The trend of top local high school basketball talent leaving the NHIAA for prep school continues. Hanover High made it to the girls Division II state title game this past March. However, a return trip to the finals in 2017 just got much more difficult. The Marauders just lost arguably their two best players to prep school.
"The 'rumors' are true" said Hanover High girls basketball head coach Dan O'Rourke, who is widely regarded as one of the top girls coaches in the NHIAA. "Junior Caroline Merguerian is going to KUA (Kimball Union Academy). Freshman Silke Milliman is going to Northfield Mount Herman."
Milliman has a ton of potential. She is a 6-foot-2 freshman who can shoot the 3, has a soft shooting touch and high release. She is already a lethal shot blocker, and is for a 6-foot-2 kid she has good quickness, agility and athleticism. Not only can she shoot the 3, but she can also put the ball on the floor and slash to the rim. Milliman is a legit D-I college prospect - no question about it. If she keeps working hard and hits the weight room to add strength the sky is the limit. Milliman will remain in the Class of 2019. Here is her freshman season highlight video: https://vimeo.com/158904916
Merguerian is a 5-foot-7 guard with a versatile skill set. She can handle the basketball against pressure, can knock down 3's or take her man off the dribble. Merguerian is a tough defender and thrives in a fast, up-tempo style of play. She hit a pair of clutch 3's that got Hanover into the D-II title game this past season.
Both players had a difficult decision to make - stay at Hanover or leave for prep school? If they had stayed, Hanover would have been the favorite in D-II next year - along with Portsmouth. They could have won a state championship while playing for their hometown high school, with their friends who they grew up playing with - in front of thousands of screaming fans at SNHU.
That's hard to pass up, right? Well, so is prep school. Prep school offers better competition, you play a schedule that includes more games. You play a schedule with a greater depth of teams who are strong. You play against more girls who are college prospects, you play against more 6-footers. If they had stayed, Hanover probably would have gone 17-1, maybe even 18-0 and many of those wins would have been by 20+ points. While that may be fun, these girls will get challenged more at prep school.
There's pros and cons to both high school and prep school. I don't judge any of these kids for their decisions. I just cover them and respect their decisions either way.
"We'll have the Schwarz twins and Julia Golder coming back, along with two seniors" said Coach O'Rourke. "We'll be young and inexperienced again next year, but with time, we'll be fine."