Here are some things I have been writing in my notebook lately.
Parity in D-1 Boys
There is a ton of parity this season in Division I boys basketball. While you have a clear cut favorite in D-II (Pembroke), D-III (Conant) and D-IV (Newmarket), it is anyone's guess who the favorite is right now in D-I.
There are no undefeated teams in D-I (Trinity lost to Central and Central lost to Memorial at the QCIBT). Yes I know it's just a holiday tournament, but in both of those games the teams involved were going all out and playing to win.
Last week Trinity impressed with wins over Nashua South and Spaulding, who were both unbeaten in regular season play prior to falling to Trinity.
After the holiday tourneys were over the two teams playing the best were Memorial and South. But then Memorial lost the next game they played (to Dover) and South of course was beaten by Trinity last week. Memorial had four technical fouls in their loss to Dover, but then the rusaders rebounded nicely with a win on Friday night over a good Bishop Guertin team (it was BG's first loss of the season).
The loss on Friday night to Trinity was Spaulding's first regular season loss. However they did also lose to Winnacunnet in the championship game of the Oyster River Holiday Tournament. Not only did Winnacunnet beat Spaulding, but they also defeated Salem (better than their record indicates) in a rout 71-49.
Bedford also has to be in the conversation, especially after their 55-53 win over Winnacunnet on Friday night. Cam Meservey dropped 18 points and Taylor Grande hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win the game for the Bulldogs. However Bedford has lost to BG, Alvirne and Merrimack (at the QCIBT).
Alvirne is 3-2, including a win over Bedford. But both of their losses were by 16 points or more. We will find out more about where they are at on Tuesday night when the Broncos take on BG.
Don't be surprised if Trinity, Central and Memorial all make the Final Four. If that happens it would truly show the depth of talent that exists in the Queen City. Trinity lost Ian Sistare to prep school, Central's Isaiah Joseph and Memorial's Majak Wenyin have both been denied eligibility by the NHIAA. Scary to think that these players aren't playing and these are still arguably the 3 best teams in the state.
But this division is still extremely wide open. South, Spaulding, Winnacunnet, Memorial, BG, Alvirne, Central, Merrimack, Trinity, Bedford. All of these teams have a shot. You could possibly include Dover in that mix too, but their chances definitely took a hit when Mike Wons (one of the state's top defenders and one of Dover's best players) suffered a torn ACL.
Big Year for the Springfields
At the Zero Gravity Holiday Tournament, Conant High's boys and girls basketball teams both took home tournament championships. The MVP of the boys tournament was Conant senior guard Devin Springfield, and the MVP of the girls tournament was Devin's younger sister Madison Springfield. This could be a sign of things to come in March as well. The Conant boys team is unbeaten in D-III play so far. They were the preseason favorites to win the D-III title, and Devin Springfield was the preseason Player of the Year. Meanwhile the Conant girls team is also undefeated so far. Going into the season they were considered one of the favorites in D-III girls, and Madison Springfield was a preseason first-team selection. What a story it would be if both Devin and Madison Springfield win state titles AND Player of the Year awards this season!
Head Scratching Girls Scores
The Dover High girls basketball team pulled off the upset of the year last monnth when they beat defending D-I state champs Bishop Guertin 47-42. As if that score wasn't surprising enough, how about this one - just four days before they beat BG, Dover lost to Exeter 40-12! That's right, the same Exeter team which lost to BG 77-38. The BG girls were involved in another game with an interesting final. They defeated Londonderry 78-32 last Tuesday night. That game was a rematch of last year's D-I championship game, which was a tight, hard fought battle which BG narrowly won. Londonderry returns 4 starters and has 8 girls back from last year, but BG flat out dominated them.
Joseph Continues to Turn Heads
Cushing Academy junior point guard Kaleb Joseph (Nashua, NH) conntinus to see his recruiting stock jump. He already held offers from New Hampshire, Providence, Connecticut, Boston College and West Virginia, and now just in the last week he has taken phone calls from both Duke and Ohio State. Joseph is a special athlete and a special player. He is driven to be the best player he can possibly be. He is one of the top rated recuits in the entire country from the Class of 2014.
Church is Back
Proctor Academy junior guard Morgan Church made her return to the court on Wednesday vs. Kimball Union Academy. Church led the Kearsarge girls basketball team to the D-II title game last season and is one of the state's top recruits from the Class of 2014. With a minute left in the Cougar's semi-final win over Windham last March she suffered a torn ACL and underwent knee surgery. She is now back on the court though, and on Wednesday night she had 6 points, 4 steals, 4 assists, 4 rebounds and only 2 turnovers.