Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Thoughts At The D1 Boys’ Semi-finals

By: Tuesday and Friday
There is nothing like the buzz and atmosphere 45 minutes before the start of the D1 boys’ semi-finals. Coaches, fans, writers and broadcasters are milling about exchanging conversations about the past season and on the 2 big games to come. Coaches and players receive congratulatory wishes on making all state teams or winning the COY award. It’s just a perfect punctuation to a long basketball season

Now, in keeping with the atmosphere of the big stage of UNH, I think it’s time to bring the quarterfinals back to UNH. The quarterfinal games at the home of the higher seed have run its course. It was a good idea when they changed it over a few years ago. There have been many quarterfinal games with great games and atmosphere in tiny gyms across the state the last few years. When you see the atmosphere there at UNH and realize only 4 teams get to experience it, then I think 8 teams need to experience it. It’s a shame NHIAA makes up these nice programs with 16 team pictures for each division, but only 4 teams really get to feel proud they are in the official program for the games being played at UNH. The same goes for SNHU and Plymouth. You get these nice slick programs at these venues, but only 4 team pictures matter. If they keep the quarterfinals at the higher seeds, then how about getting those nice slick programs to the venues for the quarterfinal games?

So, I exchange pleasantries with the Icon-in-the-making Mikey Martineau and I ask him, “Who ya picking in the Central – Winny game Mikey? Winny?” Mickey booms with his voice, “No, I got Central winning the game!!” I kid him knowing full well that Mikey is Mr Central and that he has picked Central to win every game the last 5 years, just like Justin McIsaac has picked Spaulding to win every game for the last 5 years. He was pretty excited to be in the “cheap seats” way up top at Lundholm taping the game for the Central coaching staff.

With all the talk this season of West’s Joe Simpson being in his mid-20s and Trinity’s Connor Walsh being in his mid-30s, I have a new older looking player. Winnacunnet’s Anthony Primavera definitely looks like he’s in his late 20s. If I can find 2 more players at tonight’s D2 semi-finals that look older beyond their years, perhaps I can come up with the All State Older Looking Team.

In the first half of the Central – Winny game the Little Green shot 3 for 17 from 3 point land at 17%. It could’ve been the confusion of the two 3 point lines. The high school line is a very light shade of light blue which is difficult to see from press row. I would imagine it’s more difficult to see when you’re on the court flying around. The college 3 point line is a distinct black line. The Central 3 point shooters were tossing up their 3’s a couple of feet further than they normally do. Most of their 3 pointers came up short. I’m sure the extra couple of feet further back with the confusing lines played a part in their 3 – 17 shooting in the first half. It’s too bad with 6 VERY important HS playoff games being played at UNH that there couldn’t be only one 3 point line. I believe the two UNH basketball teams haven’t played for a bit.

You won’t find a calmer coach on the sidelines before a big game than Jack Quirk. You would never know he was coaching a big game. Once the game starts, his face gets contorted, the hairy gets frizzled and frazzled and the blood temp sky rockets. I’m always amazed by this phenomenon…….. The rims at UNH were very live all night long. I just think there’s added bounce to the UNH rims. 3 point attempts that hit back rim bounce REALLY high into the Lundholm air. There were quite a few missed shot attempts that hit guide wires, guide pipes and bounced over the backboards to the baseline out of bounds area.

Memorial shot 58% in the first half and was only up 28 to 27 at halftime……Malo Roumraj is one player who plays much bigger than his size. At 6 feet even I’m always amazed at his length in getting rebounds, keeping the ball alive on offense or tipping balls defensively. Unfortunately, Roumraj could’ve used a little more length on his layup attempts last night. The senior missed some very key layups that came up short that would’ve helped the Crusader cause. Does anybody else find it strange Memorial senior Brandon Scott sat on the bench for the first 5 minutes of the 4th quarter in a state semi-final game. After a night’s sleep I now find it VERY strange.

6’1 Merrimack junior Danny McKillop aptly fits the description of blue collar/lunch pail player. He doesn’t have great basketball physical attributes. You probably couldn’t get a piece of cardboard under his feet when he jumps. What he does well is be in the right place at the right time. He has a nose for the ball and a nose for the right defensive position. He out works and out hustles his opponents. He has the heart of one of Colin Burke’s assistant coaching clipboards….. Oh, I’m sorry, Colin Burke, the GREATEST asst. coach in Granite State high school basketball, doesn’t use a clipboard anymore. He has a very small piece of paper with a pen. Wouldn’t you love to see what Burke scribbles during a game?

Last night was kind of sad and melancholy in a way. It officially ended the 2015 COY reign of Mike Wenners in Division 1 girls. The torch has been nicely passed to Dover’s Dan Casey. It was nice to see the Green Wave coach receive the 2016 COY for D1 girls. He did a great job with Dover in getting his team to the quarterfinals. Nice guys do finish first sometimes. In D1 girls this has happened in 2015 and 2016.

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