Friday, July 2, 2010
Raymond Bounces Back
Raymond beats Campbell in a Division III showdown to highlight week 3 of the BST League's Southeast Division. The other highlight of the night was one of the coaching match-ups where Dana Barros coached against Scott Hazelton. Here's my recap of all 4 games.
Game 1: Sanborn vs. Greater Lawrence Tech
Tough match-up for Sanborn in this one. Greater Lawrence Tech is a very fast, athletic team. They take it hard to the rim and they're tough on the boards. They were just to quick and too skilled for Sanborn, although they Indians battled hard against them for all 40 minutes. Tech won this game 68-36.
The top players for Sanborn in their games at the BST League have been Ryan Morris, Chris Matthews, Dylan Spence and Casey Nolan. They all had solid games again last night. But two other players stepped up and showed solid play, especially in the second half. They were forward Nick Carson and guard/forward Richie Marini. Carson showed good toughness in the post, grabbing boards and finishing down low and also made a nice pass from the high post to a cutter. And Marini played hard every minute he was out there, showing good energy. The 6'0" senior was making some nice passes, hitting 18 foot jumpers and crashing the boards hard.
Greater Lawrence Tech didn't have a great season last year in the Merrimack Valley Conference. But they were a young team last year. All of their top players are back this season and they will now be a team to be reckoned with.
Game 2: Campbell vs. Raymond
What a difference a day makes. On Wednesday Raymond did not look like a Division III title contender at all, losing to Concord 51-33. But the very next day on Thursday, against a Campbell team which is more talented than Concord, Raymond won 65-42 (they played without key player Kevin Paynter both games). It was a statement game for the Rams.
Campbell was also playing without one of their better players in John Houston, and Jason Paquin only played in the second half. But Raymond not having Paynter is just as big of a loss.
This didn't have the feel of just any old summer league game. These are two teams who battle it out every year in Class M. Both squads are expected to be top 10 teams in the division this upcoming season. It had the intensity of a regular season contest.
Raymond went up 14-5 early behind some hot shooting from Joe Morin. Campbell answered back though, and after Josh Morgan hit a three-pointer from about 28 feet away it was just a 16-14 lead for the Rams. Raymond answered back though, and pushed their lead back up to 9 at halftime, 29-20. Jeff Lang (pictured above) was having a strong all-around game for the Rams. For Campbell, Andy Lepine was having a solid game. he was hitting shots, distributing the basketball effectively and playing tough defense.
In the second half Campbell hung tough and stayed in the game for the first 9 minutes or so, but then Raymond made a run. They pushed the lead up to 49-29 with 6:30 left. Lang was playing excellent basketball and Jordon Richards was also doing a nice job of running the offense, handling the ball against defensive pressure and hitting shots.
After Raymond pushed the lead to 20, Campbell didn't give up. They went on a 7-0 run, thanks to a nice and-one by Morgan and some nice passing and finishing by guard Max Gouveia. The Cougars cut the lead to 13, but that's as close as they would get.
This was a good win for Raymond. They needed to bounce back after the way they played vs. Concord on Wednesday and they did. Their "Big 4" of Lang, Paynter, Morin and Richards has the potential to be VERY tough to stop next season in Division III.
After seeing this game, I still expect both squads to be top 10 teams next year in D-III. Another player who has been playing well in summer league for the Cougars is sophomore Jacob Morgan. Campbell will have a solid rotation with both Morgans, Lepine, Gouveia, Tyler Syphers, Houston and Paquin.
The other teams to watch out for in D-III will be Berlin, Bow, Conant, Hopkinton, Mascoma and Somersworth.
Game 3: Dana Barros HS (Blue) vs. Haverhill
This game had a very interesting coaching match-up. Dana Barros was coaching his team, and Scott Hazelton was coaching Haverhill. Two of the best basketball players to ever come out of Massachusetts squaring off. The old Director of Basketball Operations at the RAC vs. the new Director of Basketball Operations at the RAC.
Once again, Noah Vonleh was out of the lineup for Haverhill after suffering a concussion 2 weeks ago (Vonleh is ranked by ESPN has one of the top 30 sophomores in the country). Even without him in the lineup, Haverhill ended up winning this game 64-35.
The Dana Barros team is a free agent team that was led by Proctor Academy's Mike Lombard and Timberlane junior Shayne Mullins. Lombard played very well. He was unselfish but scored when he had to, and he was a rebounding machine.
Haverhill only led 24-20 at the half. And the Dana Barros team made it a 2 point game early in the second half 24-22. From that point on however, Haverhill outscored them 40-13. The Hillies played about 13 kids, and compared to just 6 for the Dana Barros team, who ran out of gas in the second half.
Game 4: Amesbury vs. Dana Barros HS (White)
Some of the same players played on both of the Dana Barros teams last night. Once again the team was led by Lombard and Mullins. Lombard had about 20 points in both games. Mullins showed good speed and ball handling, and was able to get in the lane and make plays. There was also a couple of kids from Concord who played for this Dana Barros team and contributed. Amesbury led the whole way, and won it 58-49.
With the way Lombard played in both games last night, I definitely expect him to get some good minutes next season at Proctor.