The next game we will recap from the highly successful North vs. South Clash is the Boys Underclassmen Game. SNHU, New England College and Plymouth State were just some of the schools who had coaches in attendance for the boys games on Friday night at Southern New Hampshire University.
The college coaches, and also the many fans in attendance saw a terrific basketball game. Most of the top freshmen and sophomores from all over the state participated. They put on a show, and made it obvious that the future of NH basketball is a bright one.
Below are the game's video highlights, plus a game recap and player evaluations.
This was a well played game that was very fun to watch. Team North won it 63-60, and of the 6 games in the North vs. South Clash this was the only one that the north won. Some folks might look at the rosters for this game and say that there was no Floras, Gabriel, Welch, etc. so how could it have been a good game. But it was. This means there is a lot of depth in talented players coming up through the ranks. 19 kids played in this game, and all of them will be making big impacts on their varsity teams over the next 2-3 years.
Team South started off on a 12-3 run. Troy Pelletier was attacking the basket and really had a nice start. Andrew Lechner was doing a nice job defensively of protecting the basket and blocking shots. Team North might have gotten off to a slow start, but most of their players were playing together for the first time. As the 1st half continued they started to get the hang of it and really started to play some good team basketball. They ended up taking a 36-35 lead at halftime, as Kaleb Marquis drained a pair of outside shots right before the break. It was a barrage of threes late in the half, as Yiram Villanueva, Jordon Richard, Nicolas Lloyd, Chris Doyle and Dawson Dickson also got in on the action from ling distance.
The 2nd half was even more well played on both sides, and even more intense. The play of the game game from Team North on the fast break. Nick MacGregor found Grant Faustino down the floor, who drew a defender and dished it over to Matt Cowles for the and-1 finish at the rim. It was a perfectly executed break, hard to believe those 3 guys have never played together before!
After that play Team North went up 49-44, but South came right back and took a 53-51 lead a few minutes later. It was definitely a nail biter. There were a total of 6 lead changes in the 2nd half. Christian Iozza, Zach Grattan and Faustino all came up big on the boards for a North team that had a decided size advantage over the South.
Mike Wons hit a pair of clutch free throws late to push the North lead to 61-57. Then Pelletier came right back and drained a three-pointer to cut the lead to just 1 with 13.2 seconds left. Iozza then missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but team South failed to corral the rebound, the North came up with the ball and Villanueva went to the line. He made both shots making it 63-60. Team South had one last chance down by 3 with 10.8 seconds left. Matt Barr got a good look at a three but couldn't get it to fall, and North came away with the win.
Christian Iozza, Concord HS (2013)
Although Iozza is one of the lesser known players in this game going in, he was definitely one of the best players on the floor. Iozza is 6'1", very athletic and really showed a well rounded, versatile skill set in this game. He faced up from the outside and hit shots, drove the lane and was also tough on the boards. Iozza is as athletic as anybody in this game, and he also showed the versatility to play 4 different positions on the floor.
Zach Grattan, John Stark Regional HS (2013)
Grattan still has a raw game, but he has 2 things that you can't teach and both of these things will help him to reach his potential. One is size, he's 6'7". And the other is work ethic. It was a joy to watch Grattan play in this event, because he competed and played as hard as anybody else in the gym. He really got after it on the boards, and even when he missed a shot he did not give up on the play. He just kept fighting for each loose ball and rebound and went right back up with it. Grattan has a big upside as long he continues to work on his game.
Nick MacGregor, Spaulding HS (2013)
MacGregor got better as the game went on, and ended up with perhaps the best all-around game of anybody out there. The 6'2" MacGregor can play the 3 or the 4, and every time you looked up he was doing something different to help his team. He was leading the break, finishing on the break, showed a nice mid-range pull-up (even with a hand right in his face. He crashed the boards, hustled after loose balls and made some great passes. MacGregor played all 5 positions on the floor. Him and Dominic Paradis will be a scary duo for Spaulding in 2 years when they're both seniors.
Jordon Richard, Raymond HS (2013)
Richard has a reputation of being a tough-as-nails player who knows how to run an offense, looks to get his teammates involved first but can also score when he has to. He once again showed all of those traits at this event. Richard knows how to take what the defense gives him - he had a bigger player come out and guard him a little closely, so he drove by him, took it strong to the rim and finished even when the help defense got there. Richard had the basketball in his hands a lot, yet he never forced anything.
Troy Pelletier, Manchester Central HS (2013)
Pelletier is another player with the versatility to play inside or out. He was a tough match-up for Team North in this game, because if a big was guarding his he drove right by him to the rim and if a quicker player was on him he took him into the post. Team South went up 12-3 early in this game, and that was in large part due to Pelletier's strong all-around play.
Kaleb Marquis, Concord HS (2013)
Marquis is another Concord kid who had a strong showing in this game. It is safe to say that the future for Concord basketball is a bright one. Marquis had a pair of big outside shots late in the 1st half, as Team North took a 36-35 lead at the break. He is a very quick 5'10" combo-guard who is fearless, can hit shots off the dribble and finish in transition.
Grant Faustino, Dover HS (2013)
The 6'3" Faustino is a 4 man who ran the floor well and was very active in the paint on both ends of the floor. He also got better as the game went on, and was another integral part of Team North to help them win it. Faustino went up strong with the basketball and finished at the rim effectively, both on the break and in the half court. He was strong on the boards and also made some nice interior passes.
Other Strong Performers
Chris Doyle, Winnacunnet HS (2014)
Doyle is a wing player who is tough, fearless and doesn't back down from anybody. He hit the outside shot, took it to the rim and also showed a good mid-range game, en route to 12 points on the game, which was more than any other freshman in this game.
Andrew Lechner, Pinkerton Academy (2014)
Lechner faced up and knocked down the outside shot, battled under the boards. Most impressive was the way he competed on the defensive end of the floor, where he blocked not 1 but 3 shots.
Yiram Villanueva, White Mountains Regional HS (2013)
Villanueva played well, showed good quickness and range on his jump shot. He competed hard on both ends of the floor, and also hit a pair of clutch free throws late.
Matt Cowles, Lebanon HS (2013)
The 6'3" Cowles is another player who can play the 3 or the 4. He has good size, strength, athleticism and a solid skill set. He showed a good inside outside game, and made good decisions with the basketball.
Dawson Dickson, Trinity HS (2014)
Dickson was another freshman who really impressed in this game. He has good instincts on the floor, the game comes easy to him, and he made good decisions with the basketball.
Matt Barr, Exeter HS (2013)
Barr moved well without the ball and was quick off the dribble as he went by his man and showed a good mid-range game.
Mike Wons, Dover HS (2013)
Wons did all of the little things well, played tough defense and showed the ability to play inside and out. He also knocked down a pair of clutch free throws down the stretch for Team North.
Carmen Giampetruzzi, Trinity HS (2014)
Giampetruzzi is a wing play with good strength and en even better face-up game. He played hard in this game and didn't force anything.
Pat Keefe, Trinity HS (2014)
Keefe continues to show above average athleticism and explosiveness. He was able to get into the lane and make plays.
Max Gouveia, Campbell HS (2013)
Has lots of upside due to his speed, explosiveness and athleticism. Gouveia pushed the ball in transition and hit the open man.
Nicolas Lloyd, John Stark Regional HS (2013)
Lightning quick floor general who ran the offense effectively for Team North and also showed range on jump shot.
Drew Francoeur, Somersworth HS (2013)
The 6'0" combo-guard showed athleticism and the desire to compete hard all game.