Monday, August 9, 2010
BST Tournament of Champions Recap
Tonight the top 2 teams from each of the BST league's 3 divisions were in action in the Tournament of Champions. 3 games, with the winners advancing to the championship night on Wednesday. Some good games over at SNHU tonight (especially the first 2), and plenty of talent on display.
Trinity, Bishop Guertin and Milford came away victorious. Wednesday night it will be Trinity vs. Milford, and the winner will play BG in the title game. Here's my recap of all 3 of tonight's games.
Game 1: Trinity 39 Raymond 35
Despite the fact that Trinity had no seniors on its active roster they were definite favorites in this game. This is partly due to their big time size advantage over Raymond. And also due to the fact that Trinity is a perennial Class L power while Raymond only won a handful of games last season in Class M.
However, even given all of that Raymond gave Trinity all they could handle. They played with grit, toughness and fearlessness. The Rams only lost by 4 points, and they actually led 30-27 in the second half.
But in the end, Trinity was just too big, too deep and too talented. Their size advantage in the post was glaring. Trinity had Sylvere Aluko (6'9"), Mabor Gabriel (6'6") and Andrew Lauderdale (6'7") and they always had 3 of those 3 bigs on the floor at all times. The "Trinity Tri-Towers" were matched up against Raymond forwards Jeff Lang (6'2") and Dezimen Everett (5'11") so Trinity's bigs had at least 7 inches on whoever they were matched up with. As a result they dominated the boards. Trinity's guards had the freedom to throw up deep jump shots, because they knew that even if they missed one of their bigs would be right there to gobble up the offensive rebound.
Depth also played a role. Both teams played about 9 kids, but Trinity clearly had a better bench so they were able to get more minutes so their starters were more rested for the end of the game. Travis Descoteaux continues his strong play, hitting numerous big shots while running the point for the team. All 3 of the bigs provided solid rebounding and inside scoring. Freshman Dawson Dickson also did a nice job off the bench pushing the ball in transition and distributing it to open teammates.
Trinity also played their best defense of their entire summer in this game. They really stepped up their halfcourt defense, showing great effort and intensity. They knew that Raymond is a jump shooting team, so they extended their defense out and forced the Rams to put the ball on the floor and drive. This either led to Raymond players trying to dribble through 2 or 3 defenders and turning it over or the Raymond player was bale to get to the rim but then had their shot blocked/tipped/altered by one of the "Trinity Tri-Towers."
Once again, even though Trinity had all of that working in their favor they still only won this game by 4. Give Raymond credit for not backing down and hanging tough. They will be one of the top 5 or 6 teams in Division III (Class M) this season for sure. I continue to be impressed by their sophomore point guard Jordon Richard. Richard isn't going to wow you with any one part of his game, but he does all of the little things well. He's unselfish, tries to get all of his teammates involved but can also score when need be. He has a very calm, cool and collected on-court demeanor as well. The 6'0" guard is also a very tough defender. Lang and Joe Morin both hit shots to help keep Raymond in the game, and senior Kevin Paynter played extremely hard on both ends of the floor.
As for Trinity, they will be a top 3-4 team this year in Division I (Class L). They'll be even better though the year after this one though, because of the 9 kids they played tonight none of them are seniors. They also have Romeo Masuku who is only a sophomore. With David Madol heading off to Vermont Academy, the only senior on Trinity's roster this year will be Zach Stevens. Other than Stevens, the rest of the squad will all be back in 2011-2012 (including the Tri-Towers). That's scary to think about!
Trinity went on a run late in the first half to take a 27-19 lead at the break. Raymond though came out firing in the second half, going on an 11-0 run. However that's when Trinity really picked it up on defense, and Raymond only scored 3 points over the next 12 minutes.
Game 2: Bishop Guertin 45 Manchester Central 40
This game was quite possibly a preview of the 2011 Division I (Class L) Championship game. Both teams knew this, and they really went at each other hard for all 40 minutes. This game definitely didn't have the feel of just your average summer league game. The gym was packed, it was loud, there was a great atmosphere in the gym and it had the feel of a tournament game in March.
Central had all of their top players there, except for sophomore forward Christian Ortega, while BG had all of their top players there except for junior guard Brad Holler (who is out in Michigan working with basketball trainer Jason Otter). Both head coaches were on the sidelines, as BG's Jim Migneult and Central's Doc Wheeler were both coaching this game like a tournament contest.
The first couple minutes were a little sloppy, with lots of turnovers and players trying to dribble through 2 or 3 defenders. Then Central executed a very nice 3 on 2 fastbreak, and took an early 9-7 lead. Junior Brown played some very nice defense for the Little Green, although right after finished writing that in my notebook he fouled Guertin's Sean McClung while shooting a three pointer.
BG got some strong play in a supporting role from senior guard Mike Kelly. He helped lead a 13-3 BG run late in the first half as it went from a 14-9 Central lead to BG being up 22-17. Just when the Cardinals were getting a lot of momentum on their side going into halftime, Central's Gabe LaCount hit a big three pointer right at the buzzer to cur the BG lead to 22-20 at the half.
As the second half went on, depth became a factor. Central played 9 kids, but BG had 14 players, so all of their top players still had plenty of energy for the stretch run at the end of the game.
To begin the second half though, it was Central who came out swinging. LaCount picked up where he left off at the end of the half with a nice steal, then passed the ball ahead to John Wickey for a layup to put Central up 30-28.
The Little Green increased their lead to 33-28 with about 10 minutes left, but then BG went on an 8-0 run to take the lead right back, 36-33. This run was helped by a technical foul being called on Central guard Dylan Lafond (transfer from Trinity). As a result of the technical foul, Guertin's Connor Green hit both free throws and BG retained possession. This swung the momentum back to BG's favor. Gren followed it up with a big tip-in on the break to make the Cardinals lead 40-37 with 3:40 left.
Central didn't give up though, as LaCount hit another big three just when it looked like BG was pulling away. This one cut the lead to 42-40 with 142 left. From that point though, Central wouldn't score any more points, and Guertin made their free throws for the 45-40 win.
This was a very fun game to watch, because of the pace and the intensity. It was a fast paced, up and down game the whole way. Both teams really got after it on defense and anytime they got a defensive rebound or turnover they looked to push the ball and get out in transition.
In addition to Green, McClung and Kelly, BG also got strong play from junior guard Logan Kesty (transfer from Trinity), Nick Pyzocha, Joe McCarthy, Nate Chartrand and Steve Cuipa.
Once again, Wickey had a very strong game to lead Central. For a 6'6" player, it's impressive when you see him leading the break, finishing on the break, hitting outside shots, playing tough rebounds and grabbing every rebound in his vicinity. LaCount made some big plays, but he could have bee more consistent. Although he had a costly technical, Lafond did a nice job of handling the basketball and running the offense against the intense defensive pressure that BG provided. Luis Martinez provided some good energy off the bench for Central.
Game 3: Milford 66 Greater Lawrence Tech 51
The final score indicates that Milford won by 15, but really it was not nearly that close of a game. This game was over FAST. I was expecting a much more competitive game, but unfortunately it didn't happen. Only about 3 or 4 minutes into the game Milford was already up 22-7. Late in the first half Milford was up 40-14 and the route was on.
It was the Holder & O'Loughlin Show for Milford, as senior guards Jamie older and Mike O'oughlin dominated this game from start to finish. The speed, athleticism and skill level of these 2 was just too much for Greater Lawrence to handle. It was virtually a layup line for Milford in the first half. They would get a turnover or defensive rebound and immediately get out in transition and finish easily on the other end. Senior wing Scott McCallum also played well for Milford in a supporting role. He compliments Holder and O'Loughlin very nicely, and shot the bell well from the outside and also finished at the rim against contact.
Greater Lawrence definitely laid an egg in the first half. But you have to give them some credit, because even though they were down 46-21 at halftime they kept playing hard in the second half, and got the lead down to as little as 13 points late. Their problem was that they didn't play good enough defense, and offensively it was all just isolation plays. Senior guard Donald Celestin led Tech. He had a tough first half, but got it going a little bit in the second half. When elestin is on, he's nearly impossible to cover one-on-one. Seeing him matched up with Holder though was fun to watch - 2 of our area's most athletic players going at it.
Milford dismantled Greater Lawrence last night, and they beat BG the other night by 25. What's even more impressive is that they won both of of those games with only 3 of their top 7 players in the lineup. Milford has been playing without point guards Mike Mitchell, forwards Kyle Nelson and Dan Desmairas and junior guard Jovi Philbrick.
When you consider the way Milford has played lately, and with only 3 of their top 7 players, it's hard to imagine anybody in Division II (Class I) giving them much of a game this season. I know it's high school basketball, so these are just kids and anything can happen. But if a D-II team comes within 10 of them all year I'll be surprised.
Also contributing to the Spartans win was sophomore big man Ben Smith, who did a solid job in the paint offensively and defensively and also on the boards.
Here's the schedule for Wednesday night:
6 PM: Milford vs. Trinity
7 PM: Dunk Contest, 3 Point Contest, Skills Challenge
8 PM: Bishop Guertin vs. Milford/Trinity winner (Championship Game)