Saturday, March 12, 2011

Donnelly Scores 1,000th Point, Alvirne Boys Upset memorial in D-I Quarterfinals

The Alvirne High boys basketball team has now made it to the D-I semi-finals at UNH 2 of the past 3 years. Both teams they have been the #11 seed, go figure. On Friday night in Manchester they upset #3 seeded Memorial 56-54 in overtime. Caleb Donnelly scored 27 points, including his 1,000th career point to lead the Broncos to the win. And Memorial only shot 1/14 from the free throw line.

"Our kids did a great job, they've worked so hard for this" said Alvirne first-year head coach Seth Garon, who has to be the odds-on favorite for D-I Coach of the Year.

Oh wait, they do the voting for all of those awards BEFORE the playoffs start. I almost forgot. Don't worry, I won't get on another rant about how silly that system is. Back to the game, which was a pleasure to see!

Free Throws, Free Throws, Free Throws
I'll come right out and say it and not beat around the bush. Free throws were the difference in this game. Alvirne made theirs and Memorial didn't. Simple as that.

Memorial shot just 1/14 from the charity stripe...1 for 14! Senior forward David Madol made his foul shot early in the game. It was the first free throw the Crusaders attempted. They then missed their next 13 foul shots in a row.

In the 4th quarter after Jimmy Tomaswick (9 rebounds on the game) fouled out, Memorial had 3 offensive rebounds on 1 possession. Madol went to the line for 2. Missed both shots. Late in the quarter senior swing man Shomari Morgan stepped up to the line with a chance to make it a 2 possession game. he missed both shots. Tony Beaulieu goes to the basket, gets fouled, makes both free throws. Overtime.

In OT Donnelly and Beaulieu continued to make their free throws and Memorial continued to miss theirs. Sean Dunn and Tyler Livingston also played well in the win for the Broncos.

Donnelly Was Excellent for Alvirne, Beaulieu Was Also Clutch
I've seen Caleb Donnelly and his Alvirne teammates play quite a but over the last couple of years. But I must say, this was the best game I've seen Caleb play. He was very good, even though he was going against a team that was bigger, stronger, faster and more athletic he just kept pushing the basketball, going hard to the rim, making clutch free throws and clutch pull-up jumpers from the mid-range area. He hit a pair of foul shots late in the 1st half which gave the Broncos a 1 point lead, 25-24. The first free throw gave him 1,000 points for his career, as he needed 14 points going into the game to reach the milestone.

Junior guard Tony Bealieu had a very good game as well, and like Donnelly he just kept driving the ball hard to the rim, getting to the line and getting the Crusaders in foul trouble. Get this, in the 1st half Memorial was called for 10 team fouls, compared to just 2 for Alvirne. Do you know why? Because Alvirne was taking the ball to the rim, and memorial was hucking up three-pointers the whole time.

Tough D by Broncos
David Madol and Shomari Morgan are 2 of the most explosive, talented players in the NHIAA. That's no secret. Together they have been very tough for teams to handle all year. That's why you have to give Alvirne a ton of credit for holding those 2 guys to just 9 points each on the game. It has to be the first time all year the dynamic duo has been held to a combined 18 points.

"We just dug in and worked hard defensively" said Coach Garon. "Jon Baldwin and Tyler McDonald were both huge for us defensively."

Live by the 3, Die by the 3
Senior wing Nick Wheaton had a nice game for Memorial. Madol and Morgan get most of the press for the Crusaders, but Wheaton has been a steady, calming presence on the team. He hit some big shots to keep them in the game, finishing with a team-high 11 points.

However, shooting the three was all Memorial seemed to be doing offensively. now to be fair, Wheaton and sophomore Tong Akot were a combined 6/11 from long distance, which is a pretty good percentage. But the fact is, the Crusaders as a team shot just 9/36 from three. Live by the 3, die by the 3.

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