By: Jeremy Leveille
This past weekend was a big one for the NEB (New England Basketball) Family's 17U boys AAU team, as they got 2nd place in New England at the Super Regionals. The tournament was held at the Mass Premier Courts in Foxboro, MA. The team was led by Cameron Meservey (Bedford HS), Carmen Giampetruzzi (Trinity), Andrew Lowman (Windham HS), Isaiah Joseph (Manchester Central) and Taylor Grande (Bedford HS).
"I honestly haven't seen Meservey play that well in two years" said NEB coach Gregg Dorman, who has coached Meservey since he was in 7th grade. "He had one game where he had 40 points and 10 three-pointers. He caught fire and single-handedly won it for us."
The NEB Family went 2-0 in pool play, with a 58-29 win over MYCW and a thrilling 67-61 win over the Boston Warriors. Then in the quarterfinals they crushed the Central Mass Shamrocks 81-57, and they followed that up with an impressive 76-69 win over the Boston Titans. But then the NEB Family had to play in the finals just a half hour after their semi-final game ended, and they fell to a tough Mass Premier team 78-47.
"We just ran out of gas in the finals, I could tell right from the opening tip." said Coach Dorman. "Mass Premier is a solid team, and well deserving of the championship. It was closer than the final score would indicate though, as we were down by around 12 for most of the way."
Still, it was a very good weekend for the team, which showed they can play with anybody in the region. The squad is made up exclusively of players from New Hampshire, with most of them being from last year's NH Titans team that won the 16U division at the NH State Tournament.
"In the semi-finals against the Boston Titans we were down by 12 points with just 7 minutes to go" said Dorman. "But then Cam caught fire, and within 3 or 4 minutes we were up by 6. Soon after that we went up by 12. Carmen was a rock for us, Lowman played great and Taylor Grande ran the point."
With their strong showing at Super Regionals over the weekend, the NEB Family now qualifies for Division I Nationals. Joseph had to sit out this past high school season, but academically he is only a junior at Central.
"Isaiah made the cut-off for being eligible for AAU by 1 day" said Dorman. "His birthday is September 1st. Eligibility works a little different for AAU as opposed to high school."
As for Giampetruzzi, he splitting time between playing his AAU basketball for the NEB Family but also playing high school baseball at Trinity. Giampetruzzi has committed to Boston College for baseball.
"He's better at baseball, but I think basketball is his passion" said Dorman. "We're flexible with him and scheduling. He plays for us when he can. He makes a big difference for our team, and we hope to have him down at Nationals."
The two players who have really been breaking out though are Meservey and Lowman, a pair of 6-foot-2 wing players. Look for both of them to have big senior seasons next year.
"When Cam gets it going, and goes straight up into his shot I don't think there's anyone better than him" said Dorman. "The only player in the state who may be a better shooter is Pat Welch from Pembroke. As for Lowman, offensively he carried us inside. Plus he was patient, didn't force things, ran the floor well and with his long arms he plays much bigger than 6-foot-2."
Dawson Dickson (Manchester Central) has also been playing well, but went on vacation so this weekend he only played in Friday's game. Grande stepped up at the point with him out of the lineup.
"And if Grande wasn't in there we put Carmen at the point" Dorman explained. "He can play anywhere for us."
Proving depth for the team is Thomas Lennon (Pinkerton), Alex Wetmore (Alvirne) and George Mokas (Bedford HS). The NE Family is a bran new program this year, and came to be as a result of the merger between 3 of the state's biggest programs - NH Titans, Bishop Elite and GS Gladiators. Look for more big things from them as the AAU season continues to unfold.