Saturday, March 26, 2011

NH Notebook All-State Awards & Season Wrap Up - Boys Basketball


It's time for the NH Notebook to release its end of season awards with the high school basketball season now officially over. In this article I reveal my all-state team, Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and 6th Man of the Year for each of the 4 divisions. I'll have my picks on the girls side in the next couple of days.


Division I

End of Season Thoughts
BG was the favorite and they won it all. Sometimes though, it's tougher to win when you have all of that talent, because you have all of this individual talent but the challenge is getting them to all play together as a unit and play as a team. Guertin had a nice mix of the stars (Green and McClung) with good role players (like Cuipa, Kelly, Remillard and Pyzocha). They were focused and determined to win it this year. They played some great defense when it counted most and they got it done.

Other teams who really had nice years - Spaulding, Alvirne, Central and Salem. Spaulding definitely exceeded expectations. On paper they really weren't much different this year than they were last year. But this year they beat Dover in the first round and then came THIS close to knocking off BG in the quarters. Alvirne was picked to finish in the top 12 by, well nobody. Yet they were playing as well as anyone heading into the playoffs, then knocked off both Merrimack and Memorial on the road to make it to UNH. Central had a slew of transfers, injuries and suspensions. For them to make it as far as they did is impressive stuff. And Salem lost Alex LaRosa and EJ Perry, were picked 10th in the preseason yet they were a tough team for anyone to beat.


All-State Team
John Wickey, Manchester Central HS...With all of the distractions for Central, Doc Wheeler knew he could count on Wickey to lead them all year.
Connor Green, Bishop Guertin HS...It's been well documented that BG didn't lose a game all year with Green in the lineup.
David Madol, Manchester Memorial HS...The state's most talented player had a big year as expected.
Sean McClung, Bishop Guertin HS...He and Green formed the best duo in the division. His 2 threes in 4th quarter of the title game were HUGE.
Joe Gallant, Salem HS...Dominant inside player both scoring the basketball and on the boards, led Salem to a very good season.
Caleb Donnelly, Alvirne HS...D-I's leading scorer put on a show in the quarters vs. Memorial to lead them to UNH.

Player of the Year
John Wickey...It is either him or Green. Wickey gets the nod because his Central team only lost by 4 to BG in the semis despite the fact that Green played on a much more talented team. Wickey carried Central all year and deserves it.

Coach of the Year
Seth Garon...Did a great job with Alvirne this year as a first year head coach. Getting that team to the semis after beating Merrimack and Memorial on the road is impressive stuff.

Defensive Player of the Year
Jon Klecan, Salem HS...A player that any coach in the state would love to have. Nothing flashy about his game, he's unselfish, works hard and really gets after it on defense.

6th Man of the Year
Silvere Aluko, Trinity...Not really a bench player, because Coach Keefe, rotated him, Andrew Lauderdale and Mabor Gabriel in and out so that they all really got equal minutes most of the time. But the 6'10" Aluko was the one coming off the bench. He gets the award, and he has a ton of upside. Also played some great basketball in the semis vs. Alvirne.



Division II

End of Season Thoughts
I said it in the D-II title game article, but I'll say it again. This year's Milford team as a special group. The best D-II (Class I) team we've seen in the last few years. People will taking about Mitchell, O'Loughlin, Holder, Nelson and the rest of this squad for a long time to come.

Portsmouth had a good year. Their 3 best players were Kamahl Walker, Kyle DiCesare and Terrance Herbert. Walker was playing his first year in Portsmouth and the other 2 had suspensions. Yet the Clippers were still able to make it to the finals, cutting the Milford to just 2 late in the game.


All-State Team
Mike O'Loughlin, Milford HS...Another great year for O'Loughlin.
Steve Spirou, Pelham HS...Easy pick for the first team.
Jamie Holder, Milford HS...Often times in regular season he was Milford's best player.
Mike Mitchell, Milford HS...Best point guard in the state, easily one of the division's top 6 players.
Kamahl Walker, Portsmouth HS...Adapted very nicely to NH basketball this year, carrying Portsmouth to the title game, including the game-winning three to beat Souhegan in the semis.
Sam Carney, Hanover HS...Gets the nod over Souhegan's Seth Cordts for the 6th spot because Carney really had to carry his team. His play in the first Lebanon game was one of the best individual performances I saw all year.

Player of the Year
Mike O'Loughlin...Played some terrific basketball at UNH. Played some great defense in the semis on Spirou. Then in the final made some big steals and baskets late to seal the win.

Coach of the Year
Jim Mulvey, Portsmouth...Deserves a lot of credit for the job he did with that team. I had the Clippers as the #2 team in D-II preseason. But with the suspensions, he really didn't have a deep team. For them to get to the final and then nearly knock off Milford is impressive stuff. This one was a pretty easy pick.

Defensive Player of the Year
Derek Defranzo, Pelham HS...This might be a surprise pick to some, but he deserves it. Defranzo is a real scrapper out there. Saw Pelham play Milford in the regular season and in the semis. And he played tough, hard nosed, in your face defense all the time. Did a great job defending Holder in the semis.

6th Man of the Year
Shaun McKenna, Souhegan HS...McKenna is a very tough ball player, he gets the nod over Pelham's Dean Joyce.


Division III

End of Season Thoughts
Somersworth beat Conant (in an OT thriller), Berlin (on a buzzer beater) and Bow in the playoffs on their way to a title. They're a great story, and they show that it's not about having star players, it's about playing as a team.

All-State Team
Curtis Arsenault, Berlin HS...Like Morgan did last year, he also scored his 1,000th point as a junior.
Conner Torrey, Mascoma Valley Regional HS...Dominant inside force, just as good defensively as he is on offense.
Ezra Hodgson, Conant HS...Outstanding player and leader.
Josh Morgan, Campbell HS...A little bit of a down year for Campbell, but you won't find anyone who doesn't think Morgan is one of the division's top 6 players.
Josh Faber, Bow HS...I saw Bow play 3 times, and Faber was their best, most consistent player.
Bobby Shatinsky, Somersworth HS...Hard to single out one guy as the Hilltopper's best player, but they won the title, they have to have someone on the first team. It's a travesty that Matt Fauci and Pat Lavin didn't make AT EAST honorable mention by the NHBCO. But Shatinsky was consistent, came up big in the big games and deserves this spot.

Player of the Year
Curtis Arsenault...Of all of the awards, this is the toughest one to pick. It's a 3 man race with Arsenault, Torrey and Hodgson. All 3 are big time players who had big years. You know me though, I put a lot of stock in performance in the big games. Hodgson played amazing in the quarters vs. Somersworth, but he wasn't able to make it to SNHU. Torrey and Arsenault both made it to the semis before losing. Torrey had a tough game at SNHU though, while Arsenault put on a show. He had 25 points and over 10 rebounds.

Coach of the Year
Lorne Lucas, Somersworth...VERY Easy pick here. Lucas did a terrific job with this team. I had these guys ranked #6 in the preseason (my b!) behind Berlin, Bow, Conant, Mascoma and Raymond. On paper those other teams probably did have more talent. The Hilltoppers didn't have the big name star players. But they played as a team better than anyone else. Coach Lucas deserves a lot of credit.

Defensive Player of the Year
Dillon Lanctot, Somersworth...Fairly easy pick. It's not even just the defense with Lanctot, it's the way he hustles after loose balls and gets after it on the boards. Just a fearless player. He's actually only 5'11", but with his long wingspan and leaping ability he plays more like 6'4".

6th Man of the Year
Gregg Froleiks, Bow HS...He actually led ow in scoring in the title game. Also a good rebounder and defender.



Division IV

End of Season Thoughts
All year it was Newmarket, Derryfield and Moultonborough at the top. Then thought Pittsfield was probably the 4th best team. Their record didn't show it, but they had a very difficult schedule and lots of injuries early in the year. This is why Lisbon is such a great story, congrats to them, they deserve the title.

All-State Team
Adrian Edgerly, Newmarket...Led Newmarket to another winning year.
Jake Clement, Lisbon...Led Lisbon to the title.
Ben Hill, Pittsfield...Easy pick for the first team. You would think with his talent though he would have put up some bigger numbers, especially in D-IV.
Marcus Swedberg, Moultonborough...Versatile 6'7" player with lots of upside.
Patrick Cotter, Moultonborough...Dominant inside player.
Anuj Vadalia, Derryfield...No real stars on Derryfield (Like Somersworth), but Vadalia was their msot consistent player from what I saw.

Player of the Year
Jake Clement...Kind of a tough pick here. It really comes down to 2 guys in my opinion for this award. Clement and Adrian Edgerly from Newmarket. Edgerly had a great year, even though he was getting double and triple teamed all year he still put up great numbers in leading a Mules team with jut 1 returning starter to the semis. But Clement put his team on his back and won the title. Clement and Edgerly's teams went head to head in the semis. Newmarket was definitely the favorite, yet Clement's team won. Then he led them to the title game win, showing versatility (a 6'2" kid who can handle the ball against pressure and shoot it) and knocked down clutch free throws. The fact that he only made the second team by the NHBCO instead of the first SHOULD be the straw that broke the camel's back and make them do their voting after the tournament is all over.

Coach of the Year
Les Poore, Lisbon...Easy pick here. They lost their starting center early in the year. Yet they were still able to beat Newmarket in the semis and Derryfield in the final, 2 teams who went a combined 34-2 in the regular season. Lisbon really only had a 5 man rotation, and one of them was only a freshman. Yet he ahd his team peaking at the right time, and they won it all.

Defensive Player of the Year
Alex Zorn, Derryfield...He gets the nod over Christian Hawkins from Newmarket, who could end up winning this award for the next 2 years since he's only a sophomore. Zorn gets the nod though, because the defense and hustle he showed in the title game loss to Lisbon was as good an effort on the defensive side as any I have seen all year.

6th Man of the Year
Gus Davis, Derryfield...Would have started for any other team in the division. Very athletic player who really plays the game hard.

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