Saturday, March 14, 2015

They Might Be Giants

By: Ross Laorenza
Bishop Brady punched their ticket to the Final Four with a 71-47 win over the Windham Jaguars. The Giant offense was operating on a high level with Brendan Johnson scoring 27 points and Jourdain Bell totaling 20 points. In attendance tonight was legendary coach Tommy Hardiman, who coached Bishop Brady to their Class I championship in 1964.

The Giant never trailed and opened with 15-4 run. Jourdain Bell ran point with brother Joe and Brendan Johnson on the outside. Big man Aaron Svendsen loomed large in the middle and sophomore Matt Quirk lurking in the wings.

“One of the big pieces for us was our defense on the floor,” said head coach Cole Etten. “When we got our stop, we were able to rebound the ball and that’s huge for us.”

The Giant defense gave Windham point guard David Carbonello a battle all night. Both Jourdain and Joe Bell alternated man coverage on Carbonello as he tried to run the Jaguar offense. One of the highlights for Windham was the outside shooting of Cole Gill. Gill hit two rainbow three pointers in the first half as Windham tried to stay within striking distance.

There was a scary moment for Bishop Brady in the fourth quarter. With 4:44 remaining Joe Bell took a spill underneath the basket and got tangled out of bounds with a photographer. He appeared to be trying to work out a cramp in his calf, but with a sizeable lead he didn’t return from the bench.

Windham will be graduating five players off their varsity roster after the season. David Carbonello, Joe Frake, Kurtis Joliceour, Brendan McInnis and Davis Potter helped lead the Jaguars throughout the season.

“I think the guys leaving us have really set a standard of what it takes to play at a high level, on a consistent basis. On a night to night basis,” said Jaguars head coach Todd Steffanides. “I’m really proud of the guys and what they’re leaving behind…”

Jourdain Bell opened the scoring in the first quarter with a jumper in the lane. After a miss from Carbonello, Matt Quirk added to the Brady lead with a layup, off glass and in. Windham got their first points from Cole Gill, but Jourdain Bell countered with a corner three. 7-2 Bishop Brady.

After a basket from Joe Frake, it was Brendan Johnson showing some impressive ball skills, spinning through the paint to put a shot up an in. On the defensive end Johnson came up with a steal, two minutes later, and took in the rest of the distance for an easy bucket. Showing some impressive range, Johnson connected from long range with 1:06 remaining in the first and putting Brady ahead 15-4.

Windham would get three from Cole Gill to make things close, but then Aaron Svendsen scored down low for Brady to give them a 10 point lead at the end of one: 17-7.

Jourdain Bell hit two free throws to start the second quarter, extending the lead to 12 points. Gill brought it back down to 9 with his second triple of the game. After a steal, Jourdain Bell got hacked hard by Brendan McInnis. Bell made both free throws. 21-10, Bishop Brady.

The game was very fast paced on both ends. Windham tried to slow down their offense to set up some good look, but Brady’s defense was stellar. The one ball defense forced at least three steals in the second quarter that lead to fast break points the other way. Windham’s defense tried to copy the aggressiveness of their opponent but it left some Giants wide open for shots. Brendan Johnson had a wide open look for three after Marco Allanach went for a steal and came up empty handed.

With 3:58 to the play in the half Brady led 26-14. A Bell miss led to an offensive rebound for Johnson and a quick bucket. Carbonello hit a nice fall away at the other end of the floor, but Johnson charge right back, cutting to the hoop and getting fouled. A went 1 for 2 at the line.

Matt Quirk scored with a nifty move inside and then Jourdain Bell came away with a steal and score. 33-16. Those shots were part of an 8-2 run to end the first half for Bishop Brady. At halftime, Bishop Brady: 36, Windham: 18.

The Jaguars came out stronger with their first possession of the second half. Great ball movement from Carbonello and Joe Frake led to a 15 foot jumper for Cole Gill. After a layupfrom Quirk, Joe Frake scored on a pull-up in traffic. With the score 38-22, Bishop Brady ripped off a 10-1 run the really put the game out of reach. Johnson hit another wide open three, Joe Bell scored with a pull up from 10 feet. A steal by Jourdain Bell led to a quick chance as he fed the ball ahead to Johnson. But Johnson got absolutely clotheslined from behind, leading to free throws. You can tell there’s still a little football in these Windham basketball players.

Aaron Svedsen scored inside for the Giants and Matthew Desmaris capped the 10-1 run get a feed from Johnson and hitting a shot through contact. Brendan Johnson made another great player later in the 3rd to put his team up 26. Bell missed from the outside, but Johnson swooped in, grabbed the rebound for a put-back and one. 51-25 Bishop Brady.

The Jaguars closed the third with a small 6-2 run, including baskets from Carbonello and Frake plus two free throws from Gill. But still at the end of three Brady held a sizeable 53-31 advantage.

Leading by 22, Bishop Brady charged on into the fourth quarter and didn’t let up one bit. Jourdain Bell made an incredible, fake behind the back, lay in that had fans cheering all over the gym. It was an impressive shot.

Windham tried to keep up with the frenetic pace, but sometimes got forced into bad shots. Need a large sum to get back into it Carbonello and Gill took some look from three point range, but not enough of the fell. After Joe Bell went out with an injury, the game slowed until coming to a full stop for a Bishop Brady 71-47 victory. The Giants will face off against Goffstown in the semi-final round at UNH.

Brendan Johnson led all scorers with 27 points. His teammate Jourdain Bell finished with 20 points. Matt Quirk chipped in with 12 points, including 6 for 6 from the line in the 4th.

Cole Gill led Windham with 15 points. David Carbonello finished with 13 points. Joe Frake totaled 10 points.

From Concord, Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook

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