Considering they lost their top six players off last year's team, I'd say Bedford looks pretty strong. Four starters and their sixth man graduated and standout big man Colby Gendron left for prep school. They have very little varsity experience on this year's squad.
Yet Bedford went 2-1 in the Queen City Invitational Basketball Tournament (QCIBT), they only lost by four in the semi-finals to eventual tourney champs Lebanon and they beat Manchester West by double digits in the 3rd place game on Friday night. Other than Lebanon, Bedford was the best team in this year's QCIBT.
That's a credit to the job coaches Mark Elmendorf and Frank Moreno have done with the Bulldogs. It also showed how much depth was in the program last year.
Led by junior guard Maxwell Chartier (game-high 21 points), junior forward Nolan Anderson (11 points) and senior wing Liam Greene (10 points), Bedford beat Manchester West 57-47 in the 3rd place game.
There's nothing flashy about this Bedford team. They're just a hard working, blue collar squad that plays disciplined and works for good shots, rebounds well and plays tough defense.
West senior point guard Jeremiah Ross slashed to the rim for 2 early on, as Bedford came out in a half court zone defense. Maxwell Chartier converted an and-1 on the break. Chartier scored again on a layup, this time off a nice feed from Anderson. West senior guard Jacobee Burpee connected on a 3, which was quickly followed by a layup on the other end by Chartier.
Ross finished a tip-in, and Burpee stole the ball near mid-court, took it in for the easy layup and it was 11-9 West after 1 quarter of play. Not the start Bedford was looking for, but they would get better as the game went on.
Bedford outscored West 14-5 in the 2nd quarter. Green drained a 3-pointer after a Bulldogs offensive rebound gave them a second shot. Justin Woodard came off the bench and converted a put-back for West. Anderson finished an and-1 inside. Then it was Anderson again with a strong slash to the rim and finish, making it 20-16 Bedford with 1:16 left in the 1st half. The Bulldogs executed a nice high-low feed, getting it in to Cole Glennon for an and-1. It was 23-16 Bedford at halftime.
We had back-and-forth action in the 3rd quarter, with both teams heating up with their shooting. Blue Knights sophomore guard Kuany Teng (team-high 11 points off the bench) hit a 3. Ross sat the entire 2nd half, as he was on crutches. Chartier continued to score the basketball in a variety of ways, this time connecting on a 15-footer from the baseline off a dish by Greene. Greene converted a put-back.
West was hanging tough, as they used some good ball movement to free up Niroj Bhattarai for a 3-pointer. Anderson made a good move in the low post to the basket for 2 more. Teng buried another 3 ball. Anderson again scored inside, this time with a nice spin move into the low post. Greene continued hustling on the board, finishing another put-back.
Chartier made a good take, slashing to the rim for a tough finish as Bedford extended their lead to 41-30 with 50 seconds left in the 3rd quarter. Teng hit his third 3-pointer of the quarter, teammate Edson Rodriguez hit a put-back at the buzzer and it was 41-35 Bulldogs after 3.
Maxwell Chartier continued to impress in the 4th. He finished a layup then drained a 15-footer off the dribble. Hard to believe Chartier and Anderson weren't getting varsity minutes last year. They must have been two of the better JV players in D-I. Of course it can't hurt that Chartier has Christopher Chartier feeding him in the ball, and is also playing alongside Steven Chartier.
Green made a nice pass to Maxwell Chartier cutting to the hoop for a layup. West kept battling to stay in it, as Rodriguez made a nice take to the rim and finish. Dominguez made a nice dish to cutting teammate Dominic Plourde for a layup. Burpee made a layup off a baseline out of bounds play. Max Chartier went inside, grabbed an offensive board, made the and-1 and Bedford wins it 57-47.
Both teams should compete for a home playoff game in their respective divisions.