Monday, May 21, 2012

Phinney and LeBlanc Headline 2012 Recruiting Class at NHTI

Eight local players have committed to continue their basketball careers at the New Hampshire Technical Institute. Second-year head coach Kevin Gibbs has coached high school and AAU basketball in NH for a long time now, so it should be no surprise that he is recruiting so heavily in-state. Headlining his incoming freshman class is Newfound Regional’s Jordan Phinney and Allura LeBlanc (pictured at left) from Coe-Brown.

Phinney and LeBlanc both made the all-state team this past season. Phinney was a first team selection in Division III, while LeBlanc was second team pick in Division II. Both of their teams made it to the quarterfinals of the state tournament. They will also give NHTI some decent size, with LeBlanc being 5-foot-10 and Phinney being 5-foot-9.

The other six in-state players who have also committed to NHTI for basketball are Kaitlin Taylor and Jessie Wagner (both from Kennett), Shelby Clement from Farmington High, Sunapee’s Molly Puechtler, Lauren Brainerd from Pembroke Academy and Manchester Central’s Anay Leek.

“It’s a very strong group overall” said Coach Gibbs, who also coaches AAU with the NE Crusaders. “It’s a good mix of bigs and guards, scorers and defenders. All of my incoming players can play, so I intend to play an up-tempo, high pressure game. We'll be able to keep fresh legs on the court at all times.”

LeBlanc is a post-player who is a very effective inside scorer. She has good strength and her ability to finish inside and post-moves improved a lot this season under first-year head coach Dave Hartnett. She also rebounds well on both the offensive and defensive glass. She was a double-double machine this year for a very good team at Coe-Brown, and she can be expected to continue that type of production in the paint at NHTI.

Phinney meanwhile has the versatility to play inside or outside. She can shoot threes, drive to the rim and also battle inside for points and rebounds. Playing in Division III and in the Lakes Region she flew under the radar, but there’s no question she can definitely play. In the D-III vs. D-IV girls game at the Granite Games Phinney poured in a game-high 20 points. That game was played at NHTI, so it’s no surprise that’s where she’ll be playing next year.

NHTI is located in our state’s capital of Concord. They compete in the Yankee Small College Conference (YSCC). This past winter (the first season under Coach Gibbs) they went 20-12 and finished 3rd place in the Conference.

“I only have three returning players at this time, but they happen to be three of my four best from last year's team” said Gibbs. Sara Romano of Lebanon is a returning all-conference selection, as well as Kelly Collins of Groveton and Caroline Head of Manchester Memorial.“

Congratulations to all of the young ladies who will be continuing their basketball careers next season at NHTI.

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