Monday, July 15, 2013

NH and VT Split Twin State Senior Games

After a 2 year hiatus, the Twin State Games are back, as some of NH and VT's top senior basketball players went at it this past Saturday night inside a very hot gym at Essex High in Vermont. NH won the girls game 61-59 behind a MVP performance from Lebanon's Moriah Morton who had a game-high 27 points and 17 rebounds. Meanwhile Vermont won the boys game 89-84.

An MVP was chosen from each team, and presented with the Michael Johnson Award, named after the former high school star player who tragically passed away. Morton received the award on the girls side, and for the NH boys team Devin Springfield (Conant High) took home the honor.

In the girls game NH came from behind for the win. They trailed by as many as 16, when it was 26-10 Vermont in the 1st half. Team NH got back in it though, cutting the VT lead to just 8 at the half.

"We weathered a 1st half storm in which they shot very well from the perimeter and we couldn't buy a hoop" said Team NH head coach Tim Haskins (Groveton HS), who was assisted by Shawn Flynn (Merrimack HS).

Team NH made a couple adjustments at halftime which helped momentum continue to swing in their favor.

"At Coach Flynn's recommendation, we told the girls they needed to do a better job fronting the low post, as not only were their post players putting it in down low, but also kicking out to open shooters when we doubled down" explained Coach Haskins. "My focus was getting the girls to run the offensive more patiently and look for higher percentage shots, too many times in the first half if the offense didn't produce a good look after the 1st time through, we bailed on it and forced up long 3's which we weren't making. The girls executed both directives very well in the 2nd half - even when we had a smaller lineup on the floor for much of the 2nd half, our taller guards worked like heck to deny the post and clear the boards, and we attacked the hoop on offense."

In addition to Morton's 27 points, also leading the way for Team NH was Milford's Dina Pitsas with 16 points and Morton's Lebanon High teammate Emily Kehoe who had 8. Morton, Pitsas and Kehoe each played the majority of the game. I've said it before but I'll say it again - Moriah Morton could definitely be an impact player for Dartmouth if they let her walk-on to the team.

"Pitsas had numerous boards, while Chelsea Payer, Kehoe and Kate Cole were particularly good helping defend taller players in the 2nd half" added Haskins.

New Hampshire tied the game up for the first time with 9 minutes to play, and took their first lead since it was 2-0 with 4:29 left in the 2nd half by going up 52-50. Vermont tied it back up at 54-54, but then NH went back ahead for good with 1:30 left in regulation.

Perhaps the best story from the weekend was that the Flaum twins from Hollis-Brookline HS both got to play, as Ellie Flaum had 3 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 assist for the NH girls team. Meanwhile her twin brother PJ Flaum chipped in with 10 points for the NH boys squad. Both are good players and good kids who play the game the right way.

Rounding out the roster for the NH girls team were Allie Hartford (Manchester Memorial), Payton Curtis (White Mountains Regional), Suzie Barry (Bow), Jill Roberts (Franklin) and Annaliese Schmidt (Newmarket).

The coaches plan on having next year's games in NH, and to start planning the event further in advance to get the word out better. For a detailed recap of the NH vs. VT boys game, visit nhsportspage.com.

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