball around, and Dover is double or triple teaming whoever has it. They were playing as if they were down by 1, trying to force a turnover and if not then fouling instead of being up by 1 where you just play straight up man and just try to not let them score. As a result of Dover's double teaming and overly aggressive defense, Aluko ends up wide open beneath the basket for an easy one handed dunk, and the Pioneers go up 45-44. Definitely a head scratching move for the Green Wave.
However Trinity follows it up with a head scratcher of their own. Down by 1, Dover presses Trinity full-court. Unable to find an open man, Hunter Viscarello calls a timeout...but the Pioneers are out of timeouts! Technical foul is called on Trinity. Al-Darraji to the line for 2, plus Dover possession with about 8 seconds left.
The 6'0" senior guard makes the first, to tie it up. With a chance to put Dover ahead, he misses the second. The Green Wave now had a chance to win it, with the ball, a tie game and about 8 ticks left on the clock. Al-Darraji attemps a jumper from 18 feet away on the right wing, but it's no good.
Only 4 total points were scored in the 2 minute running time OT period. Trinity went 1 of 2 from the line on their first possession to take a 46-45 lead. It stayed that way until Mejia drilled a trey from the right corner with 7.6 seconds left to put Dover up 48-46. The Pioneers had one last shot (literally) and they got a good look. Jake Hamel (one of the state's best spot-up shooters) attempted a three ball from the left wing off a nice feed from Travis Descoteaux. But the shot rimmed out just as the buzzer sounded, and Dover escaped with the win.
Dover has a solid foundation for a team with Faustino, Al-Darraji, Mahan and Mejia. They're still looking for some other guys to step up in support of them to fill in the 5th spot in the starting lineup and the first 2 or 3 spots off the bench. They have been bringing at least 10-12 kids with them each week to these games, so they have plenty of options. 6'4" sophomore Mike LeBlanc did some nice things out there tonight, and seems to have the inside track to one of those spots.
For Trinity, they were without Madol because it was his birthday. Zach Stevens is scheduled to return to the floor in November from his torn ACL. Keefe, Aluko, Descoteaux, Hamel, Mabor Gabriel and Viscarello all played well in stretches tonight though. It's no secret that this is a very deep basketball team, even with Logan Kesty and Dylan Lafond both transferring out of the program. Don't be surprised if Keefe is the top ranked player in the Class of 2014 when my rankings are released in a few weeks.
In other boys action tonight in the BST Central Division, Bedford barely beat Pembroke, Central beat Concord by about 30, and Manchester West defeated Merrimack Valley 38-36. I only saw the last couple minutes of the West/MV game, but I was very surprised this game was so close. I would have thought West would have won by at least 15-20. MV has not overly impressed me when I've seen them. They graduate Kevin Cressy and most everyone else from a team that was only the #16 seed in Class I. Meanwhile West had 3 of their starters playing in this game, in Samy Abdalla, Jose Gonzalez and Aaron Martin...chalk it up as yet another head scratcher.