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D1&D2 Finals

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D1&D2 Finals

Post  nhwriter on Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:52 pm

I am picking Londonderry to win by 12. I stopped by Londonderry's practice yesterday and Pinkerton's today. Londonderry is extremely focused and they are much quicker and will be able make shots all game against the zone Pinkerton plays. Heard from a few players at PA today, their shooter Morris went down with a bad knee injury in practice yesterday, wasn't at practice today, that doesn't help PA chances. I think Portsmouth/Brady will be much closer. Portsmouth wins.

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:04 am

NHIAA Boy's Basketball: Portsmouth-Brady should be a classic Division II final

By ZACK WARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

The Division II boys’ basketball championship on Saturday at noon at UNH’s Lundholm Gymnasium matches the preseason favorite against the team that has been the best in the league for much of the season.
Bishop Brady of Concord (17-4) came into the year as one of the most talked-about teams in the entire state, up there with Pelham in Division III. Now the Giants are right where they were expected to be, despite losing four games in the regular season and falling to the No. 3 seed.
Meanwhile, Portsmouth (20-1) took the No. 1 seed despite losing three All-State players from last year. Its only loss remains a 49-40 decision at Windham on Feb. 27.

In the semifinals on Wednesday, both the Giants and Clippers came away with comfortable victories, though Bishop Brady’s win over No. 10 seed Goffstown was more lopsided than the 61-47 final score would indicate. Portsmouth’s 56-41 win over No. 4 seed Lebanon was more of a battle early on.
It is clear that these teams have earned the right to play for the title on Saturday and Division II basketball fans couldn’t have asked for a more intriguing matchup. When the teams last met on Feb. 25, the Clippers won 65-63 on a Shon Parham floater at the buzzer of overtime. Last season, the Giants missed a three-quarters court shot at the buzzer in a 54-53 defeat.
“We played them once in overtime so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the kind of game it is,” Portsmouth coach Jim Mulvey said. “They have some great athletes and they’re good on the big floor. It’s nice that we played them before so we have a little bit of an idea of what’s going on.”
“It’s going to be a good game. It’s going to be a battle,” Clippers freshman guard Cody Graham said after scoring a team-high 18 points in the semifinals.

After Portsmouth went on a 16-0 run to build a 13-point lead, Graham helped the Clippers pull away even more with six straight points, including four in transition, during a stretch in the fourth quarter. The story of Wednesday was how good Brady looked on the big college court, but Portsmouth demonstrated it may be able to keep up.
The Giants are led by their “Big Three” of brothers Jourdain and Joe Bell and Brendan Johnson. Jourdain has been named this year’s Division II Player of the Year, while Johnson joined him on the All-State First Team and Joe Bell made the Second Team. Aaron Svendsen, a 6-foot-6 senior center who led Brady with 18 points in the semifinals, is an honorable mention.
The Clippers will counter with their core of Charlie Lehoux (tied for third in Player of the Year voting), Joey Glynn (Second Team) and Graham, an honorable mention.

The Giants are 5-3 in state championship games, with their last title coming in 1997. Portsmouth is 18-13 and last won in 2012. For the Clippers, it’s all about erasing the memory of last year’s finals loss to Pembroke.
“It’s never fun to lose,” Mulvey said. “But it’s a new group. A lot of young guys. I like our chances.”

zward@unionleader.com

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:06 am

Green Giants, Clippers get rematch on big stage – and big court

By TIM O’SULLIVAN
Monitor staff
Friday, March 20, 2015
(Published in print: Friday, March 20, 2015)


After Portsmouth beat Bishop Brady, 65-63, on a buzzer-beater in an overtime thriller on Feb. 25 in Concord, it was hard not to think about the possibility of those two teams meeting again.

“I would love to see these guys again, at UNH, that’s where we want to play,” Brady senior Brendan Johnson said back in February.

Johnson will get his wish tomorrow at noon when No. 3 Brady (17-4) meets No. 1 Portsmouth (20-1) in the Division II boys’ basketball championship game at UNH’s Lundholm Gymnasium. Chances are good that anyone who witnessed that Feb. 25 game is pleased there will be a rematch.

“That was a great finish to a basketball game. That was probably the funnest game I’ve ever played in,” Portsmouth senior Charlie Lehoux said of the Brady game after his team beat No. 4 Lebanon, 56-41, in Wednesday’s semifinals.

The Green Giants raced out to a 13-3 lead against Portsmouth back in February as their trademark pressure defense forced a parade of turnovers and misses and helped create the early lead.


“Their defensive pressure is pretty insane,” Lehoux said.

The Clippers came back by using their size advantage and going inside to sophomore Joey Glynn, who had 16 points and 19 rebounds. But Brady held a six-point lead at halftime thanks in large part to Johnson, who scored 14 of his 32 points in the second quarter.

“Johnson was on fire,” Lehoux said.

The lead changed hands five times in the third quarter, but Brady edged out to a five-point lead midway through the fourth and still held a four-point edge with 1:10 on the clock. But the Giants got a little too passive and a lot too careless with the ball in the final minute. Portsmouth took advantage with some easy points in transition to tie things at 55-55 and Glynn blocked a Joe Bell layup attempt with :03 on the clock to force overtime.

Portsmouth scored the first five points of overtime, starting with an NBA-range 3-pointer from freshman Cody Graham, who had a team-high 17 points against Brady and a team-high 18 in the semifinal win against Lebanon.

The Giants came back to take a two-point lead with less than a minute left in overtime, but Shon Parham tied it with a pair of free throws and then ended it with a buzzer-beating floater over Brady’s 6-foot-6 center, Aaron Svendsen.

Johnson wasn’t the only one thinking about a potential rematch after that game. Portsmouth Coach Jim Mulvey said, “I would say we will see them again, if we can both get there, but on a bigger court it will be harder.”

The Giants showed just how tough they are on Lundholm’s big court in their 61-47 semifinal win on Wednesday over No. 10 Goffstown. The Bells and Johnson used the extra room to attack the basket, which forced the Goffstown bigs to help and leave Svendsen, who finished with a team-high 18 points.

The Clippers did a good job clogging the middle when they faced Brady in the regular season, and they know they’ll have to do the same tomorrow.

“The key for us is containing those three guys, Johnson, Joe and Jourdain (Bell), and trying to get the ball out of their hands,” Lehoux said. “To do that we have to stay packed in, don’t let them get to the basket.”


That won’t be easy on the big court, and if Portsmouth is too packed in and too focused on the middle, Johnson, the Bells and Matt Quirk could have a field day shooting corner 3s.

On the other end, Brady’s defensive focus will have to be wide. All five of Portsmouth’s starters – Glynn, Graham, Lehoux, Parham and Loden Formichelli – are dangerous, as are De’Vonn Wilson-Miles and Christian Peete coming off the bench. And Mulvey knows how to use them all.

“They run a lot of offensive sets very well,” Brady Coach Cole Etten said. “So we have to be in the right spots defensively, play good position defense, and we have to know what’s happening around us.”

The key for the entire game may be rebounding. Brady doesn’t necessarily have to win the battle on the boards like they did against a bigger Goffstown team (39-26), but if the Giants can at least stay even with the Clippers on the glass, it will allow them to get free in transition where they are at their best, just like they showed in the semifinals by generating 28 points off the fast break.

If Portsmouth dominates the boards, second-chance points will follow and the Giants, who don’t have a deep bench, will need to spend extra energy playing defense for extended stretches.

“Our main concern is really getting the boards,” Joe Bell said.

Whatever turns out to be the key, it will be hard for these two teams to equal the show they put on in Concord on Feb. 25. But at least they get to try, and we get to watch.

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at tosullivan@cmonitor.com or 369-3341 or on Twittter @timosullivan20.)

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  jumpshot on Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:56 pm

Very quiet after two championship games....

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:14 am

Well, it wasn't quiet at UNH between 12:00 and 4:30 yesterday afternoon.

I don't think you could've asked for 2 better Championship games back to back than what you had yesterday. Both games go down to the wire. Both losing teams have near missed shots at the buzzer (Yes, Cody Graham's 70 foot desperation shot at the buzzer was on line and nearly went in grazing the net). For Pinkerton the Rizzo 3 attempt at the buzzer was a very good look and seemed like it was going to drain.

There were lead changes back and forth in the 4th of the D1 Ship. Portsmouth seemingly had the 4th quarter and the Title under control until some ice water 3's by POY Bell. Jourdain Bell had an incredible 4th quarter. The Clippers freezed at the FT line and had costly miscues. It was a combined Hoosiers/Disney ending for Brady.

If you didn't attend either one of these games yesterday, then you really missed out. If you did attend both games yesterday it was worth everything to experience the high drama. It was the best Ship Saturday at UNH since 2010 when Milford won their 1st of their back to backs by defeating Pembroke in a highly charged affair 52 to 46 and Pinkerton beat Winny in 2 OTs 61 to 59 on Zach Mathieu's record setting 37 points.

It was tough to wrap one's head around the events of the last few minutes of the Brady - Portsmouth game. I just watched the highlights of the last 4 minutes twice on NHSP and my head is still reeling.

Just a great day of HS basketball at UNH with the all or nothing Titles on the line.

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:20 am

Very good write up by Jeremy on the NHN detailing the great Ship between Brady and Portsmouth:




Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bell Brothers Win Title in Final HS Game as Teammates
Jourdain and Joe. The Bells are the most heralded brother duo to come out of NH in the past decade. They've played together all growing up - on school teams, AAU, at showcases and in the driveway. After all the hard work and all the games it ends today - with a state championship.

It was a standing room only crowd at UNH's Lundholm Gymnasium. For many of those fans, this was the best state title basketball game they will ever witness. For the Bishop Brady boys basketball team (and the Bell family in particular) it will be a day they'll never forget.

Portsmouth led 56-50 with 1:30 left in the 4th quarter. The game was all but over. Then Bishop Brady senior point guard Jourdain Bell (game-high 27 points) drained two 3-pointers, Clippers sophomore guard Christian Peete missed the front end of two 1-and-1's and we were tied 56-56. With 12 seconds left Portsmouth had the ball. The Giants got a deflection and stole the ball. Brady junior forward Aaaron Svendsen threw the ball ahead to Joe Bell, who laid it in with 3 seconds left. Clippers freshman shooting guard Cody Graham's last second shot from 3/4 court fell just short. Brady wins 58-56 to capture the 2014-2015 Division II state title.

"Once I saw Jojo got that layup I said it's over - we got this" said Jourdain Bell, arguably the NHIAA's best player. "I don't think I could ask for a better last game with my brother than what just happened. It's a once in a lifetime thing."

"I'm in shock" said Joe Bell, a junior guard. "I don't believe we won - it's crazy. It's very emotional right now. I prayed before the game that God would be with us. I believed in my team."

Portsmouth led by as many as 10 points. They led 15-5 late in the 1st quarter, and they led 19-9 early in the 2nd quarter. The Clippers dictated the tempo. They knew they needed to slow it down, make it a half court game, limit Brady's transition opportunities and keep Jourdain Bell out of the paint. For the most part they were successful on all of those fronts.

"We wanted to get back on defense, and play off (Matt) Quirk all game" said Jim Mulvey, who has taken Portsmouth to 6 titles games in his 9 years as head coach. "That gave us an extra guy in the paint to defend Jourdain."

"I love this group" Coach Mulvey" continued. "They gave me everything they had. Credit to them. That's why Jourdain is the best player in our division."

Jourdain Bell has scored 1,000 points. He has won back-to-back D-II Player of the Year awards. He's hit a lot of big shots, but none were bigger than those two 3's to tie it up 56-56 with under a minute left.

"One thing my Mom has always told me that even if I'm missing, to keep shooting" said Jourdain Bell. "In the heat of the moment I thought I could make those shots, so I took them."

Portsmouth ball in a tie game 56-56 with 12.4 seconds left. Right from the inbounds pass, all 5 Brady defenders were on their man like glue. The Clippers tried to pass the ball to the wing and the ball was deflected by the Giants. Brady comes up with the steal. Svendsen (scored 10 of his 13 points in 3rd quarter, also had 7 rebounds and 2 blocks) got the ball ahead to Joe Bell who had released down court. Both teams had missed a ton of layups throughout the game, but Brady made the one that mattered most, as Joe Bell put in in with 3 seconds left. That gave the Giants only their second lead of the game (only other lead was 28-27 late in 2nd quarter).

"We tried to pressure them, get a steal as quick as we could" said Joe Bell. "Aaron got the ball to me. I focused on making the layup, and I put it in."

A key play late in the game was when Portsmouth senior guard Charlie Lehoux drove to the rim, scoring inside through contact. Was it an and-1 or a charge? It's the toughest call in basketball to make. In this case it could have gone either way. But the call went against Portsmouth, as not only was Lehoux whistled for an offensive foul but it was his fifth foul so he was done. Not only did Portsmouth lose Lehoux for the game, but senior forward De'Vonn Wilson-Miles left the game around then as well.

"De'Vonn got poked in the eye" said Coach Mulvey. "He's a really good defender, and Lehoux gives us another ball handler. Losing them was big."

After that Jourdain Bell missed a 3-pointer that would have cut the Portsmouth lead to just 1 with 2:45 left in the 4th quarter. On the other end Clippers sophomore point guard Shon Parham went to the rim, got fouled and hit both FTs, making it 54-48 Portsmouth. On the next trip down Brady got a defensive rebound and looked to run, but Parham stole the ball in the back court and finished the and-1. A huge play by Parham, and it was 56-50 Clippers.

Over the final 1:30 of regulation though the Giants ended the game on an 8-0 run. Jourdain Bell buried a 3 from the right wing, cutting the PHS lead to 56-53 with 1:29 remaining. Brady had to foul, they sent Peete to the line but he missed the front end of the 1-and-1 for the second time in the closing minutes. Jourdain Bell hit another HUGE 3-pointer, again from the right wing off a dish by Brendan Johnson. We were all tied up 56-56.

Portsmouth ball, and they call timeout with 12.4 seconds remaining. You know how the rest went from there.

"They needed literally everything to go their way in the last 1:30 and it did" said Coach Mulvey.

This is Bishop Brady's first boys basketball title since 1997. Both Jourdain Bell and Brendan Johnson get to end their careers as champions. Jourdain Bell is a potential scholarship recruit in basketball. He had 27 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal with UNH head coach Bill Herrion watching the game from the sideline. Local schools like UNH and SNHU should strongly considering offering Bell a scholarship, at least a partial one. As for Johnson, he is one of the best 2-sport athletes to come out of NH in recent years. He tied the state record for touchdown passes during football season, and makes first team all-state in hoops while leading the Giants to the title. He's a college prospect in both sports.

"Stonehill has been contacting me a lot" said Jourdain Bell. "St. Joe's in Maine and UMass Amherst as well."

Johnson gets the toughness award for this game. Late in the 3rd quarter Portsmouth forward Angus Lamond grabbed a defensive rebound, turned with the ball and popped Johnson right in the face with his elbow. Johnson fell, was on the floor for a few seconds and then left the game with a bloody nose. No foul was called on the play. If it was any other kid in the state, that would have knocked them out of the lineup for a few minutes at least - Johnson was back in there literally one play later. He came back in, got the ball on the right wing, drove in, made a spin move into the lane, drew a second defender and made an outstanding dish to Svendsen for a layup. How can you not root for a kid like that?

Svendsen had 10 points in the 3rd quarter, as Brady closed to within 43-41 heading to the 4th. Jourdain Bell tied it up 43-43 early in the 4th quarter with a pair of FTs. Then Portsmouth went on a 9-0 run. Graham (team-high 17 points) ignited the run. He broke the tie score with a 3-pointer from the right wing. The Clippers got a quick steal, and Graham used a crossover dribble into a foul line pull-up jumper. Teammate Loden Formichelli then drilled a 15-footer of his own, and it was 50-43 Clippers with 5:12 left in regulation, forcing Brady to call timeout. Brady was struggling offensively, as they kept trying to drive to the basket 1-on-2 or 1-on-3 and turning it over or taking forced shots as a result. Portsmouth meanwhile was executing better in the half court and that's why they had the lead. Portsmouth the started to run the clock. They had the ball for a good 30-35 seconds without even trying to score, just working it around the perimeter - this is why NH needs a shot clock. They ended the long possession with a layup by Lehoux, capping the 9-0 run and making it 52-43 Portsmouth.

Jourdain Bell hit a 3-pointer (his first of three clutch 3's in the 4th quarter), cutting the PHS lead to 52-46 with 3:44 left. Jourdain Bell then came up with a clutch steal near half court and layup on the other end, cutting it to 52-48 and you know how the rest went.

When these 2 teams met in the regular season Portsmouth won by 2 in overtime in Concord on a baseline floater by Parham at the buzzer. The 2 games Brady and Portsmouth played against each other were 2 of the best games of the year in NH basketball. Saturday afternoon was a great game between the 2 best teams in the division. What more can you ask for? If they played each other 10 times, they would probably win 5 times each.

Brady had to battle back from a 10 point deficit in the 1st half. Graham opened the scoring in the 1st quarter with a quick move to the hole off the dribble for 2. Brady ran a fast-break off the made basket, as Johnson laid in the layup. Formichelli made a nice steal and went in for an easy layup, as 1 of the 10 turnovers the Giants had in the 1st half. Brady kept trying to drive baseline, but Portsmouth was doing a good job of closing off the baseline and forcing turnovers.

Graham made another nice dribble-drive move and finish in traffic and it was 7-2 Clippers. Jourdain Bell hit his first 3 of the game off a kick out by his brother Joe to make it 7-5 PHS.

Then the Clippers went on an 8-0 run. They continued to force Brady to turn it over, and Johnson missed a pair of layups. Formichelli hit a 3 and sophomore forward Joe Glynn hit a pair of FTs to make it 15-5 Clippers. Brady ended the run, as Quirk hit a floater and Svendsen finished inside off a dish by Jourdain Bell. Wilson-Miles was all over the place, blocking shots on back-to-back possessions for Portsmouth and also finishing inside out of the low post. It was 17-9 Portsmouth after 1.

The Clippers matched their largest lead, as Glynn scored inside early in the 2nd quarter to make it 19-9. Brady was finally able to get out in transition though, getting 2 quick buckets by Joe Bell. Graham answered for the Clippers, getting the friendly bounce on a 3-pointer. Johnson answered back for the Giants, driving and hitting an and-1 leaner. Jourdain Bell then finished 2 quick buckets in transition - finally the game was being played at their pace. Then Joe Bell picked up his third foul, and he had to sit for the last 4:30 of the 1st half.

Wilson Miles drove and hit a tough leaner inside. Then Jourdain Bell threw the ball off the back of a PHS player on a baseline out of bounds play, caught it and laid it in. After 2 FTs by Johnson the Giants took their first lead of the game, 28-27 with 1:20 left in the 2nd quarter.

Brady missed a layup on one end, and then Wilson-Miles converted a layup on the other end for the Clippers off some good ball movement and slow defensive rotation by the Giants. As a result, it was 30-28 Portsmouth at halftime.

Brady had to be feeling good only trailing by 2 at halftime considering Joe Bell had to sit the last few minutes with 3 fouls, the majority of the 1st half was played at Portsmouth's pace, Brady was down by as many as 10 and the Giants turned it over 10 times.

Early in the 3rd quarter Parham hit a 3 - the second time a PHS guard got the friendly bounce on a 3. Jourdain got WAY up high to grab a rebound, and then made a tough drive and athletic finish for 2. After a put-back by Formichelli it was 37-31 Portsmouth with 5:21 left in the 3rd quarter.

Both teams were missing a lot of layups. Portsmouth was getting a lot of offensive rebounds in the 3rd quarter, helping them to maintain the lead. Brady then had a long possession. They were looking to score the whole time, but Portsmouth was playing suffocating 'D'. Finally Jourdain Bell drove and dished it to Svendsen for a layup. On the other end Lehoux converted a put-back on his own miss. Just seconds later Jourdain Bell again drove and dished it to Svendsen for a layup. The fast and furious scoring continued, as Glynn finished inside for 2 and on the other end Svendsen made a tip-in for 2 more.

It was a hard fought, well played game. A great story for Bell brothers to win a title in their last high school game as teammates. Cole Etten wins a title in his first year as coach. A thrilling comeback win for the Giants, and a heart-breaking loss for the Clippers. Portsmouth has a lot of returning talent, and will likely be the favorites next year.

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:51 am

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Londonderry Wins First Boys Basketball State Title

By: Tuesday and Friday

We all know the family drill. We get together for the holidays and usually around half way through the day or evening the family sidles up to Grand Pa to hear stories of days gone by. We respectfully listen, even though it could be Gran Pa’s 10th or 15th retelling of the story. We always lose track after some jumbo shrimp or opening of yet another present. The reason I bring this up is someday Grand Pa Brandon Radford will be spinning the tale of the winning state title layup.

In a game filled with a plethora of All State players the winning shot belongs to 6’1 Londonderry sophomore Brandon Radford. You have 5 All State players between the 2 teams and a hard working undersized 6 footer, who you would have a tough time getting 3 official NHIAA programs underneath his feet when he jumps, is the owner of the shot that gives the Londonderry boys their first ever state title. 50 years from now when Grand Pa Radford is retelling the 3/21/15 Ship story for the 10th or 15th time, the winning shot might become a half court heave under pressure that went all net at the buzzer. That’s OK Grand Pa, because it was once said, “When it comes to the man or the legend, print the legend. The legend is always more interesting.”

Both teams started cold and tentative. The 2 D1 heavyweights were trying to get a feel for each other, the game and the event. Shots were tight. There was no flow to the game. As I looked around in the opening period I noticed 1 thing. The Pinkerton student body was ON TIME. They actually read the memo. If you remember, none of the 3100 students were at tip off for their 6 pm semifinal game last Tuesday……. NONE!! Not only were they there on time, but they were in strong numbers. Way to go University of Pinkerton student body!!

Londonderry heated up in the 2nd quarter going 9 for 13 from the field. They seized control at halftime by outscoring Pinkerton 26 to 12 in the 2nd quarter. The slithery sophomore Jake Coleman hit a couple of 3’s to soften up the Astro defense. Marc Corey had a nice period in going 4 – 4 from the field scoring 11 points in the 2nd. Coleman and Corey combined for 21 of the Lancer’s 26 2nd period points.

The most important series of events took place in a 6 second span of the 3rd period. POY Cody Ball picked up his 3rd and 4th personal fouls. When he picked up his 4th foul on an attempted shot block there was 4 minutes and 39 seconds left in the 3rd period. As Ball exited the game, even the heartiest Lancer fan had to think the 32 to 27 Londonderry lead was tenuous at best. Romick hits a FT, Romick hits a runner, Rizzo drains a 3 and a Rizzo layup concludes an 8 – 0 Pinkerton run to take a 35 to 32 Astro lead with 2:25 remaining in the 3rd period.

The next 2:25 was crucial in determining this state title game.

Pinkerton came up empty scoring nothing in the next 2:25. A Kwiatkowski extended elbow 3 with 1:25 left in the 3rd tied the game at 35. This was the 2nd biggest shot of the game for the Lancers. After Pinkerton seized control with their 8 – 0 run with a 32 to 27 lead, if the Astros had scored more points and built a 6 to 10 point lead heading into the 4th period, it could have proved costly for the Lancers. Londonderry was having trouble bringing the ball up without Ball and undersized guards off the bench. They were putting fingers in the Lancer basketball dike and hoping a wave of Astros wouldn’t break through. This was rubber meet the road time for the Ship. Pinkerton came up empty in the last 2:25. The Big 3 by K-Ski and a Corey layup with 35 seconds left in the 3rd gave Londonderry a 37 to 35 lead heading into the 4th.

Games can be won or lost at different time spans of the game from opening tip to final buzzer. I submit to you Londonderry won their state title with Cody Ball out for the last 4:39 of the 3rd period. Whether this becomes man or legend, it is the Londonderry Time of Winning. If Pinkerton builds a larger lead with Ball out then they probably come away with the Ship. In letting Londonderry not only survive the loss of Ball for over half the 3rd, but letting the Lancers go into the 4th with the lead is a tough pill to swallow for Pinkerton basketball fans.

The 4th period was taken over by 4 of the 5 All State players. Corey, Coleman, Rizzo and Geo all hit big shots and the lead was exchanged 6 times in the last period. Ball started the 4th, but was tentative not to foul out. Both student bodies roared when their teams took the lead. This was the rivalry game we all wanted to see and we were given a treat with the breath taking 4th period.

Junior Matt Rizzo canned 2 FTs with 1:14 left to give Pinkerton a 46 to 45 lead. It would be the Astros’ last lead of the season. Rizzo stole the ball 6 seconds later and was fouled with 57 seconds left. He rims out the front end of a 1 and 1. Pinkerton presses their defense up and 6 seconds later Grand Pa Radford converts a layup to give Londonderry a 47 to 46 lead with 50 seconds left in the game. Pinkerton comes up the court struggling in this crucial offensive possession. Pinkerton calls a time out with 22 seconds left. Pinkerton comes out of the time out, inbounds the ball, looks out of sort and the ball is passed off a Pinkerton player’s body out of bounds……. Not what was drawn up on the Astro clipboard I presume.

Coleman is fouled with 12 seconds left and misses the front end of a 1 and 1 to give Pinkerton one last possession. The Astros furiously try to get open for a shot. With 3 seconds left Rizzo has the ball at the top of the arc; he head fakes a defender beautifully, has an open look and sends the ball to the rim with the hopes of the Town of Derry riding on the descent of the ball. It rims out at the buzzer. Lancers storm the court with a Championship hop. Rizzo falls flat on his back in utter disappointment.

Londonderry showed a strong team resolve they had all season, when Ball went out with foul trouble in the 3rd period. The Lancers shored up the 3rd period leaks and became mentally tough. Corey and Coleman came up big combining for 33 of the 47 lancer points. If a Lancer fan had heard Ball finished with 5 points in the State Title game they would have figured the Astros hoisted the big plaque at the end. The Londonderry boys’ basketball program earned their first ever title. For Pinkerton it was another bitter loss to their main rival on the Big Stage. The Astros will be back. They return Rizzo, Romick and Morris. Whether Geo returns to Pinkerton will determine if the Astros are a Top 4 team next season or fight for a Top 8 slot.

It is now 50 years later in year 2065. The fire is burning at the Radford Family Christmas get together. The presents have been opened, the dinner consumed and now it’s time for dessert and coffee by the fire: Time for Grand Pa Radford to tell the story of his winning basket that gave the Londonderry High boys their first title. Little 9 year old Brandon Radford the 3rd says to his mom, “Do we have to listen to Grand Pa’s winning shot story again?”

Mother Radford smiles and says, “Come on now Brandon. You know how much Grand Pa loves to tell that winning Londonderry shot story.”

Yes, the legend might become more interesting in another half century.

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:12 pm

The following is an interesting comment posted after my article on NHN pertaining to Championship Saturday at UNH:



1 comment:

Anonymous Monday, March 23, 2015 at 8:24:00 AM EDT

yes,it was some of the best tournament b-ball for entertainment I have seen, tough to be on the losing end! I would however , cannot say to much good for the nhiaa and the way it has run this tournament. just a few things, first, I had too park at the greenhouses after dropping the older gentleman with me off at the tunnel. secondly, we had to leave between games pay again to watch the second game great!! next , the nhiaa kept selling tickets when there were no seats at least that got the durham firefighter some needed exercise because he went by almost a dozen times to tell people to move. next, what about the players cutting down the nets, in all honesty I and few friends go to watch basketball no matter who is playing it is our opinion that the nhiaa should look at the maine h.s. tournament. I hate to say this but they seem to know how not only to dig potatoes but run a quality high school tournament!!! p.s. we arrived 40 minutes before game time, the reason for no parkinkg , was a high school robotics show at the whittemore ....good planning!!!

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  JAF on Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:06 pm

At least UNH students were on spring break - imagine the parking situation if that lot was full of cars already. Usually that lot is used by students who cannot park in one of the campus lots.

It seems anonymous is certainly correct about one thing that he/she didn't know that he/she was stating... Lundholm gymnasium is too small... Rent the whit or how about Verizon Wireless center... When you get Lond/Pink or Central/Merri or BG/Trinity - the old gym is just too small... This isn't UNH basketball...

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  FormerFalcoln on Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:51 am

At JAF
The whit is awful and a horrible place to play. The NHIAA did that back in the Matt Bonner & Ryan Stys era. The place was "empty" and there was no atmosphere at all. They abandoned it right away. Stands were not even 1/4 filled and those teams were loaded with talent. As for the Verizon, the rental fee is VERY high. Hockey has an anonymous donee who foots the bill for the NHIAA rental, that's why they play there. Basketball has no perfect solution for the games in NH. As far as I am concerned, Lundholm is the best option although it still lacks quite a bit.

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  JAF on Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:30 am


The Whit (seating 7500) may be "awful", but Lundholm (seating 3500) is too small/old. If the stands were only 1/4 full that's half of filling Lundholm... Bonner/Stys couldn't bring them out, but the no names (sorry parents) from recent years have - go figure... If the last few years Lundholm has been packed and must have its crowds swapped out between games, doesn't that make one think - hey maybe we should find a larger venue... The VW mgmt should be ashamed of themselves for not thinking outside the box. While the baseball people can be grumpy about the schedule, Fisher Cat stadium is a nice place to finish off the year and I know it's not at capacity for games. I don't think being "empty" should be the excuse, but I do agree with you that there is no "perfect solution". How do you know every year how many will show up... Part of putting on a show is marketing it as well - something that perhaps local news and businesses could/should help out. In the end you get what you pay for and you don't have people show up year after year because the facility doesn't lend itself to someone thinking - hey we should do this every year regardless of whether we know the two teams playing.

Conversely Cumberland County Civic Center (Portland, Me) and Augusta Civic Center each hold 6700+/- and Maine has been holding their finals in those buildings for years. Whether they bang them out or not - who knows... Every year the Gahden and Centrum hold MA finals. Buildings aren't at capacity obviously, but it's better than some rinky dink facilty.

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Good Points

Post  FormerFalcoln on Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:44 am

Championship games at Lundholm have always been packed. I remember back in the 80's and 90s some of those games people were tuned away too. One year Nashua vs. Pinkerton was filled and there were about 800+ people turned away, campus police had to call Durham police in to help get rid of the crowd. Another year Keene brought 5 bus loads of fans like a scene out of Hoosiers! I disagree that being empty should not be a factor. The Whit is too big. It is cavernous and the operating cost (just a guess) must also be really high. The parking won't get fixed at the Whit, you would park in the same spot you do for Lundholm. I agree, I have been at the Baseball championships for the last 3 years and it is GREAT at Fischer Cats Stadium. The VW would be good but it is even bigger than the Whit. Keep in mind you had teams that really travel well for their basketball programs in Brady, Portsmouth, Londonderry and Pinkerton. I am always amazed how well some teams fans travel and how some don't. For all of Hanover's athletic success they never travel well for semis and title games.

In a perfect world there would be a venue with 4,500 - 5,000 seats in Concord or Manchester (Centrally located) where all of these games could be played. In addition, a turf stadium like Exeter High in the same location(s) for football, soccer, and lacrosse would be great. Again - a pipe dream at best, but we can all agree that the situation is not perfect.


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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:10 am

We have what we have in NH........ If Dennis Green was commenting on this situation.

I went to 3 HS Ships at the Whit. It was awful for ambiance. That place was just built for hockey and not basketball. When I attended a Bball game at the Whit I thought of all the people who go to the Final Four, pay top dollar and sit 1 zip code away in the 40 to 60K football arenas.

The parking situation will unfortunately never change. It's abysmal, especially if you have grandparents with disabilities. The logistics to bring them to a grandson's semi or final up there is a supreme challenge. Your options are go at least 60 to 90 minutes early and get a prime spot by the tunnel or go at a regular time (20 to 40 minutes before the game), drop them off by the entrance (where they'll freeze in a 15 to 25 minute line) and go and park your car next to cows and try like hell to make it for tap off.

While we're on the subject..... As antiquated the Lundholm facility is for staging a HS Ship these days for 2 large schools in NH...... The concessions are frighteningly tragic. You have from 1500 to 2000 people there and the concessions are no better than a Little League concession at Small Town NH. Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  JAF on Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:06 am


Yes, while dropping off the grandparents before the game does work - you may have to ask them to stick around for an extra hour after the game because it'll take you that long to get to your car and then go against the tide in order to get close enough to pick them up after the game is over... Then hope that by that time the exit line has emptied otherwise you have another wait to get out... For comparison though - even the fine folks in Foxborough haven't figured out the parking thing yet either scratch

Last year I went to a couple of shows at what many of us know as Great Woods, but is now the Comcast Center... They have a "premium parking lot" which is *well worth* the $40 pre-paid fee! We have never spent more than 15 minutes getting out. Maybe the NHIAA could do something similar - *prepaid* parking closer to the site... Not only is it a revenue generator, but you know exactly how many spaces you'll need and can reserve them! The problem comes with those two game switchovers and hoping that someone who paid for game 1 leaves in a reasonable timeframe.

As for concessions - hey, that's why you "fill up" at one of the fine downtown Durham establishments beforehand... I've seen better concessions at <name your favorite organization> fundraiser tables... Just don't go overboard downtown though because you shouldn't be driving let alone going to a HS athletic event with more than you can handle...

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:17 am

I wish I could fill up at some of the local establishments but seeing that I have other duties to attend to I have to stay there for the whole afternoon.

The perfect scenario would be to do a 12 o'clock and 4 o'clock game and this would accomplish two things:

First it would give a chance for the parking lot logistics to work itself out with people coming and going and second it would give me a chance to Go to Libbys between games and get a nice bite and drink.

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  SeacoastDad on Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:34 am

I don't know if this was the first year, but one of the positive things they did was to provide the ability to purchase tickets in advance.  I bought four D-2 championship tickets on-line Friday night, printed them off and was able to go through the very short line to get my bracelet for the game.  And there was no service charge.  Worked out great.

The D-2 championship was just a fantastic game.  Jourdain Bell was phenomenal.  Not having two of their seniors on the court at the end really hurt Portsmouth (Charlie Lehoux fouled out and Devonn Wilson-Miles was poked in the eye and couldn't continue).  Truly the thrill of victory for the Giants and the agony of defeat for the Clippers.

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  FormerFalcoln on Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:01 pm

Years ago the NHIAA played the title games on different nights. The Class M & S games / D3 & D4 season started and ended earlier than I or L / D2 or D1. So one week on Friday night the D4 final was played, then the next night the D3 final. The following week same for the D2 and D1 one on Friday the other on Saturday. Could be time to revisit the idea. I like the idea of a 2 and a 6 pm game. I also loved it when WMUR used to air the Class L title game on tv...

WBIN could try it again. With some help from NHsportspage and others who have mastered the social media aspect of following HS sports in NH, WBIN could be sitting on a gem.

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:47 pm

You won't be seeing any HS Ships on WMUR anytime soon. WMUR and NHIAA had creative differences over the money side of things and WMUR said see you later and haven't been back since.


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Re: D1&D2 Finals

Post  JAF on Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:49 am

"creative differences over he money side" - oy vei!

So WBIN it is - betcha Charlie Sherman would enjoy sticking it to WMUR.

OK so now that we've solved that - let's work on world peace, hunger, and love Very Happy

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Re: D1&D2 Finals

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