Thursday, August 2, 2012

BST Summer League Quarterfinals Recap

The quarterfinals for the 2012 BST Summer League took place on Wednesday night at SNHU. Bedford defeated Concord, West beat Windham, Central topped Bishop Guertin and in the last game of the night it was Souhegan over Alvirne.

Here's a recap of each game, as well as a schedule for Friday night's championship night.

Bedford 40 Concord 37
This was a good, hard fought game. It was only a one possession game throughout the second half. Bedford though is a deeper team and a bigger team and got some clutch baskets down the stretch from forwards Ryan Brown and Sam Thomas. A 6-0 run by the Bulldogs late put them up 36-31. They were able to hold on to the win from there.

Bedford led 21-15 at halftime, but then a 3-pointer by Concord sophomore guard Sam Marquis cut into the lead. The teams then went back and forth exchanging leads, and Kaleb Marquis hit a number of pull-up jumpers to lead the offense for Concord. He hit three straight pull-up jumpers at one point in the 2nd half and all of them gave Concord the lead.

Sean Purcell also had a big drive and finish late in the game for Bedford, and Jake Capistran did a solid job defensively and on the boards.

Bedford moves on to the league semi-finals on Friday night, but as for Concord it's hard to not wonder about the team they could have right now. Sophomore guard Zack Jones is the latest player to transfer out of the program (now playing for Manchester West). Christian Iozza also transferred out of Concord and is now a junior at Proctor Academy. Brett Hanson is from Deerfield (can choose to go to Concord or Manchester Central) and he played with Concord during summer league last year before deciding instead to go to Central. Then you have the Bell brothers, Jourdain and Joe. Jourdain played in summer/fall league with Concord 2 years ago but ended up going to Bishop Brady, where he and Joe go.

So this season Concord could have had a lineup including Iozza, the Marquis brothers, the Bell brothers, Hanson and Jones - that is a squad that would have been very fun to watch and would have been capable of winning a championship.

Manchester West 44 Windham 39
For a while there it looked like Windham was going to pull this one out. And it would have been a great win for their program, which enters only its third year with a varsity team. They led by as many as six points in the 2nd half, but they couldn't hold onto the lead as West really picked up their defensive intensity late in the game. They pressured the basketball, jumped the passing lanes, forced turnovers and turned them into layups on the other end.

Still, Windham battled hard until the final buzzer and I stand by my prediction that they could be the surprise team in D-II this season.

West has a couple of new additions to their team which helped them out. Sophomore guard Zack Jones (transfer from Concord) and junior forward Adrien Stillwell (transfer from Central). Then Jocarl Bureau is also back on the team after he missed the second half of the year last season due to suspension. Add in returning starters Carl Jacques and Nolan Flynn and you have a very talented squad. Bureau attacked the rim off the bounce, finished in transition and is a tough player to defend due to size and quickness. Flynn is a knock down shooter from the outside, Jones was effective in the open court and Stillwell rebounded well and started fast break opportunities.

Another newcomer to the Blue Knights is Alfred Nyonee, a sophomore who transfers to West from Central.

Windham was led by 6-foot-2 junior wing Andrew Lowman, who showed some great slashing ability, getting to the rim and making some tough finishes against the physical West players. After one opf those finishes he came backm on the next time down the floor, grabbed a big offensive rebound and put it back in in traffic.

Tyler Masone also made some strong drives to the rim early on, and Danny Cannone hustled for a loose ball and laid it in, as Windham led 21-16 at halftime. Also playing well for the Jaguars was forward Conor Redmond, Joe Lorenz and David Carbonello. Cannone continues to play tough defense, Carbonello handled the basketball well against defensive pressure and showed some good quickness off the dribble and Redmond and Lorenz battled inside for points and rebounds.

Manchester Central 69 Bishop Guertin 65
This was the best game of the night. Central was the heavy favorite going in, as they are one of the early favorites to win the D-I title whereas BG graduated all 5 of their starters. But you have to give BG credit because they gave Central all they could handle and nearly pulled out the upset win.

This was a very close game throughout. It was anyone's game, but Central just made more plays down the stretch. Dawson Dickson (pictured above) and Mike Plentzas both hit big 3-pointers late in the game. Dickson's shot put Central up 50-47. BG freshman point guard Jack Zimmerman then hit a floater in the ane followed by a 3-pointer to keep the Cardinals in the game But then Plentzas hit his three which put the Little Green back on top 55-54. Again, BG answered right back, as junior wing John Noon drilled a three of his own (his fourth of the game) and we were all tied upo 57-57.

CJ Boykin also made some great passes in the 2nd half, but late in the game Brett Hanson scored inside and then made a nice drive and dish to Isaiah Joseph for an and-1 layup. Central held on from there to win and advance to the league's final four.

Troy Pelletier battled through a wrist injury for Central and hit some pull-up jumpers and also had a big blocked shot late in the game. Joseph stepped outside, hit a couple of threes and also showed good explosiveness around the basket and when getting up for rebounds.

Both teams really played hard, the game had a good pace to it and there was a lot of intensity in the gym.

Also playing well for BG were Jeff Lunn and Steve Toscano. Lunn was a strong inside presence and Toscano handled the ball well and hit shots. Kostas Niarhose also contributed by crashing the boards on both ends of the floor.

Souhegan 50 Alvirne 43
Both teams were missing key players in this one. Alvirne was playing without their best player Tyler Livingston, who was sitting because he recently suffered a concussion from being in a car accident. That is scary stuff, but he was on the bench cheering on his teammates so it's nice to see he's okay. Souhegan meanwhile was missing 3 of their top 4 players in Jake Kennedy, Tyler Ford and Zach Simmonds.

Fortunately for Soughegan, they weren't missing their best player Brandon Len. Len dropped 34 points in this game, as he sliced his way through the Alvirne defense, got to the rim and scored time after time. He also hit the outside shot. Len showed some great decision making with the basketball in his hands - he knew just when to shoot it, when to drive and when to dish it off to an open teammate. len was ther story of this game. Souheghan scored 50 points and he had a part to play in all 50 of them, as he scored 34 and he assisted on all of the other baskets.

Brian Dworkin converted inside on some of those dishes by Len, and junior guard AJ Hayes played some tough defense for Souhegan as well.

Alvirne played somne solid basketball, especially considering they were playing without their best player. The three guys who really steppped up in his absence were Kevin Pierre (long and athletic wing), Alec Yoksh (smart player with good shooting stroke) and Britton Doyle (very underrated defender, ultimate team player who doesn't need to score to make an impact).

Schedule for the league's championship night on Friday:
5 pm Bedford vs. Manchester Central
6 pm Manchester West vs. Souhegan
7 pm Sam Carey Alumni Game
8 pm BST Summer League Championship Game

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