Sunday, March 16, 2014
Central Wins D-I State Title Over Merrimack 70 – 61
By: Tuesday and Friday
Brett Hanson scored 24 points and the Martin Brothers combined for 38 points (Thank You Mr and Mrs Martin) to lead undefeated Central to their 18th state title. Eric Gendron had a tremendous effort in defeat scoring 32 points on 9-16 shooting from the field and going 12 – 13 from the line. Gendron also had 14 rebounds which was nearly half of Merrimack’s team total of 30 rebounds.
Central’s biggest possession of the game and season came with just over 2 minutes left in the game. Merrimack had just completed a 7 – 0 run with a Gendron layup, a Franzen 10 foot runner and a Gendron And 1 three point play to make the score 58 – 54 Central with 2:53 remaining. Merrimack had momentum on their side and the Tomahawk student body was shaking down the bleachers with deafening noise. Central worked the ball around and was careful and deliberate with the possession. With 2:15 left Joe Martin came free at the top of the key and calmly swished a 3 pointer to give Central much needed breathing room and a 61 – 54 lead. This was the biggest shot of Central’s season and it was appropriate it came from one of the Martin Brothers (Thank You Mr and Mrs Martin).
In the 1st quarter it was evident what the difference was going to be between the 2 teams. The score at the end of the opening period was Central 18 Eric Gendron 11. 4 different players scored for Central. This would be the theme and difference for the rest of the game. With 5:52 left in the 2nd period Shayne Bourque became the first player, not named Eric Gendron, to score for Merrimack to make the game 22 – 13 Central. With 3:10 left in the half a Hanson 3 gave Central their largest lead to that point of the game at 29 to 17. Central took a 33 to 20 lead into the break.
Central maintained a double digit lead for the majority of the 3rd quarter. With 8 seconds left Joe Martin hit a 3 to put Central up 56 to 40 heading into the 4th quarter (Thank You Mr and Mrs Martin).
Merrimack scored a couple of quick hoops to cut the Central lead to 56 – 44. Central went up 58 to 49 which set the stage for the 7-0 Merrimack run and the biggest possession of Central’s season. As Mr and Mrs Martin knows so well their younger son Joe hit the biggest shot of the Central season with the swish 3 from the top of the key to give Central the 61 – 54 lead with just over 2 minutes left. Central hit their FTs down the stretch and Hanson converted a big And 1 three to keep the Tomahawks at a comfortable distance.
Eric Gendron played great in defeat. He singlehandedly kept Merrimack in the game. He was the leading scorer and rebounder of the game. The Merrimack senior and probable POY closed out his career in style. Tim Goodridge will sorely miss not being able to fill out Gendron’s name in next year’s starting lineup.
Central just had too much scoring depth for Merrimack. The Martin Brothers along with Brett Hanson became the best 1-2-3 scoring trio in the state this season. Central had a few players who took a back seat to the Martin Brothers for the good of the team and the Little Green chemistry. The Little Green and Doc Wheeler were rewarded for this buying into the unselfish system with a 22 – 0 season and the 18th state basketball title for Central High School. The Martin Brothers will go down in NH high school basketball history as one of the most important, if not the most important transfer situation in history.
When the names of the coaching staff and players are inscribed on the D1 Boy’s State Title plaque for Central and put near the Simon Gym sport’s award display case they should save some room near the bottom of the plaque.
In this space on the plaque it should read: “Thank You Mr and Mrs Martin.”
Doc Wheeler said, “This group has been outstanding. We have kids that are skilled and they listen. The first day of school is when I found out the Martin brothers came here. We’ve been losing kids left and right to transfers, so it was nice to have a couple move in. You rarely see three star players on the same team who all share the ball as well as these three.”
Jon Martin on the season: “We worked so hard. We deserved it. To go undefeated makes it twice as special.” Brett Hanson added: “I can’t describe this feeling. It’s unbelievable. All of our hard work has paid off. Since the first day we got together we have been a cohesive group. We just had fun together every day.”