Wednesday, July 23, 2014

NH vs. VT Twin State Games - Event Recap

Over the weekend New Hampshire took on Vermont in the annual Twin State Games, with many of the top senior basketball players for both states on display. The games were held at Keene State College, bragging rights were on the line and it was the last high school game for these players getting a chance to represent their state. Here is the final score and NH MVP in both games. In the boys game NH won 91-75 and in the girls game VT won 79-66.

Both games were played the way all high school basketball games should be played - with a shot clock. NH leads VT 19-10 in the all-time series on the boys side, and 18-10 in the all-time series on the girls side.

Jon Martin from Manchester Central took home MVP honors on the boys side and Bedford High's Ali Glennon was named the NH MVP for the girls game. Martin and Glennon were both recipients of the Michael Johnson award. Michael Johnson was one of four brothers who were all star basketball players from Vermont. Michael was a police officer who was tragically killed while on duty.

Congratulations to Martin and Glennon for the award, and to all of the players who participated in the games. Here's a recap of both games.

Girls game: Vermont 79 New Hampshire 66
Vermont jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, they were the sharper team early. VT was hitting shots early on and NH was not. Specifically it was Hailee Barron (Rice HS) who was flat out shooting the lights out for VT. Barron took home MVP honors for VT. She connected on five 3-pointers, with four of them coming in the 1st half when VT jumped out to the big lead. VT led 43-28 at halftime. Haley Driscoll had 4 points and 5 rebounds early in the game, getting off to a strong start to help keep NH close.

Also leading the way for Vermont was Emily Kinniston, who had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Kinniston is a 2-time Gatorade Player of the Year in VT, she led CVU to back-to-back Division I state titles and a 47 game winning streak. She'll be playing her college ball at D-I American University.

With Barron and Kinniston both being guards, Vermont had a decided advantage over a NH team which played without a pair of future D-I college point guards in Londonderry's Aliza Simpson (UNH) and Jamie Sherburne from Bishop Guertin (Niagara).

Vermont was however playing without some key players down low, like Kara Sheftic from Essex HS (full ride to BU), Jackie Nagle from Colchester HS (Amherst College) and Madison Bennett (St. Michael's). All 3 players are over 6-foot. And with a front court including Melissa McLeod, Ali Glennon, Haley Driscoll and Heather King, NH appeared to have an edge in the paint. However, Vermont still outrebounded NH by a decisive margin.

VT extended their lead to 61-41, 6 minutes into the 2nd half. They led by as many as 23 when it was 72-49. But NH started to make shots in the 2nd half and VT started to go cold. King started to take over, scoring in the post to lead a NH comeback attempt. King ended up with 17 points and 5 rebounds. Glennon was also playing well, and she finished with 12 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Glennon was all over the court making plays.

Led by Glennon, King, Clairee Putnam (7 points and 3 rebounds) and Riselly Deoleo (6 points and 9 rebounds). Deoleo really played hard and was active on both ends of the floor. Erika Waterman hit a pair of 3-pointers for NH, while Emily Hickey chipped in with 7 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.

NH cut the lead down to 9, but VT held on for the 79-66 win. The NH girls team was coached by Keene HS head coach Doug Bartlett and assistant Brian Troy.

Here is the NH girls roster, and where each player is attending college in the fall...
Melissa McLeod - Winnacunnet HS - SNHU
Haley Driscoll - Bedford HS - Colby College
Ali Glennon - Bedford HS - Saint Anselm College
Erika Waterman - Sunapee HS - UNH
Clairee Putnam - Windham HS - Saint Anselm College
Riselly Deoleo - Bishop Brady - Wentworth Institute of Technology
Emily Hickey - Salem HS - Connecticut College
Heather King - Lebanon HS - Springfield College
Skylar Bonnette - Hinsdale HS - SNHU
Allison Scott - Hinsdale HS - Plymouth State

Boys game: New Hampshire 91 Vermont 75
NH got back on the winning track on the boys side. They jumped out to an early lead and didn't look back. NH was looking to push the tempo, run the break and fire away from beyond the arc. They shot well all game, especially in the 1st half. New Hampshire hit a whopping 13 3-pointers on the game. They went 13/24 (52%) from the outside.

NH raced to a 20-3 lead to start the game, with 6 different players reaching the scoring column. They were being led by Jon Martin and Yordy Tavarez - it seemed like those two guys could not miss! They both hit three 3-pointers apiece while Rich Ruffin also hit a pair of threes. Martin was phenomenal. He tallied a team-high 21 points, plus 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Tavarez had 12 points.

Ruffin was another standout player for team NH. He played well throughout the game, totalling 13 points to go with 3 rebounds and 1 assist. Anytime NH got a defensive rebound they immediately turned and whipped a quick outlet pass to a guard to start the break, with the other players sprinting up the floor to fill the lanes. They found the open shooters, and NH was knocking down their shots. It is a good plan when you think about it. NH's strength was their guards, not their post up game. And with only a couple of practices to prepare for the game it's not enough time to implement an intricate offense or a series of complicated sets.

Late in the 1st half the hot shooting continued for NH as they hit three 3-pointers in a row to go up by 20 points. In addition to Martin, Tavarez and Ruffin, Shayne Bourque also scored in double figures with 11 points. He hit a 3-pointer of his own to go with 4 rebounds. Bourque's high school teammate Eric Gendron chipped in with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 1 steal.

Jason Manwaring (Williamstown HS) kept Vermont in the game. He was a very tough player to stop from scoring or rebounding the basketball. Manwaring poured in a game high 23 points to go with 12 rebounds. He led his high school team to 3 Division III state titles. He'll be playing college ball at Castleton College.

NH took a 44-26 lead into halftime. Manwaring and his teammates pushed hard in the 2nd half to make a comeback, but NH kept hitting shots and held on for the 91-75 win. All 12 players for NH got in the scoring column. Eli Hodgson totalled 8 points, Shea Whalen had 5 points and 5 rebounds, Pat Glynn also had 5 points while Sam Knollmeyer had 3 points, Cam Meservey also had 3, Gabe Nichols chipped in with 2 and Robert O'Brien had 1 point.

The head coach for Team NH was Winnacunnet's Jay McKenna, and he was assisted by Mike Romps (Dover) and Jim Mulvey (Portsmouth)

Here is the NH girls roster, and where each player is attending college in the fall...
Rich Ruffin - Winnacunnet HS - Colby Sawyer College
Gabe Nichols - Hopkinton HS - NHTI
Eric Gendron - Merrimack HS - Trinity College
Sam Knollmeyer - Wentworth Institute of Technology
Jon Martin - Manchester Central - Eastern Florida State College
Patrick Glynn - Portsmouth HS - UNH
Yordy Tavarez - Nashua South - NHTI
Cam Meservey - Bedford HS - Colby Sawyer
Shayne Bourque - Merrimack HS - Colby Sawyer
Eli Hodgson - Conant HS - Salve Regina
Robert O'Brien - Conant HS - Cushing Academy
Shea Whalen - Hollis-Brookline - Clark University

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