Here's a few things I've been jotting down in my notebook this past week...
First off, 2 more local girls basketball players from the Class of 2015. 5-foot-7 combo-guard Sarah Thomas from undefeated Bishop Brady has committed to St. Lawrence University (according to her father) and Thomas' former Bishop Brady teammate and current Kimball Union Academy senior Taylor Ong has verballed to Skidmore College. We'll have detailed stories on both coming soon.
Secondly, some news that could shake up the hierarchy in D-I boys basketball. We're told that Trevon Maughn and Wade Gop could be returning to the Manchester Memorial lineup next week. Both started for the Crusaders' Final Four team last season, but neither has played a game so far this season due to off-court reasons. Memorial is 3-3 thus far. Their next game is next Monday at home vs. Nashua North.
Just throwing this out there - does it send the wrong message for schools to hang banners for teams who finish as league runners-up? I say only hang championship banners, and your teams won't settle for 2nd place.
Additionally, I wonder how high school coaches would feel if one of their players got hurt during AAU tryouts which took place during the season? AAU is starting up earlier and earlier, with tournaments beginning very soon following the conclusion of the high school season. AAU teams prefer to have rosters set up by then, and many of them hold tryouts during the high school season.
Lastly, there's some big games this Friday night. Headlining the schedule is Manchester Central at Spaulding in D-I boys hoops. Central is 5-0 (8-0 including holiday tourney wins) and owns a state-best 33 game winning streak, which will be on the line vs. Spaulding which is 6-0 (9-0 including holiday tourney). We saw last Friday night when they blew out previously unbeaten Pinkerton that Central is just too good in an up-tempo game - you can't try to run with them. If Spaulding is able to control the tempo and slow Central down they have a chance.
Another potential Final Four preview match up on Friday night is Milford at Portsmouth in D-II girls. Milford has made back-to-back Final Four appearances and is undefeated so far. Portsmouth was the D-II runner-up in 2013 and has just 1 loss. That loss was to Oyster River, but the Clippers avenged that loss by beating the Bobcats in the title game of the Bobcats Holiday Invitational. This game is a tossup. Portsmouth is at home but Milford has more experience. None of the kids on Portsmouth's team now were getting minutes in the finals vs. Lebanon in 2013. Milford has a few kids who have played in 2 Final Fours now. The Spartans 2 best players are seniors (Adelle Pitsas and Rebecca Cleary) whereas Portsmouth's 2 best players are only sophomores (Libby Underwood and Heather Durand).
Oh yeah, and how about Division IV girls? We have Sunapee and Groveton at 9-0 and Littleton is 8-0. Groveton and Littleton both only beat Woodsville by single digits, but Sunapee has won every game by 33 points or more. The Lakers have to be considered the favorite.