Wednesday, April 6, 2011

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

Ok, I think more than enough time has now passed since the season has ended. It is time to release our NH Notebook Girls Basketball Awards for the 2010-2011 season. Here are our all-state teams, Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, 6th Man of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year for Divisions I, II and III.

Division I

End of Season Thoughts
Winnacunnet does it again. They have now won 77 straight games and 5 consecutive D-I (Class L) championships. They're the most dominant athletic program in the state. Head Coach Ed Beattie has himself a well oiled machine over there on the seacoast. Even after graduating 8 seniors and 2 Division I players the Warriors were STILL able to go undefeated en route to the title. Was Division I a little down this year, especially from the previous season? Probably. But it was still a tremendous season for Winnacunnet, led by Samantha Corcoran, Kirsten O'Neil and Anna Sullivan. Londonderry played a great game against them in the regular season and in the title game but the Warriors still managed to win by 8+ points both times.

Other teams you had to be impressed with this season would be Alvirne, Pinkerton, Merrimack and Timberlane. Alvirne has struggled in recent years, had a first-year head coach and a freshman point guard. Yet they were able to make it to the semi-finals where they came THIS close to knocking off Londonderry. DJ Purcell played like a Player of the Year candidate, her little sister Sandi did NOT play like a freshman, and Steve Tracy did a great coaching job. I liked his offense and how he got his girls to play as a unit.

Pinkerton graduated 3 of their 4 best players off last year's team and had a bunch of injuries to deal with. Yet they finished as the #3 seed in the regular season before losing in a heart breaker to Alvirne in the quarterfinals. Head Coach John Barry did a nice job with the team, and Katherine Harris had a sensational year at point guard (another POY candidate).

Timberlane also had a nice year. Bruce Johnson didn't have a deep team, as his 5 starters all had to play nearly the entire game every game. They didn't have anyone on the 1st or 2nd team on all-state, and only 1 honorable mention (Emily Rose). Yet they managed to beat some pretty good teams (including Memorial and Dover) and finished as the #8 seed in the tournament before losing to Winnacunnet in the quarterfinals. Rose, Katie Matatall and Meg Short are all underrated players had solid years.

Merrimack also had a first-year head coach, Amy Larkin-Perez. This wasn't a team many people were talking about before the season, but despite being young and having their second best player Kate Cole miss a bunch of time with an injury they still ended up with a winning season. Senior guard Rachael Carter had a tremendous season.


All-State Team
Samantha Corcoran, Winnacunnet HS
The leader on and off the court for an undefeated state champion team. The mid-range jump shot is a lost art in basketball today, but Corcoran has mastered it. She knows exactly how to find those gaps in a defense in order to get looks and also has a quick release. It's quite the weapon.

Savanna Butterfield, Londonderry HS
Butterfield had a great senior year to lead the Lancers to the title game. Londonderry was a VERY talented squad, and she was consistently their best player. Butterfield showed a very well rounded game.

Deanna Purcell, Alvirne HS
An outstanding season for Purcell, who shot the lights out, played tough defense all year and led the Broncos to SNHU where they nearly upset Londonderry.

Katherine Harris, Pinkerton Academy
Another easy pick for the first team. Harris did it all for Pinkerton. Offensively she was very unselfish but could still score when needed. And she was the best defender in the state this season, leading the Astros to yet another winning season.

Rachael Carter, Merrimack HS
Scored a ton of points, but she did so much more than just score for Merrimack. She was a leader, she rebounded, defended, Carter did it all.

Kirsten O'Neil, Winnacunnet HS
I think when you go 22-0 it warrants having 2 players make the first-team. O'Neil at many times during the season was actually the team's best player, like the regular season game vs. Londonderry for example. That game was one of the best single game performances I saw all year on the girls side. O'Neil simply put on a show, and she was also very good in the title game as well. She gets the nod over Ashley Gendron, Amra Elezovic and Meghan Green.


Player of the Year
Samantha Corcoran, Winnacunnet HS
Very tough pick here. Corcoran, Butterfield, Purcell and Harris are all very worthy candidates. I give it to Corcoran for what she brought to the table inside, on the boards, with leadership, the whole package. A great year for her and for Winnacunnet.


Coach of the Year
Ed Beattie, Winnacunnet HS
What can you say, the guy is a genius. You have to give credit where credit is due. Yes he had some very talented players. But for his team to go undefeated en route to the title after all they lost is just amazing. He has a system in place - and it works.


Defensive Player of the Year
Katherine Harris, Pinkerton Academy
Best defender in the state, so Harris is an easy pick for this award in D-I. Harris is simply tenacious on the defensive end of the floor.



6th Man of the Year
Aviana Morrison, Winnacunnet HS
This one is another easy pick. Morrison would have started for just about any other team in the state. She was the 6th man for Winnacunnet though, and was instrumental in their run to an undefeated season. One of the state's best spot-up shooters.




Division II

End of Season Thoughts

The D-II title game was an absolute classic. Lebanon coming out with guns blazing in the beginning, going up 18-3. They looked unreal out there early. Souhegan with a great comeback. Jane White half court shot, then White hitting the game-winning three off the glass. The game was played at a very high level, with both teams just giving it everything they had. Souhegan goes 22-0, what a story. They had a first-year head coach, a freshman starting for them down the stretch. Taylor Cordts missed the whole year with a torn ACL, Lauren Cordts, Tori Forrest and Ceara McNamara all missed time with injuries. Yet they STILL went 22-0. A great coaching job by Jeremy Faulkner, a great team effort, and White was terrific for them.


Tough way to end the season for Lebanon, who has now lost in the title game 2 years in a row. The Raiders combined record over the last 2 years is 41-3, the second best record in the state during that time outside of Winnacunnet's 44-0. Not only was the title game vs. Souhegan a joy to watch, but their semi-final game vs. Kennett was also a fantastic game. Neither team deserved to lose either game, you really did have 3 outstanding teams this year in D-II.

John Stark was another great story in the division. They were only a 12 seed, but they went on the road and beat Hollis-Brookline and then Merrimack Valley to advance to the semis where they led for virtually the entire game before falling to Souhegan. Katie Cullerot led the way all year for the Generals, and really stepped it up in the playoffs to carry the team.

And how about Windham? First year varsity program, no seniors on the roster, only one player that made any all-state teams, and only one player (Kerry White) who had any varsity experience prior to this season. Yet the Jaguars went 11-7 in the regular season, knocked off Portsmouth on the road in the first round of the playoffs and then came THIS close to knocking off Souhegan in the quarterfinals.


All-State Team
Jane White, Souhegan HS

Tremendous junior year for White, leading the sabers to the undefeated season.


Katie Cullerot, John Stark Regional HS
Put Stark on her back all year and led them to semis.


Allie Wagner, Kennett HS
Even when Melissa Frase was out for much of the season, Kennett just kept on winning games. Wagner is the state's best shooter and is an underrated defender and passer as well.


Trina Scheie, Lebanon HS
Dominated the paint all year for Lebanon, then at SNHU she posted 20+ points and 15+ rebounds in both the semis and title game. Only a sophomore!


Danielle Walczak, Oyster River HS
The best college prospect in the entire state, let alone the division. Oyster River had trouble getting her the ball at times. But man, where would they have been without her? Scary thought.

Megan Hardiman, Merrimack Valley HS
The first 5 players are no-brainers for the first-team. The 6th spot is a tough one. I give Hardiman the nod over players like Susie French, Kerry White, Christan Wojtas and Melissa Frase, though. Although her team did have a little bit of an easier schedule, Hardiman put MV on her abck and led them to a 16-3 record, impressive stuff. She's a very versatile ball player.



Player of the Year
Jane White, Souhegan HS

Boy was this one a tough call. White, Cullerot, Wagner, Scheie and Walczak can all make VERY convincing arguments for being POY. Very tight race, 5 worthy candidates. But White is the reason the sabers won the title. She is the leader of their defense, she handles the ball and runs their offense, she is the player they looked to to score, she hit the game-winner in the title game. 5 terrific candidates, but I give it to White because she had the biggest year of anyone in the division.



Coach of the Year
Joe Mason, Windham HS
Boy this one was another toughie. It's either Mason, Jeremy Faulkner from Souhegan or John Stark's Wayne Thomson. All three of them did amazing jobs with their teams to get as far as they did. I give it to Mason for the reasons I mentioned above under season ending thoughts.



Defensive Player of the Year
Trina Scheie, Lebanon HS

Tough call here. Other candidates were Jane White, Kerry White, French, Issy Gorham from Oyster River and Scheie's Lebanon teammate Moriah Morton. But Sheie was just unstoppable on the boards and defensively in the paint all year long.



6th Man of the Year
Moriah Morton, Lebanon HS

This one might be the easiest pick of all. Morton would have started for any other team in the division, she's a great defender, goes all out on every play, takes it to the rim hard and plays smart. Lebanon had the best bench in the division with Morton, Emily Kehoe and Taylor Friedman and Morton was the leader of that group.




Division III

End of Season Thoughts
What a difference a year makes. In 2010 it was Conant who defeated Campbell in the title game. Both teams brought back virtually their entire rosters from a year ago. All season long everyone knew Conant and Campbell were the best teams in the division. They had the best players, they had lots of seniors, they had plenty of big game experience. Conant won it last year, yet this year not only did Campbell win the title, but they beat Conant 3 times in doing so. Campbell went out and challenged themselves over the summer. They played a lot of D-I teams all summer long to get ready for the season. They had a "Big 3" that was as good as any in NH, and they also had good role players. It was a great team. Even though Conant had the best player (Brooke Springfield) who will go down as one of the better Division III (Class M) in state history.


Fall Mountain was clearly the 3rd best team in the division. Give Coach Dutille credit for getting the most out of his team. They were a scrappy bunch who never gave up.


All-State Team
Brooke Springfield, Conant HS

The most feared player in the division for the 3rd straight year. SNHU is getting a good one.


Kristen Hrubowchak, Campbell HS
Tough as nails player who had another big year for the Cougars leading them to the title.


Angela Michalski, Inter-Lakes HS
Put the team on her back and led Inter-Lakes so a winning season, posting some big time numbers and a near upset of Bow in the prelims.


Rebecca Arnone, Campbell HS
Excellent all-around player, solid all year long. And her performance in the title game was sensational.


Lindsey Nerbonne, Bow HS
One of the most underrated players in the state, this girls can really play. Bow's best player Maggie Crisman was out for nearly the entire year and it was Nerbonne who led the way.


Liz Pettis, Campbell HS
Yes, I know that it's very rare for 1 team 2 have 3 players make the first team. But this was a special Campbell team, especially their "Big 3." Pettis (along with Nerbonne) were the 2 most improved players in the division. She gets the nod over Kim Daniels of Conant, who also had a very good year.



Player of the Year
Brooke Springfield, Conant HS

Yes, Campbell won the title. But they had 3 stars, so opposing teams couldn't focus their defense on any one of them. This made all 3 of them better. Springfield on the other hand was THE star for Conant. She saw double teams, triple teams and box and 1's all year. And she was still able to produce, for herself as well as her teammates. Springfield is the pick for the 3rd straight year.



Coach of the Year
Curt Dutille, Fall Mountain Regional HS

Tough choice here, but Coach Dutille gets the nod over Campbell's Shawn Flynn. Coach Dutille didn't have any stars on his Fall Mountain team. Yet they were neck and neck with Conant all 3 times they played each other, coming THIS close to winning at Conant and also at SNHU in the semis. No stars, but a bunch of tough, hard working players and Dutille did a nice job of getting the most out of them.



Defensive Player of the Year
Kristen Hrubowchak, Campbell HS

Tough, scrappy, gritty. All words to describe Hrubowchak, who was also very good at taking charges. Her scoring may have been down this year with Arnone and Pettis increasing theirs, but Hrubowchak's defense was second to none. Runner-up for this award is Nerbonne, who is an incredible on-the-ball defender.



6th Man of the Year
Shannon Savard, Campbell HS

Savard would have started for any other team in D-III. But on Campbell she came off the bench. She had a role to play, and she played it to perfection.




Division IV
Check out the NH Notebook next season when we'll expand our coverage of Division IV basketball!

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