By: Jeremy Leveille
In a highly anticipated game played in front of a standing room only crowd at the Tilton School, featuring 2 McDonald's All-Americans it was Noah Vonleh's New Hampton team which defeated Wayne Selden's Tilton squad 56-48. This game was played at a high level, at a fast pace, and with a ton of intensity.
It is not often you get a chance to see 2 McDonald's All-Americans playing a game in the state of New Hampshire. Vonleh (committed to Indiana) and Selden (committed to Kansas) are 2 of the top 12 players in the country for the Class of 2013 according to ESPN.com. There were also a number of other future D-I college players in this game. Selden finished with 16 points and Vonleh had 13. However Vonleh had more help from his teammates, especially Anthony Pate. Pate stole the show, scoring 13 of his game-high 17 points in the 2nd half including 11 points in about 2 minutes.
Tilton led at the hlaf 23-20, but New Hampton went on a 32-10 run to start the 2nd half. Local product Mike LeBlanc (Dover, NH) got the run started with a 3-pointer and then Pate and Vonleh took over from there. These same 2 teams met up last weekend in the New Hampton Invitational, with the Huskies winning 77-73. Pate was New Hampton's leading scorer in that game as well. In addition to LeBlanc, the Huskies other local players who also got minutes in this game were Mike Auger (Hopkinton, NH) and Trevor Glassman (Bedford, NH).
Tillton's gym was jam packed with people, and there was a buzz in the crowd before the game. LeBlanc and Auger both started for New Hampton. LeBlanc hit a smooth catch-and-shoot three, and then on the other end he drew a charge.
"I love my position on the team, it's a lot more fun playing here" said LeBlanc, who transferred to from Dover High to New Hampton this fall. "It was a tough adjustment at first, especially with the shot clock. But then I got used to it."
Soon after is when Selden made his presence felt. Selden made a steal, took it all the way to the rim with a euro-step move to get by a defender before slamming down a big dunk. That gave Tilton an early 11-7 lead. New Hampton answered back with a thunderous dunk of their own from Lincoln Davis. The teams were giving the fans what they came to see!
Selden then hit a fadeaway jumper off his back leg with a foot on the 3-point line, and then took a charge on the other end on Auger. Selden then made another big slam dunk, as the teams continued to battle each other on both ends of the floor. LeBlanc made a nice block on a 3-point attempt, and Tilton went into halftime up 23-20.
The 2nd half was all New Hampton. Vonleh was very quiet in he 1st half, scoring just 2 points. He came alive in the 2nd half though, making a number of high level plays. LeBlanc drilled his second 3-pointer early in the 2nd half to get the run started. Things started to get physical and chippy, and the intensity really picked up on both sides. Vonleh hit a big three to put the Huskies up 35-28 with 13:38 left in the game.
Jonathan Joseph answered for Tilton, as the explosive 5-foot-9 point guard drove into the lane and converted a tough floater.
That's when Pate took over. The 6-foot-3 junior wing hit back-to-back threes, then slashed to the rim for another bucket. Then Pate hit yet another 3-pointer. It was an impressive display by Pate. Here he is, playing against some of the top players in the country and he just dropped 11 points in 2 minutes. Now the Huskies are up 48-31 with 8:31 left in the 2nd half.
Right after that Vonleh brought the house down by skying up over the rim on a put-back. A teammate miissed a shot inside, and as the ball bounced off the rim Vonleh got up high, grabbed the ball and while still in mid-air he threw down a one-handed dunk with authority. The crowd went nuts, and after another basket New Hampton now had a 52-33 lead. This game ws really starting to get away from Tilton.
Not to be outdone, Selden countered with another big play of his own. He cut to the rim, made a catch in traffic, took one dribble and slammed it down hard with both hands. Tilton was bac in it, now down 52-40 with 4:09 left.
Vonleh then made a smooth finish inside for an and-1, then hit a tough fadeaway jumper at the end of the shot clock. The Huskies had the game in hand, and started to pull their starters out.
Things got heated late in the game though, with 3 technical fouls being called. Then after the game, as the teams headed to their respective locker rooms they were in the hallway when players from both teams got into a skirmish. Selden and New Hampton big man Jeremy Miller were in the middle of it, as the teams had to be separated by their coaches. Clearly, there is some bad blood between the 2 squads.
LeBlanc had a strong all around game for New Hampton, with 6 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. He played the majority of the game, was steady with the basketball in his hands, amde good decisions with it and played tough defense.
"He can really shoot it, we like shooters" said New Hampton head coach Pete Hutchins. "His toughness is underrated, he plays hard all the time. I think he will be even better next year."
LeBlanc has received scholarship offers from Binghampton and New Hampshire and is also getting recruited by Ivy League and Patriot League schools, including Princeton, Brown and Lehigh.
"UNH and Binghampton offered in the fall" said the 6-foot-6 wing. "When I first got here I had no idea what the talent pool would be like. It's been unbelievable."