Saturday, February 1, 2014

Too Much 'G' and Not Enough 'D' for Memorial, Trinity Wins City Game

83-66 is definitely a high scoring game for NH high school basketball. It was a combination of good offense and poor defense on both sides. If you like fast paced basketball, quick shot attempts and high scoring games you would have loved this one. Especially during the 1st half it had the feel of an all-star game as opposed to a regular season contest, as you had kids hitting fadeaway threes, uncontested layups and a 30-20 score after 1 quarter of play.

As the game went on though, Trinity kept on scoring but they also picked up their defensive intensity while Memporial did not. And as the game went on, Trinity's Carmen Giampetruzzi became more of a force scoring the basketball from all over the court. 'G' dropped a game-high 29 points to go with 14 rebounds, and teammate Wenyin Gabriel had 18 points, 17 rebounds and 4 blocks as Trinity made the trip across town and defeated city rival Manchester Memorial 83-66 on Friday night to improve to 9-1 on the season.

"I started getting in a flow on offense" said Giampetruzzi, a 3-sport star who will play baseball at Boston College next year. "I was hitting 3's and that opened up my drive. Wenyin played well down low and that opened up my game inside and plus Ryan Otis did a nice job of kicking it out."

Giampetruzzi the only one who had a big game offensively. 5-foot-10 junior guard Trevon Maughn dropped 15 points in the 1st quarter and 28 for the game. Maughn hit a whopping seven 3-pointers. It was fun to watch Giampetruzzi and Maughn go back-and-forth hitting big shot after big shot.

The peak of the game was in the 2nd quarter. Memorial led 30-20 after 1 but Trinity came storming back in the 2nd. The points continued coming at a fast and furious rate. Gabriel converted a put-back, Brad Rhoades (9 points) made a layup on the break and then Gabriel made an and-1. All 3 buckets came in the blink of an eye as the Pioneers opened the quarter with a 6-0 run. Freshman guard Craig Preston buried a 3-pointer for Memorial, but then Ryan Otis (7 points and 10 assists) answered right back with a 3 for Trinity to cut the Crusaders' lead to 33-29. Then Gabriel had another and-1 finish inside, followed quickly by a Patrick Keefe inside bucket as Trinity takes their first lead, 34-33 with 5:03 left in the 1st half. That's when Giampetruzzi really started to get in a groove, getting inside for 2 to put Trinity up 36-33 and cap a 16-3 run for the Pioneers. Matt Remington hit a 3 for Memorial to tie it up 36-36, but it was 'G' again scoring inside to put Trinity back on top. You can't let him go left! Maughn hit another 3 as Memorial re-takes the lead 39-38. Giampetruzzi scores 2 more inside as Trinity goes back ahead 40-39. What happened next? You guessed it, Memorial scores again to re-take the lead! Maughn makes a nice dish over to Malo Roumraj (11 points) for a layup and it's now 41-40 Memorial. Unfortunately for the Crusaders though, that is the last lead they would have as they just couldn't hang with Trinity after that. The Pioneers went on a 7-0 run to end the 2nd quarter, and they continued that run into the 3rd. It ended up being a 23-7 run for Trinity, after they already went on a 16-3 run earlier. Memorial certainly had their moments, but to play with a team as good as Trinity you need to bring it consistently for all 4 quarters. Trinity's 7-0 run to end the 1st half consisted of a 3-pointer by sophomore forward Connor Walsh and put-backs by Gabriel and Walsh. It was 47-41 Trinity at halftime.

This was a fast paced game and was fun to watch. NH high school basketball definitely needs a shot clock, but it in a game like this one it wouldn't have mattered because the shots were going up so quick all game by both teams.

Maughn was simply on fire in the 1st quarter, going off for 15 points. Brandon Scott had a pair of easy layups against the Trinity press, and Kabongo Ngalakulondi (13 points) had an easy layup off a steal then hit a jumper from the elbow as Memorial went up 8-4 early. Giampetruzzi though was working hard down low for points and rebounds. Then Maughn caught fire, hitting a 3-pointer to put Memorial up 11-5. Then came an offensive flurry, with Maughn hitting another 3, Otis scored inside, Roumraj had another layup and Giampetruzzi hit a 3 as the Memorial lead was now cut to 16-14. Giampetruzzi scored again inside, but then Ngalakulondi answered right back with a 3 from about 4 feet behind the line. Rhoades made a strong drive and finish in traffic but then Maughn hit another 3...plus the foul! On the next trip down the floor what happened? You guessed it, another 3-pointer for Maughn who completed his sensational 15 point quarter and Memorial had their largest lead 30-20 after 1.

Memorial got a whopping 22 points in the 1st quarter from Maughn and Ngalakulondi alone. But over the final 3 quarters they combined for just 19.

"We tried to keep Trevon from scoring, because we knew him and Kabongo was their whole team" said Gabriel. "We tried switching different guys on him and get him out of his comfort zone."

Trinity certainly looked like a Final Four team in the 3rd quarter. Gabriel lays it in on a baseline out of bounds play, Rhoades hit a 3 and Giampetruzzi made a tough drive and finish as Trinity was scoring quickly to go up 54-43 with 5:33 left in the 3rd forcing Memorial coach Jack Quirk to call timeout.

Roumraj hit a 3 to cut the Trinity lead to 57-46, but then the Pioneers answer right back as Otis makes a good dish to 'G' for a layup. Then Rhoades completed the 23-7 Trinity run with another strong drive and finish. Trinity was pulling away up 63-48 and Memorial was really struggling defensively.

Ngalakulondi was trying to keep Memorial in it, as he connected on a long 2 (had foot on 3 point line). Giampetruzzi answered with the shot that was possibly the dagger, a 3-pointer from the corner to put Trinity up 66-50. Maughn hit another 3 though to cut the lead to 66-53, but then Gabriel scored another easy layup off a baseline out of bounds play (with Gabriel's height at 6-foot-7 and long arms this is a very tough play to defend). Walsh had an and-1 and Roumraj had a layup at the buzzer. It was 71-55 Trinity after 3.

Memorial cut the lead to 11 in the 4th quarter but wasn't able to get any closer than that. Gabriel had a nice weak side block on Maughn. Josh Simpson was working hard down low for the Crusaders on the boards and scoring inside. Giampetruzzi kept on attacking, going 3/4 court with the ball, going behind his back with the dribble to avoid a defender and then laying it in on the break. Maughn answered with another 3, but then Gabriel scored again inside. Maughn again scored, this time using a screen nicely to drive baseline and hit a tough floater. 'G' again answered back, scoring inside then stepping out and connecting on a jumper from the elbow. Both of the game's high scorers really put on a show. Both teams pulled their starters out with a couple minutes left and Trinity wins it 83-66.

Both student sections were rocking, and it is always a great atmosphere when 2 Manchester schools do battle on the hardwood. Giampetruzzi has been playing in these games for 4 years now, but since he's a senior Friday night's game was one of the last ones. He has had a great career in not only basketball but football and baseball as well.

"I'm definitely going to miss it" said Giampetruzzi, whose father Carmen Sr. played basketball at SNHU in Manchester. "Especially football, playing under the lights on a Friday night. There's nothing like the city games."

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