Monday, March 24, 2014

Granite Games Recap - D-I vs. D-II Boys

We'll be re-capping each of the four games at the Granite Games on Sunday at NHTI, and first up is D-I vs. D-II boys. The D-I all-stars won in a blowout, 114-74. With players like Eric Gendron (Merrimack), Carmen Giampetruzzi (Trinity), Jon Martin (Manchester Central), Drew Coveney (Londonderry) and Cam Meservey (Bedford) all on the court at the same time plus a bench that was just as good, the D-I team was just too good and too deep. It would have been a closer game if Patrick Welch (Pembroke) had played, but D-I would have still won. Coveney made a nice dish to Giampetruzzi for a layup, and it was 45-30 D-I at halftime.

At halftime of the game coaches and players came down to center quart to be honored and receive their awards. Londonderry's Nate Stanton won D-I Coach of the Year in his first season at the helm. Jim Mulvey (Portsmouth) won D-II Coach of the Year. Both coaches were certainly deserving of their honors, especially Mulvey who took a team of players who for the most part play basketball as only their second or third sport and got them within 10 points of Pembroke in the finals.

Gendron got D-I Player of the Year, as well as Mr. NH Basketball. And as most of the state now knows, Jourdain Bell (Bishop Brady) got D-II Player of the Year after Welch was stripped of the award for something he tweeted after the title game. There's a good article in the Concord Monitor where Pembroke head coach Matt Alosa comments on the issue and Alosa makes some valid points as to why the punishment may have been too severe than the crime. This will certainly be something folks will be talking about for a while.

Additionally, Central head coach Doc Wheeler was given a 'Perfect Season Award' as The Little Green were the only boys basketball team in the state to go undefeated this year. On the girls side, Hinsdale also went a perfect 22-0 in Division IV. Two more coaching awards were presented, to Coe-Brown head coach David Smith for his 500th career win, and to Nate Mazzerole of Nashua South for his 200th career victory.

For Gendron, it was his second consecutive D-I Player of the Year award. It's hard to argue with a kid who every night had the opposing team's game plan centered around stopping him, seeing constant double teams and box-and-ones, and still being as consistent a scorer and rebounder as there was in D-I and leading his team to the title game.

"It feels good" Gendron commented after the Granite Games. "I've learned that hard work pays off. It really would have been nice winning a second championship. But winning a title with my brother sophomore year is something I'll always remember."

Gendron scored over 1,000 points, with his career-high being 39 points in a game. Just as impressive is his 3.85 GPA. He is still weighing options for next year.

"I have it down to Trinity College, RPI, Tufts, Brown, Brandeis and Wesleyan" said Gendron. "I'm also considering Notre Dame, but not for basketball. I may try to walk-on if I went there."

Gendron's older brother Tyler is a sophomore at RPI and is on the basketball team there.

"He's been trying to get me to go there and play with him at RPI" said Gendron with a smile.

Another player who is still weighing options is Martin. Martin attended four different schools in his four years of high school. He moved up to NH along with his brother Joey (a junior wing for Central) right before the school year from Florida.

"We moved to NH from Palm Bay, Florida which is an hour south of Portland" Martin explained. "I'm from New England originally, but also lived in Minnesota and other than UNH the biggest crowd I ever played in front of was in the Minnesota State Tournament at Williams Arena."

Martin is considering colleges and prep schools in New England as well as Florida.

In the 2nd half of this game it was a 3-point barrage. Mike Felix (Salem) hit a 3 early in the 2nd half, and then later Gendron, Jordan Lates (Nashua North) and Zach Holler (Exeter) all hit 3's as D-I really started to pull away, but then Dominick Morrill hit a 3 of his own for D-II. Later on Giampetruzzi came down on the break, left it for Martin who hit a 3. Donovan Phanor (Portsmouth) hit a 3, and then Holler hit another one. There was no shortage of shooters in this game, that's for sure!

There was also some good passing, as Shayne Bourque (Merrimack) made a nice dish to Holler for a layup, then you had the Portsmouth connection with Nick Mackey making a good pass down court to Clippers teammate Pat Glynn for a layup. Gendron also made a nice pass to Giampetruzzi for a layup. Morrill also made a nice pass to Williams cutting to the basket for a layup. Martin also made a nice dish to 'G' for a layup.

Morrill made a nice dribble-drive move to the rim for 2, Kafani 'Jordan' Williams made a pair of strong drives to the rim knifing his way through the defense for strong finishes in traffic. John Flory hit a pull-up jumper as D-II was hanging in there.

But that is when D-I really started to pull away, as Meservey made a strong take to the rim and finish and then came the 3-point barrage. Then Tavarez hit a pull-up and Felix exploded to the rim off the dribble for 2.

Finally we had some defense near the end of the game, as Williams leaped high up in the air to block a slam dunk attempt by Gendron. Then Phanor drove across the lane, finishing with a smooth lefty floater.

Congratulations to all of the players for being selected to play in the game. Here were the game's rosters.

Division I All-Stars
Eric Gendron (Merrimack)
Jon Martin (Manchester Central)
Carmen Giampetruzzi (Trinity)
Cam Meservey (Bedford)
Drew Coveney (Londonderry)
Zach Holler (Exeter)
Jordan Lates (Nashua North)
Shayne Bourque (Merrimack)
Sam Knollmeyer (Winnacunnet)
Yordy Tavarez (Nashua South)

Division II All-Stars
Kafani 'Jordan' Williams (Pembroke)
Dominick Morrill (Lebanon)
Kalin Sou (Lebanon)
Nick Mackey (Portsmouth)
Pat Glynn (Portsmouth)
Donovan Phanor (Portsmouth)
Collin Sullivan (Plymouth)
Shea Whalen (Hollis-Brookline)
Logan Blake (Hollis-Brookline)
Ryan Head (Merrimack Valley)
John Flory (Hanover)

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